Our favourite sound editor Al Muirden blogs about what audio book producers actually do...
As I continue to work with audio book recordings in my capacity as sound editor and checker, I’ve become increasingly aware that the world of the audio book can be a very nice place to live. However, by the time I get the recording for editing, a massive amount of work has already been done by one key individual - the producer!
Following on from last week’s Q&A blog with producer Ali Muirden (a.k.a. The Missus), I felt it worth a bit of elaboration on some of the tasks of a typical audio book producer.
To recap, for those who may be unaware, the production of audio books is not quite as straightforward as you may think - and the producer is the one person around whom EVERYTHING revolves, so that we, as buyers/consumers/listeners, end up with something that does justice to the original written words…
The producer has to do an INCREDIBLE amount of preparation beforehand, here are some of the things (and this list is by no means exhaustive!):
. Read the book to be recorded, then (if applicable) read the abridgement of the same book - not all audio books are unabridged.
. Research pronunciation before the recording. This could be names of characters, place names, foreign words, medical terms - anything that could trip up the narrator when recording.
. Select a suitable reader/narrator - this can sometimes be the sole responsibility of the producer, or it can be done in conjunction with the author and/or publisher.
. Secure the services of the chosen reader/narrator and get a copy of the script to the reader so that he or she can prepare
. Organise recording studio time to suit everyone.
. Produce and direct! This part can be tricky, especially if the producer hasn’t worked with the narrator before; there is often a period of nervousness before everyone is settled - and the producer has to help the narrator do the best job he or she can – without being too intrusive (quite a balancing act sometimes).
. Finally, when the finished recording has been edited, it needs to be checked (again this is very often done by the producer) and any errors noted - these would then be corrected by a second edit and then - and only then - can the master copies be produced and sent to (you guessed it) the producer for the final OK.
So next time you're listening to an audio book, by all means admire the writing and the narration - but spare a thought for the producer too (he or she will appreciate it!). - AM