Career Level: Mid-Level
What Do They Do?
Audiobook Producers bring the written word to life with the help of a voiceover actor. They take fiction and non-fiction books, and word for word recreate them for an audio audience.
The Audiobook Producer will record the narrator, checking that they’re reading it correctly, and also direct the performance, with pronunciation guidance, suggestions on how lines might be read, and insight into the text if required. They are expected to read through the text in advance, making notes about the characters, and looking up everything they may not know, from historical information to pronunciation of names and places.
During the recording, the Audiobook Producer will listen to the reader, marking up the text wherever there is a misread or other issue, and direct their reading; they will also keep across the recording levels and adjust as required; marking up edit points on the timeline of the recording; and making notes for the audio editor.
Who Do They Work With?
- The most important relationship an Audiobook Producer will have is with the voiceover actor (or) narrator. They make sure the actor is feeling confident and relaxed in the studio and may offer feedback on their performance.
- Audiobook Producers also work closely with authors, who sometimes narrate their own work, and if not, may be available to give advice about how the narrator should approach the text.
- They also work closely with Commissioning Editors, who decide which books are being recorded and who’s reading them.
- An Audiobook Producer may also work with an Audio Editor, who will work on the material that’s been recorded and make it a seamless, flawless listen for the audience.
What Skills Do I Need?
- Audiobook Producers are highly literate as this is a job that is all about words and their implications and possibilities.
- Audiobook Producers have a love and understanding of performance, and will know how to help a reader to get the best of themselves in the studio (knowing what it’s like behind the mic is handy).
- Audiobook Producers are tactful, with strong interpersonal
- Audiobook Producers need to be technically confident in a studio, and will have a working knowledge of an audio editing platform such as ProTools.
- Audiobook Producers are patient (audiobooks are a long format!)
How Do I Get This Job?
Some acting experience is really useful, or public speaking of some kind (although, audiobooks are completely different as a medium from any other acting job - they require a different skillset). A love of (and some understanding of) radio is useful.
Technically, it certainly helps if you’re comfortable with ProTools or any of the other standard digital audio editing systems, but that is less important than an innate sense of how words work best aloud, and how to make the reader relax and feel sufficiently reassured and supported that they can make that happen and be at ease as they do so.