Will Damron is the narrator of Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy—the definitive history, packed with untold stories, of one of America’s most controversial and powerful companies.
He is also the voice behind The Last Good Guy by T. Jefferson Parker, Labyrinth of Ice by Buddy Levy, The Lie by William Dameron, Pasta, Pane, Vino by Matt Goulding, Range by David Epstein, and Deathstroke by Richard Kelley.
He told us about how he became an audiobook narrator, what his process is, and his own audiobook favorites.
Please tell us a little bit about your path to becoming an audiobook narrator.
I have always been a storyteller, whether on stage, narrating a book, or writing my own novel. I earned my B.A. in Acting from Middlebury College, and went on to perform Off-Broadway and in several regional theater productions before landing in Los Angeles, where I auditioned for my first audiobook in 2013. At first, my interest was merely a curiosity (this sounds like a fun job!), but after my first half-dozen audiobooks, I realized I was deeply committed to exploring this art form further.
I have now narrated over 400 audiobooks; won an Audie Award, three Voice Arts Awards, and multiple Earphones Awards; and have even published my own book (the audiobook version of which was nominated for two Voice Arts Awards). I deeply love the breadth and variety of stories I’ve been fortunate enough to narrate.
What is your process for preparing to narrate an audiobook?
I read the entire book, marking the script occasionally if I come across a vocal direction I don’t want to forget (if a character’s inflection or attitude is mentioned a paragraph later, for example). Then I make two lists: one of every character who speaks, and one of every word I need help pronouncing. Once that research is complete, I’ll make sure I’m clear on the voice and tone of the book before I begin on day one. Then I just let the story take me away!
What do you think is the key to your success in narrating audiobooks?
I am very fortunate that I was offered a variety of different types of books very early in my career; I was never pigeon-holed as being only good at one genre. But I also did my homework: I prepared for every job, made sure I was crystal-clear with the producer if there was a question or a problem, and gave my all to every performance. Therefore, at the end of the day, my work stands on its own: listeners know that when they pick up one of my audiobooks, they will hear an authentic performance that has been carefully considered and elevates the author’s text.
What is your favorite line from an audiobook you’ve narrated?
“Things happen in two ways: very slowly, and all at once.”
From Kingmaker by Christian Cantrell. First audiobook I ever narrated.
Are you an audiobook listener? If so, what are some of your favorite audiobooks?
I do listen, but not often! (I’m a bit of a podcast junkie….) I really love good business audiobooks. Christopher Lane’s reading of Peak Performance stands out to me. Also, every once in a while you get a celebrity read that is just superb. Bryan Cranston reading his memoir A Life in Parts is probably the best I’ve heard recently.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?