Artist Spotlight: Eliah Mountjoy

What is your name and what is your passion/ career?

My name is Eliah Mountjoy and I’m a Voice Over Actor, with a passion to tell stories.

 

What inspired you to do what you do?

My mother would say that even as an infant, I was a mimic.  An ambulance would pass by and, strapped in my car seat, I would emulate the sound of a passing emergency vehicle.  There’s always been a hard wiring in my head that compelled me to listen and them make noises with my face.  Flash forward to me seeing Star Wars as a kid, and James Earl Jones changed my life forever. “Nooooo I, am you father!”  Even now, I’m inspired by the memory of that!  Science Fiction and Fantasy became a real gateway for me, from The Muppets, to James Cameron, to Ridley Scott… I was hooked.  Then video games…. Oh, video games.  How many hours I’ve spent on thee!  My brothers and I would game hard, and by hard, I mean legendarily.  We’d go all night and into the next day.  Lots of Blizzard games (Warcraft, Starcraft, and my personal favorite, Diablo I, II and III).  It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to a fellah who voiced a key character from Diablo III.  My head exploded, much like the first viewing of Star Wars as a kid.  And then the connection was made…. I… could… be one of those voices… And so it began!  I sought out every teacher far and wide here in the Los Angeles area, and immersed myself in the world of voice over.

 

What is the best advice you got while you were in school while you trained to be a Voice Over Artist/ Actress?

The best advice has always been and will always be a Shakespeare quote from Hamlet: “This above all things…to thine own self be true.”  In other words, one must be honest and connected to themselves so that an honest real performance is possible.  So simple!  And yet, so hard…  Its always been a phenomena to me why that is, but my mentors always stressed authenticity.  Above everything else.  Be yourself.  Because, ultimately, THAT’s that will get you the job, and longevity in a career.  You don’t want to sound like everybody else.  You want to sound like you.  That’s what people connect with, wether its advertising a McRibb sandwich from McDonalds, or voicing a character in a movie of video game.  What connects the art to the audience is a bridge made of truthful expression.  Thats how acting was defined to me: “the expression of truthful living within the confines of a given circumstance.”  In other words whether you’re in a space ship, in a garden or at the kitchen table, behaving (or acting) truthfully is what people connect to.  Its automatic.  But if its, forced, feigned or otherwise “put on” it registers as fake, or try hard.  Of course, there’s technique to it all.  There is variance between commercial, narration, promo and video game voice over reads for example (just as there is with theatre, movie and TV acting), but what remains the same is the core authenticity.  The lowest common denominator to all acting is truthful living.  And as it turns out, its terrifying to actually put oneself out there for all to see (and judge)!  Which, or course, is why its hard to do.  And why its so riveting when one can do it.

What attracted you to work on Northstar Warrior Animation?

I met Diane as she was developing the story for Northstar.  She showed me some of the early sketches and concept drawings and told me the story she was cooking up. Immediately I loved it. Loved the artwork. Loved the story.  The Native American influence, the vividness of a parallel world where magic exists, and all the color schemes made for beautiful imagery. I’m a huge fan of shows like Avatar (The Last Airbender) as well as movies like Aladdin, and Northstar was like a blending of the two.  I told Diane I would be extremely interested in doing a read through, or voicing a character if it would help develop the story!  It turned out that she did have a character for me to read by the name of Elias, which was serendipitous for me, as Elias and I share a similar namesake. I was honored that she had me read for him.

 

How has your perspective changed or grown as an Actor/ Voice Over artist since you started working on this?

When I initially got involved with Northstar Warrior my career and professional experience as a VO actor extended mostly to commercial and online media.  Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of being in McDonalds commercials, Chrysler, Honda, Redbull, and the voice of Edmunds.com.
Check out a sample of Eliah voicing our character Elias!
But the real reason I got into VO was for video games and animation.  Those are my first true loves.  And, of course, the most difficult to break into.  They’re the most enjoyable, and in my opinion, the most rewarding.  I’ve had the pleasure of being in Final Fantasy, and voiced characters for multiple on-line games and apps.  I’ve also had a chance to work with Square Enix, Activision, EA, and Sony but those projects are under NDA and can’t yet be revealed!

 

But specific to Northstar, I grew from our first ensemble read-through, which was fun and powerful.  Having the chance to work off other actors is such a rarity in this industry, and so often as actors we don’t get it.  It’s usually just you in the booth, expected to come up with it all.  Thats the gig.  Which is ironic, because if producers and project curators knew the impact of having other members of the cast present during takes, I think it would be done more often.  And I first discovered that at Northstar’s read through with Hilary Dusome, and Syderek Watson.  What awesome talents they are!

 

What do you see as the future of this project?

I feel like Northstar Warrior could be either an episodic show, or a full blown feature.  Depending on how its developed I can see Netflix, Hulu or Amazon picking it up.  Northstar Warrior would have an awesome home there since they’re looking for content, and this project is busting at the seams with potential!

 

What do you think about working on a project centered on female empowerment? Do you think its relevant to today’s world?

When Diane and I were initially talking about Northstar, it was evident early on that this was a story about a heroine, Sacha.  It was clear that she was the protagonist of the story from the get go. So I knew the direction Diane wanted to go, and from that what my characters role would be.  It was great to participate in a project that I recognized to be a significant and poignant story for youngsters, and elders alike, particularly at this juncture in time.  The story of this “young and emerging girl” and her powers couldn’t be more relevant.  Its a true tale of empowerment, believing in yourself, and standing up against the ever pushing outside forces of negativity.

 

I don’t want to get too political here, but it seems Northstar’s message couldn’t be better timed: As a female, you are in control of your destiny!  You have it within you to rise up and be what the world needs!  But first, you must believe in yourself.  I love the Joseph Campbell “hero’s journey” aspect to the story.  Its timeless, and skillfully woven into an original and fascinating world.

 

What are your thoughts about feminism? What do you think it means to you?

My views on right vs left, blue vs red, up verses down, black vs white, etc. are centered on a macro scale – we’re all humans!  Women and men of all gender and races are of equal value, and our society should reflect that in our laws, as well as how they’re portrayed in media and stories.  And of course, the current tides that are in power now lend to a rising sea of what we’ve seen in the past… the mistreatment of minorities, refugees, and women.

 

Stories and metaphors are so powerful because they get us to suspend our disbelief, and in doing so, lay down our arms and lower our gates.  And then, the meaning woven within the story can seep in undetected by the ego or religion, or patriotism or what have you, and really change somebody at the core of who they are.  That they might see the “enemies” really aren’t that different from us.  Aside from culture and religion, we are all one.

 

What do you think about the group of people working on this project at Prism Light Studios?

I hit on this a little up above, but the ensemble read-through I had with Syderek and Hilary was a real highlight.  They’re imaginative actors and as such brought a lot to the table to be able to work off of.  Its such a rare treat. Hilary is a fantastic singer on top of voicing Sasha and it was fun seeing her improvise a song.  And Syderek’s comedic timing is razor sharp! Comedy is the hardest thing to do, and I have mega reverence for anybody who can do it.  They are talented and fun and I hope I get the chance to work with them again some day.  I didn’t get a chance to meet the woman scoring the project, but I heard clips and loved it.  Instantly transported to the Northstar Warrior realm. And of course Diane! I loved her illustrations so much I wanted to know more about the story – it just drew me in.  So much so, I commissioned Diane to draw the avatar I now use on my website!  I’m grateful to her fantastic artistic skills, and to Prism Light Studios for including me in Northstar Warrior and interviewing me! Thanks guys. Looking forward to seeing the next stage of the Northstar Warrior Saga!

 

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