I first met Tom at the Federal Mail Box center that was located near the Gelson’s on Van Nuys Blvd in Sherman Oaks, CA back in 2012.
We struck up a conversation about something, I can’t remember what, and I knew he was someone I would be in touch with throughout my life. Our conversation was deep, honest and insightful and he helped me understand things I was going through at the time. Thank You Tom. Life is filled with mysteries that we are all here to unravel so that we can use the common threads that weave us together to make an incredible tapestry of life going forward. Tom is one of those rare gold threads you find in exotic fabrics.
He is a comedian, a voice over actor, a master of dialects, an author and a fabulous person. I am sure you have heard his voice in many a commercial or radio spot as clearly heard on his demo reel. I have never done voice over, but after hearing all the fun Tom has with his voice characters and dialects, I think it is something I would love to try out.
Thanks to Tom I finally found the perfect gift for my friend Robin Leach, who has everything. Tom’s book—“Precipice Writings” & Other Relanyms. Robin is a master of the English language, being from England and he is a writer as well. He will absolutely love this creation of playing with words.
I love you Tom Antonellis, you inspire me!
In his own words: I’d like to think there’s a childhood reason I gravitated to voice over and I know there’s an adult reason. The kid reason is kind of splintered into home life and school life—because those two lives of mine were certainly very different. It’s interesting for me to think back about the great social divide that occurs for us as early as kindergarten in the lives of school goers—perhaps since the invention of the school. The cool kids and the not cool kids. I was NOT a cool kid. And, in so being, I spent the early years of school in agony. When my mother suggested I try speech team (read: voice over team because on speech team, you could do readings in character!!! I could do my voices!!!) it was a match made in heaven. When I began to make people laugh with my voices (or, better than laugh: CRY with my voices), suddenly (and rather instantly) I was a cool kid.
When I found a way to do my voices at school—I became cool. Who knew, as I was playing “Office” and “House” with my sister Julee, that I was creating my future commercial voices and characters for my one-day blessed profession.The more I made my sister laugh and, later, my schoolmates laugh, the more I wanted to know about comedy. My folks started me on Abbott and Costello because their stuff was clean as a whistle. This never left me and is, of course, the inspiration for my recent album “Abbott & Costello Meet Tom Antonellis…At Christmas.”
Once I’d taken my gateway comedy drug, I was hooked. My parents finally permitted to me move on to their George Carlin records—I learned everything in comedy from George.
I moved to Los Angeles to be a part of “show business” and soon realized that physical type was stopping me from getting parts. I wasn’t the chiseled, perfect dude with which LA is so replete. This was the beginning of my adult reason to gravitate to voice over. In addition to struggling with body image my whole life, in my later twenties and early 30s (the LA years) I developed an embarrassing and socially debilitating case of psoriasis. It was NO FUN to look at myself in the mirror. Most people don’t notice and I’d like to think my scintillating personality elevates me above people noticing, but a camera notices. My mother (again) suggested I take a class. “Any class, Thomas. You need to be with like-minded artists. Like when you were in college.” It came to me like a flash: I’ll take voice over classes. Best decision I ever made.
I have a comedy album that will be released this year on which I do 52 voices. I passed the 100 voices mark long ago and I’m still counting. I know, through the blessed gift of laughter, I have the power to heal and elevate. It starts with little things. A laugh is probably the littlest thing. I sure hope that, after reading my book, listening to my album, catching my set at a comedy club, or hearing my VO work, that you walk away lighter of heart than when you started.
Because if I can lighten your heart, you can then go do what you’re meant to do in this life with a little more spring in your step.