I thought I might write a few words on how my learning and thinking about narration technique has changed since I started down this road earlier this year. But first, some basics.
On commencing a project, a narrator has several priorities and obligations to meet. The way I see it, the narrator firstly is obligated to the listener, secondly the author, thirdly to him or herself and, last but not least, to the company publishing the audiobook.
The listener is the customer, the person handing over cash in one form or another, for an enjoyable experience, an experience that one hopes will transport them to an imaginary world. The end product has to be a professional, seamless experience, in which the narrator’s vocal performance does justice to the work of the author. It must not get in the way or distract the listener from the story. There are some narrators who could read a phone directory and still attract an audience, their voices being their fortune, as it were. We’re not all like that, unfortunately, and have to work that much harder at the craft (not that such pro’s don’t work hard, of course).
The narrator or audio performer is obligated to honour the author’s work and to perform it well. And it is a performance, in that the narrator takes the elements of story, atmosphere, mood and character and weaves them into an enjoyable listening experience. The author has already laid out these elements and the narrator must find them, interpret them and develop them for a listening audience.
Thirdly, the narrator cannot be satisfied with ‘that’ll do’. If the narrator adopts the attitude of an artist – becomes an artist – second best is unacceptable. It follows that, even though the narrator is starting from a low base point, he or she is obliged to move forward and acquire and develop skills and techniques, in order to fulfil their role.
Finally, the publisher has exacting demands on what is essentially a commercial product, so that it meets certain standards related to quality and technical consistency. A bad product reflects badly on the narrator, author and publisher.
So…big talk from a relative beginner like me, isn’t it? Yes, but I think it’s important to acknowledge these basics, as a framework on which to hang a nascent audiobook career.
Part 2 of this particular blog will follow as soon as I’ve completed my quota of recording and editing today, but if you wished to see some samples of this ‘nascent career’ please have a look at Audible or iTunes for my work. Links are shown below.
To be published this week:
On sale in December 2019 and January 2020:
The Last Roundhead – book 1 of the Sir Blandford Candy series, by Jemahl Evans. Books 2, 3,& 4 will follow next year.
Windrush – Blood Price – book 3 in the Jack Windrush series, by Malcolm Archibald. Books 4, 5 & 6 will also follow next year.