Like many animation-related studios and services, L.A.-based post-production audio and creative house Verité Entertainment has had to adapt to the new COVID-19 era restrictions and challenges. Founded in 2012 by René Veilleux and Donald Roman Lopez, the company provides audio for animation programs, live action, mobile and console video games globally, and also develops animated content for both domestic and international markets (under the Verité Creative banner). We caught up with Veilleux and Lopez to find how their studio is dealing with the new normal:
Thanks again for finding time to speak with Animag. OK, so how has the stay-at-home policies impacted your business?
Donald Roman Lopez: Verité Studios went “dark” shortly after the city of L.A. and state of California “stay-at-home” orders went into effect, and we’re now working with a very limited staff until the uncertainty of this crisis clears. It was a difficult decision to have to let some of our Verité family go, but we’re resilient and determined to keep things moving, until we can all get back into the studio.
René Veilleux: Although it was daunting at first and it added a few extra steps to the production process, we immediately made the adjustment to the “work from home” model, and in a way that part has been a seamless transition. We’ve managed to keep things going, and started working closely with our clients coordinating remote recording sessions with talent. We also continue to send out casting notices for upcoming projects and are working on script adaptations for our dubbing projects.
What changes have you made to accommodate your voiceover projects?
René: Our amazing voiceover talent have really stepped up. Thanks to talent being able to accommodate recording sessions from their home studios, we continue to record the VO that our animation partners need to keep their production pipelines moving! While there are a few more steps involved in preparing for the sessions to ensure the quality during the recordings and facilitating the final deliveries, thankfully all of the processes that have been put into place have helped make the recording sessions run smoothly.
How has technology helped you continue with your projects?
Donald: On the original series, where pre-lay recordings is what’s needed, as long as the talent has a good set up in their home studio, we’ve been able to conduct remote recordings via Zoom and Skype, with our clients and their creative teams present. The whole thing is done Brady Bunch style. All joking aside, living in the digital age has allowed us to keep things going, not only with the recordings, but communication, file sharing, cloud based storage — all of it done online.
René: There are already a number of resources available to help facilitate the recording process, and continue to ensure the quality of final audio files. We’re also working closely with some of our clients to beta test new tools and software to streamline the dubbing process even further, and we look forward to being able to bring this new technology to all of our future projects.
What are some of the projects you are working at now?
René: Unfortunately we can’t mention many of the specific projects we are working on right now, but between our service work and our creative development, we are thrilled to be working with animation studios in France, Canada, Argentina and Brazil, as well as Poland, Ireland, Singapore, Japan and one of the top animation studios right here in L.A.! In addition, we are currently prepping the dubs for multiple live-action series, and continue to work with the team at Zenimax on the hugely successful video game Elder Scrolls Online.
What is your take on the news that there’s an even higher demand for animated projects now that social distancing is making live-action production quite impossible?
René: We absolutely see an increase in demand for animated content. Even during this current crisis and uncertainty, animation studios continue to reach out to us about new projects they need voiceover and audio for, and with so many of our animation studio partners setting up and building production pipelines that can be integrated remotely, it only helps to ensure that this desire for animation content will be fulfilled.
How do you stay inspired and optimistic during these challenging times?
Donald: I think defining moments, like this one which we’re collectively experiencing, humble us and make us evaluate our humanity in a very profound way. When you see those incredible people in the frontlines, risking their lives, making a difference, you ask yourself whether you make a difference in this world or not. Then, we hear how the consumption of content has skyrocketed, and it’s helping people cope with their isolation. That gives you some comfort that perhaps, although not as important as saving lives, what we do brings joy to this world, especially kids and family content. That keeps us going.
René: Also, we’re very fortunate that the animation community is a wonderful, joyful, collaborative community. We love the people we work with, and we are blessed to be able to do what we do. It helps us keep faith that this too shall pass. There is no doubt the world will be different after COVID-19, but we know there will always be a place for animation and look forward to doing our part to help bring that animation to life.