Recording Audio Books....fun...exciting...weird?
Updated: Mar 12, 2020
As I've stated previously, my main thought process in entering the world of Voice Over work was with a focus on recording books. To date, I've completed about 20 books over the past 7 months. For the most part, the books have been a lot of fun and most are really interesting. The part I enjoy the most is having the ability to create voices for different characters. While the authors generally provide a direction that they want the narrator to travel on, the most of the creativity is left to the narrator. This is where a love for acting really pays off.
The very first book I received an offer to complete was from a comedian. Of course, since it was my first book, I was extremely excited. What I did not realize at the time, was.... prior to accepting an offer, one should probably preview the book, find out the type of content and determine if it is something that you are comfortable reading/performing. Since it was my first offer I jumped on it! Received instructions/direction from the author and jumped right in! I even ordered the book online because the author took to long to send the manuscript! When I received the book and read it, it was truly hilarious.... however, there were parts of the book that I was VERY uncomfortable reading - let alone recording! Since I'd already accepted the offer (contract) I felt obligated to complete the book. So I did. The entire time I recorded the book I felt troubled and uncomfortable with some of the content. Often times I considered just contacting the author and backing out of the contract....but, I gave my word...so I pushed through to the end. The book took numerous hours to record/edit (another lesson I learned the hard way) and I finally prepared the product to send to the author for review. Of course, prior to all of this there is the requirement to send the first 15 minutes of the book to make sure that the author is happy with your sounds and the selected voices. I did this portion quickly and sent it to the author immediately. No response. I pushed ahead and finished the rest of the book. I sent a few emails to get feedback from the author but to no avail. Once I had the book completed I reached out again to submit everything. The author finally responded to let me know that he had been sick for over a month. He informed me that he was not happy with the first submission (extremely hard to hear after having completed the whole book....). I submitted a different chapter with the hopes that he would like it better...he did not. Of course, at this point I'd already received and accepted two or three other book offers and was in the process of working on them. I simply informed the author that since he hadn't gotten back to me for over 6 weeks, I'd already completed the book and it took waaay too much time to start over a this point. He did offer to pay for my time for working on the book, but I declined and just deleted the book. LESSON LEARNED!!
Of course after it was all said and done, I am happy that the recording was never submitted/published because of the content of the book. I would have forever regretted having my name attached to something with that type of content. So, fortunately & unfortunately my first book did not meet the author's focus/desire. Since then each of the authors I've worked with have been outstanding. Most of them give freedom to be creative with the voices, roles, etc.
Another trial I have dealt with quite a bit is recording books that were obviously translated from a different language into English. For those who don't realize it....English is probably the most difficult language to learn because of the tons upon tons of different words that have multiple meanings. So... translating from a different language into English does not work very well. It is extremely difficult to read text in English that is incorrectly written. It'd be one thing if "slang" were used or even poor English...but with a translation, most of the time the sentences really don't flow well - and for the most part sound completely crazy. I did address this with an author and was informed that they realized that it wasn't perfect but preferred that it be read as is.... If I am nothing...I am compliant.
I just finished one of "those" books on Saturday and am now in the heart of a new book that is extremely exciting! These are the books that I get really excited about and have fun with!
Until next time!