Search form

Desert Island Series....If a Tree Falls on a Desert Island, Does Anyone Hear It?

Alf Clausen, Howie Mandel, Will Ryan and Luc Hamet.

This month, we asked a few people involved in creating sound and music for animation what they would want to have with them if they were stranded on a desert island. Alf Clausen is a composer of music for films and television whose credits include The Simpsons (see the review of his new CD in this issue). Howie Mandel is the voice of 'Lil Howie in the Great Adventure CD-ROM series, and of Bobby in Film Roman's Bobby's World animated series. Danny Elfman is a composer whose long list of film scoring credits includes The Nightmare Before Christmas and Mars Attacks! Will Ryan has voiced characters for over 1,000 animated half hours and some of your favorite feature films; and he is currently consulting producer of Jim Henson Productions'The Wubbulus World of Doctor Seuss . Last but not least, Luc Hamet is a French voice-over actor whose credits include the French-language version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Alf Clausen

"After composing more than 4,500 music cues and songs for over 150 episodes of The Simpsons in the past 7 years, the last thing I would want to have with me on a desert island is an animated film! However, just maybe I could convince someone to slip the entire Rocky & His Friends television series into my suitcase for viewing when I finally come back to consciousness. What a great series that was! In addition, I would love to have to have the following with me:"

Films: 1. The Star Wars Trilogy by George Lucas 2. E.T. by Steven Spielberg. 3. A Woody Allen collection (for when I'm feeling depressed.) 4. An Ingmar Bergman collection (for when I'm feeling elated.)

Music: 1. The entire CD collection of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. 2. The entire CD collection of Miles Davis and Gil Evans. 3. The entire CD collection of the Bill Evans Trio. 4. The complete orchestral works of Bartok, Brahms, Hindemith, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Sibelius & Stravinsky.

"I am set! Send me off!"

Howie Mandel

"Can I just take two films and trade the other eight in for a raft?"

1. The acclaimed documentary Nautical Navigation. 2. The Return to Gilligan's Island.

Howie Mandel and Lil' Howie

Danny Elfman

"In scoring animation, one tends to hit actions a little more tightly, although that's not necessarily true; I don't think I scored Batman any different as a live action film than if it were an animated film."

Danny Elfman's films to take to a desert island, "not necessarily in this order."

1. Animation by Andre Sidlofsky. 2. The collected works of Jan Svankmajer, volumes I and II. 3. Vincent by Tim Burton. 4. Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas 5. Mr. Happy, a japanese television animation series. 6. Disney's Pinnochio.

". . . . And about a zillion short, sick and twisted pieces whose names I simply can't remember."

Will Ryan

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book 1001 Films for a Desert Island-- or-- What To Watch 'Til the Helicopters Arrive. Listed in no particular order. Note: All films must be viewed in their original 35mm aspect ratios.

1. Greed by Eric Von Stroheim, the director's cut. This choice should be an obvious one to any student of film history, but personally I'm a big fan of Zasu Pitts, alone or with Thelma Todd. 2. Anything with John Bunny and Flora Finch together. This would disallow Gertie the Trained Dinosaur wherein Mr. Bunny appears with George "Pete the Tramp" McManus, my own grandfather Terwilliger Ryan, Hearst artist Silas McCay, and others . . . but alas, not with Miss Finch. 3. Any home movies with Thelma Todd. 4. That Vitaphone short wherein Shemp Howard beats up Jimmy Stewart. About 10 of us have seen this film since its' initial early 30s release, and I wouldn't mind seeing it again. 5. That other Vitaphone featuring Joe Frisco as one of the Reese Brothers. About seven people have seen this since it came out in '29 or '30. This is an excellent work of cinema, mirroring with uncanny and unflinching accuracy the ultimate futility of the human condition. A work of great art, and it's got Billy Gilbert in it too! 6. That Toby the Pup cartoon wherein the dog-catcher impersonates Maurice Chevalier, Elmo Aardvark, Felix the Cat, "Scnozzle" Durante and Mahatma Ghandi. 7. Fred Ott's Sneeze. I mean the original, not the re-make. 8. The film Orson Welles was making on the subject of magic. . . just because I'm in it and I've never seen it. 9. Paramount on Parade. I always enjoyed singing along with the title track. 10. Follow Through. It would be nice to have something in color on this list, and this 1930 two-strip feature is hard to top. Nancy Carroll looks ethereal. Zelma O'Neill is vibrant and, if there's a phone on this desert island, I can call up Buddy Rogers and congratulate him on starring in such a swell picture!

