May 25, 2024
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May 25, 2024
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Voice Actor Eli Schiff Wins Voice Arts Awards

Though you might not recognize his face, chances are you’ve come across Eli Schiff’s voice while listening to the “AHA Sparkling Water” commercial on the radio or a voiceover for a Disney channel program. This seasoned voice actor is returning to the East Coast with his family, after having lived in Los Angeles for the past 14 years. He’s not coming empty-handed, though. He’s bringing along two 2021 Voice Arts Awards from the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences. (He was nominated for three!)

Dabbling in various creative pursuits over the years, Eli has always found ways to execute his creative interests. In high school, he was involved with theater, wrote fiction, and won the poetry award. He went on to pursue his thespian endeavors in summer camp (Mesorah and Morasha) and at Yeshiva University, where he starred in five plays over seven semesters, and served as the dramatics society president.

Eli recalls going with his dad to Broadway shows. “Seeing these big productions had a huge impact on me.” You could say that his “aha” moment was when he went to see “Once Upon a Mattress.” His father had bought seats right in front of the stage. The narrator, a jester, interacted with the audience. “It was cool to be so close. I remember thinking how unique it was that this person was engaging with me, even though I wasn’t in the show—it made me feel like I was a part of the show, and that’s where I fell in love with theater.”

Being shomer Shabbat, however, translated into not pursuing theater professionally, given that the industry assumes much of its work on Fridays and Saturdays. So, Eli moved out west to LA to work on on-camera projects where there are more options to work during the week. In 2012, he transitioned into voice acting, realizing that this was the area he wanted to work in long-term. Not only does he love what he does, it is also conducive to Shabbat in that, among other conveniences, he can schedule his own recording times.

While finding his niche in commercial/promo and animation, Eli has also recorded voiceovers for video games, e-learning, and narration for corporate videos. His wide film and TV show audio description narration accomplishments include HBO’s “Succession” and “The White Lotus,” and Disney+’s “Growing Up Animal.” He finds value in his work as an audio description narrator, an area geared towards people who are visually impaired or blind. It gives equal access to those who might not ordinarily be able to watch the same movies as you or I.

Eli is up to date on the latest trends in voice acting. He recognizes that if, for example, you’re one in upwards of 500 people auditioning for a Disney part, the casting directors need to notice something unique. It’s crucial to constantly train and improve one’s craft. “Even if you’re a talking toaster,” he noted, “this toaster has a personality, soul and a past. Where did it come from? Why does it want what it wants? You have to use all of that in order to really bring life to a character.”

Creativity runs in the family. Chari, Eli’s wife, is a cartoonist/creative director. The two even collaborated on a project during the pandemic which turned into the recently published coloring book “Parsha Coloring Pages, Laugh ’n Learn” (available for purchase on Amazon). Eli has seen an influence on their now 9-year-old son, whose agent booked him a gig for an animated series. Asked for a resume for their son, Eli and Chari put together something to suit his personality, with anecdotes such as, “His favorite subjects are math and lunch, and he’s a true Gryffindor!” Their daughter loves to draw and sing, and their youngest is a “very curious” 2-year-old. Fostering creativity in their home, Eli and Chari “allow (their) kids the space to be who they are.”

So what’s next for the skilled voice actor? Keep your ears open for a follow up AHA commercial, as well as season 2 of suspense podcast “Memory Lane,” a project that Eli is particularly excited about. Season 1 focused on losing and recovering memories, building relationships among distrust, and what is real and what is not. Season 2 has even more twists and turns ahead.

Eli recently won two Voice Arts Awards for Outstanding Promo-TV or Web-Best Voiceover (“Puptastic vs Puptastrophe” for “Puppy Dog Pals,” Disney Jr.) and Outstanding Promo Campaign-TV or Web-Best Voiceover (“Grateful for the Greens” for “Big City Greens,” DisneyXD). To find out more about the person behind the voice, check out: https://www.elliotschiff.com/

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