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French Voice Actor
Aurélien Tells About
Voice Acting In France - And Worldwide

November 27, 2015

(VOXtra) - The voice over community grieves and voices in solidarity with our friends in France who recently experienced their own 9/11, and who are now living and working in states of national emergency and war. 

Coincidentally, prior to the attacks in Paris, VoiceOverXtra had met French voice actor Aurélien Nancel online, and was working with him on an article about voice acting in France - and worldwide (which you will enjoy below).

Shortly after the attacks, VoiceOverXtra asked Aurélien how he’s doing. Like most of us, he’s always online - and he quickly told us this …  
"We live outside Paris, about two hours distance, yet don’t want to go outside, and we are afraid if we have to go to Paris. President Hollande declared three mourning days. We light up candles. There are cops everywhere, whatever the hour of the day. I was controlled (stopped) yesterday afternoon when I was driving – the policeman was compassionate and reassuring, but still on alert. I have received several messages from U.S. productions I work with to express their support, and this touches me."
And a few a days later, very sad news arrived:
"After confirmation of rescue services and national authorities about the tragedy at the Bataclan, our aunt contacted us: Romain, our cousin, was present at the Bataclan. He was only 20 years old."
Aurélien dedicates this article to the memory of his cousin, Romain.

'If You Are Patient And Love Your
Work, Success Will Come!'

By Aurélien Nancel
French Voice Actor

I started in 1995 on a radio talk show that also featured Retrospective music from the 60's to 90's, for a large audience that emanated from France for two years. Then, I worked for an independent local TV station mixing and editing videos for the evening news.

Now, I work as a self-employed voice actor. I record mostly advertisements, commercials and documentaries.    

And how do I work the world of voice overs?

The Internet is a huge plot of marketing opportunities for voice actors. Casting websites offer a good way to work with foreign countries.  

But this is not enough. You also need to further develop your market potential and find strong and reliable partners in order to sustain work. You have to build your own people network for business. 

Of course, you also need to build your voice over skills. I took voice over acting classes, including advanced VO acting techniques with professional VO actor/trainer Danièle Hazan (known for dubbing Harry Potter) in Paris.


This is how I approached developing relationships.

I decided to work for one year with major brands that could help me to convince and gain the trust of other producers and voice over recording studios. This required labor, patience and work. Also, my communication strategy with production companies allowed me to obtain work through LinkedIn.

I voiced for a major French insurance company, MMA, and began voicing for HP (Hewlett- Packard), promoting their product on the Internet and in theaters. Also, BOSCH hired me for two video commercials.

Of course, the Internet offers a good way to promote my voice overs to French companies located abroad.

Today, I work with audio productions in different countries in Europe (France, England, Poland, Germany), plus the USA.  

Some production companies outside France want to record my voice live from their studio. We are able to do this in real time thanks to ISDN or equivalent technologies (good alternatives that have very good quality and are less expensive than ISDN).  


At the same time, I stay aware about new filmmakers, and help students in their cinematographic works by recording my voice for them.

Documentaries can seduce me if the pictures are amazing and the soundtrack beautiful! This is a personal feeling, but if I love the student's production, then I offer my voice for low rates.

Remember: working with the new filmmakers today can be your serious business tomorrow!  

A few months ago I recorded my voice for the documentary Eqalusuaq, and the documentary recently won the USHUAïA TV Award - a TV channel specializing in nature documentaries.


What is a good communication strategy for finding voice over work?  

First, I do not ask myself what other voice overs are doing; each has their own specialty. I don't forget that initially, a voice actor is not known before communicating and working with producers and production companies.

And I use social media networks, of course! They are great communication tools.

My favorite is LinkedIn, where I have more than 800 contacts. People are more committed on LinkedIn. And the more people hear about you, the more your work will attract interest.  

Having your own website is essential, too, with your own domain name. And you have to update your website regularly: upload your demos, your new business voice overs, your news, etc.

Also collect testimonials of satisfaction from your clients. There is nothing better than testimonials to give confidence to production companies that still hesitate to contact you.   


Here is how the VO industry works in France.  

In France, there are Actors/Comedians and Voice Actors. Only an Actor is recognized by the French laws, however. A voice over is considered as just an activity in the work of an actor/artist.

In a contract, the term "voice over" doesn't mean anything.  

But in the reality, voice actors are recognized as "intermittent du spectacle" - working part-time in the entertainment industry.

In 2008, a new status appeared in France that allows us to create our own individual companies, which we call the "auto-entreprise.”

There are also "intermittent du spectacle” jobs paid by a production company as a "short time job." Others - the self-employed "auto-entrepreneur” - will invoice the production companies directly, which become their clients.  

There is no school here to learn how to become a voice actor. But private companies and professional voice actors provide education and training, including training in narration and dubbing in individual or small group sessions.

Also, new voice actors/voice artists can market to talent agencies to find work.


Being self-employed means you have to manage your own business and contact each production company for work. French production companies want a professional voice actor. But being a voice actor does not prove that you are also good in dubbing, and that job is technically different.

In fact, an actor can be very good in dubbing and not in a voice over, and vice versa.

Reading a text and making it beautiful to hear is different from reading a script under a screen in dubbing sequence.  

When dubbing the translated words into French, the listener hears two voices, of course, but the original voice is mixed lower than the French voice.


Working as a voice actor is easier today thanks to new technologies that let us record at high quality from a home studio. Yet working at home requires technical knowledge in mixing.

With my professional home studio, I can edit and mix video projects, and sync my voice on videos using timecodes.

Working from home also allows us to voice projects worldwide. Jobs are everywhere around us!


How to succeed in this business?  

If you are patient and love your work, success will come!
  • Do not offer demos or recordings that you do not like.
  • Be passionate about what you do, your customers will feel it and will love your work.
  • It is not useful to spam people with emails about your demos or your voice services - you could be immediately be put on their black list of people to be forget.
  • Show your presence, be in their network, be there regularly.
  • Talk about voice over with the broadcast community and other voice actors.
  • Be generous with advice when someone need helps to set up a home studio, for example. 
And always remember to be professional, punctual, precise in work, aware of the financial challenges of voice over recordings entrusted to you, and of course, to deliver on time.  
Aurélien Nancel is a French voice actor with more than 20 years of media and voice over experience, specializing today in voicing commercials, web and TV documentaries and dubbing.


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Comments (1)
12/3/2015 at 6:53 PM
Please think about having these long blogs done verbally....since we are VOs after all!
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