Showing posts with label narrators. Show all posts
Showing posts with label narrators. Show all posts

Friday, May 9, 2014

Other Publication: Comics Break the Sound Barrier

This article of mine was published last month in Publishers Weekly.  Here is an excerpt.

From Julian Fong.
"Superman was the first comic-book superhero to break the sound barrier, with the 1940s radio show The Adventures of Superman. Those old-time radio shows may be classics, but they don’t hold up against the audio dramas being produced today by two companies—GraphicAudio and the AudioComics Company. Both publishers create audio dramatizations of comic-book narratives, complete with full casts, sound effects, and musical scores.

Currently, GraphicAudio leads the way in terms of breadth of titles. The company celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and it’s been producing audio dramatizations of comic book novelizations for the last seven years. GraphicAudio has released about 30 recordings to date and plans at least a dozen more in the next year. Its first production was DC Comics’ Infinite Crisis, a two-part, 12-hour recording released in 2007, but in 2013 the company launched a Marvel Comics line, starting with an audio edition of Civil War, which was a finalist for the Audio Publishing Association’s prestigious Audie Award for Audio Drama last year."

For the full article, travel onto Publishers Weekly and read more!

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Other Publication: Sitting at the Grownups' Table: PW Talks with Ross Ballard II

Recent interview with Ross Ballard, a narrator, director and publisher of great audiobooks.

As producer, director, sound engineer, and narrator, Ross Ballard II wears many hats for his small, independent audiobook publishing company, Audiobooks. His most recent production, Screaming with the Cannibals by Lee Maynard, came out this summer, and I had the opportunity to talk with Ballard about the company and his experiences as a small publisher in the booming audiobook industry.

How would you summarize what Audiobooks offers?

Audiobook Narrator Ross Ballard
We consider ourselves a boutique audiobook studio that can spot the diamonds in the rough, undiscovered books that the large Oprah Book Club type publishers won't touch. We give voice to works that would never see the light of diction if it weren't for us. I'm constantly amazed at how many really good authors with good books are going begging for attention from publishers that don't appear interested in discovering new writers. They seem happy enough to just continually pound their audiences with the same genre and slap a known name on every book their selling...We record a different set of "night fighters" -- authors who toil away at their day jobs then burn the midnight oil creating wonderful characters and storylines. They are not artists starving for their breakfast. They are artists starving for attention....

For the rest of the interview, check out Publishers Weekly.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, November 9, 2012

New Column Series on Abbreviated Audio

So here is the beginning of a new series on Abbreviated Audio on the topic of audiobooks--which we all know I have a very big interest in.

I’ve been an avid fan of audiobooks since I was about fifteen and stumbled upon Star Wars abridgements in my local library.  I had already read the books, but that I could listen to them, brought this nerd one step further into the world of Star Wars (of which I could never get enough).  I soon discovered The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy BBC production.  That was the true game changer for me.  That’s when audiobooks got real.  In middle school, I had tried several times to read Hitchhiker’s Guide.  People told me that I would enjoy them.  I didn’t.  I couldn’t get it.  But then again, no one told me that the tone was what mattered.  Reading Douglas Adams’ work straight feels absurd, but not funny.  When one realizes that intent is absurdity and the tone is wry British humor; it becomes something else.  And that’s what the audio production gave me.  It brought the world of Douglas Adams into light and I fell in love with both the author and the form.

For the rest of the article, click on through to Abbreviated Audio.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Have You Heard About My Sordid Affair?

“That’s cheating.”  I hear it all the time, but I’m not listening.     And so what if it is?  I’m Rhett Butler and “I don’t give a damn.”  I’ve carried on with this illustrious affair for more than half my life now.  In fact, it’s been highly profitable and entertained me for thousands of hours.  It was a curiosity thing at first.  I simply flirted and fooled around.  But somewhere along the lines, it turned into something more; it got serious.  I never construed it as “cheating” because I believed this relationship afforded me something that I couldn’t get elsewhere at certain times and places in my life.  Quite honestly, it was a harmless endeavor that hurt no one directly and while it did on occasion cost me some money to add some gadgets to the mix, it worked out best for everyone in the end.

