Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Voices That Bring Books to Life

Actors Today Don’t Just Read for the Part. Reading IS the Part.  (The New York Times, 6/29/2013)

I'm currently listening to Anne Tyler's "Noah's Compass", read by Arthur Morey.

The first audiobook I listened to, recorded on tape, was John Updike's "Rabbit Run", which was also read by Morey. When I decided to "reread" the Rabbit books, on CDs, a few years later, I was surprised to hear a different voice, that of George Guidall. It was jarring at first. To me, Morey's voice had become Rabbit's voice, though Guidall eventually won me over. Nevertheless, I'd find it difficult now to choose one voice over the other in what I once called the "Rabbit Wars".

The New York Times article opens with a brief biographical profile of Gabra Zackman, "a new kind of acting star", who has recorded more than 200 books, 17 of which are available in LINKcat.

As for compensation....

Excerpt:   As with other forms of acting, compensation varies according to fame. An unknown actor might earn a few thousand dollars for a book, while stars like Nicole Kidman, who recently narrated Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse” for Audible, can be paid in the hundreds of thousands.

A waste of money, I say.   (But then Amazon, I suppose, has plenty of money to burn.)

Casting marquee names in Broadway productions puts lots of fannies in the seats -- Tom Hanks in "Lucky Guy" being the latest example of this growing trend -- but I don't see it as a smart game plan for the audiobook industry.  (Wishful thinking alert?)

Related article:
When Words Sing.  (The New York Times, 5/13/2013)

1 comment:

Gerard said...

In my experience big name screen actors are usually lousy narrators. Narration is a different skill.

I quit listening to a Brooke Shields narration of THE WIZARD OF OZ. David Carradine did a poor narration of a Elmore Leonard novel.

However, Tim Curry did a great job with the SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS novels. So maybe I'm full of baloney.