Voice Actor Interview: Tania Gunadi
Tania Gunadi is a fresh face in acting circles, but that has more to do with her bubbly personality than experience. Indeed, the young actress has about a decade's worth of credits under her belt now from roles in shows such as "Aaron Stone" to an appearance on "It's always sunny in Philadelphia". Recently, BWTF was lucky enough to interview Ms. Gunadi about her work on the current Transformers television show "Transformers Prime" where she portrays Miko Nakadai, a human ally of the Autobots with a thirst for adventure!
1. Please tell us a bit about your background.
I was born and raised in Java, Indonesia. Then I won a green card lottery at 15, moved to Los Angeles and very soon fell in love with America.
2. When did you know that you wanted to go into the entertainment industry? Was it a single moment or was it a slow realization over time?
I didn’t know anything about the entertainment industry when I got here and my focus in the beginning was to learn English. But when a friend of mine convinced me to audition for a Disneyland commercial where I didn’t have to speak, and then I booked the job – everything changed! I never knew that there was a job where you could have so much fun and can pay the bills at the same time! hahaha. So I decided to become an actor.
3. What was your very first acting job? Can you tell us about it?
The Disneyland commercial was my first gig. At the audition they asked if I could sit on a chair and pretend it was the most thrilling roller coaster ride ever. I was screaming, laughing, and pretending I was going up and down the hills of a wild coaster. It was funny actually to do it in a chair with all the producers watching! The best part was booking the gig and being at Disneyland for 3 days and riding roller coasters while being filmed. And guess what…I didn’t have to wait in line. Sweet!!
4. In the past, there seemed to be a very firm separation between "live action" actors and "animation" actors, however in recent years that line seems to be all but disappearing, something your career exemplifies. What is your view on that phenomenon?
I do like how the lines have been and will likely continue softening between these two areas. And for me, acting is acting- meaning I enjoy many aspects of both live action and animation roles.
5. In your experience, what have been the biggest differences between live action and animation work?
Whether its live action or animation, the common denominator is acting. In live action, the emotions of the characters are shown through the body as well as the voice and that’s what the audience will end up watching on screen. In animation, my part is really the same with the exception that highly talented animators are the ones making your body move on screen- and WOW are they geniuses! I do adore their work!
6. In your view, what qualities does an actor have to bring to the table in order to be successful? Does this differ between animation and live action?
I believe every actor has his/her own set of individual and highly unique qualities, and that a key to succeeding is simply to become aware of what those qualities are and to amplify them to the fullest. The same is true for both live action and animation.
7. Please tell us about the process of auditioning and getting the role of Miko in Transformers: Prime". What attracted you to the role?
I got the audition from my agent in September 2009. When I first read the ,role’s breakdown, I just remembered really loving the idea of playing Miko– a free spirited girl who likes to have a ton of fun, while being somewhat oblivious that sometimes she can-without meaning to- make a little trouble along the way. I didn’t realize at the time that the audition was for Transformers: Prime. I recorded the audition at home and sent it to my agent.
When I got a callback, that’s when I found out it was for TF Prime. Oh my God, I was so excited and a bit nervous! Haha! I read for the producers at a studio in Los Angeles, then my agent called a few weeks later and said I booked it! IT WAS CRAZY COOL!
8. How would you describe Miko? What is your favorite aspect of the character? Could you tell us any more about her character and how you approached the role?
Miko is a 15 year old Japanese girl who loves her freedom! She loves adventures, punk clothing, playing guitar, hangin’ out with Bulkhead at Monster Truck Rallies, and of course, she loves inviting herself to go on any and all missions with the Autobots- especially the dangerous ones. Ha! Not to mention, she very much likes to break rules. Hmm..I’m kinda’ like that too, a bit, so my approach to the role was to have as much fun as I could possibly have leading up to and throughout each recording session!
9. Please take us through a typical day in the recording sessions for "Transformers: Prime".
We record every Wednesday from 2-6 at a studio in L.A. and that’s become one of my favorite days of the week ‘cause all the cast members get to hang out together. It’s nice ‘cause we’re all in the same room during the recording and positioned so that we can see each other. We start at the top of an episode, record a few takes of a scene, and move on to the next and next. It’s a fast, efficient, very fun process and we joke around a lot in between takes so the room is always filled with laughter and silliness. One of my favorite things is to watch Frank Welker doing so many different voices and characters and playing pranks on the others. He is hilarious!
10. If you could work with any actor (that you have not worked with yet) past or present, who would it be and why?
Oh, man, there are like, soooooo many!!! I love Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Grant, Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, and the list goes on and on, actually. The reason I’d like to work with any of them is the same- for the sheer thrill of it!
11. What upcoming projects should your fans keep an eye out for?
I just filmed 8 episodes of a new TV sitcom with Cedric the Entertainer. Also my first animated feature film entitled “Zambezia” starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jim Cummings, *ME*, and many others will premier this Christmas 2011. And we just finished Season 2 of Transformers Prime, so new episodes are coming out soon!!!
Special thanks to Mike Chandler and Matthew Proulx for their participation in facilitating this interview. Thank you to Ms. Gunadi for taking time out of her busy day for this interview!