Dana Caruso, known for her cartoonish sounding voice, which she turned into a profession. She’s a proud Jersey girl who transplanted to Pennsylvania at age 12. Her voice has always been unique, and throughout her life it’s always been the topic of conversation. In jest, she stated she should be “a cartoon!”
Upon graduating high school she began her pursuit of a Voice Over career starting in Philadelphia, where casting directors took a notice to her, and soon she was auditioning for the likes of M Night Shyamalan. As luck would have it, Dana booked her first audition, and played the part of a little boy robot named Orbit in an interactive computer game.
From there, she moved to L.A., by way of New York City—where she made the audition rounds—to pursuit her first love, animation. There Dana started her own YouTube-hosted cartoon The Cupcakes Episodes with her boyfriend.
I wanted to be so many things when I was a kid! I wanted to be a nun so I wouldn’t go to Hell, a cop so I’d never go to jail. I actually wanted to go into Advertising. I loved making up my own commercials & slogans. I also loved the idea of being an independent business woman. I took an Advertising class while getting my Associates before moving to NY. There I realized it wasn’t for me. If I need to manipulate you to buy something you probably don’t need it, and i don’t have time for all that.
What was your most pivotal moment of your career so far?
This is difficult question bc there have been many moments that made me who I am, and brought me to where I am with Voiceovers. I think it’s probably important to note that because my natural voice lends itself to animation a lot of times I’ve felt the career chose me, and that’s not exactly an empowered place to be. So I would say my most pivotal point to date happened recently when I decided to go back to college. This is an exciting and limitless time where I’m free to pursue two loves.
What’s your process of creating your own cartoon?
The cartoon creating process is so fun. My boyfriend and I are a team. We start with a random idea one of us has- the vision. We start by me recording the voice track. He just lets me be, so I can experiment with the voices and have fun. I don’t like to overthink it. After we have the track where we want it my boyfriend animates around it. I prefer the cartoons to be simple and two dimensional. I think that make them more humorous.
If you weren’t in showbiz what other career choice would you want to pursue?
My other main interest is Nutrition. I started back at school recently, and Im working towards a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics.
Are you able to manipulate your voice to not sound like a cartoon?
I am not able to manipulate my voice to sound like a regular person! I’ve tried.
What skills have you learned through all this that you didn’t have when you began?
This is a loaded question. I can say with 100% certainty that theres nothing in Hollywood worth selling your soul for. I think this journey across the country to Hollywood has taught me that self love is key. You don’t have much to offer anyone without it.
How did you make the decision to move to from NY to LA, since NY also has its own showbiz industry?
I made the decision to move to LA bc that’s where the animation is. There isn’t too much of it in NY, at least not on a large scale. I wanted to give myself the opportunity to audition for Cartoon Network, Disney and Nickelodeon cartoons.
What are some of your favorite cartoons and how do those influence the type of characters that you play?
My favorite cartoons are Pink Panther, Tom and Jerry, Looney Toons, South Park and King of the Hill. I love how clever these cartoons are. When there are voiceovers involved they complement the characters and bring them to life. I can get lost in the show. When we make our cartoons my goal is to keep it simple. The more simple the better. That’s one of the many things I love about South Park- the animation is so simple it makes you laugh.
Where do you see your career 5, 10 years from now?
I try to stay in the moment when it comes to career and life. When I look down the road I keep my thoughts positive.
For someone just getting started, how did you build a portfolio?
My portfolio came from jobs I’ve done where I was given a copy afterwards. Today it’s a little easier because of Youtube. You can make your own projects and edit them on your own. There is a lot more freedom today to be a self starter.
What was the best advice you have received? (or a bit of advice for the reader)
The best advice I could give is to stay true to yourself. If you have a fire inside that drives you to create, then create, but be discerning, and think of the bigger picture. If it’s meant to be nothing can stop it.