I was delighted today to catch up with a New York Times feature that ran on June 29th, because it highlighted the work of Gabra Zackman, the actress and Audible.com narrator who was my guest on the last Kindle Chronicles podcast, TKC 256. The headline is “Actors Today Don’t Just Read for the Part. Reading IS the Part.“
“Gabra Zackman is a new kind of acting star: she is heard, but unheard-of,” the article begins. Nice play on words there by the reporter, Leslie Kaufman. It continues:
Ms. Zackman had classical training through the Shakespeare Theater of Washington, has worked in regional theaters for the last two decades and has had a sprinkling of appearances on television shows like “Law and Order.” Those performances, however, have brought neither fame nor fortune.
Instead, like a growing number of actors, she has found steady employment as a reader in the booming world of audiobooks.
In recent years, Ms. Zackman has recorded more than 200 titles, and she says she can now count on steady work of two books a month, earning $1,000 to $3,000 a book. The income helps her make the payments on her one-bedroom Manhattan apartment while giving her the freedom to travel around the country and perform.
In the New York Times video accompanying the article online, Gabra arrives on camera in the second half, beginning at 1:51. She is shown in a recording studio, on stage, and in a TV show, illustrating how her work is divided evenly between narrating books and acting.
The video includes this advice from Gabra for up-and-comers in the book narration biz: Protect your voice.
“I carry a bag that my friends joke around looks like a pharmaceutical store,” she says. As the video fades into the credits, she holds up an impressive and tasty array of voice aids. Here are the ones that I found at Amazon.com, all available with Prime shipping.
I’m going to save this list myself, because a podcaster needs to protect his voice almost as much as an ace book narrator!