Voiceover, like any other career, can have its share of challenges. Sometimes you get to tackle copy you don’t like at all.
I dedicate a small portion of my free time each week to recording audiobooks for Perkins School for the Blind. I am into my second book right now at Perkins, but the first book I read for them amounted to a kind of voiceover hazing. It meandered through long sentences with no clear subject, outdated words like “contumely,” and half thought out chapters with tangential anecdotes used to pad the book into a length beyond pamphlet.
In order not to appear as a troll, I will decline to shame - I mean name - the book publicly. I did happen to look it up on Amazon, where it has one two star review, and asks the author to provide more fact checking. I would add that the author needed to do some copyediting (Boston was misspelled) and break the sentences down into readable threads.
Even though I would not recommend the book myself, my job as the narrator was to make the book sound better than drying paint. It wasn’t always easy. Since the book was local history, I thought about people who might live in the area discussed. The book talked about the time the area was settled, and it occurred to me that this was a very different place than the person listening to this book might know. Every week I came into the studio, I thought about how those places had changed, and how that local history was of interest to someone. Despite the tedious plodding of the narrative, I found parts of the book that were interesting and relatable and delivered freshness to the read each week.
The studio director at Perkins was kind enough to give me a much different book for my second go round, but this morning, it had me dropping F-bombs in the studio. Not because of my read, but because it was in the text.