Drop the mic!

A blog of curiosities about voice-overs in Portugal, and beyond

Voice can tickle the neck!

January 5, 2022

Much is said about the voice conveying emotions and moods, but it is less common to know the large-scale emotional and sensitive impacts that a voice can have. And they can be really huge! My colleague Joanna Rubio, a Spanish voice-over, knows what I’m talking about.

A few years ago, Joanna gave her voice to a famous brand of computer antivirus. She announced to users that “the virus database has been updated”, something that occurs a lot. This sentence is, therefore, heard by millions of people every day on computers of the Hispanic world.

Joanna Rubio voice has a melodious and velvety way. So, the way she did the voice-over led to the creation of several forums on social networks where people asked who she was, highlighted her sensual voice, and even left the doubt about whether Joanna had – or faked! -, an orgasm during the voiceover!

The situation got so huge that some fans did musical remixes with the voice-over serving as a sample!

“The warm and richness of my voice is very engaging and attractive”, Joanna mentions. “I recorded messages for the antivirus in 2009 and everything was done remotely. Afterwards, I didn’t know that this whole movement had appeared on the internet until someone discovered me and revealed my identity, stating that I was causing “small heart attacks”! Suddenly I had 10.000 visits in my website, hundreds of messages from all over the world congratulating me, interview requests, and voice-overs. It was surreal!”

It’s a pleasure to have a voice like yours, Joanna 😉

If you need a Spanish or English voice check Joanna Rubio’s website here.

On doing voice-over in Portugal

December 13, 2021

I worked at radio stations for almost 20 years and, in parallel, I have been doing part-time voice-overs for 15 years. I recently chose to be a full-time VO talent. But it seems that most people in Portugal cannot face this as a profession, a serious métier for a grown-up person!

Before, when people asked me what I did for a living, I answered that I worked at Radio X while being a voice-over talent in my free time. The usual reaction was: “Really, on Radio X! Wow! So it is! I know your voice!”

Now, when people ask me what I do, I say I’m a full-time voice actor. The usual reaction is: “Seriously? Oh… And are you okay?” or “Really? But… Are you seriously looking for a real job?”

Seriously!?

For real?!

When a buzz makes a fuss

November 18, 2021

Glup! A fly enters the vocal booth…

Bzzzzz….

Wow! And she doesn’t leave?!

Bzzzzz…

Pow! I can’t catch her. I can’t kill her.

Bzzzzz…

Grrrrrr! She’s flying around and I just can’t get her out the door!

Bzzzzz….

Oooops! The customer is waiting, probably admiring my dance as I wave my hands in the air like I just don’t care (about the fly)…

Bzzzzzz…

Waaaaaaaaah! BAM! Ka-boom! Smash!

… b… b… Bzzzzzzz…

Children light up our lives but can also mess up the work 😉

October 26, 2021

Having a strip of small LED lights in the voice-over booth is very nice!

It gives me a perfect calm environment to make a voice-over. I really like it.

Moreover, with the dim lighting all over the cabin I don’t need the regular strong light above me.

It’s just too bad when my four-year-old daughter finds out I’m recording and starts banging on the door while screaming: “CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!”

“CHRISTMAS LIGHTS”!

Oh, oh, oh jeez…

VO, a real life experience

September 29, 2021

Someone – Don’t I know you from somewhere?!

Me – Hmm… I don’t think so…

Someone – I’me sure I’ve seen your face before!

Me – Hmm… I don’t think we’ve ever seen each other…

Someone – But your face is not strange to me…

Me – Maybe it’s it my voice that you are recognizing?

Someone – Yes! That’s it! It’s your voice!

Me – I work in radio.

Someone – So that’s it! I love hearing the radio X!

Me – Ooh… But I work at radio Y…

Someone – So I heard you elsewhere! It’s undoubtedly your voice!

Me – I also do voiceovers. I’ve given voice to advertising and documentaries. You probably heard my voice in one of these places! Have you seen the hand soap add that is going on tv?

Someone – No…

Me – The Nights Templar documentary?

Someone – No… 

Me – The penguins one?!

Someone – Hmm… I change the channel whenever advertising appears on television and I don’t usually watch documentaries…

Me – You probably heard me on an explainer or elearning video. I record many of those!

Someone – Here, where I work, we don’t have multimedia training… I don’t even know much about computers…

Me – Maybe you heard me on phone waiting call?

Someone – No, I don’t think so.

Me – Were you at the cardiology event last week? I was the speaker.

Someone – No…

Me – Well, then I don’t know…

Someone – Hmm… But you have a beautiful voice. Have you ever considered doing radio?

Tour de Francophonie

August 31, 2021

Being a freelance voice actor is having a ticket to ride. My life serves as an example: I have an audio booth in my home’s attic, I exchange emails with clients on the computer in the living room, I speak with studios on my mobile phone while I’m shopping for groceries or waiting for my children to leave school, and I drive or take the bus to various studios in Lisbon and neighborhoods. Once I was asked to fly from Lisbon to Los Angeles to record a voice-over…

There is no doubt voice travels at the speed of sound. But the distances that a talent has to make to give his voice for those in need vary a lot. My good French colleague Thomas Dormoy, who says he sees the Eiffel Tower from his window at home like every Frenchman, and eats croissants throughout the day like every Frenchman – hahahah! -, did what many French people would dream of doing but few dare to participate: a tour de France by bicycle, voix off version.

