To tell you the truth, during the UK coronavirus lockdown I had dreams about becoming a voiceover artist. However I rapidly discovered voiceover is a crowded market which Is difficult to penetrate. It’s a vicious circle. In order to get a job you need a history of satisfactory work. Getting a first role is therefore almost impossible, unless you’re in the right place at the right time or you do something for free…
Slightly frustrated, I decided I’d volunteer my voice instead. Who knows it could even boost my mascent voiceover career. Remembering I’d once listened to audiobooks from librivox.org, I searched the site out again.
As LibriVox say on their website “volunteers read and record chapters of books in the public domain (books no longer under copyright) in the USA*, and make them available for free on the Internet. Practically, this means we record books published 95 full years ago or longer. All our recordings (including yours, if you volunteer for us) are also donated into the public domain. “
As a first-time reader, I thought it would be easier to volunteer for a book that was being read by more than one reader, rather than read a whole book myself. To do that, I created an account on librivox.org and tracked down the page for Readers Wanted. Scanning through the books needing readers, I decided More Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs would be an interesting book to volunteer for. You can read more about Jacobs on Wikipedia.
To read for LibriVox you need a laptop and have to be a little technically minded, as there are one or two bits of software you need to use, to record and edit your reading. For instance, are used Audacity which is a brilliant free recording and editing program available for Windows and Mac. LibriVox’s admin people have lots of advice and tutorials to help you, and they’re very patient.
Because you’re working with various people who could be from any part of the world, with lives, the whole process can take longer to reach a conclusion than you might imagine.
The audiobook I participated in reading, took at least 12 months to be finalised. While you might be committed to the project, others may be or even become less so. Ultimately I enjoyed the whole experience, and will probably do some more reading for LibriVox. Mind you I’ve also come across a website extolling the virtues of 13 LibriVox readers … but no, I’m not on there yet!
Eventually you end up with a completed audiobook which anyone can listen to anywhere in the world. It’s always an entertaining listen because you could be being read to by a window cleaner from Wallsend, or a farmer from Fresno! It’s all in the lap of LibriVox.
At last I have completed a voiceover job, albeit unpaid. It can’t be long until Vodafone get in touch. Can it?
Anyway, here’s a link to More Celtic Fairy Tales … it’s really quite entertaining!