Tag Archives: audible studios

Are You the Next Voice of Audible Studios?

ACX is proud to present our latest Audible Studios open casting call. This is your chance to audition for Audible‘s Grammy-winning producers and land an audiobook contract to voice one of two great titles! And as an added bonus, we’ve invited special guest Robin Whitten, Editor and Founder of AudioFile Magazine to aid in the selection process!

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Raiders! The Story of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is the wild, true story of two young friends who realized their impossible dream of remaking Raiders of the Lost Ark shot by shot, and how their friendship survived all the challenges the 7 year amateur film shoot threw their way. Robin and the Audible Studios producers will be listening for an engaging male voice who can bring out the adventure and ingenuity in this story.

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Female VO’s can audition for Counterclockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging. Author Lauren Kessler investigates the world of anti-aging, aiming to separate the hope from the hype. The result is a thoughtful, hilarious, and informative tale of what’s really possible when you get serious about taking charge of how well and how quickly you age. The ideal voice will be a smooth female who can express the thoughtfulness and straightforward scientific details in this story with a smile.

audible-logoThe contracts to record these titles have an estimated value between $1,300 and $1,595 USD  (£951 & £787 GBP), and the chosen actors will record these titles in their own home or professional studios, leaving the post production to Audible Studios.

In addition, this casting is an opportunity to build a lasting relationship with Audible Studios. Dawn Harvey, winner of the Sex and the Single Girl casting call, has found recognition and continuing audiobook work with Audible Studios:

Being cast as the narrator for Sex and the Single Girl brought recognition to my name among many narrators.  When I attended APAC last year, my name was familiar to so many people that I had never met. Subsequently, I was added to Audible Studio’s roster where I have since voiced 6 books for them, and was able to join SAG/AFTRA as a direct result.

Working with Audible Studios and their friendly, knowledgeable studio team is always a delight.  There is no doubt that booking Sex and the Single Girl has really made a difference to my career.

Visit ACX.com, and create a free account to upload an audition. Auditions are open Thursday May 1 – Friday May 16 at 12:00PM ET. The selected actors will be announced on or about May 28, right here on the blog. Full casting call rules and restrictions can be found here.

And The Winners Are…

Back in March, ACX and VO Atlanta 2014 teamed up to bring you our latest casting call. Dozens of fantastic voice actors auditioned for the chance to narrate stories from New Orleans Noir and Philadelphia Noir, and Audible Studios producers and Audible Editor-at-Large Susie Bright definitely had their work cut out for them picking the winning voices from such a talented group.

We’re thrilled to announce J. W. Wilburn and Raquel Lozano as the male and female actors cast for these reads!

J.W. Wilburn

Susie was impressed with J.W.’s ability to put himself into the time, place, and character of New Orleans Noir, saying of his audition:

J.W. has a beautiful voice, and he suited it to the period and place – turn of the 20th Century, Storyville era of New Orleans – with nice pacing. Valentin has to be a memorable character that you want to hear from again, and Jeff makes him come alive.

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ACX Actor J.W. Wilburn

We caught up with J.W. and got his take on the casting call and his advice for burgeoning producers.

How did you get into voice acting?

I first heard about VO when I was studying Shakespeare in Oxford back in the summer of ’99. One of my classmates was a voice actor in L.A. and said she thought I would be good at it. She put me in touch with a VO friend of hers in NY who mentored me over the period of a few years, and helped me find my first VO class and eventually produced my first demo.

What made you want to audition for this casting?

I’ve always been a voracious consumer of audiobooks ever since I was a child, but the opportunities I’ve had to audition for them have been few and far between. So when I heard that Audible was sponsoring this contest at VO Atlanta, there was really no question that I would audition.

How are you preparing to voice these stories?

I’ve read both stories once already with no intent other than to experience them as a reader. Now, I’m beginning to think about the various characters in the stories, who they are and what I think they look like, what they sound like and how they behave. I’ll be taking notes on each character based on what the authors say in the stories, which will inform the choices I ultimately make about how to voice them.

New OrleansWhat advice do you have for those new to voicing audiobooks?

Listen to as many audiobooks as you can! There are so many extraordinary narrators to listen to and learn from. As a beginner narrator myself, I will be drawing on the styles and techniques of narrators I admire to guide me through my first experience, and there’s no shame in that. As the famous saying goes, “Imitate, Integrate, Innovate.”

Thanks J.W.!

