With animation being such a popular genre of voice over, I’ve reached out to some casting directors in the field to find out what they look for from voice over talent and how they cast animated roles. My interview with Disney Television Animation casting director Sara Sherman shows how different studios work in regard to auditioning actors. While some will entertain hearing unsolicited demos, some like Disney go the more traditional route.
I started working in development for Disney in 2004 and quickly learned that it wasn’t for me. During the development process, we spent a lot of time in the booth auditioning actors for our pilots and I fell in love with voice casting. I was very lucky that my first job in animation casting was at Disney Television Animation. I started out as a coordinator and continued on from there. I have now been with the company 12 years and have worked my way up an Executive Director.
What do you look for when casting for animated characters?
I look for talented actors who naturally have unique voices that can bring the comedy to the performance.
Do you cast on both coasts?
Yes. Most of our casting is done in LA, but we do reach out to talent in NY and the rest of the US and sometimes internationally.
Do you listen to character demos?
Sometimes, but not regularly. Mostly I focus on listening to auditions. Every once in a while I will listen to someone’s demo to see if they have a range of characters in their repertoire.
Would you rather hear someone who sent you a demo of their actual speaking voice?
I would rather hear them reading one of my characters, as in an audition, but if I couldn’t get that, I would listen to an animation demo.
Do you ever search for talent online at sites like Voices.com or Voice123.com?
I do not.
Do you only receive demos through agents?
Sara Sherman has been casting cartoons for Disney Television Animation for the past decade and has worked in the world of animation for 15 years. Currently she oversees the casting on the following series: “Tangled: The Series”, “Milo Murphy’s Law”, “Big Hero 6: The Series”, and “Star Vs. the Forces of Evil”. She is responsible for the VO cast on roughly 5 pilots per year. Her credits also include “Phineas and Ferb”, “Gravity Falls”, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, “Yin, Yang, Yo”, “Fish Hooks”, “Club Penguin”, “Wander Over Yonder”, and “Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!”.
Additionally, Sara handles Talent Relations for all TV animation and Disney Junior series. Prior to joining Disney, Sara worked in development at Klasky Csupo known for “Rugrats” and “As Told by Ginger” and at Gullane Entertainment known for “Thomas the Tank Engine”.