Welcome to the Audiobook Speakeasy!
The Audiobook Speakeasy is my podcast, where I chat with audiobook professionals and listeners about all things related to audiobooks. You'll hear from narrators, narration coaches, engineers, editors, audiobook publishing company representatives, casting directors, and power listeners.
So come on in, pull up a chair, and share a cocktail with us as we delve into audiobook narration, production, casting, and all aspects of audiobook creation.
You can find the Audiobook Speakeasy on iTunes here, and on Stitcher here. You can also search in your favorite podcast app that pulls from iTunes.
If you find the podcast educational, enlightening, enjoyable, or entertaining, and you have a spare buck or two, I'd greatly appreciate your financial support at my Patreon page.
Episode 23: Sean Williams
Joining me tonight in the Speakeasy is an audiobook engineer that I just met at APAC 2018, Sean Williams!
Sean and I discuss his love of the guitar and of history, and how those two subjects intersected in his life. Sean also shares how some personal tragedy played a part in his career shift to audiobook production, and how he played a part in the production of a recent Audie award winner. All this over a blueberry ale and a virgin gin rickey!
You can find Sean at https://www.airbendingmediaproductions.com and on Twitter at @AirbendingMedia.
Episode 22: Michele Cobb
My guest tonight is Michele Cobb, Executive Director of the Audio Publisher's Association!
Michele and I talk about her Master's Degree in Theater from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (NOT the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine), her experiences directing theatrical productions, and her early work in the audiobook world for L. A. Theater Works and the BBC. We also delve into the recent APAC and Audies events and get a little insight into how the APA is planning for the future. All this over some sparkling rosé and a Gilroy martini!
You can contact Michele at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Episode 21: Suzanne Elise Freeman
My guest tonight in the Speakeasy is prolific narrator and APA webcast co-host Suzanne Elise Freeman!
Suzanne and I talk about her various jobs in the entertainment industry after getting a degree in journalism, and how she came to start narrating audiobooks. Suzanne also discusses how she came up with her romance and erotica pseudonym, how she started co-hosting the ongoing APA webcast series with P. J. Ochlan, and the importance of building relationships in the audiobook industry. All this over one of P. J.'s (in)famous triple-bitters Manhattans and a Rob Roy!
You can find Suzanne at https://www.suzannefreemanvoice.com and on Twitter at @TheFreeSuzanne.
Episode 20: Don Baarns
My guest in the Speakeasy tonight is audiobook engineer and Studio One guru Don Baarns!
Don and I chat about his early days in the suburbs of Detroit, when he was a budding drummer and got his introduction to high-end studio gear. Don also goes into how he approaches audiobook recording and engineering, and how important it is to get a set of (professional) ears to evaluate your work. All this over some white tea with pomegranate infused with lemon ginger echinacea juice and a gibson!
Episode 19: Julie Wilson
Tonight's guest in the Speakeasy is an award-winning audiobook producer at Penguin Random House, Julie Wilson!
Julie and I talk about growing up in an artistic community and her early introduction to audiobook publishing while she was still in college. Julie also describes her role as an audiobook producer, the importance of building personal relationships with professionals in the industry, and some dos and don'ts when it comes to dealing with publishers. All this over some strawberry lemonade and a lime rickey!
You can find Julie on Twitter and Instagram at @JuliannaNWilson.
Episode 18: Hillary Huber
My guest tonight in the speakeasy is prolific narrator and coach Hillary Huber!
Hillary and I talk about the various careers she had before her husband's coworkers convinced her to help them out with some voiceover work. Hillary also goes into how she stumbled into audiobook work, the value of having a workspace outside the home, and her approach to coaching. All this over a Negroni and Tonic and a classic Margarita!
You can find Hillary online at https://www.hillaryhuber.com, and on Twitter at @hillatious.
Episode 17: Jess Herring
My guest tonight in the Speakeasy is The Audiobookworm, Jess Herring!
Jess and I talk about her work as an audiobook blogger and marketer after getting degrees in clinical psychology and rehabilitation counseling. Jess also describes what works for her when she's reviewing audiobooks -- and what doesn't. All this over some (very sweet!) green tea, and a P. J. Ochlan Special Three-bitters Manhattan!
Episode 16: Paul Heitsch
My guest tonight in the Speakeasy is narrator and engineer Paul Heitsch!
