Interview with Carla Renata

Carla Renata has appeared in dozens of television shows and commercials. She also has voiced several video game characters. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Carla recently about some of her previous work and what she has planned for 2012.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your recent appearances on “Raising Hope” and “Up All Night”?
Carla Renata: The episode I was on of “Raising Hope” aired a week or so ago. I played a shopper who basically made fun of one of the characters that was talking about how smart his baby was. My character asks the question of how smart is he? (Laughs) On “Up All Night” I play a TSA Agent who is not under any circumstances letting Christina Applegate and Will Arnett through so they can catch their flight.

AL: How did working on these two shows compare to some of the work you have done on other shows?
CR: On “Shake It Up!”, I play a mom and on “Hart of Dixie” I play a hairdresser. These roles are much different than the ones I recently played. The TSA agent is a real hard-nosed character with no sense of humor. On “Raising Hope” my character was empathetic with a slight bit of sarcasm. My hairdresser role is a fun role where I sit and do hair while getting all of the town gossip even though there isn’t a lot of gossip to get. On the Disney show I play a mom where I am the support for my children. My recent roles are quite different.

AL: Do you find it harder working on a set as a guest star rather than as a series regular?
CR: It depends on the show. I have been on some shows where they treat you like gold. They make you feel like you are a regular cast member that is coming back next week even though everyone knows you are not. I have also been on some sets where there was almost a click with the regular cast. You have to know how to feel the room and know when you can be friendlier or when you should just stay in your trailer till they need you. (Laughs)

AL: How did you get involved with doing voice over work?
CR: I was living in New York at the time and had agents that booked me for television commercials.  I would stop by their office quite often as a lot of the auditions I went on were in the vicinity of the office. I would stand around and talk and tell jokes to the people there.  The guy who was running the voice over department at the time heard me talking and asked me if I had done voice over work before. I told him no but he said he wanted to send me out for some voice over jobs. I ended up booking all the ones he sent me to.

AL: What do you like most about that type of acting?
CR: You can do it in your pajamas! (Laughs) When I first started there were very few people who had home studios as they were really expensive. Now it’s so much easier because of technology and the internet. You can just plug a microphone into the computer and click a few buttons. I love voice over work. I will roll out of bed, walk down to my office, record a couple tracks and then go back to bed. I am getting paid while in my pajamas. (Laughs)

AL: What was it like working on “Elvira’s Movie Macabre”?
CR: That was a lot of fun! What I didn’t know at the time and I probably should have was that Elvira and a couple other girls on the show all came from The Groundlings improv school. I had studied there as well. I never knew that Cassandra had created the Elvira character while studying there. I found that really amazing. Our shoot was all improv. It was scripted originally but none of us stuck to it. (Laughs) I think that’s what really made it fun. You couldn’t pay for that kind of acting class.

AL: Do you prefer an improv type script over one that is more rigid and strict?
CR: It depends. I come from a theater background where if you mess up your lines you have to say something. You can’t just stand there in the middle of the stage waiting for someone to give you your lines. I will just make stuff up if I have to because I have that ability.(Laughs) It really depends on the situation and what type of characterization you are going to bring to that piece of script.

AL: Do you have any other projects coming out that we can be watching for?
CR: I am taping a new episode of “Shake It Up!” next week but I‘m not sure when it will air. The episodes of that show we have previously shot air all the time. It looks like I am always on the Disney channel even though I am really not. (Laughs) I haven’t shot a “Hart of Dixie” episode in some time so that should be coming around shortly. Pilot season is coming up so you never know. I could be popping up anywhere. I do have some commercials for Progressive Insurance, Tidy Cat Kitty Litter and Hunt’s Tomato Sauce that will be airing around the country so people can definitely see me on those.