Last month, ACX and Audible Studios teamed up to kick off 2015 with an open casting call to find the voices for two Roxanne Conrad titles: Copper Moon and Exile, Texas. We received over 1,000 auditions, and it was no easy task for Audible Studios’ producers to select just two actors.
Kelley is an Audible Approved Producer who works out of Los Angeles and saw audiobook narration as a natural extension of her acting career. Author Roxanne Conrad raved:
Kelley just leaped out of my headphones with this story, and absolutely everything worked for me … the pacing, her voice, the great voice work that differentiated the characters so completely. I just loved the work.
We spoke with Kelly to get to know the voice behind the upcoming Copper Moon audiobook.
ACX: What compelled you to audition for Copper Moon?
Kelley Hazen: I was intrigued with the Copper Moon storyline immediately; I love music and the idea of possession and spirits. After I read the material provided for the audition I wanted to know more, I wanted to know where the story would go. If it is a story I want to pursue as a reader, I know I will enjoy narrating it.
From the business side, earning/winning an ACX/Audible Studios Open Casting Call title was the next ‘goal’ in my business plan. To work directly with Audible Studios is a great opportunity and I’m really excited about it.
ACX: What inspired your winning audition?
KH: Roxanne Conrad’s smart, funny writing inspired my read. She has a definite rhythm, a cadence to her writing. I knew I needed to embody that in my read. My impression from the audition material was that the winning narrator would be the one who most accurately captured Roxanne’s very specific ‘sound’. There is humor drawn directly from the popular culture, jokes that could only be delivered one way. I practiced those to make sure I had the correct rhythm. I marked up the script I read from quite a bit – like a piece of music. And I wasn’t afraid while I was recording to go back and re-record to get something just right.
ACX: What advice do you have for those new to voice acting or audiobook narration?
KH:The most important elements in your audio chain are your ears. Hone your listening skills. It’s important to ‘hear’ the author – not just word-to-word, but as an entity, as a total expression. What is the overall milieu they seek to create through their story as it comes to life through your sound? Listen to the quality of your voice. It should be a sound the listener will want to cozy up to for ten or more hours. Listen to the sound of your studio to make sure your recordings are exemplary and your background is silent and worth a listener’s time and money. And most of all, listen for your own authenticity and organic connection to the story.
Listen to Kelley’s winning audition below.
Jamieson K Price
Jamieson describes himself as a “Los Angeles-based actor who has worked around the country on stage, screen, and microphone.” According to Audible Studios Production Manger Kat Lambrix,
Jamieson has a great voice for storytelling, and he gave both of the characters in the audition script the perfect voices and intonations. His pace is just right, and his voice draws you in to the story, wanting to hear more.
ACX: How did you get into voice acting?
Jamieson K Price: I was performing in a play right after I finished grad school, and my leading lady was dubbing anime. She brought me into the recording studio and the director felt I had promise. That progressed to working with other directors and in other studios, which led to voice-acting in video games. At the same time I was starting a family and reading aloud to my children, which was wonderful practice. The voice acting provided a flexibility that fit in well with being a parent so I have really concentrated my acting there for the last ten years or so.
ACX: So you’ve done voice over work, but not audiobooks. What made you audition for Exile, Texas?
JKP: I have been interested in doing audiobooks for several years now, but haven’t really focused on it. I love reading, and the challenge of bringing words to life aloud is much of what we do as actors. The tone, the feel of the prose in my mouth, the life I could see in the characters, that was what really compelled me to give it a try.
ACX: How did you prepare to deliver this performance?
JKP: I read the copy and let it sink in, thought about the characters, then did a couple of reads to hear how it sounded. I let it rest for a few days, but continued to turn it over in my mind. Then I came back and recorded several more reads using different intentions and characteristics for the two voices to see what sounded most true. On my final read I tried to just relax, not push anything, and let the story tell itself, kind of get out of my own way. That read sounded honest and had the ring of truth, so I submitted it.
ACX: What advice do you have for those starting out in the VO/Audiobook business?
JKP: Take acting classes! It’s essential to being able to quickly access your emotions and expressing truth. We are all such unique individuals but all too often who we are becomes inhibited as we get older. Acting classes allow you to exercise your imagination, explore all the myriad parts of your personality and awaken truths you never knew you had.
Thanks, Jamieson. Check out his winning audition below.