Monday, February 06, 2023

An Interview with Alan Manson

Welcome audio book narrator, Alan Manson

 Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?       

I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, but moved to the US about 7 years ago after marrying an amazing American woman. We just celebrated our 10th anniversary . When I was young, I was super shy. It took a long time to get over that. I am definitely a late bloomer, but as they say, better late than never 😊


How long have you been an audiobook narration?

I have been narrating audio books for about 2 years, so still a relative newbie. Trial of a Warrior, by Mary Morgan, was actually my first audiobook narration, and the first audiobook that I ever auditioned for.


How did you get into audiobook narration?

When I first moved to the US, people kept telling me how much they loved my voice, so eventually I decided to try my luck at voiceover. I started doing some research and soon found that I knew nothing about the industry, and that there was a lot to learn. But I persevered, took some lessons, and started trying out with auditions. I had heard about audible and found out how to audition for them. That is when I auditioned for my first audiobook by Mary Morgan, and she gave me the chance to record it.


Where do you record?

I have a home recording studio, setup in my spare bedroom. I recorded my first book in a homemade booth, basically a frame made from PVC pipe and covered in heavy packing blankets. I now have a proper booth, a Studiobricks One Plus VO Edition, which is great.


Other than your great voice, is there anything special you need to narrate an audio book?

The most important thing in any recording is the space you are in. It needs to be as soundproof as possible; you do not want any external sounds getting onto your recording. But it also needs to be treated, so there are no reflections, as these can cause echo’s, which you do not want. Once you get the space figured out, you really don’t need to spend that much on equipment. Obviously, you will need a microphone and a computer to record and edit on, but that is it.


How do you prepare for recording? Do you read a book in its entirety before recording?

I prepare by reading the book front to back , making a note of all the characters, and any information about them. Male, female, accent, attitude, that kind of thing, so that I can develop the character voices. I make a copy of the manuscript and mark it up with all the info that I find.


Do you ever come across unfamiliar words? How do you handle that?

Yes, there can be some quite difficult words to pronounce. If I do find one, I first try googling it to see if I can find the pronunciation. If that fails, I check with the author. Usually they will make a quick recording of the word and send it to me.


What is the funniest error you've made while recording? Did you keep it as an outtake?

Sometimes I just can’t get my words out when I read, it is not so much funny as it is a little frustrating, trying to read the same line over and over. I have been known to shout at myself, and scream. I don’t tend to keep those as outtakes though 😊


How long are your recording sessions?

I try to keep each session no more than 2 hours as your voice can get tired. Then I will edit what I have done, and if time allows, record some more.


Do you listen to audiobooks?

Yes, I listen to audiobooks almost every day while driving to my work.


How do you feel about your own voice in recordings?

Personally, I have no idea why people like my voice, I just irritates me, LOL


What was something you found unique in recording Mary's book?

Well, it was the first time that I had read a romantic novel, so that is unique for me. I found Mary’s writing captivating; I could not stop reading it. I even needed some tissues occasionally for my crying. Not easy to record a book, with tears rolling down your face I found.


Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I got started in audiobook narration and voiceover in general rather late in life. I still work full time as a Software Engineer, so I am busy doing that and voiceover. If there is one piece of advice that I could give, is that it is never too late to start something new, and every day you don’t learn something is a wasted day. Work hard, don’t give up!

Thank you for joining us.

Discover Alan on Audible

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