So, you want to be a narrator and think you have what it takes?
It’s a performance where every word is important
Read, Interpret. Analyse. Emphasize.
Read this Self-auditioning test:
- Pick a book from your library shelf.
- If you can, record yourself to hear it back at the end of the days read.
- Note your start page, set your timer for one hour
- Stand up or sit down, and Go! Read out loud for one full hour
- Stop recording, mark page. Note how many pages were read.
- Take a refreshing 10 minute break.
- Repeat for 3 consecutive reads. One hour each time.
- Note: Number of pages read. Your time it took to read those pages, flaws and all. Your enthusiasm and energy level – did it fluctuate, did you sound tired by the end?
- If you are still eager, repeat this for 5 straight days. Recording alone can take weeks in the studio.
- For self-publishers and self-narrators (with in house recording studios), editing, formatting for uploading can take up to triple the recording time.
- Did you make the cut?
- Are you happy with full five days reading, did your voice still sound the same in characters for the entire 5 days (15 hours of first read).
- Be truthful
- Be kind to yourself.
- Would you pay that voice to narrate your book?
Recommended training: Voice classes in speaking, not singing. Acting classes – Theatre/stage actors make excellent narrators.
Repeat: Read, Research. Interpret. Analyse. Emphasize.
Tips for new narrators
- Research the book and know about the author.
- Read the book. A must! Highlight sentences that have the quote first, then ‘he whispered’, she shouted’ after the spoken sentence. If you don’t read and know the direction before recording, well, all is lost.
- Practice any words you find difficult and the accents required, ensure they are the right accents for that characters location.
- Look up any unfamiliar words, know their meaning in the context.
- Look up place names and foreign words to pronounce correctly. Hello Google audio pronunciations.
- Before starting to record read the book and take notes, ask the author any questions you have, sometimes this might involve talking to the author by phone or email to make sure you are both on the same page.
- At the recording stage, remember time is money.
- Editing. Publishing houses have their own in house sound engineers and editing experts, they edit the files to eliminate the mistakes and any excess background noises. The author or proof-listener has to listen to the files and see if any corrections are needed and the narrator will need to provide corrections. Yes, back to the studio.
- Depending on how involved the author is, those corrections can be extensive or fairly minor, ranging from getting a word wrong to re-recording an entire chapter because the tone wasn’t right.
Independent Narrators. Self-recording, editing and producing the final master may take weeks and months. Consider your payment, you are generally paid for each hour of the final production, what the public buys. Ensure you understand the hours you have invested VS the pay is worth it for you.
Do’s and Don’ts when in the recording studio
Independent narrators: have a sound proof recording studio when working & recording from your home to eliminate all and any background noises.
When recording in professional recording studios…
- Do bring your own food and drinks to keep up your energy levels
- Do stay still for the microphone, sit or stand. Choose one for the entire session.
- Do take your favourite lip balm, you too men folk! No dry or cracked lips.
- Do try not to go out the night before, do not strain your voice, rest those vocal chords.
- Do wear noiseless clothes, not polyester or nylon. No static thanks.
- Do wear the right clothes to be comfortable in the studio – heated/air conditioned
- Don’t consume any alcohol or drugs before a read
- Don’t eat or drink phlegm causing foods before a read e.g. All dairy.
- Don’t take your mobile into the studio
- Don’t wear jewellery, necklaces, bracelets, ear rings that move, watches that tick. Anything that rattles, coins in your pockets. Reading glasses on a chain, check that they don’t add to background noise in the recording studio as you move.
- No drinking “burpee” drinks or food before recording
- No eating foods the night before or for breakfast that give you gas. Not cool.
- No smoking before a read – does your vocal chords no good at all.
- Stamina: see self Auditioning test.
Attn: Narrators looking for work producing audio books for Australian authors please contact us if your are an experienced narrator or storyteller interested in reading audio books by Australian authors.
Actors in film, stage and theater who have experience in recording studios, please contact us if you would like to read/produce an audio book.
Australian celebrities, singers, entertainers, hosts and comedians please contact us if you are interested in reading for an audio book, and, if you have a favorite author of a special book and you would like us to approach, please let us know. Give us a call to discuss the genre’s you prefer.
We match you with the author or rights owner. And vice a versa. That’s what we do.
We do not supply or make public any confidential, personal or contact information of any authors, narrators or clients.