Dorothy; What inspired you get into narration?
Melanie I’ve always been a performer.It started with dancing, music, acting and just evolved into voice over work.
The first narration I did was live. My high school drama teacher had me narrate a live program over the mic.
I went on to major in theater in college, and afterwards, when I began working as an actress, I decided to create a demo and go after voice over work.
I did commercials at first, and I was one of the first women in the Houston market to start doing corporate narrations. When I had my children, I always read to them, and I was always the “mom reader” in all of their elementary school classes.
Dorothy;How long have you been an audiobook narrator?
MelanieWhen I established my home studio 10 years ago, I did a lot of e-learning narration in addition to commercials, corporate narrations, phone messaging, etc. I’ve only recently branched out into recording audiobooks.
Dorothy;What books or projects have you narrated?
MelanieI have two titles on audible.com, The Call of the Wild by which I narrated for Cherry Hill Publishing, and The Four Window Girl or How to Make More Money than Men by Shepherd Mead which I recorded through ACX I have also narrated a number of children’s leveled readers for use in the classroom.
Dorothy;What projects are you currently working on?
MelanieThe next novel I’m currently recording my first Romance novel titled Primrose: A Daring Hearts Romance. I’m also scheduled for Fallen Angel another Daring Hearts Romance as well as Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
Dorothy;How do you approach a new project? Do you read the book first and make stylistic choices?
MelanieYou absolutely have to read the book at least once before beginning to record! You have to understand the book, the tone, the style, and then, you have to make choices for the characters.
Dorothy;Does your approach change depending upon the genre?
MelanieYou might not have to study the book and characters as much for a non-fiction book, unless, of course, it’s historical.
Dorothy;Does the author have any say in how you narrate their work?
MelanieThat would depend on the particular work and author. I have self directed the books I’ve recorded so far. Sometimes, there is a director if you are working with a larger publisher. The author is sometimes the one who approves your casting in the first place, especially on ACX.
Dorothy;What is your favorite book?
MelanieI have so many that I have enjoyed. I don’t like to have to pick a favorite!
Dorothy;What is your favorite of those you have narrated?
MelanieAgain, hard to choose!
Dorothy;What is the most challenging thing about being a narrator?
MelanieAt this time for me, it’s the time commitment! In addition to audiobooks, I stay busy with recordings for commercials, corporate narrations, e-learning and even on hold messaging. Scheduling longer stretches of time to record a chapter or chapters of an audiobook is sometimes difficult. Artistically, it’s deliniating the characters and keeping track of them when their appearances are scattered throughout the book.
Dorothy;Do you have any advice for people considering becoming an audiobook narrator?
Melanie Make sure you have a quiet place to record and a great deal of time to commit to the project. Hone your reading and ACTING skills! Take classes and/or work with a coach who specializes in audiobooks.
Dorothy;Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
My website is: http://www.melaniehaynes.com and my blog is http://voice-over-studio.blogspot.com/