“My name is Thomas, I am a French voice talent based in Paris. Like many of you, I had boring and complicated months of lockdown in my home studio [due to Covid-19 pandemic]. Confined in the audiobooth and surrounded by acoustic panels, I have decided to do the exact opposite: to leave the studio and get some freedom. I have decided to go meet VO colleagues all around the country by making a “Tour de France” in bike s’il vous plaît. 2 months and 10 days, 4.000 km, 15 studios/home studios visited, damn that was hard but that was a real experience”.

I’ll never complain again when a studio asks me to go there instead of being able to record at home!

If you need a French VO talent check Thomas’ work here: www.thomasvoix.com

Voice talent from Portugal? Do you mean voice actor from Portugal? Or do you mean voice artist from Portugal?

July 19, 2021

Am I talented? I hope so but, honestly, I don’t know. And am I an actor? Well, I can pretend I’m one! I’m not sure I want to be known as an artist because in the Portuguese language that also has the metaphorical meaning of someone being fly or sly!

In English people refer to the kind of professional I am as a voice talent, actor or artist. But in Portugal it’s strange for us to be known by each one of those terms. 

Here we are simply known as “locutores”, the ones who do a professional locution, a “style of speaking”, Oxford dictionary tells me.

I guess we have to act, be creative, and having talent helps a lot, but it feels a bit smug if I would present myself in Portugal has a “ator de voz” (voice actor), “talento de voz” (voice talent), ou “artista de voz” (voice artist).

So, after all considered, today I’m feeling like… A speaker with style!

Damn, I’m sounding pretty sly…

Hit the button, Jack

June 29, 2021

It had been a long day, too long. I had an unusual large amount of work outside the studio. I sighed in relief late in the afternoon when I stopped for the first time, knowing I was alive only because I was breathing, not believing where I’d gotten so much energy to do so many things in just one day. I had barely eaten, and had not missed it.

It was then when I received a call from a studio I had been collaborating with for a long time, asking for an urgent work. I sighed again… Since I dedicated myself to voice-overs, that was the first, and only, time I didn’t feel like greeting the microphone. I’m sorry, Mic, nothing personal. The bed seemed more appealing.

So, late at night, I dragged myself to the computer, prepared the DAW (audio editing software), enlarged the script on the screen inside the audio booth, and got down to work. I was so tired that it took so long to record 15 or 16 good minutes.

45 minutes later, the final sentence of the script! Yes! Done! I left the booth with a big smile and almost shut sleepy eyes. Sigh again, in relief. It was as if I was hearing angels singing, as a sign of triumph, telling me, in sort of a Lala-lullaby, something like “you are almost done, this day is finally over, you’re about to go to sleep and snore for many good refreshing hours”. I was a survivor!

But…

I looked at the computer screen…

I maximized the sound editor…

What a…

All stopped…

But…

… I had forgotten to press the record button, and didn’t notice throughout the voice acting.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

I don’t know where I got more energy but the second session – the first one, better said –, ended perfect.

Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild (and small) world

June 6, 2021

No doubt we live in a small world.

I remember on the last big trip I took, in the middle of the rainforest in Malaysia, I went to an old wooden boat converted into a very rudimentary floating bar, parked on the riverside. The space was pretty empty, only with a few tables and chairs. On the wall there was a poster of Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese football star! (Fellow audience from the United States: I meant Portuguese soccer star).

I had traveled half the world, from Portugal, to the middle of nowhere, and found the captain of my country’s national team staring and me.

When it comes to voiceovers, the world can also be very, very small. My professional colleague Richard Wells know what I’m talking about.

“My wife was having trouble sleeping. At her health club, she saw a CD for sale designed to help people relax and feel more Zen.

Keen to try it out, she lay down and pressed play. Guess who the smooth, soothing voice on the CD belonged to? Yup. Me.

The guy who was probably most of the reasons behind her lack of sleep in the first place!”

Richard, it would have been worse if she loved the CD without recognizing your voice!

😉

If you need a voice-over in English check out the good work of Richard Wells on his website: www.speakeasy.be

And if you are a voice talent with life experiences too good to be hidden in your memory, share them here on the blog! Send me an email.

Chocolate spitfire!

May 5, 2021

Ah, chocolate, chocolate…

I love chocolate. Simple chocolate, milk chocolate, lighter, darker chocolate, chocolate with liqueur, chocolate with nuts… I’m nuts about it… (These ellipsis served me to take a look at what I had in the fridge).

Some time ago, a client asked me for a very energetic voice-over and I thought “perfect, I’m going to eat chocolate before I go into the recording booth!”. Fatal error! What did I do!? I started salivating so much, so so much, it took me years to record. (Where’s a dental suction device when we need one?)

The voice-over ended up having lots of clicks, nhecs and pops, which I still tried to remove in post-production, without much success. I gave up.

Fortunately, there was a good movie on television. It was perfect to spend some time, normalize the mouth humidity, and then do the work all over again.

Yes, I almost made a greater mistake with sweet popcorn…

Woof-over

April 28, 2021

My first professional experience with a microphone was on a small local radio. It was in a villa, and the “studio” was not soundproofed.

One day, I was describing what a preeminent politician had announced, and the neighbor’s dog kept barking! The curious thing is that it seemed to be synchronized with my quotes. I said “the president announced that” and the dog went “ruff-ruff, ruff-ruff”. “And the president added that…”, “woof-woof, woof-woof”. “But the most important thing the president mentioned was”, “ruff-ruff, ruff-ruff”. 

Politicians… Some bark but don’t bite.