Amanda Troop is a seasoned improv performer and voice actress. She is most known for her voice work on the animated series Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts and Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem where she voiced the character Gladys Windsmere, one of Gotham City’s wealthy elite. Amanda then moved on to voice several characters in the Hulu original series Freakish. She will next appear in the upcoming animated series “Box Peek”, which is about a game where two rivals enter into boxes and each has to catch the other peeking while distractions attempt to throw each player’s focus.
Legion of Leia: You were bitten by the acting bug through participating in live theater. From there, how did you discover and get into voice acting?
Amanda Troop: I grew up listening to audio books and watching cartoon shows, but it was only after I moved to Los Angeles to become an actor that I realized that the “characters” in those books and on those shows, were actually actors. As soon as that became clear to me, I knew I wanted voice acting to be part of my career. I took classes and started gathering information, but a lot of that information made it sound like voice acting would be really difficult to get into, so I put it on the back burner for a while. Then, while I was working on film in Illinois, the production manager heard me do some funny character and asked if I worked in cartoons. I said no, and gave her a vague excuse about not having a demo, to which she replied that if I flew myself to Buffalo, NY, she could set me up with free studio time to record my demo. That was an opportunity too good to ignore, so I ended up flying out to Buffalo and recording, and the work I did on that trip became my first VO animation demo (it’s actually still on my website). Eventually this demo got me in the room with my amazing agents at CESD. Cathey Lizzio and Pat Brady took a leap of faith with me, since I had never worked in VO until signing with them, and they’ve been instrumental in building my VO career. I think it took about 6 months before I booked my first job, which was in “Shrek the Third: The Video Game.” In that game, I voiced Cinderella, a Dronkey (a dragon-donkey hybrid), and a baby ogre. I feel really lucky to get to work in voice over—it’s like a playground for an actor because you get to be so many different characters, and imagine scenarios that could never happen in real life.
Legion of Leia: You’re set to star in the upcoming animated series “Box Peek”. How did you get involved with the project? And what can you tell us about the series?
Amanda Troop: “Box Peek” was created by Kyle Bosman, one of the 9 people involved with Easy Allies (easyallies.com), which is the company that was created after Gametrailers.com (a company my husband, Brandon Jones, co-founded) was dissolved. Gametrailers mainly focuses on video game coverage and reviews, whereas there’s more original content creation happening at Easy Allies. Kyle wanted to create an animated show, and since we’ve known each other for a while, he asked me directly if I would be part of the project. I can tell you that it’s going to be very funny, and I play the lead and a couple other characters on the show. Other than that, I’ve been sworn to secrecy until the show begins. The scripts are hilarious, and I can’t wait until I get to share this project!
Legion of Leia: You started off your acting career in the indie scene, but have had roles on a variety of high-profile shows since then. What would you say were the biggest lessons you’ve learned while working on both indie and high-profile projects?
Amanda Troop: No matter the project, bring your professional self to set. That means being on time, treating others with respect, and be prepared (know your lines, be well rested etc.) Also, be patient: most of the time there are other people on set who are working harder than you, or have longer hours, or more stress to deal with. If you feel like someone’s been short with you, don’t take it personally, and don’t react defensively—things move really fast and the better you can roll with the pace of the set, the easier you make the job for yourself and the people you’re working with. Of course, there could be exceptions to that rule, if you feel unsafe on set, for example. If you ever have questions about how you’re being treated on set, you can call SAG-AFTRA and/or your agent, to get help dealing with situations beyond the norm.
Legion of Leia: You’re also a seasoned improviser. How often do you get to use these skills in commercials and shows? Are there usually guidelines you need to follow or do you typically get to let loose to see what happens?
Amanda Troop: Happily, I get to use them all the time! Learning to improvise is probably one of the smartest thing an actor can do, because there’s a huge demand for actors to make parts “their own” by ad-libbing. There are definitely instances where casting or directors will say not to improvise and to stick to the script as written, especially in dramatic materials, but I find that for comedic work I get to use it frequently. When I was working on “BAMF Girls Club,” our director (Emily McGregor) would tell me that I just had to keep it “under five minutes.” She really let me play as Hermione, which was an awesome gift to me as a performer.
Legion of Leia: So, I noticed that you are involved with The Harry Potter Alliance, which I absolutely need to join and get involved in right away. What drew you to get involved with the group?
Amanda Troop: I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and I prize the values expressed by that organization. Right now, they have a fundraising effort called #WithoutHermione and its goal is to promote gender equity in education, especially getting education to girls globally. I love the intelligence and specificity behind the organization, and I also like that it makes me feel like a real-life part of The Order of the Phoenix, or Dumbledore’s Army.
Legion of Leia: What would be your dream project to work on? Either in acting, improv, or voice acting?
Amanda Troop: Ack! Such a tough question. If there was an animated series based on the Harry Potter books and I got to work on that??? Dream come true. On camera, I would love to be on a show like “The Magicians,” where there’s humor but a lot of magic, and of course if I ever got to play a role in a “Star Trek” project I would be thrilled. Even if I was a 1 line replicator repair tech, that would be so cool. I also love shows like “Fargo,” where the comedy is dark and subtle, combined with excellent writing and grounded acting.
Legion of Leia: What advice would you give to anyone interested in acting, improv, or voice acting? What areas from each interest do you think are most important to focus on developing?
Amanda Troop: Acting, improv and voice acting are all about ACTING—so get into classes you like, do theatre, get trained and continue to improve your craft. There’s a saying that luck is when opportunity meets preparation, and that’s doubly true in an acting career. It’s also very important to have a strong support base, whether that’s through friends, family, or an acting group and to take mental health time for yourself. Any actor brings a big part of themselves to their roles, so if you aren’t taking care of yourself, that tends to come through the work. This business is hard, but it can and should also be fun. If you find that it’s consistently not fun or fulfilling, either take a breather, check in with what makes you happy, and then come back to the career. Ultimately, longevity in this business is when you can find enjoyment in the process—the auditions, meetings, prep work. Booking the job is the icing on the cake.
Legion of Leia: What other projects can we expect to see you in?
Amanda Troop: In the improv world, I’m currently in “X-Files: Unclassified” at Impro Studio (http://improtheatre.com). We do hour long shows in the style of the “X-Files” tv show. With Ripley (my all female team) we will begin “GLAM” in November, which is based on the Netflix show “GLOW.” GLAM stands for the Gorgeous Ladies of Arm Matches, so it’s arm wrestling, not regular wrestling. Beyond “Box Peek” I do have another animated project coming out next year, but I can’t reveal any details about that. The best thing to do is to follow me on Twitter (@Amanda_Troop) and as soon as I can talk about jobs I’ve done I share it there first. Also, if you’ve never checked out “BAMF Girls Club,” I highly recommend it(https://youtu.be/QIGn5BWp1zM). I did this show a few years back with Comediva.com and the show is a riff on “Real World” and “Bad Girls Club,” asking what would happen if a group of pop culture heroines lived together. That show was so much fun.