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Publishers Weekly

Audio Job Market a Success
Trudi M. Rosenblum -- 6/5/00
Narrators, editors, abridgers and producers'
chance to network with publishers leads to jobs

The Audio Job Market held in April raised $30,000 for the APA and within three weeks had already led to recording work for several of the participants.

"The goal of the job market was to provide a convenient forum for the publishers to find great talent and for the talent to be found and hired," said Beth Baxter, who organized the event. "It was devised as a win-win situation."

Selected narrators, abridgers, editors and producers had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with publishers. Additionally, the 33 narrators each performed short pieces for the assembled publishers to showcase their talent, and the six abridgers spoke about their qualifications.

Attendees contacted by PW were enthusiastic about the event. "I found it very worthwhile," said Eileen Hutton, v-p, editorial, for Brilliance Audio. "We identified a lot of new voice talent, and have already hired one narrator, Alan Sklar, to narrate a project for us."

"It was a terrific opportunity to meet with people whom you would otherwise be hounding via mail and telephone. But in the environment of the job market, they're receptive," said independent producer Laurel van der Linde. "One of the narrators I know, Lisa Burgett, just booked a gig with BDD to do a Rosamunde Pilcher novel as a result of the job market. Another guy got offered a job as he was leaving the event. Two other narrators were asked to send in audition tracks to different publishers. So there seemed to be a very quick response to it across the board."

Dympna Hayes, v-p of editorial and production for DH Audio in Canada, found it helpful to have so many narrators and abridgers in one place. "For me, not being in New York City, it's hard to get to hear new talent," she said. "This was a great group of talent, and we're definitely going to use some of the readers and some of the abridgers. I'm definitely going to tell all the people I work with to go to Audio Job Market next time."

Abridger Judith West said, "It was great to meet other abridgers--there's no real 'abridger community.' It was very rewarding all around."

Attendees did have some minor criticisms and suggestions for improving the event. The most common complaint was that the narrators were broken into two groups, which auditioned simultaneously, so that each publisher saw only half of the auditions.

Baxter noted that publishers had been told to send two representatives to the event, but the publishers said they wanted to hear all the talent personally, without relying on another set of ears. Attendees suggested that the abridger presentations were unnecessary and could be cut from the event, since the publishers met with them face to face anyway. It was also suggested that next year's event be held over two days, to allow all the publishers to see all the narrators.

Narrators were pleased at the opportunity to meet and audition for many publishers in one place, but found the $750 entry fee to be a bit steep. As one put it, "If I get a job out of it, it'll be worthwhile. If I don't, it won't." Hayes suggested that the $750 entry fee for talent could be made more manageable if producers and production studios helped to subsidize narrators that they already work with.
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