Ever wonder what the life of a voice actress is like? Many of these performers often show up to set, record some of their lines, and though their voice is heard by thousands their faces usually remain hidden.
The Collegiate did a phone interview with voice actress Julie Nathanson to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be the voice behind the characters. Nathanson has worked on a wide range of projects such as the “Final Fantasy” games, the Disney Channel show “Elena Avalor,” and her most recent project “Dallas & Robo,” a Youtube Red Comedy Series featuring John Cena and Kat Dennings.
You got some exciting projects coming up? What can you tell about those?
I’m really excited for “Dallas and Robo.” It’s described as a 1990 trucker movie in space. It’s (an) animated series that will be on Youtube Red.
The cast is John Cena, and Kat Dennings, and Jane Lynch and a bunch of other amazing people!
Did you ever get to work with John Cena or Kat Dennings on set?
No. That’s part of the weird experience of doing voice overs. A lot of what we do is individual recording. And then you show up to a cast party or a convention and you are like, “Oh my god. I totally beat you up in this thing we worked on.”
What led you down the path of becoming a voice actress? What was your journey like?
I will give you the relatively short – SparkNotes version. I responded to an insult with curiosity. I had been a long-time actress when I first started – and I was kind of curious what the fans had to say about me when I was working on a soap opera… No one at the time was saying “Don’t read the comments.” So I read the comments. And someone said “She’s pretty and all – but I have to turn off the volume because it’s like having Alvin and the Chipmunks in my living room.” And then I went “Oh. I’m gonna make money off that shit.”
So I just got curious. Someone told me I sounded like a cartoon – maybe I could turn that into something wonderful. And then I just fell in love with voice over work. So it was an incredibly fortunate insult.
Are there any dream cartoon characters you’d love to do the voice over for one day?
There are iconic characters where – you know – I love the power of Wonder Woman. I respect so much – Rachel Kinsey and all these wonderful people. So many of my friends have gotten the chance to voice Wonder Woman. So I would certainly enjoy that. But I also sort of enjoy all the new characters that come along. And try to figure out what new quality I might be able to bring to it. So I don’t think I find myself pining over characters that are already in existence. I don’t know – I kind of get excited over all kinds of opportunities. That’s kind of how I am.
Do you have any cartoon characters that inspired you?
In terms of cartoons that I watched – I grew up watching the Disney cartoons. It’s not really a character but you know – that’s sort of the sillier wackier cartoons ‘cause those were the jobs back in the day. But I just get excited now seeing this sort of development into this almost more cinematic feel.
A friend of mine who worked on “Clone Wars” or “Star Wars Rebels.” You know that kind of grounded yet…hanging storytelling is really exciting to me. That’s the kind of thing I get inspired by now. That and I can turn on the TV and watch something on Nickelodeon.
You know getting inspired by the goofiness, and wackiness of those shows. So I’ve kind of always been attracted by the variety.
What do you like to do to sort of treat yourself?
It’s funny. When it comes to down time – I feel like whenever I get time. I tend to use it by doing something creative. Of course I love to connect with friends and families and that stuff. I’m sort of a connecter by nature, and I love that.
I’m also a singer as well. So in my spare time one day I found myself singing one of my favorite songs. And that song is called “Wise Up” by Aimee Mann.
Because I had some time to myself. I started thinking, “What would happen if I recorded it?”
And then I talked to this music producer I know. And then we talked to some musicians and we recorded it and now I have this lovely cover. I think it’s lovely.
So in my downtime I sing songs that end up being actual recordings that I end up releasing. Apparently. So I’m really excited that something I did for fun turned into something I wanted to make more real. And make more professional.
“Dallas and Robo” is now available to be watched on Youtube Red, with the first episode available without a membership. Julie’s cover of “Wise Up” can be watched at her YouTube account here.