Kristen Schaal Talks Mentorship, Voiceover at Film2Future Panel

Kristen Schaal - Getty - H 2017
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The actress, along with Will Forte and Jason Henkel, led a discussion on voiceover talent and youth-produced animation.

Film2Future, a startup nonprofit serving high schoolers in the Los Angeles area, has raised $50,000 (through individual donations) to continue its second year of the summer program, offering opportunities for students ages 15-18 to build résumés, review college essays and meet with mentors to explore possible careers in Hollywood. 

Kristen Schaal (Bob's Burgers, The Last Man on Earth) spoke to The Hollywood Reporter before the organization's "All About Voice Over" panel on Monday held at Deutsch LA, intended to introduce students to the field. The actress expressed her thankfulness toward the high school mentor who encouraged her to go to school for acting. 

"It’s exciting to get to talk to kids. This is a crucial age where you get to decide if you are going to go for it or not. Also, it’s an age where I think kids still believe they can go for things," Schaal said. "I wonder all the time if I didn’t have [my mentor] in my life if I would be where I am now."

Jason Henkel, head of casting at Disneytoon Studios, spoke at the panel about the need for more women and minorities working in the field of animation. “Animation can sometimes at my company feel like a lot of old, white men. And it’s something that they are constantly trying to change, to try to get a different viewpoint to diversify the cast, to diversify the production. I sit in a group sometimes and I’m like, ‘There are no women in here,’” he said. “I think the more broad the background everybody has is really an advantage to getting into animation. It’s something that I know our company is always looking to try to expand on." 

Actor and writer Will Forte encouraged the students at the panel to stand out in their careers. "After a while, you get to this place which, after you’ve had enough jobs, sometimes people will be searching for a voice like yours because they can kind of get to know it a little bit. That’s an exciting thing,” he said. “But business is very tough, and a lot of times you will, especially early on, you’ll feel powerless because there’s so many factors out of your control. The only thing you can control is the work that you’re doing.”

Other panelists included Jordan Young, consulting producer of Life in Pieces, and Brittany Myers, voiceover and commercial endorsement agent at William Morris Endeavor.

Rachel Miller, founder of Film2Future and producer at Haven Entertainment, said the 25 diverse students currently enrolled in the program come from underserved communities all over the Los Angeles area to join the organization, which tries to gear students toward high school graduation and into careers in the entertainment industry. "I built the program I wished I had in high school," she said. "I was a complete screw-up in high school. We had no arts program, I didn’t know producing was a thing. I found film and it saved my life."