Luq Hamet

"I would never feel alone on a desert island because I would bring with me all my characters . . . . The days of grand solitude, I will try to make them all talk at the same time.

"Je ne me sentirai jamais seul dans une ile deserte car j'emmenerai avec moi tous mes personnages . . . . Les jours de grande solitude, j'essaierai de les faire parler tous en même temps!"

1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Qui veut la peau de Roger Rabbit ), by Robert Zemeckis and Richard Williams. Mon meilleur souvenir de doublage. Depuis, je ne mange plus de lapin . . . ./My fondest dubbing memory. Since then, I haven't eaten any rabbit . . . . 2. Mary Poppins, by Robert Stevenson. L'ancêtre de Roger Rabbit!!!/The precursor of Roger Rabbit!!! 3. Bambi, by Walt Disney. Pour pleurer les soirs de pleine lune . . . ./ To cry onself to sleep by the light of the moon. 4. The Rose. Une si belle histoire d'amour . . . avec le public./A beautiful love story . . . with an audience. 5. Out of Africa. Majestueux, et animalier. . . . What music!/Majestic, wildlife . . . . What music! 6. Les Looney Toons (All the Looney Toons). Tous sans exception . . . . Il va me falloir une très grande valise . . . ./All of them without exception . . . . I would need to take a very big suitcase with me. 7. The Cat Concerto (Tom et Jerry au concert), by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. Un dessin animé qui a fait date./A landmark in animated cartoons. 8. Le Roi et l'Oiseau (The King and Mr. Bird),by Paul Grimault. Un classique francais./A French classic. 9. The Deer Hunter (The Deer Hunter - Voyage au bout de l'enfer), by Michael Cimino. Le choc de mon adolescence; cette horrible scène de la roulette russe . . . / The shock of my adolescence; the horrible Russian roulette scene . . . . 10. Amadeus, by Milos Forman. Je l'ai vu 15 fois; je redécouvre de nouveaux plans à chaque fois. Un chef d'oeuvre de montage en musique./I have seen it 15 times; I discover something new each time. A masterpiece of montage and music.

Dubbing in France France is the premiere country for dubbing, with a unique technique. Herin Luc Hamet provides several words on dubbing in France. Only 34 years old, Luc Hamet is one of the most prolific cartoon voices in France. He has dubbed Roger Rabbit, and Buster Bunny and Plucky Duck in Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures. He is also the new voice of Kermit the Frog, as well as Felix the Cat . . . he is a one-man zoo!!! He has also dubbed Tom Hulle in Amadeus and Michael J. Fox in all his films (e.g., Mars Attacks!). For 7 years he has hosted a weekly show featuring the best of Hanna-Barbera on France 2. The tradition of dubbing in France goes back almost to the beginnings of talking pictures. The technique has thus evolved over time and a certain savoir-faire has developed. If, in the past, comedians who did dubbing were not well known, today many French stage, movie and television comedians lend their voices to high quality French versions. All the preparation that is done before the actual synchronizing of voices are very important. The dubbing studios get the film in its original version from their foreign clients or their representative/distributor in France. From there, the dubbing process is set in motion. The film is first "marked" on an editing machine manipulated by a "detector," whose job it is to note on 35mm film all the mouth movements, phrase by phrase, aided by the original final script. This 35mm reel is then synchronized with the picture. This "détection" track is then given to an adapter who translates and conforms ir to the original mouth movements providing by the original language. Then someone writes on a blank strip of clear 35mm film the French dialogue to be read by the actors. This "rhythm strip" will be shown in the studio in synch with the picture. The comedians are able to impersonate the original by hearing and looking at the film; at the time of the synchronization, their words are projected over the picture. The difficult part for the artists is to act the way the original comedian did. While he is reading the rhthym strip, he has to give the impression that he is acting, rather than just reading. In dubbing Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 30 French comedians auditioned and their audition tapes were all sent to Los Angeles. It was director Bob Zemeckis and the artistic director for dubbing who together selected the voices. The recording sessions lasted 3 weeks and was supervised by someone from the original production, who the director really trusted. For important and big budget films, such supervisors are in charge of all foreign versions. They are there until the final mix for the French, Italian, Spanish, Germany, and perhaps Indian language versions of the films which they are intimately famliar with in the original version. In France, more than 80% of audiences see a foreign film in its French version. The quality of dubbing is therefore an extremely important element in a film's box office success.

