Posts in Audio Books
How Do You Speak Maori? – Recording 'Not The Faintest Trace'

Imagine my excitement when the author, Wendy M. Wilson contacted me about narrating her historical crime drama: Not The Faintest Trace. Wendy hails from New Zealand and she has written a truly gripping murder mystery set deep in the 19th century. She wanted an English voice as the central character, Frank Hardy, is an Englishman. But the book also contains Danish settlers, Maori warriors, modern New Zealanders and even a sharp-witted Chinese cook. If you’re writing about indigenous New Zealanders then it’s surely essential to embrace the Maori language and this Wendy has done with aplomb.

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The Agony and Ecstasy of Directing Yourself

One of the measures of an actor’s reputation is how easy or difficult you are to work with. You can probably all think of at least one Hollywood star who is famously difficult. There are also well-known stories of actors who are consistently popular on set because they are a breezeto be around. Beyond super-size trailer demands and personal hair stylists though, what actually causes others to label an actor easy or difficult? One measure is how easy they are to direct.

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Watch Your Larynx!

A great performer makes it look easy, don’t they? When an audience deliver themselves into the hands of a great professional artist they can relax. They can allow themselves to be taken to whatever place the writer/painter/musician/actor wants them to go. They are all happy to suspend their disbelief and go on a journey. That’s why we all need art. Art takes us to those parts of humanity not touched in our own lives. It’s exciting, it’s horrifying, it’s hilarious, it’s harrowing. Above all, art is life affirming and human.

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The Loneliness of The Audiobook Narrator

I was very happy with how the recording went that day. The challenge was to render a scene from World War II. A group of Wehrmacht soldiers were attempting to escape their pursuers on the frozen wastelands of the Eastern Front. In addition to narrating the scene in 1stperson I was also portraying 5 different characters all gripped in their own way by the immediacy of death. To play such a scene in one take all by yourself is no mean feat. Doing this sort of thing is why audiobook narration is so fiendishly difficult to do well.

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The Enduring Importance of Focus

There is a saying in business that goes: “if you try to sell to everybody, you’re really selling to nobody.” The implication of this phrase is that you can’t be all things to all customers. In traditional businesses this is absolutely true. If Coca-Cola tried to sell fruit and veg and sheet metal alongside offering telecommunications training, it’s unlikely they would have maintained their position as a leading soft drinks maker. Laser focus on a single brilliantly made product has carried thousands of businesses to success.

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The Difference Between Speaking and Reading

To many laypeople and, dare I say it a few actors who should know better, reading and speaking are the same thing. One is a synonym for the other. I freely admit that when I was 21, I thought exactly the same thing. Reading or narrating a text was about accuracy and clarity. You might vary your pace or tone a bit to keep it lively and intelligible and of course you would be sure to project (darling!) But speaking?

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Why Musical Theatre Prepared Me For Audiobooks

A few weeks ago, I was involved in a fascinating discussion about corrections and preparation in audiobook narration. Some excellent colleagues of mine didn’t entirely agree with my point of view over the role of the proofer. Some of my colleagues expressed a dislike of overly detailed prep, preferring instead to focus on their sight-reading virtuosity and a meticulous 1st Pass Edit before sending their work to a proofer. For me, this doesn’t work.

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Correcting The Read: Why Making “Mistakes” Are Good For Your Narration

I was talking to one of my favourite proofers the other day. She was marvelling at how a narrator whose work she had recently been proofing had required only one correction. For anyone who doesn’t understand the parlance, correction in audiobooks refers to a mispronounced word, extraneous noise or inconsistent character voice that has been picked up on by the audiobook proofer.

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