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Tatiana Bull ‘11

Supervisor, Casting & Talent Relations, The Walt Disney Company
What do you look for when casting a character? 
There are many factors to consider when casting a character, but it mostly depends on the overall vision and creative direction of the show. For example, some Executive Producers want their show to have a more natural sound, while others might want it to sound more “cartoony.” Or for youth roles, some creative teams want actual youths, while others want adult actors who sound young and still hit the comedic beats. Every show has different needs, so I stay in constant communication with production to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

How does animation casting differ from live-action casting? 
The main difference between voiceover (VO) and live-action is that your only acting tool is your voice. It sounds like a “duh” thing, but just because you’re an excellent on-camera actor, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can knock VO out of the park! A common misconception about VO is that if you can do a bunch of silly voices, you can be a voice actor. While being able to do different voices is helpful, you also have to be able to act while doing it.

It takes a lot of practice and finesse to really hone the craft since all of your emotions have to be conveyed through your voice, so you’re not able to use physicality to show what the character is going through. For example, if you need to “raise your eyebrow” in suspicion, no one can see you doing that when they watch a cartoon, so they have to be able to HEAR the suspicion, HEAR you crying, or HEAR you getting gradually frustrated. And then the animators use the voice as a guide to draw and reflect what’s going on in the scene.

What does it feel like to watch the movie/tv show you helped cast for the first time? 
It feels amazing! Seeing how everything comes together to make a beautiful finished product is quite fulfilling. The first time a show came out with my name in the credits, I called all of my family and friends so they could watch (and look out for my name).

What is the most exciting part of your job? 
Wow! Where do I even begin? There are so many exciting things to choose from. I genuinely think the whole process is exhilarating but if I had to pick one, it’s making someone’s dream come true by telling them they got the role or that a pilot has been picked up to become a full series! The excitement on their face at the first record session is THE best!

How did COVID impact your work?
When everything shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, our recording studios were no exception. My team and I had to figure out how to record everyone from home. I set up hundreds of home studio tests in order to get talent ready for record sessions from home. From there, we sent talent any necessary equipment to get as close to production sound quality as possible. This kept the production pipeline moving and at the beginning, this was only supposed to be a temporary solution to our pandemic problems but we’ve been using this system ever since. Now that studios are open again, talent has the option to record from home or in-studio so we’ve set up a hybrid system to accommodate talent’s comfort levels.

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