AES Section Meeting Reports

Los Angeles - October 25, 2016

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October's AES-LA Section meeting offered an impressive array of talent discussing Audio for Animation. Creative talent ranging from Buzzy Music's Andrew Morris, who recorded Mel Blanc, to Doc Kane, who recorded Robin Williams for Aladdin, through Nickelodeon's director of audio Justin Brinsfield to Kristopher Carter, the Emmy-winning composer of Batman Beyond, and the voice-over talent Rob Paulsen, came together to chat about the audio side of animation.

Each panelist offered a peek into their aspect of the process, as a recording engineer, studio director, music composer, and voice-over talent. Each offered advice on what to do or things to avoid. Stories abounded, and the evening flew by.

For instance, Doc Kane suggested that, as a recording engineer, it is very helpful to read music. A conductor might ask to return to measure 54; knowing where that is in the music saves time and aggravation. It is also his job, he says, to be prepared before the talent and directors arrive. Test the mics and equipment with friends, not the clients.

Andrew Morris concurred, adding that engineers get only one take. He makes sure he has a duplicate recording system running at all times. Justin Brinsfield tells all his junior engineers, "When you hit stop, always hit Command + Save." You don't want to tell the client you need to re-record. Buildings lose power at inopportune times.

Justin got started in the business as a truck driver on The Angry Beavers. In between drives, he made himself available to others on the production. It paid off when Justin became an engineer's assistant to one of those he befriended, who came to run the new recording studio. "Don't say no" to work, or as Rob Paulsen put it, "Never don't say 'yes'".

Rob Paulsen came to Los Angeles in the late 1970s, pursuing an acting career. Struggling to find work, he worked some voice-over sessions, and became known. His live-action agent called with a Hill Street Blues role, but turned it down as it conflicted with voice-over sessions. He tries to give the producers enough good material, so they say, "I don't know which take to use."

Andrew Morris noted in working with Stan Freberg, June Foray, Frank Welker, & Mel Blanc: alone, each is great, but put them in the same room, and their performances dramatically improve.

Kristopher Carter started working for Shirley Walker, eventually composing for Warner Bros series. "If it's animated and they're wearing Spandex, we might've done the music for it." Storytelling is driven by music, and the recording sessions are fun.

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