Audiobooks--My Kryptonite

I’m talking of my love for audiobooks of course.  Those hard-to-pinpoint products that some insist on as “it's not reading” while others swear (including Stephen King) by it.  While it is aurally-oriented instead of visually oriented, the fact remains, processing the story still takes place and is influenced by a range of factors within the text (such as font size/type, book format—paperback, hardcover, etc—pictures, layout, chapter header designs, etc) all of which color (sometimes literally) what we experience in reading.  Similarly with listening incurs a range of factors from the narrator to the sound quality to the format (CDs, cassettes, MP3s, etc) that influences how one hears.  But at the end, both have experienced the story.  That becomes the central piece here.  The idea behind reading is to experience the story and in both cases, that occurs.  Of course, the argument is that a reader analyzes it better than the listener, but that’s only because we have been more trained to be cautious and aware of reading nuances.  A well-verse listener could also making all sorts of insights about a piece he/she listened to (in fact, currently working on an article for a book, doing just that).  (Note:  By and large, I’m talking here about unabridged audiobooks which translates the text word for word—mostly: usually, it skips footnotes, maps, and other supplemental material).  Ok—that part of this rant is over.

So what moves me with audiobooks?  Many consider them a snore-fest or feel they “can’t get into them.”  Of course, their experience usually consists of listening to one and deciding to be done with it.  Rather silly.  If that were the case with reading, very few readers would exist.  The fact is, just like we can “see” well before we can read, we also can hear, well before we can listen.  For many, listening to audiobooks should be a gradual process in which they figure out a few different things about their listening preferences.

1.  Place.

 If you sit down to listen to an audiobook in your living room with nothing else; you most likely fall asleep.  This ISN’T because the narrator is boring.  This has to do with the fact that in a quiet space with someone reading to you without any other stimuli, is a natural invitation to sleep (after all, for many of us our parents read us stories for bed and even if they didn’t, the idea of a voice in a peaceful environment probably has some correlations to our existence in the womb).  Not all places will work for people but some of the most popular include while doing chores, commuting (by car, legs, or public transportation), or even while waiting in line or running errands like grocery shopping.  For many, like myself, the goal is to use audiobooks when my body (but not necessarily my mind) need to be engaged.

2.  Genres.

Not everyone likes every genre and more importantly, genre interest does not always cross forms.  People who like to read science-fiction may abhor science-fiction films.  People who enjoy chick-lit maybe be repulsed by the “chick flick”.  Realize that you’ll enjoy certain genres in one form that you might not elsewhere. 

3.  Narrative format.  

Some people love single-voice narrators, others like multiple narrators within a production, and still some prefer male over female narrators.  These  too can sway your interest for the book and it takes some time, trial, and error to determine what you like.

4.  Audio format.  

If I can’t get it in (or put it into) MP3, I’m immediately not a fan of it.  The reason is because for me, it’s easier.  Given how much I listen, I would rather have a CD with 700 MBs of MP3 audiobooks (about 30 hours) instead of an audio CD (with a measly 80 minutes) and we won’t even talk about how many hours my mp3 player has. 

There are other facets for gaining audio-literacy but maybe that’s for another post.  Hopefully, it is sufficient enough for people to realize and ponder their listening-literacy.    I want to get back to why I love audiobooks.  See, many people confuse listening to audiobooks for being lazy.  But many of the audiobook addicts I know, it has nothing to do with this.  The fact is, I listen to audiobooks because I love stories.  Many of my friends have heard me say this and it’s still true (thousands of audiobooks later).  I don’t listen because I hate reading.  I listen, because I could spend EVERY WAKING MOMENT of my life reading all the books in the world, and by the time I died, I still wouldn’t have gotten to half of the books that I’ve wanted to cover.  So, audiobooks allow me an excellent avenue to get exposure to that much more knowledge and more stories.  In doing so, it has also introduced me to a great many narrators whom I’ve gotten to interview or just admire from afar, including Scott Brick, Stefan Rudnicki, Alan Sklar, Barbara Rosenblat, Grover Gardner, Simon Jones, Phil Gigante, Jim Dale, and William Dufris, among many others.

It’s also worth noting that there are hundreds of thousands of audiobooks available.  It used to be hard to acquire them but nowadays, between extensive library networks, digital download sites such as and iTunes, communal efforts (like the great folks at Librivox) and other resources (legal or pirated), provide for an abundance of listening for anything you’re interested in.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Behind the Mike: Simon Jones

My interview with Simon Jones in Library Journal:

With over 30 years of film, radio, television, and theater experience, Simon Jones ( has moved many an audience with his clear, distinct, British-accented voice and often deadpan delivery. An audiobook narrator since 1986, he has recorded over 60 titles, many of them Audie Award nominees and one—Mitch Cullin’s A Slight Trick of the Mind (HighBridge Audio, 2005)—a winner of that award. Among his most recent recordings are Daniel Ariely’s The Upside of Irrationality (HarperAudio) and Robert Harris’s Conspirata (S. & S. Audio), both released in 2010.

