Sunday, March 16 2014 10:35

That time that Josh Gad stepped out for a bit, and Olaf from FROZEN borrowed my voice...

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There's a lot of people that visit THE ROCK FATHER that aren't aware of my pre-fatherhood past. I often say that I'm "an adventurer" of sorts, and over the course of time, I've been fortunate to have many adventures that have crossed-over into several different areas of media. Some of those adventures have been in the realms of film and television. Did you know that I once voiced Starscream from the TRANSFORMERS on TV? Sure did (scroll about 10 slots down). Or that I played a farmer in a movie that often shows up on cable in the UK? Guilty. But... what about that time that I did the voice of Olaf for Disney's Academy Award-winning picture, FROZEN? Yes, you are correct that the wonderful actor Josh Gad performed the voice of the lovable snowman in the film, but there was one day... a day not long ago... when I had to step into the recording booth, to lend my voice to Olaf, and even sing "In Summer."

It was just about a month ago (February 11, 2014, to be exact), during my visit to Walt Disney Animation Studios [Disclosure: my old pal Mickey actually paid for the trip - thanks, buddy!], I stepped into the booth and took the mic... and to correct the misleading title of this article, Mr. Gad wasn't even there. The folks from Disney Animation were just letting me have some fun with a little "What If?" ADR (automated dialogue replacement). What if Olaf were to sound like me? That's what we were about to find out...

The challenge with ADR is that a performer has to match movements and inflection (often done on feature films to clean-up the sound), but in the case of an animated film, an actor records their lines before a single frame is animated, generally recording three versions (on average) of each line. Later, it's up to the director to pick their favorite to make the final cut. 

James Zahn doing ADR on Disney's FROZEN... sorta

Gabriel Guy (Original Dialogue Mixer/Sound Re-Recording Mixer) on FROZEN was my guide for this experiment, and the results? Well, those are for you to judge. I had just one shot to jump in and start the script as each line counted down as my cue to begin. In the time past, I've pretty much mastered "In Summer," and have sung it on more than a few occasions. But as my wife pointed out last night, "thousands have already embarrassed themselves by singing 'Let It Go' online," and I won't join that crowd. At least, not yet...

FROZEN is available on Blu-ray and DVD on March 18. Pre-order now via (my affiliate) Amazon!
James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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