22 Oct Discover Kae Denino, Narrator Extraordinaire!
We’re so excited that our Austria series is now available in audio books! Your young reader can listen and follow along on a Whisper-synced ebook. It’s a great way to give that gentle push to reluctant readers. Even better? The whole family can enjoy Pack-n-Go Adventures whenever you take a road trip or while you’re doing chores around the house. We’ve loved working with our narrator, Kae Denino, and thought you might be curious about who this amazing narrator is.
Kae: I’m a mama to seven-year-old twins named Tree and Lake. Tree is a young lady and Lake is the gentleman. We live in a tiny bungalow in a hippie neighborhood near Ohio State. We are self supporting with voiceover work as long as we are thoughtful in our spending. I can cook darn near anything. I love yoga, being outside, and spending time with my boyfriend, who I call Chicago, as that’s where he is from. We wear second hand clothes and have a giant backyard and two cats.
PNGG: How did you get into VO (voiceover) work?
Kae: I got into it because….I’m seriously unfit for anything else? I’m great at talking to myself in closets? For some reason, my voice calms people down. People who don’t listen to other people listen to me. After four thousand community college students and almost a thousand probationers, it became apparent that I should talk for a living. In high school and college I did speech and debate, and even with all of my feelings of inadequacy and shyness, I won like wild.
PNGG: What do you love most about what you do?
Kae: Honestly, what I love most is being .3 miles from my children’s school and available to them whenever needed. Stories are great, commercials are fun. But this job for me is really about being a good mom.
PNGG: What’s most challenging?
Kae: Talking to myself in a closet all day! I’m SUCH a people person. I talk with everyone around me and adore community, diversity, and public life.
PNGG: I’m always impressed with how audio book performers capture the different characters. In the Austria series, we have young, old, American, Austrian, female, and male characters. How do you create the characters so listeners know the character is changing?
Kae: DO you know the character is changing? I hope so! It’s probably a little mystical, but I learn the characters’ souls a little bit, as well as their physical beings. So when I talk from Herr Mueller, I take on—at least in my mind, but somewhat physically as well—the body shape, the body language, even the way his tongue must feel in his mouth. For Brooke, my forehead kind of widens and my eyes perk up—she’s such a curious, thoughtful girl.
PNGG: You’ve done a great job with the German accents in the Austria series. How did you prepare for reading the German? Down the road, you’ll be also reading the Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Thailand adventures. How will you prepare for those accents?
Kae: Thank you! My friend Sarah coached me multiple times–on the phone, in person, and over emails–on the German accents. She spent a year as a foreign exchange student in Germany. I also viewed tons of YouTube videos of Austrian people discussing their accents! In fact, I think I know them all by now.
I’ve spent time in Australia and Mexico, and have started and then been overwhelmed by Portuguese lessons. So for Australia and Mexico, I’ll just brush up with great movies, like Priscilla the Queen of the Desert and Like Water for Chocolate, two of my favorites. For Brazil and Thailand, I plan to cast around in my friend group (hello Facebook!) and find some native speakers to come and sit with me and go over the words. It helps so much to see how their mouths and faces move, and to be coached.
PNGG: If one of our readers/listeners is interested in doing VO work in the future, what advice would you give him or her?
Kae: There’s always room at the top! It’s fiercely competitive, but the hardest workers will win. The best way to work in VO is to learn, learn, learn. Listen, be coached, take advice, be flexible and open. And work just a little harder, longer and better than everyone else.
PNGG: Other than Pack-n-Go Adventures, what’s the favorite professional thing you’ve provided the voice for? Why?
Kae: The thing that gets me is good writing. So some of the tiny :30 commercials—the writing is so keen, honest and fun. Also, I’m a huge feedback person, so providing a voice and hearing how it was received is so great.
PNGG: The Austria books are just over an hour each. How long did it take you to record each book?
Kae: Probably about two days. Those accents were no joke, and I wanted to do them well. And all those boys in the third one! It takes time to be fresh and be at my best when I’m recording. Nobody wants a mumbler!
PNGG: Pack-n-Go Adventures are about inspiring kids to embrace adventure, be curious, value what unites us, and celebrate the differences that make us unique. We want kids to take on a boundaryless world—to become global kids. You have twins that are growing up fast. What do you hope to inspire them to do and be?
Kae: I named them Tree and Lake because those are two things that give in every culture and are a part of every culture. So wherever they go in the world, they can translate their names to the local language. (Unlike their mama, whose name in Spanish means, “What?”) They can do whatever they want, be whoever they want, but they are already learning to do and be with kindness, friendship, and humor. Wherever we go we will be channels for good energy, ambassadors of peace.