Anita Kalathara as Laguna Tidepool in Dreamworks, Trolls: Trollstopia / Exclusive Q&A
The multi-talented filmmaker Anita Kalathara just landed a role in the beloved animated franchise Trolls. Kalthara, who owns her own V.O. looping company, "Loop Group West" is no stranger to the world of film audio. We talked to Kalathara about her new role as Laguna Tidepool in Trolls: TrollsTopia, running her own business and advice for artists trying to break into the world of voice over. Check out our exclusive Q&A below!
1. How does it feel to be apart of such a loved franchise, like Trolls?
I love the Trolls franchise so much! There is such an amazing built-in fan base, the Trolls fandom is really the best! I realized this as soon as I started getting some messages from Trolls fans, they are all so supportive and welcoming! And working with Dreamworks has been a dream. At our virtual premiere party, you could really see how passionate everyone involved is about expanding the Trolls universe with this show. Everyone in the Trolls team makes you feel so valued. They’re just so happy to bring some joy and fun into people’s homes and that's how all our sessions go… they’re SO MUCH FUN.
2. Can you tell us a little about your character, Laguna Tidepool?
She’s an”troll”pologist, get it? I love that pun! Laguna is part of the techno tribe of trolls but she’s kind of quirky and different. When I got the character breakdown I remember it saying something like she was Indian American, had a passion for observing cultures outside her own, and spoke from a clinical point of view. I LOVE that she’s Indian, but that she’s purple because… I mean, she’s a troll! It’s awesome that the heritage was written in and it’s part of her but we don't have to know like give her an Indian accent or something. The world of trolls is so cool like that everyone is different but those differences are celebrated and it’s like they’re color blind.
3. How did you approach your character vocally and characteristically?
I initially led with the clinical note and connected with the more nerdy side of myself to find her voice. It wasn’t too hard because well, she’s a lot like me! But I recall it being a challenge in the very beginning between sessions to find a balance of leaning into her clinical side but giving her personality. Matt Beans, our amazing showrunner, really worked with me and let me find Laguna and I think you can kind of see how she progresses in the episodes. As I got more confident, she got more confident. I was also terrified of the singing, I only sang on one or two episodes but it turned out pretty great! I hope I get to have more tries at that because singing as Laguna was kind of a blast!
4. You run a full-on VO company, how did you get started, and what has been the most fulfilling part about owning your own business?
Yes, I do! Most people don’t even know I do so I’m impressed you’re asking me this! I got hired one time through a referral on this one big movie, they wanted an Indian American girl who voiced younger, and that was my first taste of looping. I LOVED it and I desperately wanted to do more but no one would hire me since it’s a pretty tight-knit community and most people want you when you’ve had the experience. My now partner, Wolfie, had wanted to get in too and started a looping company on his own, he would hire me whenever he could so I gained experience there. About 4 years ago, I think, I joined forces with him and we started Loop Group West. Together we were able to get more clients and we eventually landed our first bigger project, Vida on Starz. We did three seasons of that show and it was an amazing series to work on. We love Tanya Saracho, she's an amazing showrunner! After the rest is history, we’re very lucky to be busy and working the most fun and flexible job! The most fulfilling thing about having your own business is the independence it gives you. As an actor, you’re always dealing with rejection and worrying about how you’re going to support yourself while auditioning for half your life. Having your own business just gives you a feeling of ownership over your own life that acting sometimes doesn’t give you when every decision is up to a million network executives.
5. Do you have any advice for young South-Asian talent that want to get into the voice acting world?
I’ve been going at voice acting for a while and I will say it was very tough to break into but now is a way better time than ever before. I think the industry realizes it’s been the same few people for so long and they want more diversity in voices. I’m seeing the trend happen and that’s great for us! My advice is to get all the training you can before approaching rep, whether it’s acting classes or voice acting classes. They’re so many great places to learn and now a lot of virtual places too. Even for looping, there are people who train talent, my partner teaches here and there and I know if you do your research there are some great people to learn from! Then just practice and do as many auditions as you can get on your via Voices123 or other audition websites. You will get better, but it takes time!