Learning the Art of Character

I’m finishing up Chapter 16 in this latest audio book I’m narrating  The Shannon Trilogy by Allen Cole/Chris Bunch for ACX and it’s a fascinating story,mainly because of the time frame this particular book is set in (Civil War era) so I get to play Southern Belles’ and Gentleman with their genteel southern drawls that would rival a Gone With The Wind movie script any day.. but I digress, let’s move into the point of this entry to the blog.

Art of Character…

I have the unique ability to read ahead in the book, almost 3 sentences ahead, so I can “feel” the emotion of the character as I deliver the narrative. I’m sure there are a lot of narrators out there who also have this ability, maybe they don’t, matters not for the jist of this bit of information. But, when delivering the characters, you have to understand the mood, tone and then deliver that tone in the character that you are describing. I have to move between male and female charcters in voice/accent and tone, trying to be feminine and masculine in the same narrative is challenging and yet also very exciting.

How do you differentiate the characters in your reads?

As a voice actor/producer, I have added to my skill sets for radio production, but utilizing the character of the copy,  some of the copy that I receive is very poorly written and in some cases has to be re-written so that the message the client wants is delivered but yet the copy itself is delivered in a believable manner. I specialize in conversational reads, and when the script is written superbly by a pro it just jumps out of the speakers.

If you’re a copy writer, think critically when writing for your clients, get their message across, but be creative, think like the end user, write like you speak. I have met some very articulate people in my career, but outside of their jobs, when they are not “ON”, they tend to use language that is outside of their box. They are themselves, the people you might chat with at happy hour, or casually in the 12 items of less line, when they have 13. Use that when you’re writing a new client or even an existing clients advertising/marketing.

Comedy can be used so subtly that it takes a while for it to sink in, use it sparingly, but use it in you characterization. Want some great practice?

Read.. Fox in Sox- Dr. Suess IN CHARACTER, and over sell it..

Read The Cat in the Hat- Dr. Suess IN CHARACTER and be the narrator…

I suggest reading it to your kids, your grandkids, any kid that will appreciate a great story,  Then remember how you did it and apply that in your delivery of the next Character you are privileged to deliver

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