We had the good fortune of connecting with Maya Aoki Tuttle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maya, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
When many people think of voiceover, they think of the big, booming radio or movie trailer voice that reverberates “In a world…”. But, actually, that type of voice is not very popular in the voiceover world now. These days, “real voices” are a huge trend. People with regular voices that are able to read a script and sound like they’re just talking to a friend over coffee. Of course, there are lots of opportunities for those big, boomy voiced people, too. But the characteristics of your vocal tone aren’t what’ll make or break your voiceover career; it’s how you deliver those lines. It’s the acting. I had a teacher tell me “it’s not voice acting; it’s acting.” And it’s so true. It’s so distracting when there’s a bad actor in a movie, and it’s dually awful when you can hear that a voice actor is reading a script. But when someone is so good that you forget they’re performing and you’re fully engrossed in their words — that is magic! I’m still working on that part of the craft every day.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There were a few detours on my path to voiceover. While I was working at Roadtrip Nation in Costa Mesa (where I also had my first voice acting opportunity!), my band The Colourist somehow went from practicing in a near-abandoned building next to the Lido Theatre to getting signed to Universal Republic Records. The next 3 years were a high-intensity blur of drumming and singing at Coachella, late shows, touring nonstop, and — if I may — we even won an OC Music Award! But it’s hard to make a consistent living with music unless you have very licensable songs and don’t mind being on the road constantly. So I was on the hunt for a side hustle and found Kalmenson & Kalmenson in Burbank, a well known voice acting school. From there, I started landing work via online voiceover marketplaces and eventually caught the attention of an agent. Now I’m full-time voiceover. Luckily, since I’ve always been a musician, I have an arsenal of mics, recording gear, and audio engineering knowhow that has been extremely useful in my voiceover career.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love bringing people to Table Rock in Laguna Beach to take a stroll and check out the tidepools. The drive down there along PCH is gorgeous in and of itself. For good eats: I’d take them to the Tacos El Compita truck on McClintock in Costa Mesa, Sushi Shunka on 17th Street, the braised beef ravioli from Pasta Party in Orange, lunchtime water views from the Back Bay Bistro in Newport, and, I’m not vegetarian, but the vegan Kobe “beef” bowl from Vegilicious (a Japanese vegan restaurant) in Huntington Beach is addictively good. For a drink, I’d try to take them through the secret entrance to the Pie Society bar in CM, or for music and a brew at the Wayfarer (which I played quite a few shows at back when it was Detroit Bar!).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Roadtrip Nation in Costa Mesa! When I graduated from UCI, my first job was as a video editor at Roadtrip Nation. They also gave me my first voiceover opportunity as the title open narrator for their PBS documentary series. Roadtrip Nation has since grown into a wide-reaching content/curriculum/experience-creating organization, all with the goal of helping people pursue fulfilling careers. I’m so grateful for all their support over the years. Also, I had the honor of narrating their first audiobook: “Roadmap: The Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life.” You can’t tell when you listen, but I recorded the whole book the week before I gave birth to my daughter! Talk about coming in under the wire!
Mark Batstone. Maya Tuttle.