• Jay Preston

'Booked it!' Spotlight : The Incredibles 2

It sure has been a while since last we got to feature some of our members in a "BOOKED IT!" Spotlight, so we have an INCREDIBLE, THREE member Spotlight for you this month!!

Super congrats to Jeff LaPensee, Rebecca Davis & Joe Zieja for scoring roles in The Incredibles 2!! Here's their story!

First up, Jeff Lapensee from Arlene Thornton & Associates! "As far as the audition process, I only got one audition from my agent and it was for an animated feature labeled OREH. It was for "stage manager". I opened up the audition and mine lines were literally 5...4..3..2..1.  That was it. How the heck do you stand out by just saying 5...4...3...2...1?  Luckily I've spent years on differents sets and have been around a lot of "stage managers" or 1st AD's and I knew what was usually said before we did any type of "countdown". I knew that I had to bring that pre-life to the read in order to stand out. So I added a few lines before of pre-life and then delivered my 5...4...3...2...1. I did 3 different takes because it was so short.  I did talk to casting director Terri Douglas and she said when she's listening to auditions that she likes to hear some pre-life or something that will set up the opening line. It gets her attention to hear good acting. She did say that first of all, does the person sound like the character description and secondly are they a good actor?  I've taken that advice with me for all my auditions since.  When I was put on avail for the job that's when I found out it was for a Pixar film but had no idea which one. I thought it was going to be Big Hero 7 seeing that the project name was OREH, which is "hero" backwards.  It wasn't until we got on set and signed contracts that we all saw it was for The Incredibles 2!! I will say that being around a lot of heavy hitters in the animation world was a great experience. Everyone was very nice and approachable, that was refreshing to see.

Well, it was my time to get into the booth to record my 5...4...3...2..1 which only ended up being a 3...2... in the final movie. I have to admit even though I've been acting here in LA for 20+ years, I was still a bit nervous walking into the room. I have to say room as it wasn't a tiny booth. Brad Bird the director was in there with me and directing me. He couldn't have been nicer. I finished my part and was ready to head out when he told me he had another character for me. He told me it was a "serviceman" and I'm seeing Jack Jack all alone. I don't remember if he told me where we were but I assumed out on the street, why I don't know, but that's what was in my head. They had showed us a clip of Jack Jack in action before we all went in for our session and you could see how active Jack Jack was. So when I was to deliver my line of "Hey little baby, where are your parents?" I imagined Jack Jack running around through my legs. Brad laughed and we did it a few more times a few more different ways and then that was it. I was lucky enough that it ended up in the trailer which I thought was pretty cool, but it was completely different than what I was expecting.

I think the bottom line from my long winded story is, bring some pre-life to your audition, what's the line that comes before what your 1st line is? What makes you say what you're about to say? When you take the time to dig a little deeper into your sides you may find something in the beginning and at the end that can really give your audition life." ~Jeff

Next up, Rebecca Davis from VOX, inc!

"I was in Chicago on vacation when the audition came in. Let me preface this by saying, normally, I try not to work too much when I’m on vacation. I think it’s extremely important that we unplug sometimes. So some vacations, I will completely unplug, some I’ll pick and choose what I want to audition for pending the time I have.  

When I saw that this was an animated feature and Terri Douglas was casting, I knew immediately I was going to audition. I know the types of projects she works on, and they were on my goals list.  I had also taken a workshop with her about 2 months prior, so I knew the kind of things she was looking for in auditions.  

There were a bunch of parts to choose from, with the usual agent caveat of audition for the ones that are right for you. This was on a Friday.  I carved out some time that weekend, built a pillow fort, sent my husband to a bar, looked over my notes from her class (I take all my notes on Evernote so I can access them on my phone or computer anytime, anywhere)  and recorded, submitting it all on Sunday night.

Cut to Monday, 2pm Chicago time, we’re eating lunch at an Italian joint and I get the email. I was requested to redo my audition for the police scanner with new direction due ASAP.  It felt like a callback. Plus, scanner chatter was something I had specifically worked on with Terri during the workshop. CRAP, we’re in the middle of lunch, far away from our hotel, this is due ASAP and we had a tour scheduled for right after lunch.

I decided to grab our jackets and go record in the bathroom.  Uh-oh, the music playing in the restaurant is also playing in the bathroom.  So, I drummed up some chutzpah and asked to speak to the manager. “This is going to sound strange, but I’m a voice actor and I need to record something right away. Is there any way you could turn the music off in the bathroom.” I got some pretty strange looks, gave a “pretty please”  while over exaggerating the batting of my lashes, there were laughs, and then...sure, we can do that. They turned the music off in the entire restaurant.

So, there I am, literally huddled on the bathroom floor, under 2 jackets, holding my iphone and recording.  A few people walked in and out and probably thought I was crazy. But I did it. Went back to the table, hooked in my earphones and ate while editing. Then I realized I never slated.  Chutzpah had already set in, so I went under the table to slate my name, finished editing and sent it in.

7 days later I found out I was cast as an incidental character, but still didn’t know which one or what this was even for. When I got to the Disney studio, I was handed my paperwork, and finally saw what I project this was. I’ve worked on Disney things before, but Pixar has always been a dream of mine. I’ve had Pixar images on my vision boards for years and now the dream was coming true. I looked up at a friend of mine who was there and we exchanged ‘holy shit, can you believe this’ glances.  I looked around the room and saw some heavy hitters that I've looked up to for years, and suddenly realized, these are my peers, my colleagues, I belong here. They are now seeing me in the room, doing incidentals just like them. Mentally, that’s a huge switch for me. I’ve had imposter syndrome for years. I battle it all the time. I think I'm not alone in that feeling.

I’ve been doing this for a long time and worked with big directors before, but still when I went into the room and discovered Brad Bird would be directing me himself, my mind was going “Keep it together Rebecca. Don’t fan girl out!”  The police scanner was the part I booked, recorded in a bathroom on an iphone. When I went to Terri later to thank her, she said to me aren't you glad we worked on the scanner in class? Yes, yes I was." ~Rebecca

And last but certainly not least, our good friend Joe Zieja from ATLAS had a bit of a simpler story!

"Hey, for me it was super simple. I had just come over to my new agent at Atlas about 2 weeks prior, and they sent me a few auditions for something in an animated feature. I read, and then I got the part! The team at Pixar actually reached out to me for a second day of recording to record some additional roles, and THOSE are the ones they ended up using in the movie. The one I recorded on the initial day didn't get used. The second day was cool because all the principles were there, so I got to meet Craig Nelson and chat with his wife for a bit. " ~Joe

How freaking cool is that!? I personally couldn't be happier for the three of you! Thanks SO much for sharing! Who's NEXT?!?!

#voiceover #theincredibles #newblog #bookedit #vo #animation #actors #behindthemic

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