Paul and I discuss the many audio engineering gigs he had prior to becoming an audiobook narrator (including an opportunity to direct Gary Oldman!). Paul also goes into detail about how he approaches engineering audiobooks, whether he's sending the audio to a publisher or producing the finished audio himself.
All of this over some "rare" bourbon: Eagle Rare for Paul, and Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof for me!
You can find Paul on the web at http://paulheitsch.com and on Twitter at @PaulHeitsch.
Episode 15: P. J. Ochlan
Tonight's guest in the Speakeasy is narrator extraordinaire and well-known dialect and accent expert P. J. Ochlan!
P. J. and I discuss his early start as a bi-coastal actor, his move from New York to L.A., and his entry into the audiobook world. We also talk at length about his proficiency with dialects and accents and his approach to coaching narrators, and he offers a couple of great tips for aspiring narrators.
All this over a (triple-bitters!) Manhattan and some Koval Single Barrel Rye!
Episode 14: Steven Jay Cohen
My guest tonight in the Speakeasy is an accomplished actor and narrator, and is at the helm of audiobook production company Spoken Realms, Steven Jay Cohen!
Steven and I talk about his theater background and his entrance into the audiobook world, and how he came to be at the helm of Listen 2 A Book, which became Spoken Realms last year. We also -- eventually -- talk about 2nd Opinion, the software program that he wrote that checks audio files to ensure that they meet user-defined specifications. All this over a local micro-brew and a Mexican Martini!
Episode 13: Rob Sciglimpaglia
My guest tonight in the Speakeasy is voice talent and lawyer Rob Sciglimpaglia!
Rob and I discuss his legal roots in real estate deals and family law, and his career transition into a combination of legal work and voiceover/on-camera/entertainment production work. Rob also goes into some detail on some common legal issues that come up in voiceover work in general and audiobook work in particular, and the importance of setting up a legal entity for your voiceover business. All this over some sparkling water (a Speakeasy favorite) and a 14-year-old Oban single malt Scotch!
If you'd like to donate to Shannon Parks' brain surgery financial aid fund, you can do so at https://www.facebook.com/donate/140396956777293/10215860790775076/.
Episode 12: Kelly Lytle and Will Dages
My guests tonight in the Speakeasy are Kelly Lytle and Will Dages of Findaway Voices.
Kelly and Will talk about how Findaway entered the audiobook world, and the birth of Findaway Voices in the summer of 2017. They also talk about the importance of narrators keeping their information with Findaway up to date, the casting process at FV, and something that rights holders and narrators are always interested in: rates.
All this over a Rusty Nail, a cup of tea, and a Gin Gimlet (in spirit, if not in a glass) with Watershed Distillery's Four Peel Gin!
You can find Findaway at http://www.findaway.com and Findaway Voices at http://www.findawayvoices.com. And you can find Kelly at email@example.com, and Will at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, just in case you're interested, you can find Watershed Distillery at http://watersheddistillery.com; I checked, and they don't distribute west of the Mississippi yet, but you can find their spirits in Ohio and various other places east of the Mississippi.
Episode 11: Jeffrey Kafer
My guest tonight in the Speakeasy is master narrator and social media moderator extraordinaire Jeffrey Kafer!
Jeffrey and I discuss his theater background, including his crippling stage fright. We also talk about his experiences as the moderator of several online/social media groups. All of this over a local beer and a martini!
You can find Jeffrey at http://www.jeffreykafer.com.
Episode 10: James Adams
My guest tonight in the Speakeasy is James Adams, Chairman at Worldwide Audio, Ltd., which is the parent company of Bee Audio.
James and I discuss his amazing career, including his stint as CEO of United Press International, his experience in the intelligence community, and his current position heading up the audiobook powerhouse Worldwide Audio, Ltd. James also goes into detail about his thoughts about the future of the audiobook industry. All this over some sparkling water and some straight wheat whiskey!
You can contact James at email@example.com.
Episode 9: Casey Trowbridge
My guest in the Speakeasy tonight is audiobook aficionado and fellow podcaster Casey Trowbridge!
Casey and I discuss how audiobooks have helped him and others who have visual impairments, from way back in the day when they were still produced on cassette tapes (anyone remember those?). We also talk about what he likes and doesn't like when it comes to audiobook narration, and his vision for podcasting going forward. All of this over some hot chocolate (Casey lives in the Frozen North) and a classic daiquiri (I live in the temperate Southwest)!
You can find Casey's podcast, Talking Audiobooks, at http://www.talkingaudiobooks.com, and you can find him on Twitter at @AudiobookCasey and @CaseyInSoDak.
