Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Narrator Laurel Schroeder shares the "other" side of audiobooks

Welcome to Laurel Schroeder, narrator of the audiobook of my novelette, JAGUAR HOPE. I didn't want to pass up a chance to get "insider" information about doing audiobooks from the "talent."

With an MFA in acting and a BA in Theatre, what is the next step in your acting career? The next step for me is putting those degrees to good use! As an actor, the training I've had has been an invaluable part of shaping who I am as an artist. I like to think of creativity as a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. My graduate program was very intensive, and definitely strengthened my creative muscles! I also got a lot of vocal training in school, which is infinitely useful in recording audiobooks.

What advice would you give authors about how to solicit auditions for their book? For instance, ACX gives choices such as female/male/male reading as female, Spanish/British accent, brooding/storytelling/etc. Some of those categories are a lot easier to sort through than others. It's pretty easy to decide if you want a male or female voice for your book, or if you're open to either. Same with accents -- you pretty much either want one or don't, depending on where your book is set. But the 'vocal style' category is a little trickier. I think of it as a jumping off point, or a way to help the narrator understand the main tone of the book. But it always seems to me that a well written story will require a number of different vocal styles!

$4.86 at Audible
SAMPLE available
You've produced a variety of audiobooks -- from nonfiction to genre, short stories to full-length. How do you choose which books to narrate? I really just look for work that is well written and interesting to me. As a narrator, I spend a lot of time with whatever project I'm working on at the moment, so the process is much more enjoyable if it's a book that I love! Jaguar Hope has such an interesting story, I was really intrigued after reading the sample Teresa posted on ACX. I partly hoped I'd get the job just so I could find out how the story ended!

How long does it take you to produce an audiobook? It takes about 6-7 hours for me to complete one hour of finished audio. That includes recording (sometimes multiple takes of tricky passages), editing, and mastering the audio. It's time consuming, but I'm really happy working as both narrator and producer of the audiobooks I've done on ACX. I get attached, and I have very high standards, so it's nice to have my hands on all aspects of the project, rather than passing it off to an editor. 

LAUREL SCHROEDER graduated from the MFA Acting program at the University of Houston. 

In the summer of 2012, she worked with the Peterborough Players in New Hampshire, where she played Jo in Little Men and Agatha in The Admirable Crichton (for which she received a New Hampshire Theatre Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress). At the University of Houston, she recently appeared as Masha in Three Sisters and Scilla in Serious Money.

After graduating, she joined the cast of Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club at The Alley Theatre in Houston. 

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