VOCAL FRY

An actress best known for playing the sweetly dorky production assistant who kept bumping into Ashton Kutcher in «No Strings Attached», Bell, who is thirty-four, has wide, still eyes, fidgety hands, and jittery feet. With many explanatory gestures, she explained how her childhood love of voices and recordings led her to write, direct, and star in the film «In a World» …, which opens this week. She plays Carol, a voice coach who’s trying to break into the macho world of movie trailer narration. Carol has talent, but her voice sometimes catches, from pressure or lack of confidence. The susceptibility of the voice, Bell said, is why she loves taking a steam: «If s basically a facial for your Iarynx». Saunas, by contrast, are basically a camel trip across the Sahara for your larynx, but she respected her companion’s need for a dryish notepad.

According to Bell, female voices lend themselves to misperception. «Whereas Cockney, at kind of a fing, is middle back, and American» think Shelley Winters at her most piercing «is deep in the jowls».

Bell shifted to the cold room for a breather.» her own voice took a helium leap. «The vocal pandemic that is the sexy baby virus is a form of submission to men, as if you’re a twelve year old girl.

«The sexy-baby thing is not just about pitch but the music of the speech: Hey, so, ит, I was wondering, like, if you wanted to go and steam now? Or are you crazy worried about, like, germs?» In the steam room, she stretched to touch her toes, then continued, «Women who came in for jobs on my movie and said, «I seriously can’t wait to work on this? they lost me at hello».

Carol’s struggles reflect the industry’s shame; only one woman has narrated a big trailer. «Melissa Disney did it for Gone in 60 Seconds». You know her, she does all the award shows. She’s the one who says» fussy bassoon tone «And now, please welcome, Brad Pitt and Angelina Joliel’»

Bell noted that the late Don LaFon-taine, who created and intoned the legendary trailer line “In a world. . . ,» said that the secret of his Dolby sound was to «ride on a cushion of air». «So maybe it’s just scientific, and the male voice makes a more cutting whisper», she said. «Or maybe it’s that the God in the Bible was He, and so we’re used to the male voice being the ultimate, and the female voice being the one that sells you tampons. If a man sells you a car on TV, the voice is authority: ‘Car and Driver says …’ Whereas the womans voice suggests» breathy and kittenish «Buy this car and you’ll get me. »

In «In a World..Bell demonstrates the possibilities of vocal acting by also playing two male agents whom we hear on the phone: «I can be an old Jewish fat dude. Me! We just pitch shift it a little, digitally, to take that bit of Lakeness out of it». She breathed into the neck of her T-shirt, concentrating, then popped out for a last word: «I hope after this goddam movie I can get better auditions. You will hear more of me my voice will extend». The steam had restored her natural tone, a fifth up the scale.

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