The wizarding world of ADR

When you’re watching a movie or tv show and you’re absorbed in the atmosphere, you can thank a room full of people grunting, cheering, screaming and trying to get their lips to match the much better paid actress and do her breaths. This week I have been learning about the invisible world of ADR….

Since leaving Virgin, I have been absorbing every piece of information about being a successful Voice Actor. I’ve attended seminars, listened to webinars, taken part in some amazing courses led by vocal legends like Dian Perry and Yvonne Morley. But a few weeks ago, my new voice pal Gwen mentioned she was taking an ADR course at the Louis Elman Academy at Warner Bros De Lane Lea studios. I hadn’t heard of ADR, I’d done a day of it for Dangerfield at the BBC back in the 90’s. I think it was called dubbing back then, and I just spent the day screaming to other actors running down a hill if I remember rightly. I do remember feeling like it wasn’t a proper acting job as you couldn’t see me on screen. So my self-absorbed teenage mind didn’t give it much thought. Damon however, overheard my conversation with Gwen about how I’d been spending too much money on courses recently so was going to have to give this one a miss. As an animator and director, he understands parts of the industry that I don’t, and being the incredible human that he is, secretly booked me on the course.

And thank god he did!

It was such an eye-opening and enthralling course! I literally sat on the edge of my seat in the studio as I watched how a group scene was turned from a flat, almost emotionless act, to a heart stopping, heart breaking piece of art that brought the screen to life. I screamed to the point of exhaustion as I plunged to my death on the Titanic, and I grunted and got stabbed and ran from an alien down a never-ending corridor. But most of all I got to act. And I feel like it’s been a while! I’ve been focusing on voice characters that only last a few minutes, and narrating corporate and commercial bits. And of course the audiobook lends itself to many many characters, however that is a whole different art form. And as much as I still love doing all of that, here I got to be emotional and real. I truly loved it and it has awoken that passion inside me that’s been sleepwalking for the last 15 years. I was overwhelmed and exhilarated when the director said that I had done the best scene that he’d seen in the 3 years of the course running, he said he would hire me…… Dear god I hope he wasn’t blowing smoke up my ass… but as he had been quite brutally honest in his critiques previously I’m going to take it as his word!

So another career goal has appeared on my list… ADR artist! Watch this space!