I get asked often why I only do “clean reads”. It is something that is extremely important to me. While I wrote a deeper dive into my Struggle with Standards on my Cats Meow Productions blog, I’ll give a shorter summary here.
What Is A Clean Read?
This is a hard question to answer as many people have different definitions. In short, for me, I choose to narrate books with limited or no swearing, blasphemes, explicit sexual content or illegal drug use.
As a young actor, I found that my standards didn’t quite match up with others and it especially was foreign as I traversed through the Hollywood life and tried to be an actor. I personally am one who does not use foul language (including blasphemes) in my daily life and it’s not something I want to hear either. I also don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs of any kind and I didn’t have sex before marriage. While the basis for these standards came from a religious background, I have spent many years studying, pondering and coming to an understanding that these morals are ones I hold dear, with or without religion. However, these standards made working as an actor and still as an audiobook narrator difficult. While I don’t judge what other actors and narrators do in their businesses, I have very firm boundaries on what is important to me as a person and professional.
Over the years as I would listen to books, I soon realized how much explicit content is in books. And as an avid YA (young adult) reader, it shocked and saddened me. When I would check out books from the library, I would check out 3 or 4 at a time because undoubtedly I would return 1 or 2 before finishing due to excessive language or explicit sex scenes (especially with minors! ugh).
The Struggle is Real
It is SO hard to find clean books to narrate sometimes and to listen to as a reader. It leaves me to wonder why there isn’t as much financial success for clean? I know many fellow narrators who don’t have my similar standards and are making full time wages on audiobook narrating, and even on Royalty share projects (meaning A LOT of people are buying them!). While I am happy for them, it’s just not the path I’m wanting or willing to take. I heard a fellow narrator once say something to the effect that through their audiobooks, they live in “a house that porn built” and that is just something I personally can’t get behind.
Taking A Stand for Standards
Why have we become a society that engages in foul language so much we hardly bat an eye and why is porn in word form the pick of the day? It saddens me. Words are powerful and I want to use my voice for good. I am so grateful when I find an author willing to bill themselves as clean, to stand up for higher standards. Or television shows and movies that I can enjoy without feeling my standards are compromised just by watching. I fully believe what you consume as entertainment is just as important as what you consume nutritionally and it affects you, your body and your mind. What we take in, we often give out.