Jules de Jongh is an incredibly busy lady. She’s also an incredibly talented one. TGL’s latest voice interview comes with a little Faith……..Faith from Mirror’s Edge that is. Not only is Jules de Jongh an accomplished TV and Radio presenter in her own right but she has lent her considerable voice talents to dozens of videogames, cartoons and commercials over the last decade.
But it’s the videogame angle we’re most interested in of course. Ever heard of Killzone 2? Mirror’s Edge? Burnout Paradise? Or how about LittleBigPlanet 2? Well….Jules has contributed to all of them.
Prompted by a few questions from yours truly, Jules has free reign over this interview. Here’s what Jules had to say about voice acting, working with Guerrilla Games and DICE, Kung Fu Skunks and how TGL inspired Jules to actually put on some clothes. Enjoy…..
JdJ: For the sake of this interview I’ve made a major effort and am dressed; dressed and sitting down, which is quite a feat.
I spend most days on mine, feet that is. I’ve gotta stand while voicing ’cause I move a lot, acting out the scenes. That alone is a great talent, there I am getting into the character-living it and the engineer is straining to hear extraneous sounds, clothes brushing together, feet tapping, a breath at the wrong time. After years in the business I have mastered the art of moving in total silence. Comes in handy for midnight feasts and sneaking home after dark.
Voicing as a career came as a pleasant surprise to me. From my earliest thoughts I wanted to act but I’m not a night owl so theatre was out and I don’t have that gypsy spirit so travelling from one movie location to another held no appeal. TV was my target. I trained in LA, went to California Institute of the Arts. As a University founded by Disney and with a major animation department you would’ve thought they’d provide voice over training but no. It was moving to the UK that propelled my voice career and once I had a bite I just couldn’t stop.
Voicing means I can play any sex, any age, any nationality, provided I can pull off the voice. I spend the bulk on my time on games and animation, that’s where my passion lies.
There are a lot of technical skills you have to develop to voice. You have to learn how to not pop your “p’s” and speak without excess saliva; I work on breath control and mic proximity, reading with my head up and my eyes down. I could join the circus.
But more than anything I have to “be” the character, even if that’s a 10 year old Spanish, dancing boy mouse. I have to believe I am that mouse or no one else will.
Early voice jobs started while I was in a play. Celia Drummond is a talented voice artist who was acting alongside me. She took me by the hand, made introductions, helped me pull together a demo and that kicked things off. First jobs were at a local radio station. I did one ad, a really annoying one for a car dealership that drove people nuts for ages, “You Got It!” I said after each remark in a far too cheerful American twang.
Different projects hold different rewards for me. I had blast being physical and seeing the entire cast in tights for the motion capture/vo during Killzone 2. In the Overlord games I got to work with writer Rhianna Pratchett who has no limit to where she’ll take a character. Sometimes I have crazy fun with voices like on Little Big Planet 2. Other times I get to play full dramatic scenes with brilliant actors on projects like Mirror’s Edge.
Landing that job was a thrill, you could tell from the short pieces of dialogue used in the audition that here was something special, added bonus-a female heroine to believe in. There is a lot of decision makers involved in casting games. The investment in a game is significant both creatively and financially. Mirror’s Edge is exceptional because of the team creating it. It took a while for them to choose the sound and performance for Faith they were looking for. I was lucky enough to be recommended for an audition and after a few call backs I got to voice Faith. Sound easy, it wasn’t but it was worth it.
The Mirror’s Edge team knew Faith and spent a great deal of energy making sure I did too. She’s unforgettable and I’d jump at the chance to voice her again.
My work is spread across a lot of sectors. Animation is a big part of my days. I take the same approach as I would do in a game, I’ll try and “be” the character, and its exhausting being a non-stop Skunk or whoever the script requests. They pay me so I do call it work but I feel like a cheat ’cause it’s so much fun.
You know how when you’re a kid, weeks/months/years move more slowly, well that’s my life. Each day is so different they don’t blur together. The distinct challenges of each job keep me buzzing. Right now I’m still working on several animated series, Thomas and Friends, Angelina Ballerina, Disney’s new Lucky Fred and others you won’t recognize-yet! There are a lot of games in development too and they keep casting me-yippee! They also keep having me sign confidentiality agreements so I cannot share, just accept my tip off that there are some exciting ones in the pipe line.
Games have become a real pleasure to voice and play with the addition of cut scenes and more dynamic characters. Technically I’m pants, I won’t kid you but I like well developed story lines and characters I can relate to or laugh with. Playing with my own voice does freak me a little.
TGL wants to say a huge thank you to Jules for taking the time out to tell us about her work. We can’t wait to hear what it is she’s working on next.