Always a performer, Becky Boyd’s early experience included two tours with a DoD performance band as well as various plays, skits and musicals. When the movies came to Atlanta, she was featured as a Gate Agent in 42, shown on the ABC Evening News with Diane Sawyer on the day of the theatrical release. She later added principal work being cast in several web series. During 2017, she was seen continuously in an Atlanta Film Festival “short,” Varanasi, in the Atlanta International Airport Terminal and in 2018 was part of a short film shown at the AFF. She also does VO work and has produced 20 audiobooks and enjoys networking in the growing Atlanta film community.
How did you become interested in audiobook narration?
I was online looking for acting auditions and stumbled across the ACX [Audiobook Creation Exchange] site. I did a couple short projects for Libravox for practice then started auditioning.
How did you get your first job? I auditioned and was hired. At that point ACX was new, and competition wasn’t as stiff. (I was really bad).
How do you prepare in advance to record a book?
First I really screen the books before I audition. I’m pretty selective. I once made the mistake of trusting what the reviews said about content and have since learned to read through the book (or at least scan thoroughly) before accepting the offer. It’s so much easier to work if you like the content!! Then I read the entire book before starting to get a real feel for the characters.
What is your recording space like?
It’s a walk-in closet overstuffed with acting wardrobe! The computer is a room away because it makes noise when it’s running.
You come from a musical background, in particular jazz. How has your musical training influenced your audiobook performances?
Though I’ve played sax in bands, it’s more a rock and blues background. But I think the singing has really helped me use my voice as an instrument to portray the different ages and temperaments of the characters.
I enjoyed your performance of Not Dead Yet. . . by Peg Herring. You had to shift among several accents, specifically upper crust British, Italian, halting Egyptian, cowboy, and Chicagoan. Where do you learn to do all these accents, and how do you handle switching back and forth between all of them?
I think TV watching as a kid ingrained a lot of different dialects into my memory. The Honeymooners/New York comes to mind. Mary Poppins, Hogans Heroes! LOL. I also use Youtube, and my VO teacher recommended a dialect teaching series I ordered on CD which has been helpful as well.
Does your music background help you with learning new accents?
I think it has somewhat. In high school we sang and had to learn to pronounce music in Italian and German. It primed the pump, to use an ancient metaphor.
You narrated Learn Spanish Effortlessly in No Time: Beginner’s Vocabulary Edition. What unique challenges did recording that book pose?
It’s been years since I used my Spanish, so I had to do some brushing up. I had studied in high school and minored in Spanish. Learn things when you are young, and the foundations will stay with you!
What do you see as your greatest achievement as an audiobook narrator? What has been your most difficult moment?
I haven’t really had a greatest achievement yet. I have enjoyed the process and really feel like I’m just getting started. A difficult moment was when I realized that the pittance I was making from royalty share has been severely diminished by a new program offered by a certain well known audiobook company. Without my permission, several of my authors entered my books into this debacle. I’m still upset about this.
What narrators do you like to listen to for your own inspiration?
You know what, I rarely listen to audiobooks. I can’t afford an Audible account. We used to listen to books on CD on road trips when my boys were younger. But I have no idea who the readers were. I just look at audiobooks as an extension of my acting. And even as an elementary student, I always liked reading aloud to our reading group. I think it’s pretty internal and I just pull inspiration from there.