Total Voiceovers, #TotalWarThreeKingdoms

Over the past year I have been working with Creative Assembly, a gaming company in Horsham who produce a number of platform and strategy games in the ‘Warhammer’ and ‘Total War’ series.

I’m probably on an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) as to what I can say about it, but as the release day is today, I thought I’d better write up about my experience. You’ve all seen the character trailers. When they first dropped, it didn’t hit me initially that my character was actually one of the main characters! It’s pretty massive for me!



Thankfully, doing game voices is not a new thing for me, as I’ve got a pretty good history of doing game voices from Just Cause II to James Bond: Bloodstone. One is due out soon called Doragon Kuesuto XI which sounds suspiciously like something else. I wonder what that could be…? As you can see from my IMDB, it’s pretty cool that I’ve done all these character voices for video games. What’s cool about this, and working with Nick Gratwick who directed me, and Pete Stewart who wrote the script at Creative Assembly, is that it’s one of the lead characters, so the voice is going to be pretty recognisable throughout the game. That’s making me so stoked with excitement!

Have you played any of the other Total War Series? Which is your favourite?

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 16.24.46

screenshot of the trailer  ©CreativeAssembly

I love this aspect of game voice acting. The changing of not just the accent I normally speak with, but also where the voice is coming from (or where am I “placing” it) in my head or chest or throat, what textures am I using? Different to much of the radio drama that I have done, but still using those acting skills. Different because you sometimes don’t get a total script, sometimes it’s just your speeches. As the person in the booth you do have to rely on your imagination. Thankfully, that, combined with the director’s knowledge of what the writer is doing with these (sometimes) disjointed lines of text, it they made it easy for me, it felt that it was really a collaborative effort. Yes, it may be my voice, the character that I’m creating, but the understanding of where these lines happen, what these lines need to do, that is the writer and director. Working with both Nick and Pete is great. It was often just Nick and myself in the studio, but usually at the start of the sessions, Pete would be in, helping more with context.


In the studio with Nick Gratwick (director) and Peter Stewart (writer)

I hope you enjoy Total War: Three Kingdoms. I’m sure the wait was worth it! Let me know what you think of the new platforms. I’d like to hear from you.

#EGXRezzed Panel

Check the link in the tweet above!

A few weeks ago I was invited to speak on a panel of voiceactors about our experience at EGX, a games convention at Tobacco Dock in London. Talking about how we started and how we work. To be honest I was fairly newbie compared to the women voices on the panel – Amelia Tyler who is famous for various roles as well as donning a MoCap suit and doing that section of the job too! Also Samantha Béart, another seasoned character voiceactor for games.  Really exciting to be on that panel! And Sally Beaumont (who got me on the panel).

Dave Gilbert, who directs games chaired the panel and was able to ask us questions about what we do. I’m afraid I had much too much fun laughing to give cohesive answers.

The full session is below but in the link to the tweet above are all the funny bits that Amelia Tyler edited together.

Tagged , , , , , ,

#Vampyr – a mention in a review


Vampyr ©Dontnot Entertainment

I found this little mention for my role as Rakesh in Vampyr! How nice to be mentioned!

“Let’s talk about the voice acting shall we?

I loved the attention to detail that Dontnod has provided players. The characters who are from different countries are actually voiced correctly. The idea of wandering accents is not an issue in Vampyr like is often the case in many movie productions. Characters portrayed by actors are well done and thought out properly. Even the writing of the different characters is done brilliantly.

First, Jonathan Reid is voice acted by a man named Anthony Howell, a British actor who has done roles in other games such as Star Wars: Battlefront II, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and Horizon Zero Dawn. And he’s no stranger to vampires either, because he play Lord Laurent in the 2013 TV series Dracula. (I’m actually still salty they cancelled the show after only one season. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS).

Jamie Zubairi plays the voice of Rakesh, and he was born in the UK although he grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While his acting credits [are] shorter than some of the other voice actors in the game, Mr. Zubairi was hired for games like James Bond 007: Bloodstone and Just Cause 2. 
While there is a decent cast for the various characters in Vampyr, many of the actors are from England – a detail that goes a long way in creating an immersive video game experience. Though, birth in a particular country does not mean that other actors could not have taken on roles. All I’m saying is the use of primarily British actors delivers a captivating and realistic story.

Each character is tailored perfectly to portray different types of people from their sexual orientation right down to their social standing and temperament. These characters are voice acted in a manner that fits the story and the time period well enough that it’s quite noticeable to keen observers.

I absolutely love every bit of the sound and music used in Vampyr. I especially love the casting choices for the characters in the game. ”


You can read the whole article by Susan N here!

