Narrating audiobooks combines two of my oldest continuing interests: the love of reading that earned me an “A” on English A-level in England (no, I’m a Yank; it’s a long story), and the love of theater that made me the youngest apprentice ever (I think!) in the Williamstown Summer Theatre’s training program in Massachusetts. And since my early teens I’ve been a fan of recorded fiction, plays, poetry, and classic radio dramas.
It’s also a bit of a family tradition: my dad (who did some radio work himself in his younger days) read a number of titles for Recording for the Blind in Connecticut. He read aloud at home, to the family, too. Did great Ents and a memorable Gollum. The first book I ever recorded myself was Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life, as a volunteer reader for the Japan Braille Society in Tokyo.
Professionally, I got my start narrating thanks to the translation-et-cetera business I founded in Tokyo and conducted for many years there and (to a lesser extent) in Los Angeles. Japanese clients and Western companies operating in Japan wanted me to read English-language copy for them there, and the upshot is that I’ve voiced thousands of hours of material (industrial, documentary, educational, edutainment, etc.), all in Japan.
On March 11th, 2011 I was in the lobby of Bandai’s in-house sound studio in Tokyo (on the east side of town, no less) when the big earthquake and tsunami struck not so very far to the northeast. I stuck around town for the first week of the national emergency and then, with the Fukushima situation clearly not improving, and another Really Big One way overdue to the south (it’s still overdue!), I skedaddled back to L.A. I also began to rethink the practicality of spending so much time in Tokyo. In L.A., reportedly, the chance of a Big One sometime soon is only 85%, or maybe 99.9%. But it’s here in the U. S. of A. So now I’m concentrating on audiobook narrations in L.A., and enjoying every minute of it!
Like many people in L.A., I wear more than one hat. I also translate various materials for various media, mostly Japanese to English, and line-produce ADR projects and the like, for my nebulous, versatile (“permanent, floating”) collective enterprise Metaphoria® Productions.