Voicing a Two-Headed Monster…For a Beautiful Cause

I know…I know…typecasting, once again, right? I mean, my hubby would probably joke that it I didn’t have to reach too far emotionally to embrace the character of a two-headed monster. BUT in this case, the character is a teacher, Mrs. Headly, and she’s a kind, understanding teacher to young kids…not a scary one! Ha! It was an honor and such fun voicing her.

She’s just one beautiful creation, one of many in an incredible animated short film, “Returning to School“, which is one of twenty that make up the Imaginary Friend Society. It’s brought to you by The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, as a partnership with RPA, musicians, illustrators, animators, sound studios and other organizations.

As it states on their site,

“A cancer diagnosis is scary for anyone, but for a child it can be even scarier. They’re bombarded with terminology and procedures that are intimidating and unfamiliar. Things like radiation, hair loss, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and surgery. Just to name a few.

That’s where the Imaginary Friend Society comes in. A cast of characters inspired by the imaginations of kids themselves. Through a series of 20 animated short films, our imaginary friends explain a wide range of complicated cancer topics in a way that kids can understand. Because the more they understand about their treatment, the less scary it will be.”

It took a village! For this one film, “Returning to School” was a collaboration of RPA, HandyMartian, Lime Studios, Strange Beast, ELASTIC, and Jeremy Turner.

ALL of the films are just beautifully produced, and I can only imagine the impact they will have on kids who will benefit from watching them. It’s so wonderful, and from the bottom of my heart, I’m honored to be a part of such a creative and selfless endeavor.

And if you know of a child who has been battling cancer or families with children who have cancer or are recovering from it…SHARE THESE FILMS.

OR you can even get your own kids involved! They can DONATE AN IMAGINARY FRIEND. To “help bolster the spirits of kids with cancer, [they’re] taking the imaginary friends that you donate and turning them into dolls, motivational posters, coloring books and journals. That way, they’ll always have a friend at hand when they need one.”

A huge THANK YOU to AB2 Talent and The Voicecaster for the opportunity! Here’s to doing for others, loves!

 

Wow, 2016…Just WOW. Let’s do this, 2017!

Wow. 2016. Ups, downs, lefts, rights…it was hard to keep up! I’m betting it was the same for pretty much everyone out there.

15027368_10154085925885959_8461266288555284572_n2016 reminded me of how important it is to stay fluid and flexible. If I hadn’t been, I would have missed out on so many opportunities that came my way, but instead, I was open to them…even when it seemed impossible to make things work. I was consistently reminded that it’s important to stay true to who you are, be genuine, bring YOU to the table, give back, keep on keepin’ on. The best thing you can do for the world is be the best YOU.

I digress…Getting back to last year…here we goooooooo!

From LoopTown, to voiceover, to hosting and acting, to managing my daughter’s budding career to still making time for family and friends…it was a very full 2016!

LoopTownLOOPTOWN IS SWINGIN’. When I think of where Kelly Jean and I were just at the beginning of last year and where LoopTown has come, how it’s grown in heart, talent and partnerships, connections to killer sound studios, producers, directors, film makers, animators and more…it makes me so incredibly proud I want to burst! I can’t say too much at this point, but 2017 is going to be amaaaaaazing for all-things LoopTown, and I can NOT wait!

Amy Ulrich Debi DerryberryI’m also now the host of Women in Animation‘s live “Conversations” event. I had a phenomenal time chatting with and interviewing the incomparable Debi Derryberry in August in front of a live audience, and I’m not allowed to say who’s next (tee hee), but I’m heavy into research and contacts for the next one coming up soon!This is another where…I CAN NOT WAIT! Trust me, y’all. It’s gonna be awesooooooooome.

14650473_10153994846675959_6348057482740558177_nAs a host, I’m also now helping raise funds for KPBS! I’m one of their on-camera and radio hosts, and am thrilled to be a part of the KPBS family. I’m a PBS “nerd” to begin with, and when I was asked to help them fund raise, I didn’t hesitate to jump on board. KPBS is a public broadcasting network to be reckoned with, and I believe 100% in what they provide from their educational and informative programming to their overall mission. It’s absolutely a joy to be a KPBS host!

13240723_10153646263735959_6783867281923600873_nI also had SO much fun hosting PlayKids 20-Second Parenting Tips! As a mom to a most precocious little girl, I know first-hand how helpful really great parenting hacks can be, and these are awesome and useful. If you haven’t checked out the PlayKids app, you should. It’s a phenomenal resource for all-things-kids. My daughter loooooooves it, and as a parent who is cautious about what she is exposed to, I’m most definitely a fan.

amy-voIn the voice over world, I’m continuing to knock out ADR / voice matches for movie trailers, commercials and narration. Some of my more recent clients have been Proactive, iBotta App, Bai Drinks, Microsoft Hololens, Banda-Sil, Hunter Academy and AMGEN, among others. Voicing projects is such a passion of mine, and I feel so incredibly lucky to do what I love.