Raquel Lozano

Susie bright picked Raquel because of her versatility, saying of Ms. Lozano

Raquel nails it. I love the way she goes back and forth between the character’s life as a Method-studying actress and a cold blooded killer. Sociopath young female, please!

Raquel also took the time to share some insight on her career and tips for up and coming VO’s.

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ACX Actress Raquel Lozano

How did you find your way to the VO business?

I began my voice career as a singer. As a youngster, I always wanted to “do commercials” but I didn’t want to act in them – I wanted to “do the voices” in them! While I’d been singing very young, no one around me really knew anything about voiceovers or commercials. So after much digging and asking questions, I got my first chance on the mic in my senior year of high school. I was able to voice a commercial for a local community college, San Jacinto CC. I was hooked! The first time I heard myself on the radio, I was in heaven for a month. After many voiceover classes and some coaching, I secured an agent and began my journey into the voiceover world.

What made you audition to read these two stories?

Growth, opportunity, and a chance to bring a story to lifeLike any professional worth their salt, I  want to continue to grow and leave no stone unturned. I had done some volunteer reading for children and knew that I had a skill in delivering stories. I felt intimidated because I had never voiced an audiobook, so I knew I had to do it! I took a step back and remembered that I’ve studied singing, acting, and voice work for many years, and I felt I owed it to myself to test those skills in a casting like this.

PhiladelphiaHow did you prepare to voice these stories/characters?

For the audition, I read the pages of the story a few times without voicing at all. Since I didn’t have the whole book I then had to imagine what came next. I really was excited and knew this story was going to get good just from what I had. Then I voiced the audition script once, to just get it out. Next, I really took my character apart. Who is she, What does she want? There was so much emotion in the audition pages, it gave me a lot to work with. And I worked hard to put myself in her shoes, to almost become her, so to speak. I voiced it a few times, went away and came back until I got to the “voice bones” of who I thought she was.

What advice do you have for those starting out in the VO/Audiobook business?

Ask questions, get training, and listen to a lot of examples. We have the luxury of internet these days, so take advantage of it.

Look for New Orleans Noir and Philadelphia Noir on Audible this June!

Catching Up With The Casting Call

This January, ACX and Audible Studios teamed up to bring you our latest open casting call. The New Year, New Gig casting received hundreds of fantastic auditions and gave actors the opportunity to have their voices heard by Audible Studios’ team of industry-best producers.

41cMJ8sfmjL._SL160_Paul Heitsch is a regular reader of this blog – you can subscribe in the upper right of this page – and saw the announcement we posted at the beginning of January. Chatter about the contest in Facebook narrator communities further spurred him into action.

“After reading the script, I just took to it right away,” he says. “It’s a beautifully written book, and the characters are very vividly drawn. I just felt that I knew these people, and I know exactly how they sound when they talk. I attribute that, more than anything else, to being chosen for this book. I felt so comfortable in this material. That allowed me to give a really good read in my audition.”

Paul has wrapped production on The Game Player. Look for the book, and listen for Paul’s read, on Audible in March!

51cEANprFJL._SL160_ Amy Landon, the actor cast as the voice of Hidden Steel, was relatively new to ACX when she auditioned for the casting, having waded in with a number of shorter titles since the fall of 2013. She knows her strengths, though, and auditioned for Hidden Steel because it fell right in her wheelhouse.

She shared these words about her latest project: “Hidden Steel is in a style I work on a lot, and really enjoy and feel comfortable in. I do a lot of romance and in particular a lot of cheeky, saucy heroines. Hidden Steel definitely falls in that category, though I think with a bit more mystery, intrigue, and action thrown in. The book is super fun, exciting and funny!”

You be able to hear Amy’s read of Hidden Steel on Audible in April. Stay tuned to this space for information on our next open casting, in conjunction with VO2014 in Atlanta!

The ACX Narrator Knowledge Series: Editing & Proofing

We’re back with more production advice from the experts at Audible Studios. Today, ACX presents editing and proofing an audiobook the Audible Studios way.

In the video found here, Audible Studios Post Production Associates Darren Vermaas and Brett Lubansky cover basic editing and proofing techniques, providing audio and visual examples along the way. Editing is both a technical skill and a craft, requiring attention to detail and an understanding of the proper flow and pacing of a great sounding audiobook. If you’re taking notes at home, make sure to pay attention to the following topics:

  • Popular self-recording techniques and how they factor into the editing workflow
  • Recommended DAW and headphone options
  • Pacing of various genres of audiobooks
  • What to listen for when proofing your audio (aka the QC pass)
  • Resources for ensuring proper pronunciation of words
  • Proper methods for marking and reinserting corrections or “pickups.”

