Earlier this month, we featured a Narrators Forum with Patrick Lawlor, Karen White, Tanya Eby, Simon Vance, Renee Raudman, and Luke Daniels discussing several areas of the audio industry. We were thrilled with the final product – an hour and forty-two minutes of sharing information, offering advice, and laughing – a lot.
From our first stages of planning this forum, we desired to publish a transcription of the forum after the fact but reality had a different plan for us. We searched and searched for a method of transcription that could pick up seven different voices from seven different locations and just couldn’t find one to do the job. So today, we’re breaking down the discussion for you. Below you’ll find the sound clip for each discussion question. If one topic interests you more than another, you can listen to just that topic.
Our Discussion Topics
Topic 1A – We’ll start with the question we most often receive from listeners. Why aren’t the majority of audiobooks performed by both a male and female narrator interacting with one another while each performs the appropriate gender roles? Simon Vance led off the discussion.
Topic 1B – And, as an extension to that question – what about the multi cast productions? At what point does an audiobook narration become more of an Audio Theatre type of production?
Topic 2 – What are methods you use to differentiate your characters? Are there times when you feel it is more appropriate to read a book without vocally distinguishing one character from another? And accents – when does a narrator choose to perform an accent? Do audiobook publishers prefer the use of accents or is that more of a narrator’s personal choice? Renee Raudman takes the lead on this one.
Topic 3 – Series – they seem to be everywhere these days but it must be a challenge to the narrator. How do you prepare for and continue working on a series? What are the special demands a series requires? The questions were directed first to Luke Daniels.
Topic 4 – Working with authors. It’s our understanding that at one time, interaction between the narrator and author was discouraged yet we hear that this type of relationship is often encouraged now. How does working with an author benefit each and have you made joint appearances with an author? We asked Patrick Lawlor to take the lead on this discussion.
Topic 5 – Now to address what we as listeners assume are poor production issues or, let’s be honest, we might just be wondering if the narrator is responsible for those blunders. It’s those times that we repeatedly hear the narrator take a noisy breath or possibly there’s an annoying click. It’s the presence of a hum or fuzzy background noise. Also, it’s the obvious edits – repeated sentences or words left out all together or a clear change in background noise or volume level when a correction is made.
What goes into assuring a crystal clear listen? Do narrators make a conscious effort to avoid audible breathing or, are there techniques to minimize this effect? Is there advice you can offer to other narrators to avoid this type of problem? Tanya Eby started this discussion for us.
Topic 6A – Our last discussion has to do with the inexperienced narrator. With the large influx of self-published audiobooks, we also discovered a large number of sub-standard performances. When we see that an eagerly anticipated book is to be performed by an unknown narrator, we now assume that the chances of a poor narration are significant. What advice do you have for the inexperienced/untrained narrator? Where can they start? Karen White led off this discussion.
Topic 6B – What can we say to the narrator who comes to us and says, “You talk about all this training – where do I find that? Where do I find a director? What is my first step?” Luke Daniels took the lead on our final question.
Again, we thank Renee, Patrick, Karen, Luke, Tanya, and Simon for participating in our March 2015 Narrators Forum!