StudentFilmmakers welcomes Ana Talos to the Filmmakers Network! Ana Talos is a performer, narrator, production assistant, and aspiring producer. She sometimes performs using the pseudonym, Lauren Lemay. Originally born in Romania, Ana resides in Los Angeles with her two boys, her husband, photographer Kevin Break and their 4 cats. They live at The Jesus Wall Photo Studio at the Brewery Lofts, a place for live in work artists.
What sparked the idea of narrating books?
Ana Talos: The idea was sparked when my first husband was dying, and I was reading the bible to him while he was in a coma. I read the bible two times while he was in the hospital, and when I wasn’t reading it, I would go to the Jewish temple at the Cedar Sinai Hospital and pray and go to bible classes. I discovered that reading out loud as well as praying would make my him better. When my first husband died, I continued to read out loud and try to understand spiritual texts because it’s our inner world.
How did you begin narrating books?
Ana Talos: I officially began to really get into it around 2007 when I narrated The Book of Jasher. I knew nothing about editing audio, and I felt I could not do it because I’m not good enough, or my voice is not nice enough, but I went to the SAG Foundation and began to play with recording audio there. They had an audio engineer who was editing the audio on the spot. He said I did a great job so that encouraged me to do more.
What continues to ignite your passion?
Ana Talos: During the Corona Virus pandemic, I was locked down in my home with my husband Kevin and my two kids, and we passed a lot of our time reading stories to my two boys. I wanted to work in production, but I couldn’t find any work because everything was closed and didn’t even know how to find work in that field.
So, I decided to build a sound booth out of MDF wood and insulation, and I got a professional microphone, and I began to read out loud by myself and edit the audio. I get discouraged a lot. For example, some said I have too many clicks in my audio, or it sounds boxy. So, I am learning a lot about technical stuff.
What continues to ignite my passion is the spiritual nature of the text I read. I decided to not stress about mastering the audio so much anymore. An audio engineer would charge around $500-$1,000 per book to master it so it would pass ACX. I want to continue to read and do it for myself and for those who want to listen to stories. I always learn something new about audio and how to make it right. For a book to pass ACX, it takes a lot of work.
What was one of your most favorite books or projects to narrate and why?
Ana Talos: I just finished reading, Dracula, which was the longest book I have narrated so far. It’s my favorite because it was a lot of work to do so I had to narrate at night when everyone was asleep to avoid noises. I’m from Romania, and I learned a lot about myself, or how others view that part of the world, since Dracula was a Romanian Count. It’s interesting to see how the writer, Bram Stoker, made that character and the country he was in as “oriental” the way Edward Said wrote about “the other” in his book, Orientalism. I loved editing it and rewriting the manuscript, and it made me giggle to discover Romanians were once viewed lesser than Imperial Britain, as if ethnic. There is something about the written text and the audio that goes with it that is exciting.
How are you navigating and keeping active and creative during these Covid pandemic months of social distancing, and times of quarantine and self-quarantine? Also, can you share some inspirational words with fellow creatives?
Ana Talos: I go to the ocean and walk a lot. All hiking trails are closed so that’s the only nature I can go to. I like to go to a secret beach where not a lot of people can get to it, and I’m the only one on the whole beach walking just hearing the waves. I always take my boys with me, and we explore small caves in the rocks and look for live creatures in the rocks and tiny puddles from the waves and skip homework time. Being in nature and driving alone late at night inspires me about stories and the meaning of the stories as they connect to our inner life, and I think how I would perform the text when I record it. I try to make a connection between the spiritual text and my inner world to discover reality. What is really going on at this party we’re all in here on Earth?
If you could share your Top 3 Tips for Aspiring Narrators and Aspiring Voice Over Actors, what would they be?
Tip #1: Learn to master audio the same way an audio engineer knows so you can distribute your own productions and they will pass the requirements of main platforms such as Audible.
Tip #2: Build your own sound booth and make it so it doesn’t sound boxy. I built a 4 feet by 4 feet x 6 feet tall booth, and I’ve been told it sounds boxy. But don’t give up, because a whisper room is the same size and others make it happen. Today anyone can create and distribute their own work, so take advantage and do that.
Tip #3: Don’t give in to negativity because that will make you stop or give up. You don’t want to stop. You want to keep doing it. Whether it is for yourself, YouTube, Librivox, Audible or acting jobs. Negative suggestions always made me stop. That was a big mistake. You don’t ever want to stop initiating.