Episode 8: Carol Monda
Tonight I have a long-awaited chat with fantastic narrator and coach Carol Monda!
Carol and I talk about her experiences on stage, and her introduction to audiobooks and audiobook engineering. Carol also shares her thoughts on audiobook narration coaching, and treats us to a live reading of a noirish mystery with a hard-boiled female PI. All this over a glass of brandy and some 1800 reposado tequila (with water AND iced tea chasers)!
You can find carol at http://www.carolmondavo.com.
Episode 7: Karen Souer
My guest tonight in the Speakeasy is talented audiobook proofer, editor, and engineer Karen Souer!
Karen and I discuss her introduction into VO engineering by her dad, Bob Souer, "the second nicest guy in voiceover." We also talk about the importance of time management, not taking on a project that you won't be happy with down the road, and not worrying quite so much about every single breath and mouth click. All of this over some Balvenie DoubleWood 12-year-old Scotch and a Vesper!
You can find Karen at http://www.karensouer.com.
Episode 6: Special New Year's Surprise Guest!
To start off 2018 right, a special surprise guest joins me in the Speakeasy tonight!
We talk about history, politics, and law school (or the avoidance thereof). We also discuss narration workshops and different coaching styles, and, just for the hell of it, some jokes are not just told, but narrated! All this over some coffee and a hot toddy, since we both had sore throats to contend with.
If you want to hear from a big player in the audiobook world and could use a laugh or two, grab a drink and listen in. Happy New Year!
Episode 5: Jayme Mattler
Tonight Blackstone Publishing producer and director Jayme Mattler stopped by to join me for a drink and a chat!
Jayme talks about her amazing journey from the Detroit suburbs to New York City, with stops in Seattle, Los Angeles, and most of Europe in between. In addition, Jayme shares her views on narrators submitting to audiobook publishers before they're ready, and treats us to examples of some of the mistakes that narrators make and how she coaches them to move past them. All of this over some Malbec and a Vodka Gimlet!
Jayme can be found online at http://www.jaymemattler.com (once her website revamp is complete) and on Instagram at @jaymemattler.
Episode 4: Andi Arndt
Tonight I'm joined in the Speakeasy by the amazingly talented Andi Arndt!
Andi and I discuss the evolution of her career as an educator and a narrator, and the multiple awards she garnered in 2017. In addition, you'll hear a riveting live narration from a book that Andi's currently working on, and all about Andi's approach to audiobook narration coaching. All this over some post-recording-session hot water (keep those vocal cords happy!) and an Italian martini!
Andi can be found online at http://www.andiarndt.com.
Episode 3: Philip Miller
Joining me tonight in the e Speakeasy is Pre-production and Casting Director at Deyan Audio, Philip Miller!
Philip and I discuss how he got into audio engineering, the various positions he's held at Deyan Audio in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Tucson, and his love of the classics (and anything related to pirates). He also talks about what you should do -- and NOT do -- when interacting with casting directors at major audiobook publishing companies. All of this over a classic vodka tonic and some American single malt whiskey made right here in Tucson, Arizona!
Philip can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org and at http://www.socraticengineering.com.
Episode 2: Amanda Rose Smith
Joining me in the Speakeasy tonight is audio engineer extraordinaire Amanda Rose Smith!
Amanda and I discuss her transition from small town girl to Big Apple resident, work life as a woman in an extremely male-dominated industry, and how one should go about choosing an audiobook editor. You'll also hear Amanda's thoughts on best practices when editing and mastering audiobooks, and how budget constraints don't necessarily mean you can't improve your audiobook quality by hiring a professional engineer. All of this over some lemon-ginger tea and the Speakeasy twist on a classic Manhattan!
You can find Amanda at https://www.amandarosesmith.com, on Facebook as Amanda Rose Smith, on Twitter at @LadySoundSmith, and by email at email@example.com.
Episode 1: Sean Allen Pratt
Tonight I'm joined by prolific narrator and narration coach Sean Allen Pratt!
Sean and I discuss his early days as an actor in Santa Fe and New York, his transition into audiobooks in the 1990s, and how he came to be the preeminent non-fiction narrator and narration coach in the industry today. You'll also get to hear Sean's take on a particularly challenging selection from the classic Moby Dick, as well as his thoughts on the business side of audiobook narration and on different approaches to coaching. All of this over bourbons and beer!
You can find Sean by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at Sean Pratt Presents, and on Twitter at @SPPresents.