Questions re Harry

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from jim himself 

as the creator of all the voices on the tapes and c.d's, i got to know each character from the inside, as i had to become every written character in that story; see the world through their eyes, and love who they were whether hero or villain. over two hundred and fifty speaking characters were created by j.k.rowling. hope you enjoy hearing all of them come alive in the world of harry potter.

so many of you have been in touch with the recording company asking for more information on the work involved in creating a harry potter audiobook. here are just a few of the questions. i shall be updating this section regularly.

questions regarding the making of the harry potter audio books

question: how did you create the voices for hagrid, dobby, prof. mcgonegal, hermione, dumbledore, snape, moaning myrtle and malfoy?

jim:  well, hagrid was an old giant of an uncle who owned a small farm in devonshire. he used to call me 'jim lad' like long john silver, then throw me up in the air and catch me - and i was twenty three at the time!

dobby - he was a dwarf playing 'dopey' in a musical called snow white and the seven dwarfs. i first met him in a crowded elevator backstage at the theater. i heard a small voice behind me say, "excuse me sir, could you take your bum out of my face?" he became dobby.

prof. mcgonagall - she was the actual voice of my aunt in edinburgh, scotland. i never told her, or she would have been 'muggled' to death if she'd opened her mouth in public! 

hermione - my first girl friend. she spoke very quickly, "because", she said, "i'd never forgive myself if i left any words behind"

prof. dumbledore - is based upon john houseman who was a very great actor and a friend. 

prof. snape - the actual voice of a teacher we had. he was so rotten to us we pinned a large piece of raw fish under his office table-top. after two weeks of summer heat even the school cat wouldn't go into the room. they searched everywhere for the smell, but never thought to look up underneath the table-top. it's probably still there - fossilized! 

moaning myrtle - i heard this voice from a very upset young girl telling her mother that her rotten brother had deliberately swallowed her goldfish.

malfoy - you always hear this kind of voice from young boys when they discover they've just trodden in something the dog left behind. 

question: i know you narrated the books, but how many other actors were there doing the voices?

jim:  none, only me. little did i know how many voices there would be! 

question: how do you keep track of all the different voices.

jim:  i mark the dialogue in the book with colored pencils, then  use the same colors against a list of characters names on a sheet of paper alongside me. when i create the voice, i file it on a tape recorder with the name of the character and the page they are on. if i am at all unsure, and i am - most times, i can then check the tape as i go along. 

question: how long does it take to record a book? 

jim:  all depends on the number of pages. usually i am in the studio from 10-30am until 5-30pm recording twenty pages an hour. 
but extra time is always needed for re-recording due to my mistakes / wrong voices / changing tapes /
 tea time and after tea time - pee time. it can take two weeks recording time.  

you have just read
questions and answers
regarding the making of the audiobooks.

reviews of all six
harry potter audio books
with sound bites

jim's biography



jim dale home page