Ever hear of a guy named Frank Welker? If not, you’re not alone. While hardly anyone would recognize Welker’s name or face, millions would recognize his voice. Welker was the man responsible for voicing Fred in “Scooby Doo,” Garfield in the recently released animated movies, and Megatron in the Transformers TV series. He’s also known for his animal sounds, having played the monkey Abu in Aladdin. While Welker has obviously done some more recent work, he’s been in the industry since 1967, yet is still largely unrecognizable in public.
Now, have you ever heard of Seth MacFarlane? How about Chris Rock? Angelina Jolie? Of course you have. And you’d probably recognize any one of them walking down the street, because they’re all A-list celebrities. But did you know that they’ve also done voice over? That’s right, Seth MacFarlane is the creator of “Family Guy” and the voice behind key characters; Chris Rock played Marty in Madagascar; and Angelina Jolie supplied the voice of Lola in Shark Tale.
So what does this tell us? Well, for sure it tells us that there has been a definitive evolution in the voice over industry. In the past, voice actors were simply that – a voice reading a script. Now, however, Oscar-winning actors are supplying the voices instead of unrecognizable voice actors, and where voice actors were just a voice, Hollywood actors are a voice AND a face. It’s an interesting shift in an ever-changing industry, and as the area separating voice actors from film and television actors continues to shrink, who knows what exciting changes we’ll see in the coming years.