Behind the Mic: Tasia Valenza
Tasia Valenza is an Emmy-nominated actress for her work playing the role of Dottie Thornton on All My Chilren and has acted in numerous television shows and series throughout her illustrious career before finding her true passion off-camera as a voiceover actor. She’s had the good fortune of being one of the top female voiceover artists in the county over the last several years, having voiced thousands of national commercials, promos for major networks, narrations, etc. Known for her range and versatility, Tasia is best known for her Iconic strong female roles in video games and animated television shows such as Poison Ivy in Batman: Arkham Games, General Shaak Ti in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and SniperWolf in the Classic Video game Metal Gear Solid to name a few. She’s also worked in radio imaging over the last twelve years in radio stations around the country!
What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?
I started in radio imaging after a successful vo career in all the other mediums, when I was handpicked by Alan Burns for the the Movin format and have remained there since 2006 I worked for years at Chicago’s rewind 100.3 as well as other markets around the country.
What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?
I’ve been the female voice of the Marconi winning 101.1 More FM for the last eight years and counting.
What do you love about your job?
My motto is I love what I do and I do what I love and for me that’s exceeding my client’s expectations! I love collaborating with my clients and being able to translate their direction quickly, and easily and make it a fun and creative experience.
How did you get started as a VO actor?
They say, “Mother knows best” and for me that’s true! My mother helped me start my on camera acting career with a bang when I was just 15 being cast opposite Sean Penn in a Louie Malle film called Crackers and went on acting in movies, television shows, including being nominated for an Emmy for All My Children.
In my twenties my mother told me she’d met a girl doing voiceovers and insisted I attempt it. Being a good mother she nagged me until I tried it and found my true calling translating my love for acting into my love for voice acting.
What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?
My very first voiceover job was a radio spot for Blockbuster video.
I’ve been blessed with a long and fruitful career with some of the highlights being the voice of Soapnet for 10 years which combined my love of VO with my soap opera background so well.
I’ve also been lucky enough to do a lot of animation and video games and have played some iconic roles such as Poison Ivy in many games and then some as well as Shaak ti from Star Wars the Clone Wars and Sniper Wolf from Metal Gear Solid.
I’ve recently been the new computer for newest Star Trek Discovery series which super cool, and I created an affirmation meditation app called Haven which is a passion project that allows me to give back in a meaningful way. I also love to donate my voice to charities and was thrilled to be part of an Emmy winning video for the Wild life Sanctuary, playing a magnificent lioness named Morelia.
Who are your VO idols/mentors?
I was privileged to know and be mentored by the late Don Lafontaine for promo and trailers, which was pretty cool since he was the king of “In a world.”
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
I’d be teaching “Giving Great Voice” which is the art of confident verbal communication, by thinking like a voice actor in your own life! (which I do:) )
What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?
I loved it, because it was the first time I was freed from the physical limitations of what I looked like, which my on camera career was so much a part of.
How has new technology changed the way you work?
I was limited only by what my voice could do and it was and still is exhilarating! That’s also where my “hat logo branding came from, since it allows for a little mystery. (plus it’s an excuse to buy more hats ☺)
It’s also been liberating. The old saying for successful VO artists is that you have on golden handcuffs because you have to be in your studio or near it because the old technology was not portable. I missed out on my trip honeymoon, because I couldn’t transport my telos box and my isdn lines.
Now I have source connect and IDPTL and along with my equipment and a good closet, I can pretty much work anywhere.
Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?
I have had my trusty sennheiser 416 shotgun for over fifteen years and it’s never failed me in keeping noise room at a minimum and my voice at a maximum.
That, my headphones, my apogee one and my Macbook pro and I are good to go, “I call it VO on the GO.”
How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?
I’m a big believer in always continuing to grow and expand my talents and keep them sharp. I’ve had and still have vocal coaches, acting coaches and singing coaches. I love honing and refining my craft and keeping my main instrument, my voice at its best.
I’m lucky enough to work in many voiceover mediums so each day brings something new. I voice multiple stations so there’s usually something in my inbox for me to turn around by the next day. I also have several agents around the country so there are always auditions and jobs to turn around which I can all from the comfort of my own studio, unless it’s animation in which case I always head over to an outside studio.
I’m a social media convert. I used to be resistant to it, but since I’ve learned to embrace it, I’ve connected with all kinds of different clients from around the world and it’s been a great opportunity that would not have been possible when I first started. I particularly love Integra since it’s become more than just photos so I can share videos as well.
What is the best voice processing trick or voiceover technique everyone should know?
My favorite VO trick that everyone should know is the lovely “lead in” which I use in every medium from Radio imaging saying “OH Yeah!” to get my energy going before I say my first excited line to. Here’s the coolest thing before I say the word “introducing.” It helps to get “into a script” in a more organic and real way.
Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?
Every medium is different and even in each medium there are different reads. Sometimes when I’m reading Imaging copy it’s big and fun and over the top and then sometimes it’s man or in my case “woman on the street” Each is unique and I draw upon my acting skills to tap into the right read for each piece of copy.
Three tips for newbies would be to join a FB Voiceover group or on LinkedIn to learn from those that have gone before. Listen to the current trends in VO to stay current. And work on your craft. There is no substitute for that.
If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?
I would go back to the eighties since it seemed like such a fun, decadent and yet simple time and dance the night away!
Favorite 2 pizza toppings?
Favorite two topping pizza, eggplant and caramelized onion.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?
If I could invite someone to dinner, it would be my mom who passed away five years ago, so I could ask what it’s really like on the other side and share with her my wonderful and blessed life.
Affirmation Meditation App: http://haven.am/