Chenle: The wildest. His pre-debut photos are actually insane and his laugh is a loud cackle. Can speak many languages and will insult you in them all.
Doyoung: Drags everyone. Actually loves all the members so much but doesn’t show it often.
Doesn’t talk about feelings and can be a little shit to his members, but he’s sensitive and gets a lot of hate from ‘fans’. He’s gorgeous, protect him at all costs.
Hansol: Not debuted yet but has been around since ancient times and has a strong fanbase. All you need to know right now is he’s incredibly attractive and will end you in a dance battle.
Intelligent and not always equipped socially. Sometimes says dumb shit and has a heart of gold.
Jaemin: Debuted with Chewing gum but then left due to injury. He is a lovable cutie-pie and will be returning soon. Don’t forget about him this smiley sunshine.
Jeno: A triple threat who has the potential to take over the world with his talent. He’s adorable.Helps mark keep the dream members in check.
Jisung: Sweet but can be a little shit when older members aren’t supervising him. Constantly looks tired or clueless.
Johnny: Seems mature but is secretly a dirty jokes factory and knows how disgusting us fans are. Shitty pun guy.
Kun: Shy munchkin. Was around near the beginning but has disappeared into SM’s basement.
Yukhei: aka Lucas who is a newly revealed future member ready to slay us all.
Mark: Actual sunshine. He is the nicest, most kind member of the group and full of talent. The whole fandom and his members would kill for this boy so be careful what you say about him. He has enough to deal with as he has a 24/7 schedule and never complains.
Renjun: He can actually be really competitive and loves to sleep. He’s basically on the ground a lot and can be really shy.
Taeil: Incredibly intelligent and mature guy with an insane IQ. He can actually be really silly and gets on well with younger members. Needs more love.
Secretly the mom friend, but doesn’t want anyone to know that. Acts tough but is the cutest cinnamon bun. Clean freak.
Ten: Dance god and a fluff ball but is secretly emo trash, please don’t look up his pre-debut pictures, you will be scarred.
Winwin: The sweetest angel who all the members love.
Might use members with ulterior motives, but is grateful for them nonetheless.
Yuta: Guy whose good at football and politics. Will end your life with a single roast sessions. Beware.
Wouldn’t it be nice when, if the President of the United States felt the need to comment politically on football, it was to condemn a culture of domestic violence, homophobia and toxic masculinity instead of condemning players for getting on one knee to symbolically oppose police brutality?
Congressional Democrats have pulled a fast one on Republicans by striking a deal with Trump to raise the federal debt ceiling only until the end of the year. This will give them bargaining leverage in December to strike a bigger bargain with Republicans: Democrats will agree to raise the debt ceiling then in return for Republican cooperation on legalizing Dreamers (unauthorized immigrants brought into the U.S. as children), making small but necessary fixes in the Affordable Care act, and other things Democrats seek.
Raising the debt ceiling is always a political football, used by whichever party is in the minority to extract concessions from the majority party or from the majority party’s president.
The debt ceiling is how much the government is allowed
to borrow. It shouldn’t be a political football. It should be abolished. It serves absolutely no purpose.
When the debt ceiling was first adopted in 1917, it might have
been a useful way to prevent a president from spending however much he wanted.
But since 1974, Congress has had a formal budget process to control spending
and the taxes needed to finance it.
There’s no reason for Congress to authorize borrowing for
spending that Congress has already approved, especially when a failure to lift
the debt ceiling would be so horrific.
Having a debt ceiling doesn’t discipline government, anyway. The
national debt is obligations government has already made to those who lent it
money. Discipline has to do with setting spending limits and legislating tax
increases, not penalizing the lenders.
Which is why most modern democracies don’t have debt ceilings.
Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia – they do just fine without
explicit borrowing limits.
Even more basically, the nation’s debt is a meaningless figure
without reference to the size of the overall economy and the pace of economic
After World War II, America’s debt was larger than our entire
Gross Domestic Product, but we grew so much so fast in the 1950s and 1960s that
the debt kept shrinking in proportion.
Today’s debt is about 77 percent of our total national product.
The reason it’s a problem is it’s growing faster than the economy is growing,
so it’s on the way to becoming larger and larger in proportion.
is what we ought to be focusing on. Fighting over whether or not to raise the
debt ceiling is a meaningless and dangerous distraction. So abolish it.
I’m writing to encourage you to return to the negotiating table with SAG-AFTRA with the aim of ListenUp Audiobooks becoming a union signatory.
I started working for you in 2012, back in the day when we were all crammed into four closets at Magick Lantern, when we still read off paper scripts instead of iPads, when we had a recording schedule scrawled on a white board in that cramped little office. I count myself so fortunate that one of my colleagues suggested I audition for ListenUp, and that I was good enough to join the narration team. Some of my best friends and colleagues came into my life from the ListenUp family. And ListenUp was my doorway into an industry I love and find deeply gratifying. It is a theater and voice artist’s dream.
