Apr 12, 2021
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Front Page, Industry News

The Voice of Reason: Mikela Jay

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

“They had 60 hours of interviews, and they had an original vision, which was this chart he had given me two years prior, so that by the time we resumed again it was really obvious they needed help. People weren’t communicating clearly, there were a lot of things that were starting to become a problem, broadcasters were really starting to get on them cause they were running out of time and money. He [Mark Achbar] said ‘I need your help. I keep hearing how organized you are,'” recounts Jay in her now-famous dulcet voice. In this crowded neighborhood coffee shop, she is acquainting me with how she came to be the creative and organizational catalyst and the voice of multi-award winning documentary, The Corporation.

Mikela Jay is an actress, a model, a musician and now she is the eternal voice of Canadian documentaries like The Corporation, Pax Americana, Psywar and Human Resources. Jay’s involvement with The Corporation though, went far beyond narration. In fact, as her first documentary experience it was a little like baptism by fire. Working 20 hours a day 7 days a week for months, Jay didn’t just help the director, she helped the editors and did all the transcripts, she was part of every meeting that had to do with the creative side of things: all the graphics you see, the sound design (her music partner out west did the sound track), she wound up helping them refine the overall layout of the film, the way everything unfolds and then throughout that she recorded all of the temp narration.

“Then the film went from TV – I think it’s ironic that it happened, because I’ve never heard of this happening – that a film would be on TV and then become a hit at TIFF and then go to VIFF and then go to Sundance, and then it won 26 awards around the world. It became the highest grossing documentary in Canadian film history… It’s weird so many people have seen it. It’s shocking to me.”

Jay left home and school at 15. She got three part-time jobs to support herself and moved into Kensington Market until modeling allowed her to travel. “A lot of people at first, when I first started getting into documentaries, were like: who do you think you are? You’re a model, you’re a singer, you’re an actress, you’re not educated. It was kind of like doing a thesis for me, and as I was educating myself it became something that was educational to everybody else and everyone was so ready for it. And then to see that it’s gone on into schools and universities to redefine business courses and businesses have been changed dramatically because of the awareness that people have…”

“We are bombarded with information regularly, how much of it to believe? how much of it is just sound bytes? To work in documentaries, the amount of research involved, the amount of licensing involved, the amount of being cognitive of the stories that you are telling, you need to be able to back that information up. It can’t just be random hearsay or opinion. I learned a lot about creating the foundation of your argument and being able to exhibit. Here it is, this is why this is like this and these are the potentials if we keep going this way.”

Pax Americana is the latest film released on DVD narrated by Jay, and it was made by members of the same team that made The Corporation. “So there was, once again, this discussion of then do we get Jody Foster, do we get Sarah Polly, Susan Sarandon… and then Charlize Theron came into the picture, because Mark had access to her through her husband at the time (he had done a documentary and I guess they met at a film festival). That went back and forth for about nine months – ok she’s doing it, no I’m doing it, no she’s doing it, no I’m doing it – and I had walked away several times. I can walk away without thinking about things, I know a lot of people get really attached to things and they get really crushed if it doesn’t work. I thought, well if it’s one of those things that’s going to happen, then I’ll deal with it and if it doesn’t, then I can say ‘well I was up against Charlize Theron’, but I wound up doing it in the end, so… she was up against me.”

While Jay prefers to shy away from the glare of the spotlight, she is becoming more and more likely to be the go-to person for narration about heavy subjects than her more star-studded competition. Perhaps it’s because her unique voice holds more authority than many female voices, or perhaps it’s because she sounds at times like she could divulge all the secrets of the world. Whatever the reason, Jay seems content to be her version of a modern day Joan of Arc. “I really don’t mind that, I actually feel really quite lucky to be in that position.. To be able to do work that gets out there and I can still stay home in Canada, in Toronto with my friends, I feel like it’s great. It is very rare.”

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Front Page, Industry News

The Voice of Reason: Mikela Jay

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

“They had 60 hours of interviews, and they had an original vision, which was this chart he had given me two years prior, so that by the time we resumed again it was really obvious they needed help. People weren’t communicating clearly, there were a lot of things that were starting to become a problem, broadcasters were really starting to get on them cause they were running out of time and money. He [Mark Achbar] said ‘I need your help. I keep hearing how organized you are,'” recounts Jay in her now-famous dulcet voice. In this crowded neighborhood coffee shop, she is acquainting me with how she came to be the creative and organizational catalyst and the voice of multi-award winning documentary, The Corporation.

Mikela Jay is an actress, a model, a musician and now she is the eternal voice of Canadian documentaries like The Corporation, Pax Americana, Psywar and Human Resources. Jay’s involvement with The Corporation though, went far beyond narration. In fact, as her first documentary experience it was a little like baptism by fire. Working 20 hours a day 7 days a week for months, Jay didn’t just help the director, she helped the editors and did all the transcripts, she was part of every meeting that had to do with the creative side of things: all the graphics you see, the sound design (her music partner out west did the sound track), she wound up helping them refine the overall layout of the film, the way everything unfolds and then throughout that she recorded all of the temp narration.

“Then the film went from TV – I think it’s ironic that it happened, because I’ve never heard of this happening – that a film would be on TV and then become a hit at TIFF and then go to VIFF and then go to Sundance, and then it won 26 awards around the world. It became the highest grossing documentary in Canadian film history… It’s weird so many people have seen it. It’s shocking to me.”

