Award Winning Fantasy with a Twist!
My brother Sam recorded most of the Giovanni In Med School series, but life has a way of interrupting the best laid plans, so I turned to Findaway Voices’ new Marketplace for help.
Meet Kyle Adams whose sharing his experience and insights on audio today –
How did you end up doing narration?
Ten years ago I started voicing characters in parody YouTube videos, and I was terrible. No training, poor script, and yes, I was using a headset microphone. After years of piddling around with this ‘acting,’ I took an interest in audiobooks. I decided to test myself.
One of my favorite stories is a web serial called Pact, by author Wildbow. Pact is nearly one million words long, or nearly as long as the entire Harry Potter series. If I could narrate the entirety of Pact in podcast form and still want to record afterward, I must like it, right?
It took a long time. I learned a lot about acting, figured out how to streamline my recording process, and I finished the Pact Audiobook Project. I liked it. I’ve recorded ten books in the short time since finishing the project, and that number is climbing quickly.
What draws you to it?
I love to read. I love to talk. I love to act, to put on voices and make people laugh, cry, or recoil in fear. I love stories, and love seeing and hearing them brought to life in any form of media.
Really, every part of narration draws me in, but what really gets me back in that booth is seeing it all come together for the reader. Every time someone listens to one of these books, it means I got to share a wonderful story with them. And if there’s anything better than experiencing an amazing story, it’s sharing it with other people.
Is there any aspect of your job that spills over into your personal life?
Well, I record at home and I have a wife and two daughters, so sometimes it’s a little difficult jumping into my sound closet for hours on end! Generally I’m able to balance things pretty well, as I would be reading books and taking alone time either way. But if I get a cold at a bad time and my schedule gets thrown off, I’ll turn into a hermit for a few days afterward to catch up.
Which character voice would you consider your biggest influence?
Gosh, can I say my own? When I’m voicing a book, I want the narrator or point-of-view character to sound pretty close to me, so I can give him my full range of emotion. It’s hard to say that any one character I’ve listened to affected me more than another, as I consume a wide variety of voiceover-based media.
Which real person would you consider your biggest influence?
Travis Baldree. It’s not just that he’s one of my favorite narrators (he is) or that he narrates one of my favorite book series (he does). But the guy was a software developer, like me, and he pursued another passion in Narration. And just this year the guy puts out a novel as well!
I’m encouraged by people who set out and do whatever they set their minds to.
James Marsden, Michael Crouch, and Ray Porter are all fantastic narrators as well, and these four are those I’ve listened to most.
What was the hardest part of this project and how did you manage it? (yes, you can say me!)
Well, Giovanni Rests In Pieces has a lot of voodoo words in it from African and Cajun cultures, and I had no experience pronouncing them. The first meeting with Mama Nene had my tongue tied in knots! I had to slow down and Google a bunch of stuff, and in some cases, just go with what worked best.
What part did you enjoy the most?
Definitely the comedic parts. I read a lot of dramatic books, and managing the comedic timing of Giovanni getting caught in the elevator door was just some fantastic slapstick! You can almost hear the grin on my face.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to try narration?
Pick a book (not your favorite book either, just a random one), go sit in a closet, and then pour your heart and soul into narrating it for at least an hour or two. If you don’t know how to pronounce a word, stop and look it up. If you flub a word or the sentence sounds weird, redo the sentence. Try your best to sound engaging. Then the next day, do it again. Then the next day.
If this still sounds like something you want to do, I recommend recording yourself for real using something copyright free, then find a vocal coach online to work on your acting and diction. Put in real effort to learn, and you can go places!
What projects do you have in mind going forward?
I’m still working a desk job and seeking a master’s degree, so I only work narration intermittently right now. I do intend to stick with narration and take on whatever comes my way, bringing my best to the table! I do hope to voice a full-length novel series someday though – that would be a lot of fun.
Hear an audio excerpt narrated by Kyle Adams!