I’ve held a lot of roles at ListenUp over the years. As a narrator, I know first hand how hard it is to keep all the plates spinning in the air to create a dynamic narration. To be aware of pacing, breath and articulation, and to read fluently and efficiently with few errors are just a few of the technical aspects that not many performers can handle all at once. But to be present to the story, to inhabit the story, to bring it to life with vitality and a dynamism that keeps the listener engaged takes a plethora of artistic skills. A narrator must be facile with pronunciations, capable of creating a range of believable character voices that are enjoyable and not grating to listen to. A narrator must practice and perform convincing foreign and regional accents, and even other languages. It is not easy to have a conversation with yourself when one character is a Scottish Highlander and the other a French lieutenant. It’s even harder to pull off an authentic Thai accent and receive “kudos to the narrator for handling the language” in your Audible reviews. As a new narrator, I would say my first ten to fifteen books were pretty embarrassing, but by my fortieth book, I really, finally figured out what I was doing, and by sixty or seventy books, I truly became a professional narrator. That kind of experience does not come easily, and it should not be taken for granted, nor can it be easily replaced. I am grateful to ListenUp for being a place where I could develop and hone my skills, and I am proud call myself a professional audiobook narrator. I believe all of our core narrators, especially those who have been with LUP for years, have long earned the descriptor of “professional,” and deserved to be compensated as other professionals in the field are compensated.
As the Casting Director of ListenUp for two years, I saw first hand during general auditions how rare it is to find talent that can actually comprehend and deliver this art-form, and it is an art-form, it is not a widget. True, skilled, professional narrators are not easily replaced, like a cog in a manufacturing wheel. You cannot “plug and play,” substituting a professional for a green narrator and expect to have the same quality product. Maybe one in twenty actors had the potential to become a narrator, and that is before they were trained. If quality matters to you, then professionals are integral to your business, and you will value and reward their skill set and dedication. And you will hire the professionals more, not less, just because they make a higher rate. If you were churning out widgets, I could understand the calculus that would allow you to replace one assembly line worker for another without a second thought. But ListenUp does not make widgets, it makes audible theater.
As the Talent Director for two years, in charge of training and directing narrators, I saw the comprehension on the faces of new narrators as they realized just how complicated narrating is. They were in awe of the ability of a professional to be relaxed in the booth, not stiff, nervous or stilted in their performance and delivery. They didn’t think about things like performing dialogue with just themselves, let alone group conversations, all with different character voices that had to be discernable so as not to confuse a listener. They didn’t yet know how to think about the listener’s experience. They didn’t know about calling city counsels to find out the correct pronunciations of remote towns in order to give an authoritative and knowledgeable read. They didn’t know that one mispronunciation of a city in Iraq and the narrator loses all credibility with the listener. New narrators have a steep learning curve, which is why valuing the narrators who have been with you longest, who have already learned these lessons, who have the versatility and knowledge to give you a high quality, professional product for your clients, is imperative. We are not replaceable. We are professionals.
I realize that to become a union signatory, and to potentially raise rates for narrators to union scale may result in raising rates for your clients in order to keep your profit margins intact. But these very clients already pay union rates and are union signatories for other audiobook product/production lines. So what makes Atlanta narrators any less deserving of those same benefits? It has nothing to do with the cost of living in Atlanta, which incidentally, is rising. A professional narrator is a professional narrator, no matter if they live in NYC, L.A., or East Podunk. In addition, with the instability in the health insurance markets due to the political football over the Affordable Care Act, many actors who currently get their insurance from the marketplaces are facing uncertainty and potential rate increases now that the federal reimbursements to insurance companies to subsidize coverage are being canceled. To have access to SAG-AFTRA health insurance plans would be a god-send (I myself am facing this particular dilemma).
Chris, I thank you for starting ListenUp Audiobooks. I thank you for giving me my start in the industry. While I was on staff as the Casting Director at ListenUp I worked hard to make our narrator team rival those in NYC and LA for quality and talent. I wanted us to be known as the best damn narrator team in the southeast. I wanted producers in NYC and LA to know that if they ever needed a southern accent on a production, that they needed to turn to ListenUp, because we have the real deal, because we can do all the regional southern accents, not just the generic, “catch-all southern” that narrators from up yonder deliver. I remember when I took over a series of murder mysteries that took place in the Ozarks from a celebrity narrator who had done the first books in the series with a Minnesota accent! What?!?!?!
All this is to say, Chris, value us. Value your professional narrators, that you cultivated, that you gave a start to, that have been loyal to you all these years. Be loyal to us. Become a union signatory. Pay us union scale. Do what is right.