Products Used

VoiceQ Pro/Writer

We recently had the chance to chat with Jessica Blue, a Voice-Over Director, Producer, Writer, and Adaptor based in LA, to discuss her experience in Dubbing in the audio post-production industry. During our interview, she shares her inspiring journey from being self-taught to becoming a dubbing director and master trainer. Jessica also dives into the key aspects needed to ensure authenticity, quality, and sustainability in this field.

Tell us a little about your personal history and how you got into the industry
“I've always been a daydreamer and wanted to be a cartoon when I was a kid when I watched Bugs Bunny and all the Warner Bros. characters. I thought it was the neatest thing to be able to fly, breathe underwater, die, come back to life, and do anything and everything that might not be possible in the real world. I've also always loved acting in TV and movies and thought it would be super cool to be someone else for a while and live in another world (and yes, I often practiced my Oscar acceptance speech in my bedroom with my hairbrush as a microphone). Years later, when I learned I could become a cartoon through voice acting, I was hooked. I immediately took as many acting classes as I could afford and jumped in the deep end to soak up as much as I could learn about acting, and acting for voicing cartoons. I discovered there were so many other areas of voice-over in addition to cartoons that I could also learn about and focused on commercials and narration as well.

In my previous life, I was a paralegal manager in a corporate law department in San Francisco, and voice acting was my creative outlet to keep my sanity throughout my day job. After 13 years there, I was done with performance reviews and working at a soul-sucking job, and I decided it was time to make the move to Los Angeles and pursue voice acting full-time. I had no plan B, however, my VO journey got sidetracked and put on the back burner for about a year when my dad died four days after my move.

Once I was able to get back in the saddle, I continued to expand my creative endeavours and learned about writing and producing. I'd help friends who were making films by doing VO for them or being a background actor and gaining some on-set experience. I was introduced to Alan Maxson, a creature actor who also writes and directs, and worked with him on a few on-camera projects (as zombies) and ultimately became an executive producer for his feature film Alien Planet. That was an incredible learning experience as I wore all the hats, from assistant director, craft services, keeping things on schedule, managing the PAs on-set, fixing costumes, setting up blood cannons, set dressing, and therapist, to so many other roles I can't remember. It was such a fun set and it was great being Alan's right hand during the production.

Several years ago I got into live-action English dubbing and fell in love with that area of voice-over. It was so meticulous and nuanced, yet as an actor, I was able to live in these characters and give the performance needed to match the original, regardless of whether it was for a lead, secondary lead or incidental character. The whole process was so much fun, and to have been able to learn about it from the other side of the glass in the control room with the director gave me that much more of an edge to bring it whenever I was behind the mic. That experience gave me the tools and skills to become a better director and to quickly and efficiently adapt on the fly when needed.

I love working with experienced dubbers – they constantly blow me away with their effortless ability to match performance, breaths, efforts, etc. I also enjoy working with people who’ve never been dubbed before and facilitating that learning experience for them. Watching their passion for dubbing come alive fuels my passion for it.”

What was the primary driver for you to set up your own business?
“After leaving the corporate world, it made sense to set up my own business as a freelance voice actor, and subsequently writer, producer and director. I’ve been asked many times if I offered coaching for voice actors and have always declined, preferring to leave that up to more experienced colleagues. After producing a couple of indie films and directing several dubbing projects, I’ve adjusted my business to now include teaching actors the art of dubbing which I truly enjoy.”

What are the primary services of the business?
“The primary services I provide include voice directing, casting, and adaptation services, as well as voice acting. I also teach and coach actors on English dubbing.”

What are the key sector trends driving change?
“A major sector trend in dubbing is diversity and inclusion in casting. We still need to have great actors, but if they also have a similar background, upbringing, and/or ethnicity (sometimes even an accent) as the original character has, that brings another layer and level of believability to the production. Nowadays, casting producers and clients are so much more aware and sensitive to how characters are being portrayed and will be cast accordingly.”

What are the key consumer trends driving change?
“One of the key consumer trends in dubbing is the continuous desire for a seamless viewing experience, where the viewer forgets they’re watching a dub. This fosters the need for the important process of providing the production teams with expert adapters, directors, actors, and casting. Producing a high-quality result at every level is crucial. We need to believe the voice matches the face onscreen, the dialogue sounds natural and conversational while matching the lip flaps as best as possible, and the music, sound effects and backgrounds are mixed properly for each scene. Improvements are always being made with the VoiceQ platform to continue this evolution. Also, this is key for those who prefer to not have the subtitles on, and/or watch on their phones or tablets with smaller screens where it’s more challenging to read subtitles.”

Leadership, staff and great talent often play a huge role in organisational success.  Can you share any insights on your approach and who has influenced your success?
“I believe in paying it forward and allowing the next generation to go after their dreams. I’ve had actors and directors shadow me while directing sessions, I’ve trained people on adapting and am always learning how I can better communicate more efficiently and directly within that process. The production team at Roundabout Entertainment in Burbank, CA, is a fine example of excellent communication and support and they foster an effective team environment. One person who has greatly influenced me whom I’ve learned from and worked with is my friend and mentor, Jeff Howell. He’s been a voice director and coach for over 20 years and was a talent agent and worked in casting before that. He has a vast amount of experience in all aspects of voiceover and is an exceptional teacher, gracious with his time, and the kindest human being. I’ve taken several networking cues from him in addition to having him be my cheerleader in rooms I’m not in, where he recommends me for work.”

