Inside Production: Casting the Narrator

December 11, 2015

Growing up in Southern California, one of the luxuries I have been blessed with is to have a beautiful ocean nearby to go to at any time. San Diego has one of the most pristine coastlines in all of the U.S. and I have made frequent use of it through surfing. One of the unique things about surfing is that there are so many factors that come together to create good waves. There has to be swell (created by storms often days before and thousands of miles away), the tide has to be right (San Diego has tidal variations up to 9 feet), the wind has to be right (not too strong, and if there is wind, it must blow from the correct direction). When these things come together correctly, it can create a spectacular event – the waves are smooth, the weather is nice, the crowds are friendly – it confirms why you live in San Diego.

Casting a narrator is a lot like going surfing: there are many factors that come together to create a great experience. Because the narrator can have such a significant impact on a person’s ability to listen to an audiobook, finding the right one is very important. Every book has a ‘voice’, which is to say, it has a style and manner of communicating a point. Part of casting the narrator is finding someone who captures that style and manner of communication. For example, it would sound strange to hear a movie-trailer styled narrator read a book about improving your marriage. Or it would be strange to have a story about a young woman and have a gruff, older sounding voice narrate. One of the things I strive to do is understand what the ‘voice’ and style of the book is and narrow my list down to a few narrators who might fit that description.

Casting a narrator is a lot like going surfing: there are many factors that come together to create a great experience. Because the narrator can have such a significant impact on a person’s ability to listen to an audiobook, finding the right one is very important.

Secondly, you want to find a narrator who can apprehend the content. Most people can read a book out loud, but not all can read a book out loud well. Part of apprehending the content is ‘owning’ it – putting yourself in the shoes of the writer and saying it as if you were the writer communicating their point for them. A good narrator can draw out the author’s emphases so that you forget you are not actually listening to the author. Another part is understanding how to handle the nuances of Christian content. Christians want to support everything we do with what the Bible says and so we have many Bible references in our content. There are lots of names, places and terms that are unique to the Christian community (when was the last time you heard the news use a word like atonement?) and a good narrator will handle these deftly and with ease.

Lastly, you want to find a narrator who can give you a clean product. There are many difficulties to recording an audiobook that are a challenge for even the best narrators. From editing out mistakes, to ensuring that strange and distracting sounds are minimal to non-existent, to correct pronunciations – you are in a constant dance seeking to achieve this in an audiobook. We want the quality to be the best in the industry.

We here at christianaudio seek to put our full effort into making sure that each book has had ample consideration of these factors. Just like when I go surfing, I want to make sure I’m considering all the factors to find the best place to surf, so it is with finding a narrator. We want each audiobook to be top-quality, ensuring that you, the listener, have a great audiobook that you know has been well-crafted into an enjoyable listening experience.

Nate Paschall Production Manager

By christianaudio

For over 10 years christianaudio has been providing top-quality Christian audiobooks and Bibles. We promote spiritual growth by inspiring Christians to think about God, themselves, and the world