Voice actress Tara Platt loves creating new worldsWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Having a conversation with actress Tara Platt is fascinating and fun, though it can be hard to keep up with her.
Platt’s mind and ideas move at highway speeds, and she’s constantly adding new thoughts to the ones she just expressed. She doesn’t want to leave anything unsaid — appropriate for such a successful voice actor.
A former Michigan resident, Platt is a highly regarded vocal talent in Hollywood, with dozens of video games and animation projects to her credit — in addition to her work as a film and television actress, author, producer, writer, Feng Shui consultant and beyond.
“When I was a little kid, I was pretty sure and determined that I was gonna be a neurosurgeon. I love that I got that in my head,” Platt said with a laugh in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. She was, around 3 at the time. Then the young Platt was taken to see plays by her mother, and at a performance of “Annie Get Your Gun,” she was hooked.
“The chorus was a bunch of little kids playing the Indians, the singing Indians. And I remember as a little kid going, ‘That is the most amazing thing ever! I want to be one of those Indians, and have so much fun and sing and dance and play!’”
“Play” is the operative word. As a kid, Platt had to move around a lot with her family. (She eventually moved to Chelsea, Mich. when she was 14, where her parents still live.) As a result of the constant uprooting, Platt found she had few friends to play with. So she’d invent her own worlds to have fun in.
“I constantly was craving play. I wanted play. I’m an only child, I didn’t have any siblings to play with, I was always the new kid, nobody liked me. I thought, ‘Well, this sucks! I want somebody to play with.’ And so, for me, it was always about creating and forming that sense of play.”
That sense can be found laced throughout Platt’s work. She honed her craft through years of training at Rutgers University and the London Academy of Theater, as well as living in New York and working off-Broadway. Eventually, her passions drove her — almost literally — to California.
“An agent from Los Angeles saw me in a play that I was in, and really liked me and liked my work. So, they started courting me. And so, over the course of a year, we sort of decided that that following pilot season — which traditionally started January-ish — they wanted me to come out to Los Angeles and start auditioning for pilots.”
She didn’t make the trek alone, though — she had started dating fellow actor Yuri Lowenthal in New York. “And he didn’t want me to come cross-country by myself — very sweet of him. And so he ended up driving cross-country with me, and when we got to Vegas, we eloped.”
The two are still married now, 10 years later, with years of success as vocal performers behind them — a career path that began in their early LA days as they looked for work.
“We found quickly that our training in acting was really able to carry us in voice-over, because that’s really the heart of what voice acting is, it’s about the acting, because you take away all the visual elements,” Platt said. “You take away all those visual elements and if you can create something with your voice, and it’s viable, it’ll work.”
“Naruto,” “Halo,” “Final Fantasy,” “Infamous,” “Rave Master,” “Persona” and many, many more franchises have featured Platt’s voice work. She and Lowenthal have even collaborated on a book about their experiences — “Voice-Over Voice Actor: What It’s Like Behind the Mic,” which they also published themselves.
That kind of do-it-yourself attitude is prevalent in the pair’s work, especially for their own production company, Monkey Kingdom Productions, founded in 2004.
“Monkey Kingdom Productions basically came out of both Yuri and I’s need and drive to be creating our own content. And whether we had a specific company to be doing it or not, we would be creating content, because we’re passionate about telling stories. And there’s things we wanna do that either we’re not working on because they’re not casting us, or it’s just a story in our head that has to get out.”
The company produced its first film shortly after forming, and work is progressing on its second, a mockumentary called “Con Artists.” They also make a Web series called “Shelf Life,” now in its third season, starring Platt and Lowenthal as superhero action figures. And through all their work, one can sense that feeling of playfulness a young woman first felt growing up.
“If you try and bring your passion and where you’re coming from in the world into everything you do, you not only will be a happier person — because you’re surrounding yourself with the things that are making you happy — but, hopefully, people will know if they want to respond to that,” Platt said.
Tags: Final Fantasy, Halo, Infamous, Jeff McGinnis, London Academy of Theater, Monkey Kingdom Productions, Naruto, Persona, Pop Goes the Culture, Rave Master, Rutgers University, Shelf Life, Tara Platt