By September 17, 2010 0 Comments Read More →

Production preparation = audiobook awesomeness

What do Harry Potter audiobooks and Odyssey Award Honor titles have in common? Solid team work that turns an outstanding text into an awesome listening experience through careful preparation. I had the pleasure of chatting with three audiobook pros about their role in creating the very best in literary listening: David Rapkin, director & producer of scores of outstanding titles, including the Harry Potter series; Paul Topping, the linguistic expert who handles research for Recorded Books; and narrator Katherine Kellgren, the voice of three Odyssey Honor titles. Each echoed the same theme: it’s what takes place BEFORE the recording booth mic is turned on that results in the very best audiobook experience. Read my entire Voices in My Head column “It’s on the Tip of My Tongue” on the BooklistOnline website for a fascinating peek inside the production process. Here’s a memorable quote from David Rapkin:

The audiobook director is a specialist. It doesn’t stop at pronunciations. You must give a sense of where the characters are from and the attitudes of the people at that time. The sharper a director can create the image of the book, the more enthralling and magical the experience is for listeners.

The next time you encounter a soul-stirring audiobook, remember to include the entire production team in your applause, from narrator and director to researcher and sound engineer. Even though their names may not be on the tip of your tongue, their talents are ringing in your ear!



About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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