Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Meet the Audio Voice of Harry Potter

Harr Potter and the Deathly HallowsThe New York Times ran an article in Tuesday's edition about Jim Dale, the actor who just recorded the audio version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (which will also be released 12:01 am on Saturday):
Since he first went into the recording studio in the summer of 1999, Mr. Dale has recorded every single word of the Harry Potter series, amounting to 117 hours and 4 minutes of reading time across the seven books--or a lot of long car rides. Including sales of CDs, cassettes and digital downloads, the audiobooks have sold more than 5.7 million copies, according to the Random House Audio Publishing Group, which now owns Listening Library.

For his work on the Harry Potter series, Mr. Dale has won a Grammy Award and holds the record for creating the most voices in an audiobook in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Deathly Hallows
, which runs to 784 pages in the ink-and-paper version, took about two and a half weeks, working six-and-a-half-hour days, recording about 18 to 20 pages an hour, to finish. As with the other books, Mr. Dale received the manuscript only two or three days before he was scheduled to begin recording.

"That makes it impossible for me to actually read it before recording it," said Mr. Dale, who does not possess the 13-year-old megafan's ability to inhale the book in a weekend.

So he read about 100 pages ahead, and noted all the different voices he needed for the first few days of recording. The benefit of reading in chunks, Mr. Dale said, is that: "I don't ever know how the book is going to end so I can't unconsciously lead you in the direction that the book is going. I don't know who the villain is because I am just reading 100 pages at a time."

By now the publisher has digital files of all the voices he has used for long-running characters like Hermione Granger, one of Harry's sidekicks, as well as more minor recurring characters like the Death Eaters, so that Mr. Dale can recreate those voices for the latest book. He takes into account the aging of the main characters, who started out as 10 and 11 in Sorcerer's Stone and are now 17 and 18 in Deathly Hallows.

Read more about Jim Dale in the full article form The New York Times. Also, you may preorder the audio version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows online here, or call a bookseller at 415-927-0960.

Don't forget to come celebrate with Book Passage in Corte Madera, starting at 9:00 pm Friday night! We're hosting a wizardly party!

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