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Monday, February 8, 2016

4 Qualities of a Good Audiobook Narrator

One of the biggest areas in the voice over industry right now is in audiobooks. Audiobooks have grown tremendously in popularity over the years, with more and more people enjoying the convenience of listening to books in their car, on the subway, or, really, anywhere they like.  It makes sense, then, that more voice over actors are being tasked with this kind of work. However, not every actor is suited for audiobooks, as narrators are expected to have a particular sound and style. Here are 4 qualities that the best audiobook narrators have in common:

1.    Authentic - Narrators must possess a certain level of authenticity so that readers can be truly immersed in the book. The sound must match the genre, the setting, time period, character, accents, etc. Without a match in these areas, the narration won’t be believable for listeners.
2.    Consistent - Consistency is key for audiobook narration. From the opening sentence to the final word, voice over actors narrating a book must maintain the same sound throughout. If different voices are used for different characters (and they usually are), those particular voices must remain the same for the length of the book.
3.    Engaging - What happens when you start a book and you just can’t get into it? You put it down, don’t you? The same is true for audiobook - if a listener isn’t engaged with the story, they’re going to turn off the sound and stop listening. The best audiobook narrators are the ones who can capture the attention of the listener at the very beginning, and then keep them engaged throughout the story.
4.    Articulate and intuitive - Like other voice over projects, audiobook work requires an actor to know when to pause, when to raise or lower their volume, which words to emphasize, and so on. Pacing is very important in an audiobook, as is tone, so having an intuitive understanding of what the story’s sound should be leads to the best audiobooks.

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