In The Recording Booth, & An Interview with Paul McGrath (Zootopia Dialogue Mixer)

Included in our Zootopia In-Home Release Press Day in LA was a visit with Paul McGrath. Paul is a Dialogue Mixer at Disney Animation Studios, with such titles as Planes: Fire & Rescue, Phineas & Ferb, and Zootopia on his 20 yr resume, Paul must really enjoy what he does. A dialogue mixer is a sound editor who assembles, synchronises, and edits all the dialogue in a film or television production. In other words, he has a really cool job!

Below are some of the highlights from our time with Paul McGrath, including a fun little Zootopia clip, voiced over by me.


PAUL: Well welcome to the recording studio here. We did a lot of the character voicing for Zootopia here. And a lot of other projects for feature animation. So the thing about the recording room is that we’re involved from the very beginning of the film through the very end. And even though everything’s been digitized and things have become more computer generated, animation and the process of animation is still done the same way that it was back with Snow White where it starts with the voice– well it starts with the script, but then it starts with the voice.

So what happens is that we have to record the voices to give the Animators the duration that this character is gonna’ be on screen. So we start with recording very early on with sketches and drawings and then eventually we get into animation and layout. But we have an opportunity to do towards the end of the film is a process called ADR, which is Automated Dialogue Replacement. Where we can take out one Actor’s performance and put in somebody else.

So what we thought we can do with you guys today– You guys have all seen the movie, right?
ALL: Uh-hum, yeah.

PAUL: Okay whew, good– we can take out Fru Fru or Mr. Big and put your voices in and then you will see yourselves in the animated form. So let’s just watch the scene and we have two scenes you guys can choose from.

I’m glad you’re laughing because that has been in almost every commercial. So, I’m glad it’s still funny. Actually we did all of Mr. Big’s recording in this room.

So what we thought we could do is if you guys are interested in it, get you into the studio!


We sure were interested. In-fact it was one of the highlights of our day. Though following the props, listening to the echo in the headphones, and knowing when and how to say the lines was a little harder than I expected. I was also a bit nervous going in, but ended up really enjoying it. I think we all had a lot of fun.

You can watch the video of me voicing Fru-fru telling her dad (Mr. Big) “What did we say? No icing anyone at my wedding” below.


So, how’d I do? Now that it is all put together, I think I did pretty good. Though, I wont be quitting my day job anytime soon, it sure was fun.

Just a Reminder that Zootopia is available NOW on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and On-demand!


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FTC Disclaimer: I attended an expense paid trip by Disney to press events for the home release of Zootopia. All opinions shared are always honest and my own.


  1. We saw Zootopia for our Saturday night movie the other night and we loved it! Of course we couldn’t wait to see the sloths they were our fav part

  2. I have always wanted to get into the world of voice acting, but I never truly knew how to get started. See the pictures of the studio really makes me want to pick up that dream back up and really try for it. I have never seen zootopia but after reading this interview, I know when I do I will have a nee appreciation for it.

  3. WE took the kids to see this in the theater. They loved it but it was a bit darker than we expected. Some of the dark spots really made my son freak out! lol I hope he wants to watch it iagain soon because I LOVED IT!! So funny!!!

  4. I still have yet to see the movie! Thanks for the reminder because this would be something my kids would definitely enjoy!

  5. Kids will surely love this fun movie! Perfect timing during summer, so kids can watch them again and again. Sound recording is no easy department in the animation world. You guys are so lucky to have visited their recording studio.

  6. Wow, now that must have been such an interesting experience to see how things were made ‘behind the scenes’ 😀 I’m going to watch this movie with my nieces soon!

  7. So cool! Having a chance to voice a movie is not something that everyone gets to experience! I’ve heard great things about Zootopia. We’ve not had a chance to see it yet. Now I know what we can do in the afternoon heat — movie break!

  8. I love kid’s movies! I never really actually think about how much work is involved behind the scenes. It’s actually pretty overwhelming! This must have been so interesting for you to learn about!

  9. Michelle Cantu says:

    We just saw Zootopia. It was such a great movie. The behind the scenes sounds amazing, I’d love the opportunity.

  10. Its my dream since I was a kid to able to visit the recording studio. Where I can watch people create an animated movie and dubbed the voice. I am always fascinated of the creative people behind each cartoon movie. Never a dull moment , I need to watch Zootopia its very appealing to me.

  11. OMGoodness what I would give to be able to tell my Kiddies I did a voice for one of their favorite Disney characters!! Talk about bragging rights!! We saw Zootopia and love it…we are so excited to add it to our at home movie collection!!

  12. G K says:

    It’s always nice to see what the people behind-the-scenes do. I love that he was able to put your voices into the characters.

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