Tell me about Strudel?
Do you have a wiener dog yourself?
Alanna Ubach: I do. I have a dachshund. Her name is Lucy.
Is this how you imagine she would sound if she could talk?
Alanna Ubach: Oh, my gosh. I am going to answer, "Why not?" I plan to use that method next week. I never really thought about it, but I think its ironic that I have a dog that is the same character I play on Pound Puppies. That is hilarious.
Do you ever feel that, when you are interacting with your dog, that she is almost human?
Alanna Ubach: Oh, sure! I have three dogs. Stewart, who has three legs. He got into a car accident, and then we rescued him. We don't know what he is. He might be half Beagle, half retriever. Who knows? The second one is a Pomeranian, named Biggie Smalls. I have had him for about six years. And I just adopted Lucy. I do think they have personalities. They all three have very different personalities. Stewart is very young, and he gets very jealous when I hug the other dogs. Biggie Smalls on the other hand, he keeps his beer cold in the fridge. I will put it to you that way. He always looks like he is smiling. Which is funny to me. The third one, Lucy? She is tense. She is an old soul. She never gets lost. If she is in the neighborhood, she knows to come right back. She is almost like a cat.
Was it your love for dogs that pulled you into this series?
Alanna Ubach: Oh, sure. Absolutely. I have always owned a dog, since I was a baby. So, yes. I do have a very strong appreciation for all animals. When this came on, I thought, "A German accent! Her name is Struddle. This is going to be really fun." She is in the age range of the kids that watch these things. Its so much fun.
You must have been a baby when the Pound Puppies originally came out...
Alanna Ubach: Exactly. I had one. I remember. You would give it water, and about an hour later it would actually pee. Yes, I think that's what they did. They were a little like the Cabbage Patch dolls. But they were dogs.
What kind of stories are you exploring on Pound Puppies? What is Struddle getting up to?
Alanna Ubach: She basically runs the point of operation for the pound. She has all of these funny devices and instruments that can monitor when a human is about to enter the pound. She has a navigation system. She is a gadget guru, and the intellectual of the group. So she is always applying logic to every obstacle they are trying to jump over in each episode. She runs away to the circus one day, and she gets renamed Glitterpants. She thinks she is going to stay with the circus. Even though she is modest, I think she has a Napoleonic complex. Because she is clearly the lowest to the ground.
When and how did you get involved in voice work?
Alanna Ubach: I love this. You can wear your PJs to work and its no big deal. I have been doing it for years. The first gig I got was Teamo Supremo for Disney. Then I did Brandy & Mr. Whiskers for Nickelodeon. I have always had, what I call, a 'weekend voice' since the time I was a kid. It has always been a little grainy. As a joke, I would mimic my little cousins. They are all little boys. I did it quite well, and I did it in front of my manager one time, because I thought it would be funny. And she said, "You could play little boys in cartoons." So, she hooked me up with an agent, he started sending me out, and there you go.
It says here that you played four different characters in Rango.
Alanna Ubach: Yes, that was fun. Little boys, little old ladies. They are very similar sounding. They are the same pitch. Little girls are fun, too. It's also fun, too, to give a voice to something that doesn't have a voice. Like an inanimate object or an animal. That is always fun.
What is your process in finding a character's voice?
Alanna Ubach: I look at a picture. The picture says it all. When you look at a picture of something, you think, "What voice would make me laugh coming out of that?" If I make myself chuckle while I am preparing an audition, I will put that voice behind the character. That is really fun. You are drawing as well. You are creating, and you become part of the process. And a part of the animation. You are bringing these things to life.
Do you ever catch yourself doing these voices outside of work?
Alanna Ubach: No, I keep it inside the studio. I don't want to drive my family and friends crazy. I would drive them nuts. Maybe when I am by myself, or I am at the supermarket, in an empty isle, I will practice the voice. Sometimes I will plug in my Bluetooth and pretend like I am talking on the phone. I practice my voices while I am driving, so that no one thinks I am a lunatic.
I was recently on the set of Sunny in Philadelphia, and the cast was praising you. I hear you are playing Danny DeVito's wife this season.
Alanna Ubach: Yes. I play his girlfriend in one episode. He proposes to me. I am a crack whore in it. It is my favorite part that I have ever played. I can't give it away. In a nutshell, my character and Frank fall in love. And that's where the story begins!
Will this become a reoccurring character? Alanna Ubach: No! It is a one shot deal. For obvious reasons. When you see it, you will figure it out. I am cracking up just thinking about it. I love their writing. And I absolutely love Danny DeVito. Its funny. This is how the world works. I played his daughter when I was 17, and now it has come around to this. Now I am his girlfriend.
Danny seemed pretty obsessed about getting to kiss you in the episode.
Alanna Ubach: We really did it. I went for it. Why not?
He said you were the best kisser he's ever kissed!
Maybe the fact that you played his daughter fueled the fantasy. Maybe that had something to do with it. I'm not sure. He was rambling on about it...
Alanna Ubach: I love the way he rambles. He is a little rambling rose. (Laughs)
Do you have any other voice work that you are excited about this year?
Alanna Ubach: You know what? I have been doing the scratch track for Walt Disney's The Snow Queen. That has been a lot of fun. I don't know who they have cast as The Snow Queen, but I did the original voice for them to animate off of. That has been a lot of fun. Trying to get into the whole Disney world. Literally, trying to see if I can do more work with them. They are an interesting group. It is very difficult. When you are in, you are in. Its cool.
I know, sometimes, they decide that they like the scratch track and keep it. But even if they didn't do that here, do you think you'll get to voice another character in the actual finished film?
Alanna Ubach: That is hopefully what the case will be. That is what you hope for. But you can't sit by the phone and wait for them to say, "Oh, we have a spot for you!" You do the scratch, and you move on. I actually just wrapped The Snow Queen. It is so lovely. You feel like you know a big secret. You know the storyline and animation of something that will not come out until 2014. There is something special about that to me.
I haven't heard to much about the Snow Queen. Is that hand-drawn, or will it be CGI?
Do you get to keep a version of your scratch tracks, so that you have a copy with your voice?
Alanna Ubach: I never do. My work is done the moment I turn the light off on my little music stand. Then I go out the door. It is kind of boring to me. I do each line three times in a row. So that is kind of boring. The fun part is watching the cartoon, and seeing my voice come out of an animal, or a screwdriver, or a little boy, or a big boa constrictor. It is hilarious to me.
You actually played a screwdriver in something?