Do You Want to Narrate an Audio Book?
by Adele Park
Are you an actor or voice-over artist looking for more work? The market for narrators is expanding with the growing audio book industry. New studios are cropping up every day so you don’t necessarily have to live in New York City or Los Angeles to land a gig. In fact, the cost of opening your own recording studio has dropped so dramatically that many narrators do their work from the comfort of their own homes.
Audio book narration is a very specialized skill, especially for projects where just one person is reading the voices for all the characters. Narrators must develop a unique voice for all the characters and make each one believable, even if they are reading a part for the opposite sex. Additionally, the narrator must be able to move seamlessly from one character to the next.
If your narration skills could use a little polishing or if this is a talent you’d like to develop, one place to start is with Pat Frayley.com www.patfrayley.com. Pat has been hosting narration workshops all over the United States for many years. Not ready to commit to a workshop? Pat also offers a variety of free lessons on his website.
Seasoned narrators have an abundance of work opportunities thanks to ACX (Audio Creation Exchange) www.acx.com. Narrators can create a profile an post their voice demo on the ACX site. Narrators can also use ACX as a way to audition for specific projects they are interested in working on.
Better still, ACX allows narrators to negotiate their own fees.
Another way for narrators to advertise their services is through the Audio Publishers Association
www.audiopub.org. The APA is a networking organization which strives to promote the audio book industry and keep its members informed on sales trends and other relevant information. Please note: there is a small fee associated with joining the APA.
As the owner of Straight to Audio Productions LLC, I’m often approached by narrators who would like to work on my audio books. All of my audio books are multi-voiced and feature numerous actors. While I can’t tell you what other studios require, perhaps some of the things I look for have a universal quality. At the very least, you’ll know the best way to pull off a successful audition for my projects.
At Straight to Audio Productions, a positive attitude is one the main indicators of whether or not I want to invest time and money in an a certain actor. My goal is to attract those with an upbeat, happy disposition. I consider every actor who works on my projects to be equally important, whether they have the lead role or just read one or two chapters. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to punctuality and preparedness. In return, I’m careful to respect other people’s time, so I’m always set up and ready to go when an actor comes in for a recording session.
I’m not sure what school of thought other production studios use, but for my company I have a few things I look for during an audition. As an audio book listener, I get distracted by sound tracks where the volume level changes due the way the narration is voiced. I look for actors who can read at a consistent level so listeners won’t have to keep turning the volume up and down. I also prefer strong voices as opposed to reedy ones that may be tricky to edit.
While I’m not currently in production for an audio book, I do have one in the works. Narrators who are interested in being invited to audition for Straight to Audio Productions are welcome to send their demos to email@example.com. Please make sure your demo is in mp3 format and doesn’t exceed three minutes in length.
Best of luck to all the narrators in the world. You have a valuable skill that helps listeners learn new things and enjoy their favorite books. Now is the time to make your voice heard!
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Genre – Comedy / Satire
Rating – R (language & theme)
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