Eaton:  What have been your favorite audios to record to date?
Jones:  Jonathan Stroud’s “Bartimaeus” books: The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, Ptolemy’s Gate, and [the prequel to that trilogy,] The Ring of Solomon (Listening Library, 2004–10). I have really enjoyed relishing the role of Bartimaeus, evil demon extraordinaire. Stroud has created a fascinating alternative world where magic and the spirit world have real and corrupting power. The books are also funny as hell (or wherever Bartimaeus lives when not being tormented by his masters).

To read more, check out Library Journal for the full interview.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Interview in Library Journal: Stefan Rudnicki

Behind the Mike: with Stefan Rudnicki, October 15, 2010

LJ reviewer Lance Eaton, who last interviewed Barbara Rosenblat (LJ 5/1/10), talks to the Audie Award winner

By Lance Eaton Oct 15, 2010

In the past 16 years, Stefan Rudnicki has produced, directed, and narrated over 2000 audiobooks, several of them Grammy and Audie Award winners. His deep, gravelly voice can be heard across a wide range of genres, though he is perhaps best known for his narration of sf titles. His latest recordings include Harry Sidebottom’s King of Kings (Oct. 1) and I.J. Singer’s The Brothers Ashkenazi (Oct. 19), both from Blackstone Audio.

How do you prepare for narrating a new book?

Because I average a book a week, there’s obviously no time to read every word prior to recording. In fact, I’ve found that on those occasions where I have studied the text fully, a kind of spontaneity is lost. [So] over the years I’ve developed a method of scanning a book for a few key types of data.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Behind the Mike: Barbara Rosenblat

LJ audio reviewer Lance Eaton, who has previously interviewed narrators Alan Sklar (LJ 3/1/09) and Scott Brick (LJ 10/15/09), talks to the multiple Audie Award winnerBy Lance Eaton -- Library Journal, 5/1/2010

Actress/singer Barbara Rosenblat, described by one audio reviewer as "a boundless vocal changeling" (LJ 2/15/06), is an enthusiastic narrator whose performances continue to impress listeners. She's won six Audie Awards to date—more than any other female narrator—and was nominated for several more this year. Her reading of Miep Gies's Anne Frank Remembered (Springwater: Oasis Audio) was anLJ Best Audio of 2009. Among her latest recordings are Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog (HighBridge Audio, Mar.) and Elizabeth Peters's A River in the Sky (Recorded Bks./HarperAudio, Apr.).

You've recorded over 400 audiobooks. What appeals to you about the medium?
It's the most wonderful, intimate, primal medium out there, which is why radio is still successful.

What do you mean by "primal"?
[Think of the experience of] being read to as a child. Those soothing voices that you learn to rely on for comfort, information, protection, and for being a part of something greater than yourself; that all translates into good audio.

Which has been your favorite book or series to narrate?
Why don't you ask me who my favorite child is! I've done it all over the years, in so many genres—great and fabulous pieces. Because I enjoy the process so much, each new project offers a different set of challenges.

For Zadie Smith's thoughtful essay collection Changing My Mind(Recorded Bks./Penguin Audio, 2009), for example, I had to channel her voice and intent in this extraordinary array of discussions about Nabokov, Obama, movie reviews, David Foster Wallace. Each new book…brings me that challenge, which I embrace most of all.

How do you prepare for that challenge?
I watch TV, go to the movies, listen to the radio. I need to hear all the voices, terminology, and conversations that are out there, swallow up as much information as I can [in order to] bring my A game [to the studio].

Anything else?
I try getting in touch with the author, to make a connection between myself as the recording artist and what the author's intent is, and I work at really absorbing the book, page after page.

[But] even once I've figured out my whole audio landscape and [think I] know what's going to happen, I get into the studio…that silent place with the machine recording, and another kind of magic kicks in that introduces [unexpected] little changes as I go.

What's currently on your agenda?
I just finished recording Neta Jackson's Where Do I Go? (Recorded Bks., May 19)—it's pulp fiction-Christian-chick lit. [Soon], I'll begin recording Eudora Welty's short stories for Audible and then will fly to L.A. to do [some] live audio drama. Then it's the Audies in May and the National Audio Theatre Festivals in June. And I shall get some sailing in along the way, I hope.

Any message to your many fans?
I am so thankful to all who write to and weigh in with their thoughts on my work. I might even consider Twitter, if I can figure it out!