Updated: Feb 13
My Top 5 Jobs As A French Voiceover Artist
As a voiceover artist, you can look back (listen back even...) at old recordings and get sentimental. I sometimes do anyway. Especially when updating my demos or sending samples to new clients.
I used to work in film production and once, at an interview, a prospective employer told me his motto was 1 job for the soul, 4 for the wallet. I quite liked that. It was honest and the reality of most professions & the projects we get involved in. My top 5 favourite recordings achieved a lovely balance of soul and wallet though :-)
Here they are:
The new Renault Clio
In 2013, I became the voice for The New Renault Clio in the UK for a year. I couldn't have been more proud. How quintessentially French. And the timing for the first advert was ideal. I had just fallen prey to redundancies at the film fund I'd been working at for years. This gig was a gift from the universe. It boosted my confidence and I was able to live off it for many months. The first recording session was a process as always. My approach was to sound very glamorous and smooth but I did sound a bit sad too when we listened back. The brilliant guy directing me from Publicis Media said "A bit too Chanel (actually a dream of mine!), let's try more Renault. We're selling how it feels to drive the car. When you're ready." He said it kindly and his bright energy ignited me to just get it right. So I picked a different energy lane. By that I mean, you re-imagine where you are, and whom you're speaking to exactly. My agent confirmed the client was happy and the lovely usage. Throughout the year followed several Renault adverts for the radio, and another one for Renault Captur in cinemas & on TV. I received many messages from friends asking if it was me. It was always fun to be able to yes. Still, mostly the response was always "Oooh Nicole, Papa?" Non. Brilliant but way before my time.
"When you say you're a voiceover artist, you're always asked what you would have been heard in.
I became the voice for Boohoo France in 2012 until 2016. I remember meeting the advertising team at Coda Post Production. After a friendly chit-chat, I sat down in the booth to record 3 alternative takes. It took 5 minutes. I was told "great, brilliant, thank you'. And that was the end of the recording session. I felt I had more to give and try out. I wondered if they actually loved it or... the opposite. Could it be that I was not the right voice after all, and they just wanted the session to end. A real bad case but potential scenario as a voiceover artist. But no, they did love it and continued hiring me for 4 years. Phew. A long-lasting collaboration with an advertising agency and production team is lovely as it seldom happens as a freelance voiceover artist. I always loved recording for Boohoo. The production values of the adverts were always impressive and the voiceover always had to be fun & fresh which is up my street. Alas Boohoo eventually changed creative direction. They did give me a test where I had to semi-rap. I had to bow down and accept I wasn't going to be the right voiceover artist for these adverts anymore.
Onward and upwards :-)
Google e-learning courses in coding for video games design
Google had created a huge amount of e-learning courses around training people in coding. I was called upon by one of my agents at Soho Voices for recording 2 of the courses - one in video games, the other, in fashion. The sheer amount to record meant it would take weeks. I was lucky to be paired with a brilliant sound engineer from Iceland from whom I technically learnt so much from. He became like an office colleague. We'd record for a few hours a day, carefully not continuing if my voice got tired, or the energy slumped. I learnt lots about coding. Still, I'll be sticking to voiceover.
Being a voiceover artist is a challenging and competitive industry to be in.
The Lovely Clinic
The Lovely Clinic is a leading aesthetic clinic in Knightsbridge for which I recorded a series of animation videos that explain a few procedures such as various types of fillers & botox. Very du jour. The founder, a brilliant woman called Sarah who'd met me at the clinic, found out what I do for a living and just asked me if I'd be up for recording the voiceovers. Absolument! She told me she was looking for someone who could convey a certain amount of fun but also sophistication to the videos. They were all recorded in English but filled with a few French expressions. As a bilingual voiceover artist, it is always fun to have the opportunity to mix you two languages in one session and have fun with it. Also, Sarah was the perfect client i.e. totally open to suggestions on the script and a quick decision maker in the recording session.
Right at the beginning of the lockdown in 2020, I was contacted by a fellow London Female French voiceover artist asking if I'd be interested in dubbing a few characters on several Netflix documentaries. I was home nursing my tiny baby then and being offered this interesting work I could do not only from home, but at anytime I could, and within manageable deadlines was such a delight. I'd go into my booth once my baby was asleep with her daddy watching over her, and just get to work. The dubbing company Zoo had created a very clever dubbing software which was very easy to use for voiceover artists. What's more, the documentaries I was dubbing on were fascinating subjects to me, as well as entertaining. I dubbed characters on '(Un)Well' (which takes a deep dive into the lucrative wellness industry, which touts health and healing, but the products may not live up to the promises), 'Connected' (where Science journalist Latif Nasser explores the intricate and surprising ways people are connected to one another, the world and the universe), 'Skin Decision' (where Plastic surgeon Dr. Sheila Nazarian and nurse Jamie use the latest procedures to bring out their clients' best selves), 'Big Family Cooking Showdown' (on families passionate about food serve up their most delicious dishes for the chance to be crowned Britain's best home cooks), and finally, 'I do, Redo' (which follows host Jessica Mulroney as she helps ten couples get a second chance to have their dream wedding)
A long-lasting collaboration with an advertising agency and production team is lovely as it seldom happens as a freelance voiceover artist.
Being a voiceover artist is a challenging and competitive industry to be in that requires huge amount of skills and self-motivation, but looking back at all my past recordings to pick my top 5 has reminded me to be excited of all the recordings to come I'll get to be proud of in the future. Come on, Chanel, come knocking (insert winking smiley).
À bientôt les amis
Angélique Talio is a highly experienced French-born voiceover artist In London, who works in both French & English. She was the voice for the New Renault Clio in the UK & Boohoo in France for years. I am based in London but work with clients in France, USA, Canada and throughout the world. Find out more >