First time narrators and especially first time author/narrators are often unaware of how challenging narrating an audiobook can be. Many enter the booth ready to read, and quickly learn that the process is not quite as glamorous as they had imagined. Long hours in a small space, reading and listening on headphones, sitting still, eyes fixed on a page, the fun wears out quickly for the unprepared first timer.
The following is a Guide for First Time Narrators. Anyone who is about to enter the studio for the first time will benefit from this advice.
One of the first things you will need to know is what you will be reading off of in the studio. We recommend reading off of an iPad/eReader. If you must read off of a printed page, it has to be single sided and unbound. The reason for this is to prevent page noise from being recorded.
It is critical that you prep the material before your session. This means going through the entire book and having a plan for how you are going to read the material. You should ask yourself the following questions well in advance to your first recording session:
- How will the narration be voiced?
- How will the quotations and any dialog be voiced?
- Will you need to establish character voices?
- Can you pronounce all of the names in the book?
- Can you pronounce all of the words and terms in the book?
- Are their any charts, graphics, or anything else that might be challenging to narrate?
- Take a couple of hours to practice reading the book out loud as if you were recording.
- Use whatever eReader or printed manuscript you will be using in the studio and make sure you are comfortable reading.
- Use your phone and record a voice memo and listen back to what you sound like.
- Pay attention to your breathing. It’s important to have metered, controlled breaths throughout the recording.(take a look at our post The Importance of Breath – 5 Tips for Improving Your Breathing While Narrating for more on breathing)
Day Of Your Session
Now that you’ve prepped and practiced you feel ready and confident for your recording session. There are just a few last things to think about on the day of your session.
- Are you sick, congested, coming off a cold, or otherwise not at 100% to perform? DO NOT have your session today. This is something we cannot stress enough.
- Wear clothing that will make the lease amount of noise.
- Bring snacks that won’t gum up your mouth. Eating apples is supposed to be good for preventing mouth noise. Room temperature water with lemon is always a favorite.
- Make sure you have your ipad/ereader or printed manuscript ready to go.
Relax, take a deep breathe, and enjoy the process! If you follow this guide you should be prepared for your session.