I also had an amazing time being a part of Joseph Leo Bwarie‘s hit single M-O-T-H-E-R, from the soundtrack from Garry Marshall‘s film “Mother’s Day“, and acted as lead in a film teaser. It’s a hush hush project, but let’s just say the character is one that was waaaaaay out of the norm from my typical casting. So often cast as a mother or best friend or wife, this was all about horror, terror and SO welcome! Again, let’s be genuine, right? Let’s try new things! Step out of the comfort zone a bit. We can all be a little scary from time to time, no??? When I can share more about this project, I will.

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Charlotte as “Belle” for Jakks/Disney

And lastly but not-at-all least-ly, I’ve been helping my daughter, Charlotte, get her foot in the performance door. Let’s just say she hasn’t needed a lot of help in that department…She started booking commercial, print and voice over jobs almost immediately. She’s 7 going on 17, and I can’t help but be extremely proud of her!!! The apple doesn’t fall far…truly.

I’m tremendously thankful and grateful for the opportunities and the support of my family (esp my insanely talented and loving husband!!!), friends, agents, manager…and cat, Roosevelt.15589628_10154169374345959_466063524052573286_n Gotta’ thank the cat, right? Ha!

What. A. Year. And what a year ahead…already! Here’s to 2017 being another to contend with. Love! Let’s do this!

The Apple Really Does NOT Fall Far…

Initially, I was extremely hesitant to allow my daughter to pursue acting or modeling…or anything in the entertainment industry. Having played a mother for Mattel, Disney and more…during booked sessions and at auditions, it was obvious to me when the children I acted opposite were into it…and when they were not. I know well all the patience and dedication it takes, the long hours, the preparation, the down time. It’s WORK.

My husband and I also just really wanted our daughter…to be a kid. And is it possible to balance working as an actor/model with schoolwork, soccer, t-ball, etc??? I wasn’t so sure…13537729_10153711994230959_9192089692081716801_n

Us parents are TIRED! I had also seen what it takes to support a child’s career, from maintaining relationships with agents, casting directors, coaches, keeping pics and info updated on physical and online resumes, to getting the child to and from auditions and being available and on-set if and when that child books something! With the amount that’s already on my plate, I just couldn’t imagine doing all of that on top of the current balancing-act that is my life.

BUT…alas, my daughter, Charlotte, did get a chance to be on set with me for a Buzzfeed video we did together. And I think she got a taste of what it’s like to be directed, to perform, to be on camera…That was in 2014, when she was just 4 1/2 years old.

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Charlotte in “Peter Pan, Jr.”

Then came my insistence that if she perform in a musical geared towards her age, I would consider letting her go on auditions and such. She was asking and asking…So I told her that she would have to prove to me that she could listen, respect the process of putting on a production, and only then would I allow her to have pics (headshots) taken and be considered by an agency. She ended up acting in a fabulous little musical called Peter Pan Jr., played the role of Iridessa, the fairy, and she did beautifully.

So, I allowed her to get pics done by good friend and insanely talented photographer, director, producer extraordinaire, Bryan Beasley. He was updating my pics, and we threw her in the mix. These are some of the results:

She’s a natural in front of the camera, and loved every second of that part of the process, as you can see.

First up…she played the awesome actress Jhey Castle’s daughter for a commercial for NIMA. Then, she acted in a training video for Southern California Edison and rocked it like a pro!

Next was signing with the Colleen Cler Agency, the agency that represents me for commercial and print…and she was off and running!

Now with representation, she went on her first more formal, real-deal audition. And guess what?! She BOOKED it. No joke, folks. Going into the audition, I had told her to listen well and be herself, have fun. No pressure. The job she booked was as a model for toy packaging for Jakks Pacific / Disney as “Belle” from Beauty and The Beast. What makes me especially proud of this is the fact that they took pics of her with her glasses on. So great of Disney and Jakks to do so!!!

We had no idea what was in store (pun intended)…and after 8 or 9 days of photo shoots over a few months, we just kind of kept an eye out at our local Target to see if we’d see her on anything…and she kept on going to t-ball, camp, going to the beach, keeping up with school work, soccer…you know, a busy kid’s life!13494910_10153705892645959_4652260810515641862_n

While we waited, she went on another casting, also for Jakks Pacific, for a Disney commercial for the Belle Musical Tea Party Cart. AND she booked it. While on set for that shoot, they asked her to come back the next day to play with a Cinderella Wand toy for another Disney spot. Those two days were long, 8 1/2 hour days…and she made me insanely proud. She listened, performed, was respectful, had energy (to say the least), seemingly loved every second. She dealt with the down time (with the help of amazing on-set teachers I might add!)…and she left wanting more!

And it then occurred to me that just like her mama, she will now have acted as principle actor in a commercial for Disney! In fact…two! See? The apple really does not fall far from the tree…

You can see both here:

Disney Princess Belle Musical Tea Party Cart TV Commercial, ‘Magical Treat’

Disney Princess Magical Wand Cinderella TV Commercial, ‘Make Magic’

Serious props to the production team at Fiction Films. They did a beautiful job with both ads.

