Musings at the Mic
– BY SCOTT THOMAS
One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that audio can be a very powerful trigger for memories. Most of us at one point or another have heard a certain song that instantly catapults us back to a distant place and time. Well, audiobooks have had the same effect on me. After all…there’s nothing like a good story, well told.
An Avid Audiobook Listener
I always have at least one audiobook I bob in and out of just about every single day. That said, I guess you could call me an avid audiobook listener. Have been for over fifteen years now.
Every now and then, I’ll re-listen to an audiobook, and vivid memories from years gone by will flutter in my mind’s eye. Like listening to a particular Stephen King novel for the second time: I had moments that sent me right back to the time when I spent a weekend on a home improvement project while listening to that same audiobook. Bam! Memory trigger!
Or the time I listened to a Jonathan Maberry thriller while on vacation in the Bahamas. When I listened again years later, distant memories of aqua water and white sand were a welcome guest in my mind.
The Big Shift: Becoming an Audiobook Narrator
Years after becoming an audiobook listener, I decided to dive into the world of audiobook narration. I had two things going for me: I’d been listening to audiobooks for years, and I already had a background in voice overs. These two factors combined to give me a keen sense as to when a narrator is really engaged, or just going through the motions. If you’ve ever listened to an audiobook that made you laugh out loud, cry, get goose bumps or scream at the heavens – then most likely the narration was spot-on.
On the flip side, there have been stories I had to stop listening to because the narrator was. just. reading. the. words.
An excellent audiobook experience starts with the story. Narrators are tasked with telling the author’s truth. They have a responsibility to the listener to bring them into the story and keep them there. Authors and narrators, readers and listeners all understand the impact a good story can have.
A Narrator’s Legacy
There are very few genres of voice over that stand the test of time. Video game characters, animation and audiobooks are examples that will be around for generations. I consider these genres to be a voice actor’s legacy work. I’m honored and humbled by the notion that listeners, for decades to come, will become immersed in a story I narrated.
A story they can’t wait to get back to.
A story that makes drives more enjoyable.
One where every available minute is taken up – by diving back in.
A story that’s worth listening to again. And sparking a memory or two.
It’s just one of the joys we receive from audiobooks. Truly, the power of a good story, well-told…