We recently traveled to Los Angeles for That’s Voiceover, where ACX leader Jason Ojalvo presented a panel about opportunities in audiobook narration, and explained ACX to the several hundred people who attended. Thanks to everyone in the audience for making it such a success, and thanks to actors Scott Brick and Jenna Lamia, who took part in the panel! We hope we illustrated the profound degree to which audiobook narration has become a viable and lucrative form of acting, and we’re hopeful we’ll have drawn a number of new audiobook performers to the craft as a result of the conference.
Our panel offered advice on how to break into audiobook narration, and described what abilities are required for the job. (Many professional narrators are people with serious acting chops who often have a theater background.) A great number of print and audio publishers have been producing audiobooks for some time and providing many narrators with work, but ACX can further benefit narrators and producers by surfacing more books to record and by offering direct connections to book rights holders. We also shared tips on how narrators, whether on ACX or working directly with publishers and producers, can prepare auditions that showcase their strengths.
We were also very excited to announce our ACX audiobook narration contest winners, Alex Hyde-White and Shelby Lewis. Lewis, chosen as best female performance, won the chance to narrate Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
Says Lewis, “I’m a huge ACX fan — from the website to the tutorials to the empowering concept behind the entire thing. With or without winning this contest, I knew ACX would be a huge factor in jumpstarting my career in voiceover.”
Lewis, who’s been studying acting since age 14, says her secret niche has always been voices and accents. But it wasn’t until this year that she realized voiceover and narration weren’t just a “cool section of acting,” but could actually be a career. Lewis credits her voice coach, Nancy Wolfson, for showing her how simultaneously flexible and lucrative the work can be. With on-camera work, you’re usually at the mercy of others, Lewis observes, but with voiceover, you can make your own schedule. And if you already have a theater background, narrating an audiobook can be like “a one-person show.”
Lewis will begin work on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in two weeks. In the meantime, she’s setting up her ACX narrator profile and hopes to get another ACX gig wrapped up in the interim, using a home studio she set up with the help of ACX video tutorials. “With ACX, you don’t have to sit around,” she says. Good luck, Shelby!