ISA JUNCA BRINGS THE VOICES OF A CONTINENT TO LIFE AND INVITES THE WORLD AS HER WITNESS.
There is a global phenomenon taking place among voice actors. The community is growing as it is coming together. Cross-cultural exchange is leading to new learning and new opportunities for work. The value of the craft and art is being better understood by the actors, which is now being taken to the boardrooms of the buyers.
By Rudy Gaskins, July 1, 2019 Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (READ SPANISH TRANSLATION)
RUDY: Describe what you see as the primary focus in your heart at this point in your life.
ISA: Thank you for this question. My life project is to elevate the study and practice of the voice, not only from its aesthetic and performance aspect, or the context of voice acting and dubbing, but, from its more conscious essence, as a tool of communication and healing – exploring human evolution and to carry out community and alternative school projects, like the one we developed last June 9 in the village of Tausaquira, Suesca Cundinamarca, It is a magical place two hours north of Bogotá, where we recreated a framework patterned after the Viva Voz Festival. There we delivered the Carolina Soto scholarship and it was a very revealing experience about the new directions in which we want to travel. We will focus on tracking and developing new projects with this mission.
How has your career as a voice actress shaped the trajectory of that vital purpose?
ISA: We are the remnants of our entire childhood together with its norms, perspectives, traumas, decisions, abandonments, triumphs, successes and failures – shaped by the movies we saw, the experiences we had, and the games we played. I could not say that I became an actress the first time I was on a stage performing at 11 years of age, playing a beautiful story that spoke of death, where I was the narrator and a secondary character. Nor can I say that I became an actress when I met voice acting 7 years ago, nor in the last 3 years where I acted on the small screen. For me the path of the voice began when I was 4 years old when my father took me by his hand to Professor Evangelista Mora to recite, by heart, the story of “Renacuajo paseador”, from the brilliant Colombian writer/poet, the fabulous Rafael Pombo. It was thanks to this ingenious story that I was able to enter first grade, even though they did not receive children of that age, because they were “not suitable for learning”. I believe that having been motivated by my father to read and learn the texts of the Tadpole, assuming the role of several characters, may have been the beginning that sensitized me and laid the foundations of my career.
What did you believe you were creating when you began organizing the Viva La Voz Latin American Festival?
ISA: I’m not one of those interested in creating “the biggest conference”, nor the BEST conference in the world, nor the ONLY space to do it, blah, blah. I would like to set aside my goals from the ego that usually accompanies us when we start a new project and all eyes are on us. I feel that we are and should be an axis of creation, development, research, production, ideas and content to benefit us all. Something that is clear from our mission since we set out to create the Festival is the idea of uniting ourselves, understanding each other’s languages, the idiosyncrasies of the other. That is why both Hispanics and English speakers were able to understand the deepest mission of the Festival, embodied in each moment of our meeting: achieving unity and support among nations to evolve and elevate the status of our guild to be recognized as an art and as a powerful tool.
What have you learned about yourself during the production of the Festival?
ISA: That I am stronger physically, mentally and spiritually than I thought, and that without that strength I could never have produced an event of this size. The rudder of this tremendous ship was heavy. It was felt deeply on all levels. There were many moments that demanded a high level of concentration, decision-making, calm, assertiveness, and lucidity. And yet, small bodies of water always enter the ship. Not only could I understand more about the human condition, but about this beautiful profession that I increasingly admire and respect – especially for the quality of its people.
Why was it important for you to invite the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS) to participate in your incredible vision?
ISA: Because for a great birth a great reference and example is needed. The vision, history, talent, principles and philosophy put forth by you and Joan Baker go hand in hand with the philosophy of the Festival, SOVAS’ projection in society, its pioneering value in the industry and its tenacity to create necessary space for recognition, are pillars with which we identify and that serve as a beacon for our path.
Tell us about the experience of being in the whirlwind of producing the festival, from opening remarks to your final conclusions?
ISA: It was an experience of learning at all levels. First, the challenge of inspiring others to believe in you and place confidence in you, even when you have not done an event of this size before. Second, once you have the faith of others, there is the challenge of managing and maintaining the energy and purpose for which people come to share. Then there is coordinating with all the speakers, finding agreement across differing visions, and determining the content. There was a feeling of respect for the essence of each contributor. At the same time, I was always bearing in mind that contributors could not be individually focused on their own needs, but outwardly focused on the common purpose of the Festival and its context. This insured that the team was connected, focused, and friendly with each other. That we did not despair during the peak periods of stress was achieved thanks to careful planning and to the great energy of love and friendship among the team. Without this, we would not have achieved our goal.
What would you like to say to voice actors around the world?
ISA: I say that it is our task to re-educate all the people who intervene in the industry so that our work, anywhere in the world, is valued, recognized and respected. Starting with ourselves, we can not think as citizens of a nation, but as colleagues and artists of the world. We must stop thinking of ourselves as the “ugly duckling” or the “anonymous” industry, such as the wife who suffers because the husband does not respect her, does not acknowledge her, does not value her and even mistreats her.
This is a daily existence for many women in the world and, perhaps more so in Latin America, but it is because women, like voice actors, must take steps to become self-empowered. As voice actors, we have been responsible, at least in Latin America, for looking through the lens of our repression – for the cheapest labor, the most beneficial exploitation, and the most favorable production processes for large corporations, instead of some minimal value for ourselves as workers and valued artists. I link the story of Latin American voice actors with subjugation, repression, and hegemony. We keep repeating these models at various scales, going in circles, because we are still children of the same idiosyncrasy. It is time to radically change this story. Spaces like Viva Voz are what we want and need.
What would you like to emphasize to advertisers, content creators, producers, talent agents, and casting directors who hire or facilitate the hiring of voice actors?
ISA: To advertisers and content creators: please use your intelligence and creativity for the good of humanity and the planet. To producers, talent agents and casting directors: please be part of the change. Explain to the actors their rights. Be clear about the policies they negotiate with and for their clients. Defend the voice talent when necessary. Be righteous and life will be with you.
In my opinion, the training, sacrifice, dedication and talent involved in the practice of voice acting are not fully recognized by buyers in terms of salary and royalties. What do you think is necessary for buyers to recognize the value that voice actors bring to the marketplace?
ISA: It is necessary that we measure our impact tangibly. We urgently need to create a great research tool in which the importance of our work is highlighted. It is not only by saying how talented the actors are, or what a beautiful voice, blah blah, but through a study promoted by renowned research organizations that reveal what the ‘Orange Economies’ leave to the planet – not only in progress and development, but in symbolism, in the immaterial, in the intangible and immeasurable that is art.
Is there anything that you would like people to know about you?
ISA: I am a young woman of 30 years who lost her father at the age of 11. I grew up close to my grandmother and maternal family, who lived in a small town, near a large river, which, when there was a lot of rain, would overflow and destroy part of the house. As was the case with my maternal family, I have often had to start from scratch. I also grew up with the opposite face of poverty and it was the face of my father’s family. When I went there on vacation I knew that there was another world – a world of wealth, luxury and art. My grandmother was a pianist and singer, and I was surrounded by painters and teachers. My childhood was a wonderful balance between wealth and poverty, comforted by the deep love of my parents and brothers. The freedom I had then and now, shaped the human being I am today and allowed me to achieve the creation of the Viva Voz Festival.
Rudy Gaskins is the Co-founder, Chairman & CEO of Society of Voice Arts and Sciences, voice acting coach and brand strategist. He is a Backstage Magazine columnist and Emmy® Award winning TV producer with long experience as a sound and music editor for features films, and a director of documentary films for PBS. IMDB LinkedIn
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