Tagged , , , , ,


Inspector Chen

Daniel York Loh, Jamie Zubairi, Dan Li and Sarah Lam, regular cast members of Inspector Chen


Inspector Chen is a fictional police detective who has risen in the ranks of the Special Case Bureau in Shanghai because of his unusual way of solving cases. He was a poet and academic before becoming a police inspector and his commentary on China, post-Tiananmen, combined with his love for classical Chinese text as well as knowledge of modern Western poets, makes for a very popular and enlightening read. The series of books were written by Qiu Xiaolong, a Chinese writer living in the US. The BBC have dramatised all 9 of them for radio drama, now available through Audible. I was lucky enough to have played Chen for them. We’re about to embark on the 10th book. Here is a link to the recording session at the BBC of Series 3 (books 7-9)


Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Talking Telephone Numbers

Emma Carter, Jamie Zubairi

Emma Carter & Jamie Zubairi photo by Joseph Lidster ©Dark Shadows 2014 ©BigFinish Productions

Really interesting article about Telephone Numbers in Radio commercials I thought I’d re-blog here. Thanks Rushton On Radio!

I met the girl at a dinner party at a friends house. We got on magically. It was like the other people at the party just blended into the background. As she left she told me her phone number. “Will…

Source: Talking telephone numbers

Postman’s Park #Poem – @SoundCloud #audiobook

I wrote this poem while I was writing and exploring themes for Unbroken Line, the play what I wrote.

Postman’s Park is a cemetery in the middle of London where there is a wall dedicated to those who died saving others. Not uniformed people, just people, sometimes passing strangers. There are little stories that accompany the plaques which are touching and sad. It’s in the centre of The City (it’s very close to St Paul’s Cathedral) and a very busy shopping area. Some people sit in the park to find quiet amidst the blur of activity.

Postman’s Park Poem by jamiezoob #np on #SoundCloud

High audiodrama on the set of ‘Dark Shadows’

On Bank holiday Easter Sunday I made my way to Camden in north London for my first ever audio drama recording. I was pleased that Joe Lidster and Big Finish asked me to come in and voice a character called ‘Sketch’ for this Dark Shadows a long running series on television in the 1960s and 70s. It’s now been re-written as audio drama as starring Quentin Collins and Doona McKechnie.

This was my first recording of this kind since my days with Roger Norwood at LAMDA when we did some training at a studio in Primrose Hill somewhere. It was great watching the smooth toned Emma Carter at work, moving from characters and voices effortlessly. It was thanks to Emma that I felt at ease with the technique and just got down to doing what I do best: character voices.


The character I was voicing was interesting in that he had to transition from being  quite a low-status character with a foreign accent (Indian accent) who is a runner on a tv show and then reveal himself slowly to something more sinister. Going from one to the other in very few lines during the reveal was really fun and I’m glad that in my acting work because I work quite physically going from one physical characterisation to the next (and sometimes by degrees!) it was something that didn’t phase me.

But what happens to him? Who knows? Perhaps we’ll find out in other episodes!

I really wish I had snuck my smartphone on to record the transformation scene where Emma had to voice the sequence. No real spoilers there but it was one of the funniest things I’d seen. The things we do!

I had lots of fun working with another voice actor. Even though we had very little dialogue together, it is refreshing to do actual drama amongst all the corporate work that I have been doing lately.

It will be available later on in the year from the Big Finish website.

Tagged , , , ,

Learning when to say ‘No’


Why have a real queen when you can get cheaper version?

Why have a real queen when you can get a cheaper version?

I hate saying ‘no’. To a friend, to a client, to a director. It puts you in the negative. It makes them think you’re being unhelpful or to good for them. Today I did just that, to a client. I hated it but I think sometimes you have to. Some people could say that it’s a lucky position to be in but sometimes you just have to say ‘no’ to jobs. This’ll probably jinx me for the next time but I’ve taken the risk.

I don’t know about you, but often when I get offered work, more work will come my way, either out of the blue or off the back of the first gig. In whatever field, be it business or creative (or creative business?) the buzz around a working person is positive and it keeps building speed. Have you seen it on television where a series, a soap, a one-off drama will have the same actor appearing either as a guest or as a recurring character. I’ve seen that about actors “Do they not stop working?” I think to myself. How lucky they must be!

In my 17 years as an actor I’ve seen that happen many a time. And I’ve experienced it. Like buses. Though often not for the same sector. Sometimes it’s all acting, sometimes voiceover work will come through, often interspersed with some one-off temping or a painting for a friend. I consider myself to be very, very lucky because I do a variety of things to earn a crust. I’d love to be able to specialise a bit more but I enjoy the changes. it’s doing them often enough which is the tricky part.

