VAMFR 019 | Theme Park Voice Over, Part 1


VAMFR 019 | Theme Park Voice Over, Part 1

Welcome to episode 19 of the Voice Acting Mastery: Field Report podcast!

You can listen to the podcast using the player above, or download the mp3 using the link at the bottom of this blog post. The podcast is also available via the iTunes Store online. Just follow this link to view the podcast in iTunes:

This is the first part of a special report on Theme Park Voice Over jobs by our special correspondent, Tom Bauer!

Tom is very excited to explore with you a subject that’s near and dear to his heart, Voice Over for Theme Parks. This particular field of the voice over industry often goes unnoticed by most people because when it’s done well it blends so seamlessly into the experience of the visitor.

It recently dawned on Tom that voice over actors are the hidden artists who provide the audio atmosphere and essential back stories that help bring theme parks to life. From ride narration and live interactive shows, to park-wide announcements and parking lot tram spiels, voice actors help guide and entertain everyone who visits.

In fact, making sure the audience is having the best possible experience is exactly what Tom gets called on to do as a theme park voice actor! Tom’s been fortunate enough to be cast as the voice of Crush the Turtle in a show called “Turtle Talk with Crush” at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. You may remember the character of Crush as the laid-back, surfer-dude sea turtle from the 2003 Disney/Pixar Film, “Finding Nemo” and its 2016 sequel ”Finding Dory”. If you’ve been a Voice Acting Mastery listener for a while, you may have heard Tom mention his work as Crush in previous episodes of the Field Report. “Turtle Talk with Crush” is a live, interactive experience located in the Hollywood Land area of Disney California Adventure.

Many people ask Tom what it’s like to portray Crush in this sort of interactive experience. They’re also curious how he was able to book this unique job in the first place! As it became clear to Tom that people were genuinely fascinated by this type of theme park voice over work, he had a feeling it might make a great topic for a special report.

Tom quickly realized that even though he worked in a theme park, he didn’t know much about the different types of voice over work that were involved in running it, outside of his experiences on Turtle Talk. As he explored, he soon discovered there were many areas of the resort that utilized talent from voice actors in interesting ways, so he decided that theme park voice acting would be an excellent subject for all of us to learn more about together!

To help Tom unlock the secrets behind this enigmatic topic, he spoke with five distinguished and talented individuals currently involved in the realm of Theme Park Voice Over including:

  • Rebecca Lumianski, a Consulting Director at Disneyland for shows like “Turtle Talk with Crush”.
  • Joe Hernandez, a professional Voice Over Artist and the head talent and Show Trainer for Turtle Talk.
  • Bill Rogers & Camille Dixon, the husband-and-wife VO team who provide the official announcement voices for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, respectively.
  • Isaac Robinson Smith, a versatile performer who provides the voice of Megatron and Optimus Prime from the Transformers film franchise as part of a character meet and greet at Universal Studios.

Tom would like to thank all five of these talented individuals for taking the time to sit down with him and share their wisdom on the subject of Theme Park Voice Over. He learned quite a bit from each of them as they talked about their various experiences in their respective fields of expertise. I’m sure that you will, too.

The VAM Field Report will be released on the 1st Wednesday of every month so stay on the look out for it!

Download VAM Field Report Episode #19 Here (MP3)


5 Responses to “VAMFR 019 | Theme Park Voice Over, Part 1”

  1. Kalyn McCabe says:

    That is the single most surprising topic I have ever thought about, theme park voice over! I never really knew that existed as a field/place VO could be used!

    That is so interesting VO tracks could be used ad infinitum to preserve a sound.

    I’m ready to pull up the bowl of popcorn and listen to more. Excellent job~!

    • Tom Bauer says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying this Special Report, Kalyn! Thank you for your feedback.

      It truly is marvelous how there are so many avenues one can pursue in the arena of Voice Over. Especially ones we tend to overlook! I’m happy I was able to shed some light on an otherwise underrated venue of VO.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to explore this topic!

    Since you are constantly using the same material over and over, how do you make it fresh each time? Outside of the obvious paycheck, what motivates you, and how do you apply that to the character?

    Also, I’m not sure if this makes full sense, but when you are interacting as the character in response to the children that come to the show, what physical cues do you/can you look for in order to play off them to make the experience more interactive?

    Thank you for your time man!

    • Tom Bauer says:

      Thank you for your questions, Jeremiah!

      While Crush’s initial motivation is the same, what keeps the show fresh and unique is the improv. The ‘meat’ of the show comes from the questions Crush gets asked by the guests. The performers never know ahead of time what they’re going to be asked when portraying Crush so each show will produce a different experience for the audience every time. There are also various ways we can change up the show outside of the improv. For instance there are different props and characters that can pop up during any given show.

      As far as my own personal motivation, it’s the same for every other venue of VO I’ve encountered: It’s meaningful to me. It keeps me interested, fascinated and challenged. And I believe having that adds layers and a certain amount of depth to any character you portray. Crush is a cool, surfer-dude Dad who wants to learn about humans so that he can impart that knowledge to his son. He’s very fascinated by this and exploring/understanding the human world is challenging to him.

      Examples of Physical cues performers look for are the expressions on their faces. Are they laughing? Smiling?. We can also comment on what they’re wearing which establishes right away that Crush is engaging with the guests in real time and that it’s not a pre-recorded show. Costumes, birthday buttons, Mickey Mouse ears, etc. All these things can make for great conversations with the audience!

      Great questions, man. Thanks again!

  3. Thank you for answering. It is always appreciated!

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