Can you share any insights on a recent project?
“One of my favourite shows I’ve worked on was called Moving, streaming on Hulu. Not only is it a great story with fantastic characters, cinematography and soundtrack, it was quite a feat to get it across the finish line. It’s 20 episodes, we used 75 actors to cover around 270 roles, had a tight timeline to get everything recorded and mixed, worked with new workflows, and had constant oversight by the client, as it was a high-profile project for them. It was a huge collaboration and team effort.”

What was this project about?
“Moving is a South Korean sci-fi action/fantasy about teenagers and their parents with superhuman abilities who fight against powerful government agencies. After seven days of streaming, it became the most-watched Korean original series on Disney+ globally and Hulu in the United States.”

What were the challenges in the project?
“Working with an incomplete set of materials, the timeline for deliverables and the client scrutiny. The recording was scheduled to be done in two phases. We started with the first nine episodes as that was all the episodes we had to work with at the time, and then a few months later, we’d finish the remaining 11 episodes. One of the biggest challenges was not being able to watch the entire show from start to finish. Characters who appeared to be a main character turned out not to be, or vice versa, which can have an impact on casting. Certain things characters said or did in the first part made so much more sense after watching the second part because I was able to see and understand their backstory and motivations. I was directing in a vacuum with limited information not knowing what was going to happen. We ended up doing a lot of pick-ups in the first half because of that, and because the client wanted to stay closer to the original adaption.

“Casting was also challenging. Not only did we have a huge amount of actors coming in, but because of the gap in recording time, some folks were no longer available when we recorded the second part and had to be recast. Scheduling was quite the task as well, dealing with vacations, and making sure we’d get everything recorded before an actor was going to be out of the country.”

What were the key workflow problems to solve?
“The client wanted actors to wear a Lavalier mic in addition to having a regular boom mic set up for the second half of the recording. The idea is to have it sound as if they’re on set vs. in a soundproof room. I’m not sure if we ever used any of the recordings from the lavs; I didn’t think it was as good a sound quality as what we got from the boom mic. Another issue we dealt with was maintaining consistency with two directors. Because of the amount of pick-ups needed from the first half and the tight deadlines, we had two studios running simultaneously on the second half of recording. Another director handled the majority of the incidental characters and walla, while I directed all the leads and the pick-ups. Ensuring pronunciations were consistent, dialogue that was readapted in one studio was also done in the other studio, and clarifying storyline and plot points made for a lot of running back and forth between the two studios.”

What have been your key learnings from this project?
“One takeaway from working on Moving was that having a top-notch production team with fast, direct communication is essential. I love working with Roundabout Entertainment, and this project was no exception. They had an excellent production team on this project, who were extremely supportive and encouraging. Working together with them, the recordists, mixers, editors and clients, was an enormous joint effort. I also learned how to anticipate what the client wanted in terms of adaptation and performance. By having the client in on nearly every recording session, I had to quickly learn to navigate their feedback to get the performance they were happy with. Also, adhering to a set timeline for reviews/edits is critical to avoid a lot of back and forth of reviewing and re-reviewing to make changes after it had gone to mix.”

What role has technology played in this project as an enabler?
“VoiceQ was a huge asset, between being able to review the adaptations ahead of recording, continuing to change or fix things in session and adding dialogue where needed. In addition, to aid with all the pronunciations, once we had a take recorded of the correct pronunciation, we could flag that take and share it with the other studio who could then play it back for the actor.”

What are the primary technology platforms you use?
“Google Drive and/or Microsoft Teams for sharing documents (Excel spreadsheets, word docs, PDFs), schedules, casting, etc, VoiceQ Writer and or VoiceQ Pro for all things dubbing,  email and text to maintain constant communication. I also use LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for business and personal social media, I rarely use Twitter (X), and I’m still resistant to using TikTok!”

How did you come across VoiceQ technology?
“Jeff Howell, a dear friend and mentor, asked me to assist him on an English dub several years ago. This was my first experience with live-action dubbing and I was able to become familiar with VoiceQ Pro which is what we used to record in the studio. I taught myself how to use it, leaning heavily on the user guide and support forum from the VoiceQ website to answer any questions I had. I quickly learned how to adjust the dialogue in session both for sync and content. That first project turned into another one, then another, and it helped to further develop my directing skills as I watched Jeff work and learned as much as I could. Fast forward after a few more projects, when Jeff recommended me to the studio to help with the adaptation of a series he was directing. That put me on the path of doing more adaptation work using VoiceQ Writer, as well as voice directing and casting.”

Where does VoiceQ provide the most workflow value?  
“When I’m directing a session I love how easy it is to quickly change the dialogue or add/remove efforts/reactions, etc., select only the character’s lines who are in the scene being recorded, and change the colour of the Rhythmo band by character to make it easier for the actor to read. I often use the function to preview an entire paragraph for the actor when it’s a big chunk of dialogue. And I love that I can select “Done” for the lines recorded, and then see at a glance how much is left to record for any given character. For me, that’s also a great way to double-check it towards the end and ensure that if I see any characters without 0% remaining, I can quickly identify it and address it. It’s excellent for tracking and managing loop counts.

When I’m adapting, I like how easy it is to split/merge lines of dialogue and stretch words when needed. The fact that I’m able to easily sync up the dialogue to match the video with a few clicks is vital. Also, the ability to use search and replace is great, especially when a nickname or a reference to something changes, it’s super easy to use that function, vs. trying to find the scenes for those occurrences. “

For more information on Jessica, visit


Start your project today

Our free trial gives you and your team full access. Create a project in minutes. No credit card required.

Start your free trial