We’ve started a new series to introduce you to our talents by going even more in-depth than their profile listings. So, meet Maria Pendolino, The Blue Wave Voiceover Talent!
Tell us a little about your broadcast-quality home studio. Where is it? What kind of equipment do you have? What do you like about it?
Sure – my professional voiceover studio is located just outside of Buffalo, New York! I built my career in Manhattan and then I joke that I “retired” upstate to Western New York for better real estate costs! My StudioBricks OnePlus (in custom color Indigo!) with a Neumann TLM-103 is my daily microphone. I also have a Sennheiser MK416 and I run an Audient ID14 through a pro-Mac Suite. My office and studio are at the back of my house and I look out over our back forty – we’ve got all sorts of wildlife that jog by my studio windows all day long. My cats love bird watching.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
That I was on an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters. You can find it streaming – it’s called Battle for A Basement in Buffalo! The episode actually features information about me being a female voiceover actor!
How did you get into voiceover work?
I started my acting career working in theatre, TV and film. Voiceover was originally just a way that I was trying to make money in between my legit bookings. Then I realized how much I LOVED doing voiceover work and it actually became my primary acting genre.
Do you remember what your first voiceover spot was?
Yes, I did a phone recording in college for a survey company and was one of those “Press 1, Press 2” telephone and IVR voices. I had no clue what I was doing and I made like $35 and I was thrilled.
Do you remember the first political voiceover spot that you did?
Yes – it was for a Democratic state legislator in New Hampshire. I was really proud to be a female political voiceover artist advocating for a female candidate.
What has been your favorite voiceover project to date – political or otherwise?
I recently performed the voiceover on political spots for Jill Karofsky who won the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat earlier in 2020 and was really proud of voicing that campaign. I’m excited to see more women running and winning office. In the non-political sphere, I did a campaign for Dannon Two Good Greek Yogurt that is really funny. I also did an educational voiceover series for the Boston Public Health Commission about how to wear male and female condoms. I’m really passionate about reproductive justice, so that was a cool project to work on.
Why do you think voiceover will be an important part of political advertising in the 2020 election?
People want to be able to connect with authentic voices. I think the stereotypical booming “old man” voices are just not going to cut through in a crowded and very divisive cycle. I’m excited to hear more female political voiceovers on the air and also more diverse voiceover talents like African American voiceover talents and bilingual Hispanic talents as well.
What issues would you like to see at the center of the Democratic platform for this year’s election?
Healthcare, Healthcare, Healthcare. Even if we weren’t in a global pandemic, that would be my answer. After that, women’s equality and reproductive justice, protection of access to abortion and then election and district reform.
What is your biggest voiceover pet peeve?
When the visuals are already locked to a scratch track that was read by someone with no performance and emotion. It’s difficult to bring a realistic performance to life if you’re trying to fit your timing and pace into someone else’s very monotone read. I like to have a little flexibility and space to bring words to life.
If you could tell political voiceover clients one thing that would help you do your job better, or help them get what they want faster – what would that one thing be?
If there are any spots on my demo that have the tone or pace that you’re aiming for – let me know! It’s super easy for me to listen back and then replicate that sound on your script.
What advice do you have to aspiring voiceover talents that want to work in the political arena?
Have a great studio and have great availability. If you’re a voiceover hobbyist, the political genre is not for you. You need to be available 24/7!
What hobbies do you have outside of your voiceover work?
I love cooking, playing with my three rescue cats, traveling (when COVID-19 isn’t a thing), going out to see live comedy and music, trying new restaurants and playing weekly bar trivia.