Audio book narrator Victoria Scott speaks about the art of narration and her career with Dorothy Distafano.
Dorothy; What are your audiobook narration goals?
Victoria To bring pleasure into as many people’s lives as possible by sharing the magical words of authors by using the gift I’ve been given with this voice.
Dorothy;How long have you been narrating audiobooks?
Victoria For a little under a year.
Dorothy; What books or projects have you narrated?
Victoria I had the incredible honour to record two books by an Indian guru Swami Vishnudevananda. Meditation & Mantras and the Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga.
Dorothy; How did you acquire the job of narrating the Swami Vishnudevananda books?
Victoria Funnily enough – not by the normal channels. I was working voluntarily at the Sivananda ashram in Val Morin, Canada and many guests said how wonderful it was that they could buy cds of the chanting to sing to on their way home – some people travel for many hours to come to the ashram – and I realized that none of Swami Sivananda or Swami Vishnudevananda’s books were on audio.
They gave me the green light and I took it from there – recording and full editing. It was an incredible experience and a real blessing and they’ll soon be available to download from Audible.
Dorothy; Do you meditate and/or do yoga?
Victoria Yes I do both. I had the incredible opportunity to spend the last 3 winters in India in 2 different ashrams working voluntarily which is why I feel so connected to these books. I learnt and grew a lot from my experiences there and if, by using my voice, I can share this with others then that will be wonderful. Meditation and yoga definitely help me with recording and staying connected to the words of the authors with my heart – and to keep my mind out of the way.
Dorothy; What projects are you currently working on?
Victoria Just waiting to hear back from an audition for a 19th Romance book and in the meantime recording some radio commercials, phone systems and of course auditioning and practicing.
Dorothy; How do you practice your narrating skills?
Victoria I read aloud, I sing a lot (especially whilst I’m cycling through Montreal), it keeps the vocal cords in harmony and I’m also getting re-involved with my volunteer work with the association in Montreal for Dyslexic and blind people which is all really good practice.
Friends like it when I read them stories too in French and English – just last night a group of us were enjoying an outside fire and a book was brought out for me to read – even adults like bedtime stories.
Dorothy; When you audition, do you do so in person? How do you obtain auditions?
Victoria Most auditions come from internet sites and are done by sending a custom voice demo rather than meeting the person – although sometimes when I record in studios the client likes to see the ‘voice’ which is nice for me too.
A lot of work comes from previous projects – once you record for a company and they like your voice know that you are reliable and professional they re-contact you which is great. I’ve also just be taken on by an agency based in Toronto who I contacted a little while back when I first arrived in Montreal this year.
Dorothy; How do you begin a new project?
Victoria I love to read the whole book first – it’s very important to keep the energy and the spirit of the writer so reading it to get a real feel for the story and characters is vital. I’ll make notes, underline and read aloud – much to the amusement of my neighbors I’m sure.
Dorothy; Does your approach change depending upon the type of book?
Victoria The basic approach is the same but if there are many characters for example, I will take the time to create each character’s life, voice, peculiarities etc.
Dorothy; Does the author offer any advice about how you narrate their work?
Victoria The 2 by Swami Vishnudevananda no, because he’s no longer here but other’s yet. I will record the first 3 pages, send them to the author and then get feedback and then go from there.
Dorothy; What kind of feedback do authors generally give when you send them a demo of the first 3 pages?
Victoria Luckily it’s very positive. If there are a few characters they might specify a particular accent or tone that they can really hear in their heads and maybe give me a specific tempo that they would like me to read to. Other than that I seem to have been given a natural gift to sense the tone that works with the words and sentiments behind the words.
Dorothy; What is your favorite book?
Victoria Tricky question – I don’t have one that’s my favorite, it all depends on the day, the time, the mood etc. – I love anything from an A.A.Milne Winnie The Pooh to a beautiful spiritual book by Arnaud DesJardins.
Dorothy; What is your favorite of those you have narrated?
Victoria I don’t have that much choice as I haven’t narrated many but I love narrating a book where I can feel the words come from the heart of the author.
Dorothy; What book would you most like to have the opportunity to narrate?
Victoria Oh my goodness that’s a very good question – books that I love are ones that really have a beautiful message for the world, ones that help us find our true nature of happiness, so anything along that line. I can feel when I look at a book when the author has written from their heart and that’s very important for me.
I don’t think there’s just one book, if I said one, I’d be thinking of other one’s that I’d love to narrate too – I’ll leave it open and go with the flow. What else is possible? Everything 🙂
Dorothy; What is the most challenging thing about being a narrator?
Victoria Ummm, can’t think of anything really – all challenges are gifts for learning and growing.
Dorothy; Do you have any advice for people considering becoming an audiobook narrator?
Victoria Always let your words come through your heart rather than your head. People can hear it and feel it. Always be sincere.
Dorothy; Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Victoria I’ve just put together a new website which readers can take a look at www.victoria-scott.com – I’m just working on a couple of demos to replace the larger choice on the site. And they can click onto sound cloud to hear extracts of two of the books I’ve recorded which will be available soon on Amazon http://soundcloud.com/victoria-scott-3
Apart from that – enjoy reading, listening and sharing – it’s all beautiful.