"I play with my tongue, teeth and cheeks to find the right posture for my mouth": French voice actor Mathieu Barrabès told us a bit more about his career and technique.
When did you decide to start your voice career?
I made the decision right after my trip to Japan in 2009. Living, breathing and rocking in Greater Tokyo was surrealistic. It was such a beautiful experience to live in another country: the people, the culture... and the live houses! I understood that everything was possible and that I could realise my dreams.
I already had drama qualifications, and was already interested in dubbing, but it wasn't enough! After practicing a lot during different workshops (Online Coaching Voix-Off by Lorenzo Pancino, then in professional studios with Arnaud Clergue), I started my voice career in 2012. But I have never stoped learning since then! The last dubbing workshop I did was with Mathieu Richer in 2015.
What qualities are important to succeed in this industry?
It has been really hard for me to become a professional voice actor. Talent and training isn't enough to succeed; you need to learn how to solicit producers and voice directors by yourself. I started by contacting advertising agencies and local radio stations to get the necessary experience so I could offer my talents to bigger projects.
I also reckon that acting, playing and performing music are some of the most important things to succeed in a voice acting career. Expressing feelings and emotions and developing an artistic side is key, as we are asked to deliver different emotions for each project, each client. Besides, having a love for words, rhythm and poetry is important as well.
How do you prepare for studio sessions and auditions?
Before an audition, I eat dark chocolate and drink a good coffee. To prepare my studio sessions : I do lots of breathing!
How do you create voices for cartoon characters?
Sometimes clients bring me pictures of the characters they created. In that way, it is easy to find the right voice. When I look for "the right voice", I play with my tongue, teeth and cheeks to find the right posture for my mouth, the right shape. Having good control of my body helps a lot.
What types of projects are your favourites?
I love working on video games and dubbing because I love playing characters... Actually, as voice actors, we are always playing a role... in every new project we do! One of my favorite role was playing a dragon in a video game. I loved it!
What was your funniest project?
Playing Darth Vader, Santa Claus and Robin in the same project. It was very funny to play different characters as I had to modulate my voice and try to adapt it to each character. It's a very complicated work for the actor, who needs to practice before the studio session, and who needs to have very good voice control. It's exhausting but also so fun! It's straining for your vocal cords, your body and mind. When you can gather the three of them together, it is a real pleasure!
Any upcoming projects?
I just finished a beautiful project with Blue Okapi which will be broadcasted soon on French National TV. I can't wait!
What's your biggest professional dream?
I would love to be booked for big dubbing projects happening in Paris. I love the charm of Parisians recording studios and dubbing sets, and being able to feel the presence of my voice actor partners. It reminds me of when I was performing on stage in theaters. But with the sanitary crisis, I'm mostly working in my home studio, for Netflix productions for instance. Also, one day, I'd love to make my acting debut in a movie. That would be amazing!
Find Mathieu Barrabes, his voice and his credits on his Voxing Pro page.