As last year went on, gradually and slowly but surely, we started seeing her on all sorts of “Belle”-related items being sold by Jakks / Disney…and online on Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com

And yes, she’s also been busy in the voice over world:

For example, she voiced a radio spot for Dell Children’s Hospital (thank you AB2 Talent for the opportunity & Dave & Dave Studios for such a fun, professional session!). She also voiced the narration for the PlayKids song My Goose is Giving Up. I mean…how cute is this song? Her narration is at the 1:53 mark:

…and ended the year by playing a couple of roles for her school’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie”…Phew! Exhausting, right!?15056434_10154086464750959_7931038840971967562_n

In the end, 2016 proved to be quite busy for our little angel! It’s been incredible watching it all happen, seeing her grow and understand more of what’s going on, teaching her how to deal with the attention she’s receiving…and reminding her that while these are special moments to have happen, she absolutely must not brag (that’s for me to do here!  hehe). If I hear she is, we take a break or are done with it, period. So far, so good…and she is still loving it.

As long as she continues to enjoy performing, I will support it, just as I do her love of soccer and oysters (THAT’s another post…man ‘o man…). Proud of my little Char Char. Can you tell? Yes, I am. 🙂

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Me and my precious little goofball, 2010. 💜

 

So proud to be a mother in M-O-T-H-E-R!

Joseph Leo Bwarie‘s hit single M-O-T-H-E-R, from the soundtrack from Garry Marshall‘s latest film “Mother’s Day“, is to die for! Just trust me on this. Listen below and you’ll be singing, whistling, humming along in no time.

I was honored to be a part of this beautifully directed music video (directed by and featuring the incomparable Christine Lakin), and while you might not realize it just by watching the video, it took time, patience and a lot of work behind the scenes for each era to be represented as truthfully as possible.

The classic song was arranged in this big band-style by Joseph Leo Bwarie and composer, music producer, singer and arranger extraordinaire, Charles Calello. They made history with this song, and I couldn’t be more proud to be playing one of the mothers in this gorgeously produced music video. Thank you, Joey, for asking me!!!

Lastly, in case you missed seeing “Mother’s Day“, which stars Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson & Jason Sudeikis, in the theaters, it’s coming out on Digital on July 19th and on Blu-ray on August 2nd!

What a year! So grateful and ready for an even more incredible 2016!

What a beautiful difference a year makes! I started the year with a new voiceover site, and I’m ending the year having added an array of voiceover clients from narration to commercials and ADR/voice matching that I couldn’t be more proud of:

Band-Aid, Kimpton Hotels, Lucky Buddah Beer, Proactive, ESPN, Cricket Wireless, Miller/Coors, Beezid.com & Harvard University, to name just a few. 😉

In the on-camera world, I was honored to be cast in commercials for Mattel (Barbie) & California Psychics, and I had an absolute blast hosting a couple of spots for AOL and Bank of America’s “Savings Experiment“. It’s never a bad thing to learn how to save $$$!

And as a proud mom, I must also share that my daughter has decided on her own, in her 6 year old dramatic soul, to also pursue on-camera work and has just recently booked a few Disney modeling jobs. 12274510_10153258896700959_1866383698770130266_nWith my Disney commercial from a couple of years ago, I think it’s such fun that she is also representing the magical world of Disney!

My agents, manager, family, friends…all help make it possible for me to perform, continue to work and help out clients as needed, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities that have presented themselves this year.

There is much to come in 2016, most of which I can’t share quite yet…But it’s all most exciting!

I’m over-the-moon thankful and wish all of you a happy, safe holiday season and the happiest of New Years!!! Bring it, 2016!

Buzzfeed & Luvs: Parenting War Stories

My daughter and I had the recent privilege of being a part of  Buzzfeed/Luvs “Parenting War Stories”, and it was such fun for the two of us to be on set together, sharing a memory of when my now ‘big girl’ was much younger…and stuck a pea up her nose!

Do you have to go straight to the doc when it happens???  If you plan ahead and teach your kids to blow their noses as soon as possible, a hospital trip can easily be avoided.

You’ll find our parenting story (at minute 1:25) and others by checking out the video below, so…watch, learn and enjoy!

You can also find the video on Buzzfeed!

Showing My #DisneySide!

Just in time for Mother’s Day, here’s a commercial I did for Disneyland…Yep, Disneyland!

The boy who played my son, Aaron Fernando (https://twitter.com/AaronNoah) is the most talented young man I have ever come across. So professional, a total joy to work with. 🙂

Directed by the incomparable Peggy Sirota & produced by PRETTYBIRD, I had the best time, needless to say, on this shoot!

Enjoy and Happy Early Mom’s Day!!!

Disneyland Caricature (The caricature done of me and my “son” at the shoot. I was supposed to be acting mad, having a hard time keeping a straight face. I think this is only time I did anything but smile and laugh all day!)