I am a full time Brit audiobook narrator – and a classically trained actor. Many years ago I went to drama school – I learned a lot and put it all into practice for the first fifteen years of my career treading the boards in theatres around the UK, playing roles ranging from ‘The Wicked Witch of the West’ to ‘Miss Julie’ and everything in between. Then I moved sideways into television as a presenter and producer and because I wasn’t using my acting skills on a daily basis, I got rusty. I returned to my acting roots a few years ago and began working in audiobooks and all that knowledge started swimming around in the back of my mind, but I wasn’t sure how to translate my training to narration or how relevant it was fifty years on.
Signing up with James for his ‘Fostering Characters’ course has brought all I learned all those years ago up to date and into sharper focus than before. I have learned to use my imagination more productively, to trust my instincts and to have the courage to follow them – to accept and build not only more believable characters, but characters with hidden emotional depth and spontaneous reactions to the situation they are in. All narrators know that often there is only the barest indication of a character as written by the author, but you can’t ‘play’ an indication. What makes audiobook narration more challenging than any acting role on stage could ever be is that as narrator you’re playing every role and every unique creation must be totally believable, emotionally honest, authentic and spontaneous within the imaginary world of that book. James helps narrators to find the way towards this goal so that you can create fully rounded, three dimensional characters even when the author has only given you a cardboard cut out to play with.
I recommend this course to rusty actors everywhere… and to narrators from different backgrounds who have no formal acting training or performance experience for whom it would be invaluable.