SAG-AFTRA Panel Featuring the Deyan Institute, By P.J. Ochlan

What a treat it was, along with fellow Deyan Institute co-founders Debra Deyan and Coleen Marlo, to chat about all things audiobook at SAG-AFTRA last night.

Thanks to union organizer Steve Sidawi, who made the event possible, we were warmly welcomed by a sold-out crowd of more than 150 actors in the union’s James Cagney theater – AKA the “You Dirty Rat-Haus.”  No, not really.

After learning from the audience that some had limited audiobook experience, most had none, but all were eager to dive in to this booming branch of our industry, I offered opening remarks on how the business works, the various opportunities available to aspiring narrators and our passion for preserving an exceptional level of audiobook performance and production quality.

Coleen and I shared our thoughts and techniques on the art of audiobook acting and went into detail on the importance of book prep, covering many of our resources and tricks of the trade, while Debra offered insights from the audiobook producer and casting director’s POV.  These more cerebral topics were peppered with random interludes of Scottish gibberish and stories of scientific insect names of Latin derivation.  Yes, you totally missed out on the bug talk.

A highlight of the evening was our ‘Audiobook Idol’ segment – we didn’t call it that, but maybe we should – where several brave volunteers read book excerpts in front of the audience and then faced our vicious Simon Cowell-esque critiques.  OK, maybe not that last part.

We then opened things up to Q&A and tried to keep the level of our As up to the savvy Qs, but the Q queue was so long, we sadly didn’t get to everyone before the SAG-AFTRA bouncers gave us their best, ‘You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.’

We were blown away by the fast and overwhelming response to this event.  Steve has graciously invited us back for another panel sometime soon, and we enthusiastically look forward to the opportunity.

Thanks to everyone who was able to register and join us – we hope to see you soon at the Deyan Institute!  For those turned away because of the sell-out, please catch us at the next one – and we hope to see you soon at the Deyan Institute too!  Yes, really 😉

P.J. Ochlan

Deyan Institute Founding Member

Deyan Institute of Voice Artistry and Technology
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Deyan Institute of Voice Artistry and Technology

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