THE BLOG
11/22/2016 07:23 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2017

The Perfect Job For Older Americans Looking For Work

Never Too Late
At 70 I became a voice actor. I felt at home acting with my voice mostly because I've always been a performer at heart and voice acting was a logical step. I did a few corporate commercials but that aspect of the voiceover business is extremely crowded with voiceover hopefuls. I have a "storyteller" voice so when I read that the Audiobook business was growing at 35 percent a year, I decided to become an audiobook producer, the term used for voice actors that record books.

Senior Advantage
I discovered that having a listenable voice is the minimum requirement and that voiceover work is more about acting ability, so I took improv and acting classes. What I discovered is seniors have so many real life experiences to draw from that acting wasn't such a stretch. It came naturally. Recording books, novels in particular, is totally about acting. I've produced a dozen audiobooks in the past six months. I enjoy the work that I do in my home recording studio, which like 99 percent of audiobook producers is a converted closet. Think dark and womblike. Since most novels feature both men's and women's voices I studied with a woman, acting teacher so I could record women's voices convincingly.

Do It Now
Audiobook opportunities abound for over 50s. Getting started is as simple as taking voice classes and joining ACX.com, the largest audible site. When you feel you're ready cut a few demos. There's an initial investment of $300 or so for a microphone and some inexpensive sound deadening material.

Author/Actor
I'm also an author, which other authors choosing voice actors to produce their books appreciate since I understand the process and respect the work involved in writing a book. I recently published a new book on dating written just for women over 50, Your Guy Is Out There: Dating Tips For Women Over 50 http://amzn.to/2duwH93. It's approximately a three-hour listen.

Seniors who aren't interested in playing golf every day might consider becoming audiobook producers. It's satisfying work that taps into whatever creative energy exists in your body. The editing process is simple and straightforward, albeit a learning process.

Keep Your Mind Sharp
Another positive aspect of producing audiobooks is the mental challenge. When I first began producing audiobooks I had to read a few pages ahead before recording them. Now that I'm experienced I can cold read an entire book and make very few mistakes. This includes acting and recording the characters. It's common for seniors' minds to slip if they don't challenge themselves mentally. Producing audiobooks is that type of challenge that can also be profitable.

Exciting Work
A few of the books I've produced were real barnburners that I couldn't wait to work on every day because I became so caught up in the stories. One in particular, The Luck of The Devil, is a 1970s drug smugglers tell-all book about his experience smuggling shiploads of marijuana and cocaine. His business dealings with Colombians, the Mafia, Cubans and smugglers from other countries is a fascinating story. In fact it's the stuff of movies, and if you close your eyes while listening to it there's a movie quality to the experience.

And I was also privileged to produce a book of stories about Holocaust survivors. The sadness, heroism, and tragic lives of men and women who were ripped from their homes and families and subjected to the most inhumane treatment, and miraculously survived, became a labor of love for me. I wanted to give each person's story the quality of tone and tenor it deserved, and at the same time allow the rawness of their experiences to come through.

If you're interested in pursuing producing audiobooks it's simple enough to get started. Go to ACX.com and read about how to begin your next career. I'll be listening for you.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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