Lea Hensley (@lea_hensley) has written a Speaking of Audiobooks post titled, "Untrained narrators? I'm not interested" over at the All About Romance blog:
The blog post spawned an hours-long twitter convo in which a number of different people from the audiobook community (listeners, reviewers, narrators and producers) from all different levels of expertise participated. I've copied my own tweets down in this post, only editing out things like "YES!" or a reference to Highlander for which you kinda had to be there to get ;-)
Anyway, I see that Lea's blog will be hosting a 6 narrator panel in February to discuss "positive solutions - path to success" and I'm hoping that further on, she will hold a roundtable that includes producers/studio directors/casting agents.
At one point all the A-List narrators were untrained narrators.
If audiobook publishers never take a chance on someone, where are the future narrators to come from?
Yes, Big publishers do! Let's think about the past three months when the work flooded the studios. Experienced narrators were swamped bu the books had to go out. New voices had to be found!
We have to take chances all the time. Some work out and some do not.
You have to weigh the risk of the new talent vs the grade of the book
Meaning that you're not going to put new talent on a high-end book...
Absolutely, positively QC must be present. I think that's wehere the real issue lies from the user's/listener's end...
Just be a little bit more clear, the free market model of which a certain audiobook pub uses is factoring in the backlash. The risk is minimized is placing the bets on backlist titles.
Just for discussion's sake, ALL audiobook publishers make these decisions re new talent...
While not on a Goliath scale, the matrix of of price, availability & appropriateness along with the risk factor are all played out daily.
And too, what exactly *is* an untrained narrator?
There are no narrator schools and... workshops may introduce to the business but certainly aren't training grounds. ACting background is no guarantee either
So is it really about "training" as much as ongoing development?
And as a casting/studio director being able to identify potential?
I won't name names, but there have been artistic successes from narrators whose initial efforts were, quite frankly crap.You gotta know when to hold'em /fold 'em.
Ability to take direction = development. Once a narrator becomes concretized or resistant to direction, it's over.
But again we get back to getting the newbie in the studio to begin with!
The reason why actors are generally preferred is bc they understand things like direction, subtext and how an audience responds.
I often find voice over crossovers more of a challenge bc their direction is in regard to information being delivered in a short span rather than the long haul of a full narrative
... I view audio drama more akin to acting than voice over; but I was actually going back to what looks promising
I've often decried the extinction of studio directors from the audiobook industry. Now I'm witnessing the passing of casting agents...
No, I'm sorry but assigning audiobooks is NOT the same as casting.
Honestly, not for the better. It may serve audiobook publishers in the short run in terms of profits, but the backlash will not be worth it.