Jay left home and school at 15. She got three part-time jobs to support herself and moved into Kensington Market until modeling allowed her to travel. “A lot of people at first, when I first started getting into documentaries, were like: who do you think you are? You’re a model, you’re a singer, you’re an actress, you’re not educated. It was kind of like doing a thesis for me, and as I was educating myself it became something that was educational to everybody else and everyone was so ready for it. And then to see that it’s gone on into schools and universities to redefine business courses and businesses have been changed dramatically because of the awareness that people have…”

“We are bombarded with information regularly, how much of it to believe? how much of it is just sound bytes? To work in documentaries, the amount of research involved, the amount of licensing involved, the amount of being cognitive of the stories that you are telling, you need to be able to back that information up. It can’t just be random hearsay or opinion. I learned a lot about creating the foundation of your argument and being able to exhibit. Here it is, this is why this is like this and these are the potentials if we keep going this way.”

Pax Americana is the latest film released on DVD narrated by Jay, and it was made by members of the same team that made The Corporation. “So there was, once again, this discussion of then do we get Jody Foster, do we get Sarah Polly, Susan Sarandon… and then Charlize Theron came into the picture, because Mark had access to her through her husband at the time (he had done a documentary and I guess they met at a film festival). That went back and forth for about nine months – ok she’s doing it, no I’m doing it, no she’s doing it, no I’m doing it – and I had walked away several times. I can walk away without thinking about things, I know a lot of people get really attached to things and they get really crushed if it doesn’t work. I thought, well if it’s one of those things that’s going to happen, then I’ll deal with it and if it doesn’t, then I can say ‘well I was up against Charlize Theron’, but I wound up doing it in the end, so… she was up against me.”

While Jay prefers to shy away from the glare of the spotlight, she is becoming more and more likely to be the go-to person for narration about heavy subjects than her more star-studded competition. Perhaps it’s because her unique voice holds more authority than many female voices, or perhaps it’s because she sounds at times like she could divulge all the secrets of the world. Whatever the reason, Jay seems content to be her version of a modern day Joan of Arc. “I really don’t mind that, I actually feel really quite lucky to be in that position.. To be able to do work that gets out there and I can still stay home in Canada, in Toronto with my friends, I feel like it’s great. It is very rare.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

The Voice of Reason: Mikela Jay

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

“They had 60 hours of interviews, and they had an original vision, which was this chart he had given me two years prior, so that by the time we resumed again it was really obvious they needed help. People weren’t communicating clearly, there were a lot of things that were starting to become a problem, broadcasters were really starting to get on them cause they were running out of time and money. He [Mark Achbar] said ‘I need your help. I keep hearing how organized you are,'” recounts Jay in her now-famous dulcet voice. In this crowded neighborhood coffee shop, she is acquainting me with how she came to be the creative and organizational catalyst and the voice of multi-award winning documentary, The Corporation.

Mikela Jay is an actress, a model, a musician and now she is the eternal voice of Canadian documentaries like The Corporation, Pax Americana, Psywar and Human Resources. Jay’s involvement with The Corporation though, went far beyond narration. In fact, as her first documentary experience it was a little like baptism by fire. Working 20 hours a day 7 days a week for months, Jay didn’t just help the director, she helped the editors and did all the transcripts, she was part of every meeting that had to do with the creative side of things: all the graphics you see, the sound design (her music partner out west did the sound track), she wound up helping them refine the overall layout of the film, the way everything unfolds and then throughout that she recorded all of the temp narration.

“Then the film went from TV – I think it’s ironic that it happened, because I’ve never heard of this happening – that a film would be on TV and then become a hit at TIFF and then go to VIFF and then go to Sundance, and then it won 26 awards around the world. It became the highest grossing documentary in Canadian film history… It’s weird so many people have seen it. It’s shocking to me.”

Jay left home and school at 15. She got three part-time jobs to support herself and moved into Kensington Market until modeling allowed her to travel. “A lot of people at first, when I first started getting into documentaries, were like: who do you think you are? You’re a model, you’re a singer, you’re an actress, you’re not educated. It was kind of like doing a thesis for me, and as I was educating myself it became something that was educational to everybody else and everyone was so ready for it. And then to see that it’s gone on into schools and universities to redefine business courses and businesses have been changed dramatically because of the awareness that people have…”

“We are bombarded with information regularly, how much of it to believe? how much of it is just sound bytes? To work in documentaries, the amount of research involved, the amount of licensing involved, the amount of being cognitive of the stories that you are telling, you need to be able to back that information up. It can’t just be random hearsay or opinion. I learned a lot about creating the foundation of your argument and being able to exhibit. Here it is, this is why this is like this and these are the potentials if we keep going this way.”

Pax Americana is the latest film released on DVD narrated by Jay, and it was made by members of the same team that made The Corporation. “So there was, once again, this discussion of then do we get Jody Foster, do we get Sarah Polly, Susan Sarandon… and then Charlize Theron came into the picture, because Mark had access to her through her husband at the time (he had done a documentary and I guess they met at a film festival). That went back and forth for about nine months – ok she’s doing it, no I’m doing it, no she’s doing it, no I’m doing it – and I had walked away several times. I can walk away without thinking about things, I know a lot of people get really attached to things and they get really crushed if it doesn’t work. I thought, well if it’s one of those things that’s going to happen, then I’ll deal with it and if it doesn’t, then I can say ‘well I was up against Charlize Theron’, but I wound up doing it in the end, so… she was up against me.”

While Jay prefers to shy away from the glare of the spotlight, she is becoming more and more likely to be the go-to person for narration about heavy subjects than her more star-studded competition. Perhaps it’s because her unique voice holds more authority than many female voices, or perhaps it’s because she sounds at times like she could divulge all the secrets of the world. Whatever the reason, Jay seems content to be her version of a modern day Joan of Arc. “I really don’t mind that, I actually feel really quite lucky to be in that position.. To be able to do work that gets out there and I can still stay home in Canada, in Toronto with my friends, I feel like it’s great. It is very rare.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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