Audiobooks are different, though. I love audiobooks. I love recording them. I love editing them. I am big enough to admit that I like hearing the sound of my own voice-- when it’s done right anyway. And I love listening to audiobooks. (yes, I do mean other people’s work, give me a little credit). I love the craft, listening to the actor bring life to the story. Given the choice between music and a book in the car, I will almost always pick a book.
The reason I decided to embark on audiobook narration stemmed from a car ride where our family listened together to an audiobook of the children’s story Mercy Watson. That narrator created exactly the right voice for the policeman in the story, a stiff, bumbling character who repeats variations of the line “Have laws been broken here? Yes.. laws have been broken here.” It was so hilarious that we walked around the house repeating our own variations of the line the rest of the day, “has milk been spilled here? Yes… milk has been spilled here.” If you don’t get the full essence of the scene by reading it here, then I rest my case.
Something inside me determined that day that I wanted to be a part of that kind of creation.
Reasonable people will disagree, of course. People like to read, prefer to hear the story in their own mind. I respect that, but to me, hearing the book is like hearing music. If it’s well written, and if the narrator has talent, then the product is greater than the sum of its parts, same as in a well-written, well performed piece of music. The story absorbs the listener.
That’s been my experience anyway. I am interested in what others think. In my highly biased opinion, everyone should try at least one audiobook (audible.com will give you a free month, BTW). For the sake of my bread and butter, you should listen to one of mine. But, whatever you listen to, you should give this medium a fair shake.
I can’t think of a scene that was more fun to record, edit and listen to than the one below from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Actors resonate with different material to different degrees. When I finished recording Tom Sawyer, I felt like I could go on reading Mark Twain forever. This is the scene where the boys (Tom, Huck, and Joe) have marooned themselves on a deserted island and have decided to try smoking. For the very first time. Listen and enjoy.