Photo: © Leyla Trebbien

„JUST DO IT“ – The motto of voice actress Leyla Trebbien

Only for a brief moment the line is connecting, then a young, bright voice picks up the phone. This sympathetic voice belongs to Leyla Trebbien, a graduate from United POP academy in Frankfurt, who gave us an exclusive telephone interview last week. Already during the conversation, one thing became clear very quickly: one simply likes to hear her talk. And in Leyla´s industry, that is worth its weight in gold, because she earns her money with her voice: Leyla is a successful voice actress.

Since 2014, she has been working mainly as a dubbing artist for voice overs, advertising and video games. In addition to various TV commercials for Schwarzkopf, Innocent Smoothies or Always, as well as some leading roles in video games like Spiderman, Call of Duty or Tomb Raider, she has recently become the official voice of the Krombacher's Fassbrause campaign. She will also lend her voice to the character "Jessie" in coming Final Fantasy Remakes.

But how does one actually get into the dubbing profession? Leyla gets to hear this question a lot, and for an answer she has her very own story to tell.

Arriving at the destination – with detours

For the cheerful Frankfurt native, her career as a dubbing artist was rather coincidental. Initially Leyla saw herself in the music business, because this is where she feels at home. Since her childhood she is a music enthusiast and sings in a band. For Leyla, the band rather a passion at a high level, but through live performances, she quickly developed an interest in concert photography. So one day, Leyla came to United POP to learn more about the photo designer training. On site, she saw how versatile the training options are and enrolled for the photo designer and the dubbing artist training.

"I think it's great how the POP meets you halfway when you have multiple interests," Leyla mentions.

Soon after completing her training, the ambitious graduate took her first steps in the creative industry to test her newly acquired skills. This courage paid off - and so concert photography turned out to be a difficult profession requiring many years of experience and reputation. Without further ado she decided to take up concert photography as a side project and focus on her career as a voice actress.

Hello world – here I am!

Photo: © Leyla Trebbien

On the off chance, the young dubbing artist introduced herself to studios and agencies, and explored the business with determination. She started her career with smaller roles consisting of a few sentences until she became more and more confident. This way, she came closer to her dream job sentence by sentence while finding her own direction.

"You don't really know what roles your voice is suited for - you have to go out and try out, no excuses"

Trying is Leyla´s specialty - if you take a look at her website, you will discover a colorful mix of genres and roles: From commercials and radio plays to video games, telephone hotlines and image films, Leyla has tried it all. This way, she has already lent her voice to characters from Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft or Call of Duty, and participated in a Princess Lillifee radio play. On top of that, Leyla can be heard in a couple of well-known commercials (eg: Samsung, Mattel, Schwarzkopf).

When asked if she has a favourite role, she responds with a laugh.

"I actually feel comfortable in many roles, whether as a baby dragon or as a screaming soldier, you just have to try everything."

Leyla also tells us that voice acting is always different in many ways: "There are different genres, which all bring their different challenges with them."

Especially for beginners, it is easier to speak a few sentences in a video game than to take part in a film in which you give your voice to a real person: "In video games, you are usually less restricted, which is fun and gives security at the beginning," remembers Leyla.  That doesn't mean, of course, that there aren't challenges here. You sometimes have to work without sounds or images for inspiration, and create the character with all its emotions from scratch. The fact that Leyla once played theater is certainly a great help here.

Don't postpone - just get started

But even Leyla admits that she first had to collect and earn her experiences. So she tells us about a defeat: "Once I auditioned at a recording studio, which exclusively records audio books; this includes the skill to read a page of continuous text without mistakes. That was not really my specialty yet" Leyla laughs.

But she easily deals with these kinds of experiences, because she appreciates the value of negative experiences: "Practice and talent are part of the job, but so is the occasional rejection". Thus, Leyla realized what weaknesses she can still work on to constantly improve herself.

And what tips does the POP graduate have for her hard-working successors? She is often asked - how do I become a dubbing artist? Here, Leyla's advice is 'Just do it': "First get an education in the field, and then go and introduce yourself in the studios. But don't call or email, go there!"

Photo: © Leyla Trebbien

Leyla explains that many young dubbing artists stand in their own way, because they never really feel ready and prefer to wait - exactly this threshold must be overcome. For the very insecure, Leyla also has an advice: "Be honest with yourself, and get feedback where you can. Be it a lecturer, a friend, or your favorite bakery, the more criticism, the better!"

Finally, Leyla advises to always remain flexible, because often things turn out differently to what you expected: "Maybe you always wanted to do audio books, but then you find yourself in advertising."

It´s not called creative branch for nothing

The fact that Leyla does not lack flexibility and creativity, she demonstrates with her latest project.

Thus, in response to the Corona crisis, she has built her own voice acting booth into her closet. There seem to be plenty of jobs in the dubbing industry, but since you can only leave the house to a limited extent, a new solution had to be found. So now Leyla does her work live from home, in her new voice acting booth.

"This way I can do my work from home - in my PAX closet!"

Whether in the studio, or in her voice acting closet, Leyla seems to have found her dream job. She realizes this every time when she receives fan mail, or when she sees the result of her work: "It´s always big goose bumps, when you see this character with your voice - you have brought this character to life!"

We wish the ambitious Frankfurt-born artist much success on her way and are convinced that she will have many exciting opportunities to explore.

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