--Translated from the French by Annick Tennige & Harvey Deneroff

Le doublage en France La France est le premier pays du doublage, avec une technique unique au monde. Quelques mots sur le doublage par Luq Hamet. A 34 ans, Luq Hamet est l'une des voix les plus "cartoon" de France. Il a doublé Roger Rabbit, Buster Bunny et Plucky Duck dans la série des Tiny Toons produite par Steven Spielberg. Il est aussi la nouvelle voix de Kermit the Frog, mais aussi celle de Felix the Cat... c'est un zoo à lui tout seul!!! Il a aussi doublé Tom Hulle dans Amadeus et Michael J. Fox dans tous ses films (Mars Attacks!). Il a presenté pendant sept ans sur France 2 un show hebdomadaire des meilleurs dessins animés de Hanna Barbera. La tradition du doublage en France remonte presque aux origines du cinéma parlant. La technique a donc eu le temps d'évoluer et un savoir-faire s'est developpé. Si, autrefois, les comédiens de doublage étaient un peu à part, aujourd'hui beaucoup de comédiens francais de théâtre, de cinéma et de télévision prêtent leurs voix pour des versions francaises de qualité.

Les travaux techniques effectués avant l'enregistrement des voix ont une très grande importance. Les prestataires de service, sociétés de doublage recoivent le film en version originale de leurs client étranger ou de leur representant/distributeur en France. A partir de là, la chaine du doublage se met en marche. Le film est tout d'abord "détecté" sur une machine de montage manipulée par un "détecteur" dont le travail consiste à noter sur bande 35 mm blanche toutes les ouvertures et fermetures de bouche, phrase par phrase, aidé du script final original. Cette bande 35 mm est synchrone avec l'image. Cette bande detectée, appelée "détection" est alors confiée à un adaptateur qui va traduire et adapter sur les bouches le texte original dans sa langue maternelle. Puis un calligraphe appliquera sur cette bande blanche une bande 35 mm transparente et recopiera d'une belle ecriture les dialogues francais à destination des acteurs. Cette "bande rythmo" sera projetée en studio d'enregistrement sur l'image. Les comédiens pourront ainsi s'imprégner de l'original en écoutant et en regardant le film ; lors de l'enregistrement, leur texte defilera sur l'image. Toute la difficulté pour un artiste est de jouer la comédie tout en respectant le comédien qu'il double. Tout en lisant la bande rythmo, il devra donner l'impression qu'il vit la scène et devra faire transparaître ses sentiments. Pour le doublage de Qui veut la peau de Roger Rabbit 30 essais de voix ont été effectués avec des comédiens francais puis envoyés à Los Angeles. C'est Bob Zemeckis et la directrice artistique du doublage qui ont choisi. L'enregistrement a duré environ trois semaines avec la présence d'une superviseuse, qui avait la confiance du realisateur. Pour les films importants et les grosses productions, les superviseurs suivent toutes les versions etrangères. Ils assistent jusqu'au mixage final à la naissance en langue francaise, italienne, espagnole, allemande, parfois indienne, du film qu'ils connaissent parfaitement bien en version originale. En France, plus de 80% des spectateurs voient un film étranger dans sa version francaise. La qualité de doublage est donc un élément extrêmement important pour mener le film au sommet du box office.