Life after radio: Hope Fabillar’s new audio adventure
Listening to an audiobook? Does the narrator sound familiar?
The voice you’re hearing could well be dulcet tones of Hope Fabillar.
The former radio newsreader is now an Audiobook Narrator on Audible, Google+ and 46 other audiobook retailers.
And with her trademark warmth and natural, conversational style, the job’s proving a perfect fit.
Hope’s arrival on the audiobook scene follows a radio career spanning 24 years, in which she presented news for number one AM and FM stations in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, from 2UE to Triple M.
“Those who know me will tell you that I’m a great storyteller and can talk non-stop underwater, when given the opportunity,” Hope tells Radio Today.
“I was always curious about audiobook narrating – any narrating for that matter.”
Her chance to have a crack arose when Hope found herself listening to a podcast hosted by a former 2UE colleague, whose guest happened to own a production company.
“We exchanged details and twelve months later, she had an author who chose my voice to read her book.” Hope explains.
It’s been a remarkable journey, especially when you consider that when Hope first moved to Australia from the Philippines as a child, she couldn’t speak English
Living in Sydney, by the age of seven Hope was running errands to the local takeaway shop, where she would order things she didn’t know how to pronounce.
Hope’s mum believed it would help her daughter become more fluent in the local language.
For young Hope, it was a baptism of fire at the bain-marie.
“Remember kabana? Those red sausages that sat beside the Chiko Rolls? In my terrified state, I pronounced them kombana.”
But there was merit in her mum’s method.
Later moving to Queensland – where Hope lived on a 23 acre property with her mum and stepdad next to a pine forest in Caboolture – English became the school subject at which Hope excelled.
“The headmaster told my folks in year 8 that I was in the top 1% in Queensland,” Hope remembers.
Today – based in Brisbane – Hope is a linguist who speaks English, French and Spanish.
She can also still speak in her native tongue, Tagalog.
It was five years ago now that Hope decided to leave radio.
“It was simply time to pursue goals that I was unable to do while working full-time and turn the page to a new chapter of my life,” she says.
Fittingly, that chapter turned out to be storytelling.
And it’s been quite the learning curve.
Hope says narrating audiobooks requires patience, time and stamina.
“Audiobook narration is not everyone’s cup of tea because it’s very time consuming. There’s a lot to-ing, fro-ing and re-recording lines or paragraphs.”
The job also requires broadcast quality recording equipment, a slick microphone, a soundproof room and a decent laptop for recording.
“I had NONE of these,” says Hope.
“Well, I own a RØDE microphone, gifted to me by an old boss from my junior burger days on AM radio about two years ago, because he wanted me to do my own podcast.”
“My laptop was my mum’s – who’s a luddite. It’s from the Jurassic era and still on Windows 8!”
Thankfully, a friend and former colleague came to Hope’s rescue.
“If I can do audiobook narrating with hardly any of the above, so can anyone!”
Hope admits she’s just an audiobook ‘newbie’ at this stage.
“My very first audiobook project was 18,000 words and it took three days to complete. This was rushed for me.”
“I have two authors I know, who always said they would like me to read their published books that were completed in the last decade.”
“Thank God the books are short reads and not the thickness of War and Peace!”
As for the future, some of Hope’s life goals are more pressing than others.
“Firstly, I need to ditch my current laptop and buy myself a Macbook by YESTERDAY.”
Able to emulate accents and characters, Hope plans to set up her own recording studio at home, so she can do her own audiobook recordings, along with voiceovers for animated characters.
“My husband always says my voice puts him to sleep. After all these years, I’m still not sure how to take this comment but it’s given me an idea to do voiceovers on sleep and meditation apps.”
A two-time ACRA finalist turned gourmet cook and skilled food photographer, Hope has many strings to her bow.
“I’m also writing my memoir and a screenplay based on a true story,” she says.
“Both are a work in progress at this stage.”
“Watch this space.”