Anna Mezentseva gives her voice to ‘Voices of Angels’
There’s no shortage of new & exciting projects coming to life in the art world every day. Among the crowd, Anna Mezentseva’s latest project truly stands out. She’s lending her vocal talents to Voices of Angels by Elena Lesnick. The project stitches together inspirational short stories that give you a deeper insight into the personal lives of unique characters and is guaranteed to brighten your view on humanity.
Anna Mezentseva is more than just an accomplished voice over artist. She’s an actress, model, and filmmaker with a wide array of talents. We were thrilled at the chance to speak to her about her passions and her goals for the future.
When did you first know that you wanted to be an actor?
Just like for many other actors, it all started when I was a child. I refused to play outside with other children. Instead I preferred to draw, write down and retell stories and create my own poems. I used to be absolutely in love with cartoons, old movies and TV shows. At first, of course, I couldn’t even imagine that I would end up acting. I felt free and out of this world being in front of our small black-and-white TV back in the day : watching classical Disney cartoons, old Soviet fairy tales and new TV shows that hit the Russian Entertainment Market in the 90-s and came predominantly from Latin American countries .
When I discovered a new movie or a show, my imagination immediately led me to the process of creating a movie: how it would look like, and it seemed to me absolutely enigmatic.
What were some films or shows that you loved when you were growing up?
I remember not liking cartoons about animals or just entertaining short series. I considered them to be “ childish”. Instead, I paid attention to the dramatic content of a movie or a cartoon I watched. So, I absolutely loved Disney classical fairytales, as I mentioned before, and the films portraying old Slavic legends in fairytales. When the Latin American soap operas entered the Russian Market, everybody was in love with those new characters. Their life seemed adventurous and absolutely out of thIs reality ( the reality after the Soviet Union collapsed and we found ourselves in a different world).
Who do you consider your biggest acting influences?
There are few actors who were lucky enough in their career path to be offered amazing roles, which presented their talent range to all of us and therefore -we love them so much.
Eddie Redmayne, Freddie Heimore, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio- to name a few.
To this day, I learn from them, I admire them, I am excited to see what would be next in their careers.
What kind of roles are you most interested in taking?
Well, as I mentioned before, I lean toward dramatic roles. I love biographical, historical and psychological dramas. Or even better- if a movie will contain all four of those characteristics 😁.
My favorite historical times are the beginning of the 20th century, the 40s and the 50s of the 20th century and the Greek-Roman ancient times. I do love the legends and fairytales, as I mentioned before, so any part on a historical set – this is most likely where you can find me.
Tell us about how you got your start as an actor.
Realistically, I started thinking about movies and scripts when I was a child. Instead of playing sports or spending time outside with other kids, I prefered to stay in, playing with my sister and making up stories around our Barbie house and many- many dolls we had. The scripts and stories appeared easily and took me away.
I have to confess, I spent lots of time in front of TV, but with purpose: I studied every story I watched and enjoying cinematographical magic.
Later, when I represented Russia in international beauty pageants, I was introduced to reality TV and television.
My first movie set was in the US with Adam Sandler. And this is how it all started: with the comedy named “ Jack and Jill” back in 2011.
How long have you also been a voice over artist?
As long as this world got out of control starting in 2020 : starting with the pandemic.
I think I am more grateful to 2020 than I am surprised or frustrated with it. It gave me a turnaround and breakthrough time: an opportunity to lose my fears, learn smth completely new and magnetizing.
As a performer, what are the differences between a voice role and a live action role?
There is a lot of physicality involved into acting: paralinguistics (non verbal communication), emotions and feeling, voice, sometimes just a body language… Acting with just a voice is a different process, but there is still the same goal to reach- to create visuality of a story. In case of voice acting, a voice becomes my whole body, in some way, as the artist’s only powerful tool, to create a picture of the story, a theatrical performance in some way. When I act with my voice, I use all my body power, my whole energy to create action, feeling and emotions with just sounds and words.
Do you have a preference for one over the other?
Absolutely not. One can’t exist without the other. I enjoy them equally.
You’re a part of Elena Lesnick’s new project Voices of Angels. How did you get involved in that project?
Just like for many millions of people around the world, the pandemic year 2020 became a breaking point for my career: Elena suggested me reading several poems of hers.At that point she hasn’t even published a book. I didn’t take it seriously at first, but decided to try. Our first attempts didn’t sound professional enough for me and I had to insist on getting professional help. Knowing nothing about voice recording or sound quality, Elena and I had to hire a professional music editor and producer to help us learn voice recording process.
At some point after several attempts, we finally found the sound.
To our surprise, everyone who was introduced to our first recordings, loved the results. And just like that… I got an offer to proceed with the recordings and found myself as the voice of 4 audio books: recorded in 2 languages ( Russian and English).