Today I said ‘no’ to a translation job. It was 2700 words and had to be timed to video. Given enough time I’d have jumped a the chance but with the weekend coming up (I have a regular paid job at the weekend as an assistant chef in a cafe, which I am loyal to) so working on outside project without prior notice is out of the question. I couldn’t have given it my full attention especially since they wanted me to work out the timecode for each of the sections, translate within the parameters (see my previous post on translations for voiceovers) and then neatly packaged with my own voiceover. (Which I don’t think is ethically right – I could be translating anything for myself to speak, and creating more work and expense for the client). For a “package fee”.


I know someone out there is doing the translation gig, but I hope that they’re doing it for something closer to the proper fee (all my agents have a standard fee for translation, so I’ve based it on theirs). I don’t expect others to lower their fees when we’ve worked hard at  our job to maintain professional standards, equipment and relationships. There will always be someone who will do it for cheaper but they’ll probably need it more. This weekend there was not time in my schedule to be fitting in a technical translation, something that required a lot of headspace to get around the jargon.

Luckily I’d still kept the voiceover gig!

An agent once said to me: Only accept the jobs that fulfill at least two of these:

1) is it paid – and paid correctly?

2) is it high profile – is it going to be good for your career?

3) Does it feel artistically fulfilling?

I know in the realm of voiceovers we often can’t be choosers but sometimes.. sometimes we can.


P.S. in case you were wondering, the photo above was backstage before a performance of a monologue for the Solo Festival at Lost Theatre in London for a piece called “Queen of The Jews” in which I had to play Queen Elizabeth II who was considering to convert to Judaism by Ivor Dembina

Tagged , , , ,

#voiceovers Do you get the belly gurgles?



When you’re in a studio doing a voiceover, do you often get the engineer querying a deep rumbling in the studio? I’ve used to be too embarrassed to admit that it was my belly gurgling. After about 30 minutes into a session, my stomach will start to rumble! I soon got over my embarrassment and started buying snacks to munch on the way to a session. I think it’s gotten so bad that whenever I have a voiceover session booked, my immediate thing is to buy croissants for the journey.

I was in a particularly long session at a studio the other day and I have gotten so used to this, I came supplied with croissants. About 4. It was a 7 hour session in the studio and, sure enough, after the first 45 minutes, I got the first rumble but we carried on.  Stefano, the engineer, must be used to this by now, we’d been working on this project and others for a while. We took a break after the first hour, as expected, so I was able to stuff my face with croissant number 1.

While I was on the break, it got me thinking… does any other voiceover artist have this issue? I’m sure I can’t blame my voiceover career for my growing waistline and I get a Pavlovian reaction of thinking about croissants when I get a voiceover booking. Sound engineers? What funny stories have you experienced with voices in the booth?

Tagged , , , ,

Translations for Voiceovers

Do video production companies take into account the foreign markets when making their videos?

I’ve been doing voiceovers now for newarly 7 years and am getting to notice things about foreign voiceovers in particular. I speak Bahasa which is a language spoken in Malaysia and Indonesia and, with the current economic interest in the region, there is a growing interest about investing in the oil and gas industries as well as manufacture.

With this investment comes job, with jobs comes regulations and training. With that, comes e-Learning and instructional videos.

I have so far been involved in the translation and voicing of about 20 Bahasa Health & Safety and “how-to” videos for the airline industry, oil & gas, manufacture. There are some which are incredibly easy to voice, especially when it falls into the “e-Learning” category and there isn’t any video to sync to. The problems arise when there is already an existing video, voiced usually in English and all I’m given is the timecode to fit in the translation. Often I’m left frustrated and tearing my hair out as a simple sentence in English  will sometimes be almost a third longer when in Bahasa. I wonder if production companies ever take this into account when they know their client will be using their video for the worldwide market. It’s something to consider. I’m sure it’s the same case in Standard German with their portmanteau words. Bahasa, or any other language where almost every consonant is followed by a vowel, for example:

There’s something in the air tonight = Ada sesuatu di udara malam ini

might look like a sentence of similar length but if you consider that the English has 8 syllables, the Bahasa (in this case Malay) has 13 syllables. Fitting the amount of syllables within the start and end of a particular timecode starts to make the sentence sound ridiculous. The viewer will be have to first get over the hurdle of how ridiculous it sounds before they can start actually taking in the information, which may be about airline safety or toxic gases.

When I am translating for voiceover I am always aware that someone is going to have to speak this at some point (often me) so the translation should match the lenth of the English. I’m often in vocal booths editing words out of someone else’s hard work in order that it should fit the client’s specification. Which increases my time in the booth as well as my fee and the cost to the whole production.


Often it’s the case where the voiceover client has the the video production company as the client, so there’s nothing the sound engineer can do.

I would love a situation where production companies producing the video made a slightly longer edit for the foreign markets their clients are selling to. It would help the voice doing the work as well as the person having to take the information in. What is the point of sitting your workers in front of a Health & Safety video if they can’t take it seriously and, by extension, feel that they are not being taken seriously by their employers?


Doing what I love best

Doing what I love best

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,