New Boxtrolls Behind-The-Scenes Look at Voice Over Artists, Baker and Blum
Focus Features released a behind-the-scenes featurette of its up-and-coming stop animation feature, The Boxtrolls. However, this featurette focuses on the talents of voice actors Dee Baker and Steve Blum who created the already iconic, high-pitched growls of the Boxtrolls themselves. CEO and Lead Animator of Laika, Travis Knight, describes how the film's creators wanted the Boxtrolls to have a language that was understandable only to themselves and the story's hero, Eggs.
Ultimately, Baker and Blum were able to mix grunts, growls, and shrieks, occasionally accompanied with real words, to create this sense of understandable nonsense. That is, to have a Boxtroll language that didn't communicate directly through easily understandable concepts, but rather expressed emotions through these sound types. You could say that the Boxtroll's modeling (human-like in their body shapes yet all are distinct) works to accomplish this same sort of familiar difference that resonates with the audience.
Take a look at this short behind-the-scenes below if you want to get some really great insights into how artists conceptualize and execute characters based on voice acting. Typically, voice actors are given character concept drawings on which to base their interpretations. This makes artists at the previs level directly connected with helping establish the voice actor's interpretation of the characters' voice. Check out this short documentary over Mel Blanc, "The Man of a Thousand Voices," which is an interesting look at the history of animation as well as voice acting.