How would you describe the series to someone unfamiliar with it?
The series is a collection of video clips the author created for every poem and novel from the audio books.
At certain point, it is the “video-graphic support” for the audio books. They might look like short music video clips at first, but there is a bigger role of the series: if watching them closely enough, it becomes clear, that they look more like synoptic videos of some upcoming short films or even full-sized movies: and this is absolutely the truth! Characters, settings, symbolism, certain scenes- everything is a preview, or rather- a teaser trailer- of a big project coming to life in the near future.
What was your biggest challenge while working on Voices of Angels?
I have to say, the project was a challenge on so many different levels, even though I loved and still love working on every part of it.
Every part of the book tells a different story of the soul traveling through various times and has different characters ( protagonists and antogonists) that I had to switch from within seconds. Playing several roles at once, empowering them with their own personality, sound, emotions, their own voices-is the biggest challenge, yet the best acting “school”, in my opinion.
What does the show mean to you?
The show means the world to me: not only it is my voice empowering those stories,but also each of those video clips open up Elena’s talent as videographer. They take the audience to the enigmatical world of a soul journey and preview the upcoming series and movies based on the books.
Do you hope your audience takes away anything in particular from watching the series?
I hope our audience will see the depth of the author’s ideas, dive into her personal experience and will learn certain lessons. I hope our audience can enjoy the outer world that Elena ( the author) reflected in her novels. She presents the journey of a soul from an exciting perspective and guides us through the meaning of our obstacles, experiences and events happening in our lives. I love the way she presents the connection between all of the people and how all the chaos and diversity end up being necessary parts of the whole, inseparable reality, where every every moment, every event, every particle, every soul build up the world we live in.
What keeps you inspired to continue pursuing acting when times get tough?
My passion, my admiration and my genuine love for film, writing and editing process, chemistry readings, generating feelings throughout the story, creating connection between the performers- every little detail of the film creating process.
Some people are lucky to be born with the clear understanding of what they are destined for. I gave up on many potential opportunities, roles, trips and even castings- just because the times got tough. I tried to please other people, to meet their expectations, creating those “tough” times by myself with my own fears, disbelief and insecurities. I am not doing it any more and times are always good now!..
What advice would you give to someone who was just getting started as an actor?
First and foremost, take every good opportunity that is out there. Whatever the goal might be: whether to create skills or an experience, or to meet new people, or to try something completely new, or to visit the places you have never been before , – GET casted, BOOK the part, ENJOY the part. Acting is tough and isn’t for everyone. The best way to find out if the profession is designed for you, is to get a part in a local commercial, a student film or a big production as a background actor ( a non speaking role).
We all like to be compensated for our work, however remember, that sometimes ( especially in the beginning) the best compensation is time and opportunity- the time you get to be in front of the cameras, to play a part. Any great opportunity will give you precious experience, content for your future acting reel, and if you love acting – a joy to do what you truly love.
The worst thing for me is to be forced to work two or three jobs, or to have a “normal” job in addition to acting. And even though there is nothing wrong with having multiple jobs or acting part time, it has never been the right choice for me. Those, who are eager to do acting full time, besides from training, finding an agent and performing dedication, do need to be courageous enough to pursue acting as a career.
Can you tell us anything about other projects you may have in the works?
Well, there are always projects my kids and I are working on: as of right now, we are a part of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”, we will be shooting a commercial for Disney in a couple of days and we are being casted for a commercial for a world known brand in Florida. This is just a fraction of what I am working on every single week for me and my children.
There will be additional projects related to my voice over work as well: a series of short films based on the “Angel and Fairy” and “Voices of Angels“ novels. There is a plan to rehearse live poetry concerts, with live music included, that’s will look more like stage performances.
I have been modeling for years and this is what I do now together with acting. There are upcoming catalogue and commercial shoots in the nearest future as well: not only for me, but also for my kids.
Do you have a five year plan?
I actually do, however I never share my plans , even with the closest people. It isn’t a superstition, I simply prefer to accomplish certain goals at first, and then share the results with the world. For now, let me keep my plan as a secret, but there is one thing I can tell you- the plan is huge! .. and parts of it are coming to life every single day now.
What are some of your biggest goals for the future?
I consider my biggest goal and probably the biggest challenge to become a movie director and continue writing, as I was doing years ago. I have several scrips and ideas that I would love to bring to life one day.
What’s your dream role?
I would love to have a part in a historical drama, a biopic or a psychological drama. I am absolutely drawn to positive, heroic characters, yet complicated and controversial. A military surgeon during WWll, a Nazi Camp survivor, a Russian Duchess forced to leave her fatherland in the times of the 1918 Revolution or a Roman Empress… Quite big goals, aren’t they? 🤣☺️