If you’ve still got editing questions, put them in the comments below and let your fellow readers help you out!

ACX Studio Gear Series: Home Studio Setup – Part 1

If you’re a regular reader of the ACX blog, you know we’ve been working our way through the list of items you’ll need for a professional sounding home recording studio. But what about the setup of the studio itself? Over the next few posts, we’ll be joined by expert and prolific producers from Audible Studios and ACX, who’ll offer their tips for the essential elements of home studio construction.

Today, we talk to ACX engineers, an author who built a home studio to narrate his own books, and our own Audible Studios staff about the importance of using high quality equipment and working with the noisy quirks of your unique recording space.

ACX: In your opinion, what are the most important elements of home studio construction?

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Peter A. Rohan’s Queens, NY home studio

Peter A. Rohan, ACX Producer: You’ve got to start with the right equipment. Use a “quiet” mic that gives you the best frequency results for your voice.  Choose an interface with a good preamp that provides quality analog to digital (a/d) and digital to analog (d/a) conversion and that will not introduce a lot of noise. A budget mic and inferior interface can introduce an amount of noise and contribute to your overall noise floor.  I found that out the hard way, after exhausting all my energies in soundproofing and absorption only to find that it was the cheap mic that I was using that was generating most of my noise floor.

Darren Vermaas, Audible Studios Post-Production Associate:  Definately don’t skimp on the equipment.  Using proper gear in the first steps of recording is going to make your life a lot easier in the end.  Besides saving you time in post-production editing out noises and trying to figure out how to bring your overall noise floor down, it will simply make your book sound more professional.

Rob Granniss, Brick Shop Audiobooks: Get as good a mic, headphones, preamp and DAW as you can. Then get to know them as well as you can. Compare them with every other reference possible, including your laptop speakers, your cellphone, your audio geek friend’s sound system, etc. Listen to the same source material on each and note differences. Listen to your own recordings on those sources, as well as professionally produced recordings (voice as well as music if you’d like). The comparison isn’t to find what you like or what is “true” but rather to find what’s missing or is too enhanced about your own setup.

The "Brick Box," Brick Shop Audiobooks custom self recording studio, in Brooklyn, NY

The “Brick Box,” Brick Shop Audiobooks’ custom “self-record” studio, in Brooklyn, NY

Peter:  Also, be wary of cooling fans and keep them away from your mic.  Avoid recording with your laptop near the microphone or anything else with a cooling fan that turns on and off as the temperature fluctuates.

Darren: Get away from noises. That ticking clock, running refrigerator, dogs barking outside your window at the loud trucks driving by, and (of course) that fan running in your computer are all potential hazards.  These are all real things I’ve heard come through in recordings here. The last example is one of the most important to consider.

You will discover a lot of things about your room while you’re setting up a home studio.  Noises you’ve never paid mind to are going to start jumping out, and you’ll have to figure out how to deal with them.  When I needed to record vocals in my noisy 5 story apartment building with window AC units, you could find me hanging packing blankets and winter coats in my closet, positioning a microphone in there, and sweating it out while recording to make sure it sounded good. Not glamorous, and not comfortable, but it did sound good!

Stephen Woodfin’s home studio

Stephen Woodfin, ACX Author/Narrator:

Without a doubt the single best thing I did was to read and study the information on ACX about what is involved in the process of setting up a home studio.  I found that information practical and concise and used it as a blueprint each step along the way. I supplemented the ACX material by watching YouTube videos about the construction of home studios. In addition to watching videos, I read blogs and bought several books that provided more in depth discussions of audio production and equipment.  From these books I was able to determine which equipment was essential for my purposes and which optional. I also learned that it wasn’t necessary to buy the most expensive equipment available because there are economical ways to build a studio capable of producing first-rate audio without skimping.

Check back with us next week for more for more expert discussion on home studio setup!

What do you think is the most important aspect of building a home studio?

The Chosen One

ACX/Audible Studios and Guy Kawasaki are thrilled to announce the casting of actor Lloyd Sherr as the voice of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. We received auditions from some of the best talent in the industry hoping to read Mr. Kawasaki’s comprehensive and inspiring guide to self publishing.

