When 15-year-old Samantha Sadoff exited Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville following her August audition for a voiceover role in the upcoming “Monsters University” film, she suddenly stopped in the parking lot and told her mother: “Wait, I want to do it one more time.”
So the Live Oak High School sophomore – accompanied by her mother, Monique – turned back around and asked the casting director for another crack at it.
“I think the tweak I did to my monster impression is what got me the job,” said Samantha, also the Class Vice President of the Associated Student Body at LOHS.
That “tweak,” as it turns out, won over the casting director and landed Samantha the very role she dreamed of since watching the original Monsters Inc. movie, released in 2001 by Disney Pixar studios.
“I was so excited,” said Samantha, upon learning just one day after audition that she had been cast as a monster classmate character in the film. “‘Monsters Inc.’ is one of my all-time favorite Pixar movies.”
Pixar, which was bought by the Walt Disney Company for approximately $7.4 billion in 2006, will premiere its newest Disney Pixar film this Friday, June 21. Monsters University is a prequel to popular blockbuster hit Monster’s Inc., starring Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and Sully (voiced by John Goodman).
“It’s a dream come true,” said Samantha, who called it the “biggest job I’ve ever done in my acting career.”
At the age of 7, Sadoff – with only two acting classes under her belt – was doing national commercials for the likes of McDonald’s, Toyota and Walmart. She also modeled in catalogs for retail giants Mervyn’s, Macy’s and Old Navy.
“When I first started acting, I was open to anything,” said the curly haired teenager with big brown eyes and a welcoming smile.
After working with a voice coach a couple of years ago, Samantha began learning more about voiceover roles. Her big shot came last year with “Monsters.”
“I’m very proud of her,” said Monique Sadoff, who, along with her husband, makes sure her daughter remains “grounded” and “focused on school” while at the same time supporting her acting aspirations. “She’s just normal Sami, that happens to do movies and things.”
Samantha’s biggest gig to date is in a “Monsters University” scene, where she supplies the voice for an elementary school classmate of Mike Wazowski - a short, cyclops-esque green monster whose sarcasm is brought to life by Billy Crystal.
Samantha’s voice is used for a geeky-looking monster who sports large black glasses and braces in the movie. She doesn’t know exactly what lines will be used until Friday’s premiere, which the Sadoff family will watch inside the Disneyland AMC Theatre in Anaheim.
“It will be a fun experience to see that happen and connect my voice with the film,” said Samantha, who worked alongside five other voiceover actors in post production at Pixar Studios back in August.
Samantha compared the Pixar compound to “Disneyland” since its sports giant murals and statues of animated characters from various films, as well as props used in “Monsters, Inc.” and the 2006 blockbuster “Cars.”
What really caught Samantha’s eye during her visit to the studio was a display case filled with all of Pixar’s 23 Academy Awards.
“It was really awesome,” Samantha said. “I was more excited than nervous.”
Situated in a big room with a microphone, the director and producer, Samantha read “sides” as she looked through a window into a back room where the animators and sound developers worked. “Sides” can be anything from screams, to the monster impression Samantha gave during her audition, to lines from the script.
“There’s no TV monitor showing you the scene you’re reading for,” explained Samantha, who likes to make “crazy body movements” to really get into the monster mood. “You have to use your imagination.”
Samantha, who recently worked on a web series, “Life Coach Chronicles,” that can be now viewed on YouTube and modeled for an upcoming Klutz craft magazine coming out in October, hopes her role in “Monsters University” can open the door for more major acting roles.
“Hopefully, more opportunities come out of this,” said Samantha, who wants to eventually become a film director. “I definitely want to stay in the business.”