By Stephanie Ciccarelli
June 16, 2010
Three big name narrators were on hand for the VOICE 2010 audiobook panel to share insider tips, dispel myths and direct volunteers in long form narration.
Patrick Fraley, Hillary Huber and Scott Brick set the record straight on a number of fronts and provided information that is critical for anyone aspiring to record audiobooks, even for seasoned audiobook narrators, to hear.
Join me now in this coverage of the audiobook panel and an awesome display of talent. Enjoy!
First, Let's Get This Straight...
Some people are of the mind that narrating Non-Fiction is easier than narrating Fiction because it's got less character voices in it and because it is usually based upon historical fact, truth or someone's opinion that it should be an easier read.
Not so, my friends!
Hillary Huber and Scott Brick jointly cleared up this misconception by emphasizing that Non-Fiction is actually trickier to read than people think. You are at that very moment speaking in the author's voice and must convey their thoughts, feelings and intensity.
Now, to share some tips from each of the panelists for some big huge takeaways!
Narration Tips From Hillary Huber
- Tell the story to that one person, not to the room (especially when narrating non-fiction)
- When you are reading an audiobook there is no ad-libbing
- Don't make contractions of words as these will appear as errors to the studio and publisher and you'll need to make corrections and record them again as written
- Narrating Non-Fiction isn't easier than narrating Fiction
Narration Tips from Scott Brick
- You need to keep the end in mind even in the beginning of the book
- People can tell in the first :30 whether or not the person reading knows the ending
- If you mess up, go back to the last period and start again
- Experiment: If it is too much, they will tell you to pull back
Narration Tips from Pat Fraley
- Fear makes you tense which robs you of relaxation (in reference to being nervous)
- Partner with syntax
- If you let your voice take on the emotion you rob the listener of their experience
- Read as though you're the author's first draft and are freshly discovering the story
On Reading Slower Than You Think
Hillary Huber: Generally, you are going to want to read slower than you think.
Scott Brick: The slower you go (read) the more your listener will lean in to hear you.
Pat Fraley: It's about the listener so that they get some air and can better retain and appreciate the story. Go slower! Remember, they are paying you by the hour so the faster you read, the less money you make!
Words of Liberation for Narrators
How's that as permission for taking artistic liberties with your voice! Don't let punctuation dictate all that your voice must do. Use inflection to colour words well in order to authentically express what the author has in mind.
- It usually takes 2 hours of recording for every finished hour of audio
- The average audiobook is 100,000 words in length
- 100,000 words = 11 hours of audio
- 11 hours of audio = 22 hours of voice in the studio
- Do a lot of research on the book before you begin to narrate
Doing Your Homework
You never know when you might get caught off guard by something in the book that throws you for a loop. If you haven't read through the book before creating a character voice, midway through the story the author gives you a hint about that character and suddenly you realize that the character you thought sounded one way is actually quite opposite.
Typically narrators will read through the book if the material is new to them given that they have time to do so. Sometimes a narrator will not have to read the book before recording it. Scott Brick mentioned that this happens to him when he is reading books in a series. Once you've read one or two, you have a good idea of where the author wants to go with the story and of who the characters are.
June is Audiobook Month
June is Audiobook Month. How better to celebrate audiobooks than to be at a conference listening to Pat, Scott and Hillary? What a treat :)
Do you have any comments or thoughts you'd like to share about this article or audiobook narration?
Looking forward to hearing from you,