A day in the life

First published in The Argus Seven Days Magazine 2013

Day in the life

Julia Burns is a Brighton based voice over artist who runs voiceover agency January Brown, She talks to Nione Meakin about brushing her teeth, putting on Spanish accents and why she would secretly love to be a private investigator…

I’d describe my job as…varied! One day I will be recording a voiceover introducing the latest Planet Earth in my most mellifluous voice and the next I’ll be speaking as precisely as possible about complex tongue-twisting medical procedures.

I got into this line of work through…working as a radio journalist.

When I tell people what I do, their reaction tends to be…’Can you read this menu in your voiceover voice?!’

When I was a child I wanted to be a…newsreader on the six o’clock news – there’s still time!

The biggest misconception about my job is…that anyone can do it. It’s not just about having an interesting or pleasant voice – it’s about being able to voice a script perfectly first time, without having had a chance to read it beforehand and with the emphases, pauses and passion in exactly the right places. It takes years to get to the stage where it sounds effortless.

You wouldn’t know it but I’m actually very good at….karate.

My absolute favourite part of the job is…accidentally overhearing my work on TV, when I’m browsing online or in a shop.

My biggest distraction is… brushing my teeth. It’s a ritual I undertake before each session because I think it makes my voice sound clearer.

The day I’ll always remember at work was when…I read the continuity introducing the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee flotilla for BBC HD Scandinavia.

The most bizarre thing I’ve had to do in the line of work is…pretend to be a Spanish broadband customer.

Please don’t ask me…to put on a Spanish accent.

I’m most proud of…working for myself.

In another life, I’d rather like to be a…Private Investigator. Or a famous detective (if those existed in real life!).

The person I admire most professionally is…someone like John Pienaar or Nick Robinson who speak fluently about complex issues in simple terms, without a script, live and to precise time. I’ve seen it up close and it’s impressive.

My guilty pleasure is…critiquing voiceovers on television. Always leave the room when the adverts come on as I can’t help myself commenting on each and every one.

At weekends you’ll always find me…writing invoices, drinking coffee and eating out.

My life in three words…a real adventure.