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The Voice of APE: Lloyd Sherr

APE is Mr. Kawasaki’s first foray into self publishing an audio version of his popular titles. “I was thrilled to have received over 350 auditions for APE. Ultimately, Lloyd’s audition really stood out to me. His audition brought out the approachability of the APE method, while still educating and informing. Lloyd sounds like he should be working for NPR, and I love NPR!” Said Mr. Kawasaki.

Mr. Sherr has been the narrator of the cable documentary series “Modern Marvels” since 2000 in more than 400 episodes, and is well known to children for his work in animation, such as Disney’s “W.I.T.C.H”, “Back at the Barnyard” and “Tak and the Power of Juju” for Nickelodeon; “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” for Cartoon Network; and as “Fillmore” in “Cars 2” for Pixar. He just completed narration on  the audiobook “A Reason to Live,” a detective thriller by Mathew Iden which is due out this month from Audible.

Mike Charzuk, Executive Producer/Sr. Director of Audible Studios, was impressed with Mr. Sherr’s efforts. Said Mr. Charzuk,From the sound quality to the performance Lloyd Sherr was pure professional perfection. Present in the text and conversational with his delivery, he added the gravitas needed, but with a light touch to keep the listener engaged. One of the best auditions I have heard in a very long time.”

You can listen to Mr. Sherr’s audition by clicking the play button below.

Mr. Sherr shared his thoughts on being cast for APE with us. “Being chosen to narrate APE is a major thrill for me. The book being written by Guy Kawasaki is a gigantic plus, and the fact that I would be paid to read something I would read anyway is really killing two birds with one stone. Writing a novel has always been in the back of my mind and this, I believe, is the book I’ve been waiting for.”

Production will begin immediately at Mark Kondracki’s Los Angeles based Outloud Audio. Look for – and listen to –  Mr. Sherr’s read of APE at the end of August on Audible!

Which book should be the next subject of an ACX/Audible Studios open casting call? Tell us in the comments below!

APE This: ACX and Guy Kawasaki Launch Open Casting Call

ACX and Audible Studios are proud to announce our latest open casting opportunity! Audible studios is seeking a dynamic narrator to perform Guy Kawasaki’s inspiring and comprehensive guide to self publishing, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. All actors are invited to participate by recording their read of the audition script and uploading it to ACX. Audible Studios and Mr. Kawasaki will select the winning audition and Audible will produce the audiobook immediately upon announcing the chosen actor.

Guy Kapeawasaki is the author of eleven other books, including The Art of the Start and Enchantment, and is the co-founder of Alltop.com, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web.

“I’m happy to be creating an opportunity to encourage entrepreneurial actors. I’m continually amazed at how many great actors are embracing this burgeoning art form and I can’t wait to listen to all the auditions that come in.” Said Mr. Kawasaki.

The audition text for APE can be found at www.acx.com/ape. In order to upload an audition you’ll simply need to create an ACX account. Auditions are open Monday July 22 – Monday July 29 at 5:00PM ET. After submitting your read of APE, browse our 2,900 + additional titles and find your next audiobook gig.  We can’t wait to hear your voice!

Do you think you have the perfect voice for Guy Kawasaki’s APE? Tell us why in the comments!

Announcing the 2nd ACX/That’s Voiceover Audiobook Narration Contest

ACX is pleased to bring you another great audition opportunity open exclusively to attendees of That’s Voiceover!

Anyone ACX_Contest_Logoattending That’s Voiceover in Los Angeles on August 17th, 2013 is invited to record an audition for for one of two titles currently listed on ACX. Male narrators can audition for The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green, while female narrators can read for An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. Upload your audition to ACX by August 14th, and a panel of audiobook experts, including Audible Studios’ Executive Producer Mike Charzuk will select one male and one female VO to narrate one of the two titles to be produced by Audible. Winners will be announced at That’s Voiceover! Click here for the official rules.

That’s Voiceover! is an exciting, interactive, behind-the-scenes career event where agents and industry buyers come together with some of the top voice actors in the voiceover industry to reveal the practical steps to establishing and sustaining a career in this rewarding and intriguing field.

We highly reclogoommend you attend this fun and informative event, and take advantage of the opportunity to audition and potentially read for Audible Studios. You never know where it might lead – just ask previous winner Shelby Lewis!

Register here, and use code ACX2013 for a 20% discount on attendance!

Let us know if you’re signed up for That’s Voiceover and plan to submit an audition by telling us in the comments below!