Wednesday 24 May 2017

Narrator Interview: Jake Urry and Giveaway! #MayhemFeature

Please welcome Narrator Jake Urry to the blog. When I first listened to a book narrated by him, I actually thought it was someone much older talking. I was surprised to see how young he was!! Lol. He definitely has a distinctive tone. Every one I've listened to by him, has been a 5 star read.

I’m a British actor and audiobook narrator, and also co-founder of Just Some Theatre. Since graduating from an Acting degree course in 2012 I’ve toured with Just Some Theatre as an actor and producer, worked on a number of commercial and non-commercial voice over projects and most recently started producing Audiobooks.

Photos by Tom Barker Photography.


Here's a sample of his work:

Narrator Interview:

> 1) How many books have you narrated?
17 so far, and 5 more in the pipeline, I'm hoping to get to 30 by the end of this year!

> 2) Out of them, have you a specific genre you like best?
The 3 main genres I produce are Thriller, Horror and Mystery, and I love them all! But I'd go with Mystery if I had to choose. I love setting a mysterious tone and narrating tense 'revelations' towards the end of mysteries!

> 3) How do you choose the books you want to narrate?
I audition for things that I think I can take the listener on a journey with, and always look out for interesting characters and voices in the book when I'm deciding. I've been really lucky to get work by some amazing writers who create a great atmosphere for me to explore and translate into a dramatic listen!

I also like to find stories with strong female characters, as I don't like hearing male narrators give typical high pitched readings of potentially powerful female roles.

> 4) Take us through a typical audition that you do? How do you prepare?
I have the luxury of recording auditions so don't have the pressure of a 'live' audition. This is great for me because I can tweak and perfect things before sending them off. So I start off by finding a section with a few different character voices in if possible, then try a few different things before recording the final reading.

> 5) How do you keep track of the different character tones/voices?
It can be tricky but usually the characters I get to work with are strong and distinct in the text, which makes it easier for me to give them a distinctive voice. I'll sometimes record short samples for each character on my phone and when they come up in the reading I can quickly check the voice I gave them and carry on. The most difficult characters are ones that show up for a few lines early on in the book and then disappear, only to come back later on, so I have to try and find that particular voice again - that's when those phone recordings are most handy!

> 6) Do you read the book before starting the narration or fly by the seat of your pants?
It depends on the book. If I've recorded work by the author before then I'm used to their writing and can usually just find the main character voices and get straight into recording. If it's a new author I'll usually read the whole text and make some decisions before going in. But I like to 'fly by the seat of my pants' most of the time, as I think it adds to the feeling that I'm experiencing the story for the first time, just like the listener.

> 7) Best and worst thing about being a narrator?
The best thing for me at the moment is the excitement before going to 'work' and the exhausted feeling after a day in the studio! I just love narrating and playing with different voices and to call it my full time job is a dream come true!

Having said that... the worst part for me is definitely the editing process! I edit all my own stuff and it can take forever. Finding the motivation to edit from home can be a struggle but it's worth it when the books get released!

> 8) Who's your favourite narrator/s?
I can listen to Stephen Fry all day! But a less cliché choice would be Samuel West, who's reading of 1984 got me hooked on audiobooks. I also hugely admire 'one off' narrations like Helena Bonham Carter's reading of Anne Frank's Diary, really powerful stuff!

> 9) Is there any narrator you'd love to work with?
Too many to choose from! But I'd like to do a half male half female narrated book someday, I think those can work really well. Maybe with Cate Blanchett... it's good to have ambition!

> 10) What are you working on now?
I'm currently working on a 12+ hour epic fantasy called Greatshadow by James Maxey - it's a real action packed rollercoaster full of big characters, and I'm particularly enjoying voicing enormous ageless dragons! After that I have a few books lined up by authors I've worked with before, along with some new faces, so it's very busy right now!

> 11) Any tips for aspiring narrators?
I would just advise them to listen to any and every audiobook they can and get a good feel for the work they want to produce. Find a few genres that work well with your voice and get a good base before branching out to different genres. I'd also say that it can be very hard to make a career out of narrating, but it is possible if you want it enough!

> What do you like to do when you're not narrating?
I love travelling when I get chance, and really enjoy walking with a good audiobook. I also co-run Just Some Theatre Company and love working on original stage productions with them!

Some Get to know me Questions: 

> What’s the best vacation you ever had?
I had an amazing family holiday in the French Alps when I was younger and will be almost of revisiting it this year across the border in Switzerland, so really looking forward to that!

> What’s your favourite rainy day movie?
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey - always makes me emotional, and the animals are better actors than the humans!

> If you could be any age again for a week, which would you choose and why?
I'd go back to my teens and tell myself to give up geography and biology and focus on Drama and English! It would have saved a lot of wasted time!

> If you could have personally witnessed one event in history, what would it be?
I'd love to go back and see Shakespeare acting in Macbeth at the Globe - sitting in the balcony of course! I'd try and get him to sign the script for me too, that'd make a fair bit on eBay...

> What's you favourite place to read?
To be very specific, by a small isolated lake in Langdale in the UK's Lake District, in the summer. With some chilled white wine. And a cigar.

But failing that, anywhere quiet and preferably outdoors in the sun!

> When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?
Honesty, I go straight for the stationery and gifts! But then I'll most likely head for the drama section and probably the maps too. I don't tend to read many physical books in my spare time now that it's become a career, but I love finding new scripts and old maps!

> If you had a million dollars, what would be the first thing you would buy?
A recording studio! I'd love to set up an audiobook production studio focussing on new narrators and authors, giving up and coming narrators chances like I was lucky enough to get last year. It's a pipe dream but dreams come true sometimes!

And I'd probably get a house in the country and fill it with dogs!

> What are some things about you that would surprise people if they knew?
I'm a big fan of Rupaul's Drag Race - it's hilarious! My housemate and I are going to see a past contestant, Courtney Act, performing in a few weeks time, we're hoping it'll be outrageous.

Thanks so much, Jake, for stopping by the blog. Guys, check out some of my reviews from books that were narrated by Jake. 

The Cryptic Lines:
Transmission: A Supernatural Thriller:
The Black Talisman:

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