Interview with the Narrator:
Tell us about yourself--what you do for a living (do you narrate audiobooks full time or have other means of income)? Family? Upbringing and education?
I have been with the Moody Bible Institute for 31 years, working in the
production area for several years, producing Stories of Great Christians, Sugar Creek Gang, Fables of Faith, and other dramatic and musical specials. For the last 23 years or more, (I'm GETTING old) I've been the host of Music Thru the Night, an overnight Christian music program aimed to help listeners grow closer to Christ. This is my raison d'etre....I have narrated many titles over the years, mostly for Tyndale but for others as well. I also hosted and read fiction and non-fiction books for Continued Story reading which was heard on the network for many years. It is no longer in production. I have done many taped give-aways for Moody based on short stories that were made available to listener's as a stewardship premium in addition to recording various tapes on Old Testament Books, including the Psalms and Proverbs, and in the N.T. Paul's Prison Epistles, and the book of Romans among others.
A few years ago I was contracted by Tyndale to record the entire Bible in the New Living Translation which I consider to be a singular honor in my career. Many people have expressed how the narration and some drama was a real stimulus for them in their growth process.
I'm a graduate of Cedarville College 65 with a BA in English. I became a Christian as a junior in high school, I'm Baptist, and for the last 16 years have been an ordained minister. I'm married to Nancy, a sweet lady, for 38 years, we have six grown children all of whom finished college. Two are in full-time ministry. My twins graduate from Moody in May of 2003. Sometime in September, Nancy and I will be grandparents for the 1st time.....
How did you become a narrator? And how many have you narrated? Somewhere in the late 70's I began Continued Story and recording for others. Unfortunately as I said, I'm a lousy historian, and have no idea of how many books or titles I've done.
What are some of the challenges you faced being a narrator or doing narrations?
Some directors didn't know what they wanted. That was frustrating. I've been amazed at how easily dialogue and reading aloud have come to me. The ability to read cold was almost a necessity, since often you were only given the material during the recording session. I'm not sure, where I developed the facility to do this, but it's been a real asset.
One thing that happened during my career prior to narrating, I directed some of the finest union actors and narrators in Chicago. Somehow in all those years, I picked up many of the skills of these remarkable people. They were my mentors.
Are there different challenges for each style and genre of book? (ie. Fiction/Non-fiction, Christian/non-Christian, third-person/first person)?
I guess, the biggest challenge to me was doing first person narrative, where the narrator suddenly bounces into dialogue with another character....and
then goes back to narrative again.
I love read fiction, but several years after the inception of Continued Story Reading, we morphed into non-fiction. I read books that spoke to me personally, and created a passion in the read, which drew others in.
What are some of the "behind the scenes" parts of the production that you liked? Disliked?
I guess I've always hated the accounting process.
How long did the narration take you to complete in the studio?
Obviously, it took a few months to do the New Living Translation. It had
lots of unpronounceable names. In using the 2 or three source books available to me, I discovered that they didn't agree. A couple of theologians here said whatever you say, say it consistently and your pronunciation will become the standard. Most of the languages that these names came from have changed significantly, which is why there is no agreement on pronunciation.
One selling point for my talents was that I was able to work longer hours in the studio than many voice people, bring the sessions to a close cheaper and faster.
I loved working with true professional engineers and producers, who listened to me, and brought out the best in my readings. They were such encouragements to me. Dan Anderson and Todd Busteed never considered what they did a job it was a living experience that birthed a great product for God's use. Todd could tell over a months time if I was pronouncing a name
differently than I had before. Many times in recording the NLT Todd and I would find ourselves shedding spiritual tears as the Bible spoke to us.
Do you listen to audiobooks or audio products?
I have. I've enjoyed NPR....but it's not something I spend a lot of time doing. One thing, like most talent I listen to discriminatingly to the delivery, and
I lost the enjoyment and insight of what I'm listening to. Even with my own product. " I wish I had said that differently." "Wrong operative!" " Wrong inflection, or emphasis"
Did you meet the author or receive any feedback from the author?
Not really, I did a book for Max Lucado, I think it was on the Anvil, and I
thought it was the best I ever did. I think creative people don't like to read or hear or even see their work. They're too close to it. You got to move on. I know that's the way I was with all of my books and reading and even my program I do nightly. I always feel like I could have done it better. After a couple of years or eons maybe we could listen objectively.
How did you feel once you have heard the finished product?Most of my passion comes in the actual recording.
Any new projects on the horizon?
Not at this point.....Always available, but happy in what I do today.
I have taught courses at Moody in the communications department for many of my 30 years. What's exciting there is transferring what I know to impressionable people, who really learn, and who years later thank you for your input.
Check out some of Mike Kellog's great Narrations!