We came across this blog post from Paul Allen Ruben, an award-winning producer and director of audiobooks. His blog, Audio Book Narrators, is well worth a read if you’re looking for insight into the approach and direction taken by those men and women who vocalize the written word for our enjoyment.
In this particular post, Ruben poses the question of how do audiobook narrators work – do they try and satisfy the listener or do they try and satisfy the author of the book.
Certainly, the author will have strong opinions on how their individual book is produced audibly. How does the written word come to life? What are the accents of the characters? Are they portrayed by the narrator as the author perceived or intended them?
Here is a snippet from the blog post…
I think what’s at stake is that narrators – particularly those who work alone, or with an engineer, or without the benefit of sub textual feedback from a director – may have a tendency to prioritize their vocal technique (ironically, especially if they are experienced, facile storytellers) over the author’s intent, rather than the reverse.
Why? I’m not sure. But I suspect that at least some of this desire is perpetuated by a kind of low hanging and tempting performance fruit: accolades and congratulatory notices from listeners and reviewers who mistake rock ‘em, sock ‘em energy for storytelling.
This is something to think about the next time you’re driving to work listening to a book. How much preparation went into the production of the book? How much direction was given from a producer/director or even from the author?
Listening to audiobooks brings great enjoyment. Narrators most often do wonderful jobs at bringing the stories to life. It’s interesting to get a better understanding of how they approach their work.