Mary Jane Wells Voiceover Articles

The Queen of Voice Over Work

By Lauren Maree

Mary Wells is one of The Voice Realm’s busiest British voice over artists. She has a great work ethic, flexible to client’s budgets and make sure jobs are delivered ahead of schedule. We wanted to get into her mind about how she got to this point and where she she’s the future of the voice over industry going.

How long have you been doing voice overs? How did you get started?

I got started with a lucky break. My best friend’s husband runs a studio called Red Facilities in Edinburgh, and made a demo for me. For a long time I was a theatre actress, and turned up when I was asked to record ADR for occasional TV work and loved it. Then in between acting gigs I managed Savalas.co.uk, an audio post company in Scotland when it first began, and saw foley and all the track laying a dubbing process. I could have gone into a different career then, but decided to do a solo show for a year and leave that job to do it. I promised myself that I would only go back to a great secure job like that if I was in the booth. It took 2 years, but my first big VO job was voicing a documentary, and we recorded it all there. It won a BAFTA later that year. We carve such a painstaking path as a creative, and everyone’s each path is different but usually dogged, so these little triumphs feel huge to me, even now.

When I moved to the USA I decided to do a radio show, and interviewed various people. Cathy Kalmenson was one of them, and I was voicing a campaign that she had cast at that point, so I think that was why she agreed to do it. It was in a horrible pokey little station that still recorded on cassette, and smelt of soup. It gave me an insight into the creativity of casting voices, when physicality has nothing to do with it: her weirdest job was casting the voice of a piece of road kill I remember her saying. It is such a freeing medium, as ethnicity, age, gender and physicality do not hold sway. Ben Hur is much easier to do well on radio.

From 2012 I really started doing voice over work full time and got a home studio. Its been since then that I have really been honing my career, as opposed to booking and learning on the job. I still have that first demo from my pal Max, and if I can ever record remotely with them in Scotland I will do.

What are some of the benefits from being a freelance voice actor and working from home?

Pyjamas. Voice2012 had a whole morning that said you can come in your slippers.

How is it different to other sites you’ve seen?

The site insists on a faster turnaround than most, which attracts clients who will listen and book instantly without the need for endless auditions. It has a feel of a developing company, but one that listens to the feedback of their members closely.

Where do you see the future of the voice over industry going?

More and more home studio and cloud-based ISDN. I am hoping to start motion capture work, as I like working in a team. I miss this face to face element, but get it from doing theatre again now.

What are some of the benefits you’ve found from being in control of which jobs you audition for?

An artist needs more than time or space to create, a sense of autonomy. We crave such security and future, that a sense of a map / control of where you are going is mandatory to success and the high spirits that are needed to enjoy a career’s development.

Mary Jane is a BAFTA-winning British Voice artist and a working actress. She can bring the driest copy to life, and engage your demographic. Her reads are natural, confident, & assured.


Chicago Tribune Newsbeat app

By Robert Channick
Tribune staff reporter
8:00 a.m. CDT, March 20, 2014

Tribune Digital Ventures, a technology unit of Chicago-based Tribune Co., is introducing a new mobile app Thursday to provide audio streaming of newspaper stories, enabling listeners to create their own customized news radio stations.

The Newsbeat app aggregates content from hundreds of newspapers and websites, voicing some 7,000 national and local stories each day through announcers and text-to-speech technology. Available free for iOS and Android devices, the format includes local weather and traffic updates in real time.

“Newsbeat offers a new way to experience the best print and online news in a personalized audio streaming format,” Shashi Seth, president of Tribune Digital Ventures, said in a statement. “We’ve married high-quality journalism from respected reporters and publications with mobile technology to extend its reach and appeal to an audience that is often on-the-go.”

Newsbeat will cull stories from hundreds of licensed news sources including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other major newspapers. Overall, some 70 percent of U.S. newspapers are on board as of the launch, according to Seth. The content partners will be paid for use of their stories, while the product will be supported by targeted audio ads inserted in the programming.

Aimed at commuters, Newsbeat can pair mobile devices with Bluetooth systems in cars for a radio-like experience. Drivers can skip or rewind stories, in some cases using voice commands, a process which helps the app learn a user’s preference, shaping its content over time.

Listeners can also actively customize the program with areas of interests, sports teams, newspaper sections and favorite publications.

Generally, only the first few paragraphs will be voiced, with the full text available on the mobile device. Stories that generate greater interest will be fed to announcers, while most stories will rely on computerized text-to-speech delivery, according to Seth.

“The minute a news story breaks and it is determined to be something that a lot of users would be listening to, it will instantly go to a voice artist who will record it, and it will flow into your program in real time,” Seth said in an interview.

All of the stories will be read exactly as written.

“We are trying to stay away from the editorial judgment ourselves, because we’re an aggregator,” Seth said.

Newsbeat is the first major product developed by Tribune Digital Ventures, a 10-month-old stand-alone unit of Tribune Co. based in California’s Silicon Valley. Last month, Tribune Co. closed on its $170 million acquisition of Gracenote from Sony Corporation of America. The music metadata company was combined with Tribune Media Services under the nascent unit, which now has 900 employees, according to Seth.

While newspapers provide the core content for Newsbeat, Tribune Co. will soon be separating itself from its own publishing holdings. The company plans to spin off its eight daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, to focus on its higher-growth broadcasting, entertainment and digital assets.


Pillow Talk with Mary Jane Wells

The Satin Lounge with Kia René welcomes Actress Mary Jane Wells to #PillowTalk. Tune in Tuesday, April 1st 10pm ET/ 7pm PT. Mary is a British actress, writer and voiceover artist. She’s a favorite in two award winning LGBT films Elena Undone and A Perfect Ending. She’s also the voice of the TV commercial campaigns for Puma Mobium, Jet 2, Sunny Finance, LinkedIn and Eharmony, and audiobooks which have been sourced as the inspiration for Downton Abbey.

Mary trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and did theatre for 12 years in the UK and Europe. She first came to the US with French classic, The Red Balloon at the Mark Taper some years ago. Returned later that year with a solo show, Martha for the Annenberg Centre, toured to the Kennedy centre and the New Victory on Broadway, and the International showcase in Philidelphia where she won the Victor Award.

Before leaving the UK, She worked as a series recurring on BBC’s ‘Half Moon Investigates’ and narrated BBC3’s TV show, My Childhood which won a Scottish BAFTA. Her subsequent visit to the US was courtesy of the Smithsonian with Cuhulainn the hound of Ulster, and was then invited to join the rep company in Honolulu theatre for a year, playing Aerial in The Little Mermaid.

Mary now lives in LA and and has been shooting, writing and voiceovering in London and Los Angeles. She’s the voice of the TV commercial campaigns for Puma Mobium, Jet 2, Sunny Finance, LinkedIn and Eharmony, and audiobooks which have been sourced as the inspiration for Downton Abbey. Discover more about Mary Jane Wells at www.maryjanewells.com

Back to Top