Acting to an Invisible and Silent Audience

April 12, 2017

IMG_2579Recording audio books is acting to an invisible and silent audience. Closeted inside a sound proof box it is just you, the text and the microphone. Every emotion, meaning and nuance written on the page before you, ever character, every ambiance intended by the author has to come from you and your voice. Not only are you the actor(s) you are the theater.

It is not just about understanding the authors intention or hopes for the work. It is also about what you can add as an actor to what is perhaps an already interesting or fascinating piece of art. And if it is not, you have to work even harder to add that interest.

So of course, I read the book, carefully. I record some pieces of it and ask for feedback. I record again and often the author will want a different emphasis, a different pronunciation, a stronger accent. Then we get into editing a track which is so long you don’t want to rerecord for one or two words needing attention. Thank goodness for modern recording software cut and paste tools. Even so, for an hour of recorded material there is usually at least another hour of editing and audio processing.

And then there are the special challenges. A book I am currently recording for Amazon and Audible.com is heavily larded with Hebrew words and phrases, and Israeli Army slang. Suddenly I am learning a new language. The author and I talk a lot about the book and his hopes for it and from this I get an inspiration of how to project those hopes through my voice.

And we voice actors do all of this in a small sound proofed closet like room. Acting to an invisible and silent audience. It is a serious challenge and I love and relish it.

My next audio-book is now available on Amazon and Audible.com. ‘The Private Life of Michael Foot’ is a biography of the leader of the British Labour Party in the 1980’s. The author, Carl E. Rollyson, is professor of journalism at Baruch College in New York City. He is the biographer of Marilyn Monroe, Martha Gelhorn, Susan Sontag, Dana Andrews and many others. He has been called ‘A Serial Biographer’.

If you have a book, a documentary, an announcement that needs a professional voice, I would be delighted to help. Listen to my demo tracks on my website and give me a call. The number is on the home page.

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One Response to “Acting to an Invisible and Silent Audience”

  1. Richard Norris said

    To be engaged in challenging, meaningful, and fascinating work that you are passionate about and for which you have great skill…well, that’s a beautiful thing. Congratulations!

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