November 03, 2006

Stephen King on audiobooks

Audio is merciless. It exposes every bad sentence, half-baked metaphor, and lousy word choice. (Listen to a Tom Clancy novel on CD, and you will never, ever read another. You'll never be able to look at another one without gibbering.) I can't remember ever reading a piece of work and wondering how it would look up on the silver screen, but I always wonder how it will sound. Because, all apologies to [the always tiresome Harold Bloom], the spoken word is the acid test. They don't call it storytelling for nothing.

I'll add this observation as well: my avocation as an anime junkie has taught me that how an actor sounds--that fundamental discipline of voice--says more about his acting chops than what you see on screen. The name actors with the impressive resumes really do dub animation better than the also-rans.

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