We Are Thankful for….Melissa Disney!
I have to ask…because I’m sure NO ONE has asked you this before 😉 ….any relation to Walt Disney? Yes 4th cousin to Walt Disney- not close enough for free tickets to DisneyWorld apparently!
Which gig was the first big break in your amazing career and how did you get it? 1st big break – leading role in cartoon “Sinbad the Sailor” according to Bob Bergen- I was his “Sin-Babe”- got to work with some of the best Vo talents in the biz right out of the gate. It was amazing.
What projects are you working on at the moment? Projects at moment- lots of work with McDonalds, about to do the live announcing for Oscars Governors Awards – this may be my 4th year doing it? I was also honored to live announce the Oscars and Emmy’s this year.
Have you ever had a voice coach? Have studied with lots of different VO coaches and singing teachers. One thing a lot of people don’t know is that back in 2001 I was in a crazy accident where I lost my voice completely. All this happened while I was the lead on an animated series and had to work with a pro speech therapist to learn how to talk again. It was nuts. No one could know what I was going through. Someday it’ll all be in my book :).
Who are your VO idols/mentors? Who influenced your work as a voice-over artist? Mentors- Sue Blu for animation, and Don La Fontaine was my trailer mentor.
What is your dream job? Would love to have a big role on an animated series again. Tough because so much is going to celebs now. Would also love to be on an on camera series like Modern family or absolutely anything with Christopher Guest or Will Ferrell! Molly Shannon is a hero of mine as well as Jim Gaffigan – incredible comedians.
………………and for no particular reason, here’s one of our favorite Jim Gaffigan bits…
……………anyway, back to the interview:
What would be your 3 main tips for a youngster trying to start a VO career?
- VO IS acting -1st thing I tell my students. Most people think all you need is a good voice.
- To make it in VO, be realistic about the fact that it takes a lot of time & commitment.
- Take your time to train & develop your skills before you rush into making a demo.
You’re a talented musician, well known VO artist and have had many appearances on screen – this must keep you very busy, how do you manage yourself within these different industries and ongoing projects? The word “juggling” comes to mind now that I’m a young mom and working actress & singer. It’s tough and I imagine I’ll find the balance sometime soon. Everyday is different so I have to stay really flexible. There’s now a crib in my studio where my lil dude hangs out from time to time. Recently i had to do a few last min pick up lines for a trailer and with no time to get a sitter- it turned out to be a hilarious session as we recorded inbtween my son cooing and saying “da da” while sitting on my lap in the booth!
How do you plan a typical work day? Typical work day – hmmmm…I’m still looking for “typical”- basically I’m really good at just going with the flow. Most days start out “planned”, but then The Tonight Show will call and need me in 45 min for a quick VO sound a like for a monologue sketch bit and I’m out the door and rearranging my schedule on my way.
You’ve done just about every kind of VO gig imaginable, from movie trailers, Radio imaging and TV commercials to live announcing, voicematching and toys. Which is your favorite and why? I don’t think I have one favorite type of VO. It all depends on the project. I enjoy most everything I do and just try to have fun. I love working with groups of people whether it’s animation, group read for commercial, etc. Love the energy and creativity that comes with working with my cohorts in this field. Live announcing is a wild rush and you feel like you’re doing 10 Opening Nights all at once.
As a big fan of The Simpsons, I have to ask, how was it being a part of the show? Which character(s) did you play? I’ve been working on the show for years doing ADR / walla and apparently I’m not allowed to talk about it. There are some weird parts to this business. One thing I can say is that I recently went to one of the table reads for The Simpson’s and it was so exciting. I’d rather watch the table read than the actual show- it’s more like a staged reading where anything can happen.
Where do you do most of your voice work? I do a lot of my work from my home studio. Then it just depends on the project as to where I’ve be recording in Los Angeles for gigs.
What gear do you use (microphone, pre-amp, booth, …)? I have a Noiman TLM 107, a Telos Zepher ISDN, preamp, MBox, Mac and Whisperroom. My studio guru set it all up for me and I’m quite impressed with myself for memorizing the exact mic that I have cause it make s me sound like I know a little something in this high tech world.
Which production system do you use and why? Truth is- I’m much too creative to figure any of this out myself and if one button is set incorrectly I’m at a total loss. However, I’m really good at drawing pictures of how things need to be set up and I keep these little child like drawings hidden the drawers in my office for future reference!
What are your favorite plugins? What are my favorite plugins? Ha! What’s a plug in? I enjoy plugging in my phone to bigger speakers and dancing around the house with my son!