Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Audiobook Challenge

There are a great many wonderful audiobook narrators out there with tons of experience.  I am fortunate to have begun connecting with more and more of them via the APA and  Audiobook Community, and I'm learning a great deal just following their discussions and posts.  Although I've been a working professional voice over talent for over 20 years, I'm new to this area of voice over.  So, here, I feel almost like any new voice over talent. Granted, I already have the pro home studio.  I've been recording and editing my own tracks for about 10 years - hard to believe it's been that long!  I already know mic technique, have a good acoustical environment, and of course, know how to use my voice.  I do have an acting background.  In fact, I was an actress long before I ever thought of doing any voice over work, and as far as narrating books, in addition to reading constantly to my sons when they were little, I always volunteered to be the "mom reader" in all three of the boys' classes all through elementary school.   It was such fun reading to the children, visiting their classes each week, and yes, even being made to feel like a celebrity by the adoring "fans" - students and teachers alike. :)

Now that I've decided to broaden my horizons by getting into narrating audiobooks, it would seem like just a natural next step after the years of commercials, corporate narrations, e-learning course narration, etc.  I'm no stranger to long form narration, but it is not an easy transition to fiction, and at times it can be downright scary!  There is so much more prep time involved.  A narrator needs to read the book and determine the tone, mood, etc.  In addition, I must note all the characters and determine the type of voice I will use while recording their dialogue, and I must sustain all this through the entire book.  I must know and follow the recording and editing specs required by the client in addition to any and all deadlines.

While all of the extra preparation does take time, the real difficulty for me is finding the long stretches of time to actually record.  I really need to be able to devote several hours at a time to get and stay in the mood and rhythm of the book.  And then, of course, it all has to be edited which takes 3-4 times as long as the recording!  This can be tricky while keeping up with a busy schedule of other types of recordings and often, last minute in person or ISDN sessions.

All that being said, it is very creatively rewarding to record an audiobook.  My first audiobook was The Call of the Wild by Jack London for Cherry Hill Publishing last year.  I am currently working on The Four Window Girl or, How to Make More Money Than Men by Shepherd Mead (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) which is a fun "vintage" romp, circa 1959.   Next, I'll be recording the classic, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

I'm not sure that I see a constant string of audiobook recordings in my immediate future, but I do believe it is something that I'd like to continue pursuing as my schedule permits.  


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