7 ?s with Melissa Disney
Melissa Disney is a renaissance woman in the voice-over industry. She’s the first woman to voice a movie trailer campaign, continuing on to do 50 plus trailers in every type of genre you can think of. She sang the national anthem in front of thousands of people at NBA and NFL games. Not only is her last name Disney, but she is the singing voice of Snow White and on a few different rides at Disneyland. Not only does she voice award shows but she wins them too! Needless to say, Melissa can do it all…scratch that…voice it all.
1) How did you get your start in voiceover?
I did a TV commercial for a theme park in Texas, then they asked me to come back to the studio to do a voice over spot. I just loved it, it felt so natural. When I moved back to LA I took every class I could in the field. I even offered to clean teachers’ studios just so I could take their class for free cause I was so dang broke.
2) What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio?
I was in a changing room at a clothing store and I heard myself on a radio commercial. I jumped out of the room half naked shouting..”that’s me!!” and scared a couple of people in the store. I was so embarrassed I was asked to leave the store.
3) Talking all things radio…truthfully, did you ever fall asleep on the job while you were an overnight radio DJ in college?
Nope, I’m a total night owl, and I snuck my little brother onto the campus to do the show with me as he’s the funniest person alive on earth and he’s so much fun to be with. When you’re 18 , you really only need to sleep like every other day.
4) What’s your favorite thing about working in the industry?
Good people. Quick money. I’m always doing something different; I love the variety.
5) You were mentored by the infamous Don La Fontaine and spent valuable personal time with him. What advice did he give you that has stuck with you and you carry on with?
Once you start making a lot of money, give it away and give it away and keep on giving…and you’ll never feel guilty for the kind of money you make. Also, whatever script/copy you’re doing, you have to believe it…even if it’s only for 15 seconds. Believe it. Be there.
6) I’m sure you got some good practice with acting and believing scripts growing up doing musicals. What have been the best and worst characters you’ve played and why?
Loved playing Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, it was my 1st big role. I loved the feeling of “living” on stage, its hard to describe, but I felt such a release. I wasn’t expecting to be happy all the time. Same with Maria in West Side Story, it was such joy to play that role. I also played Squeaky Fromme in college, a real would-be presidential assassin. I even wrote to her in jail and she wrote back! It freaked me out.
7) You were the star of a long running show on Nickelodeon called As Told By Ginger. What are some of your favorite “Gingerisms” and does Ginger sometimes make her way into your real life?
Seriously they must’ve had a private detective following me through Junior High. Sooo many things that happened to Ginger had already happened to me. I was totally the queen of the nerds then and I just adored my quirky funny friends. I got to re-live so many of the awkward and painful times during the show. It was very cathartic. And the fact that I got to sing on the show was just awesome. So well written.
8) How has technology impacted the way you work?
I’m home in my padded cell (studio) all the time now. I really look forward to the random job or auditions where I get to go to someone else’s studio! I need people like I need air. But it’s been great not having to drive so much. And I get to spend awesome quality time with my lil dude.
9) Ironically, your last name is Disney and you are the voice at some rides at Disneyland. Are the Disney family avid Disneyland goers and if so, can your son recognize your voice on the rides?
We have the cheapest year pass and go a lot with my 4 year old. Ironically, the Golden Zepher ride I voice at California Adventure is always shut down and I’ve yet to ride on it. I think my son is finally starting to get that my voice gets put on things. I have a couple of dolls at home that I’ve voiced and he’ll pick it up and say, “That’s mommy!”