Saturday, January 22, 2011

When you hear R2-D2 beep like this, you'll know it's time to turn the page...

Last Tuesday, I went into a small studio in Conshohocken for my first recording session as the narrator of an audio book. And yes, it was as awesome as it sounds. Even though I've been producing a podcast for the last year, I've never been hired to be an audio book reader before. I had applied to this company over a year ago and been put into their vocal files. But about a month ago, I got a call from the producer who said that he had a job for me. The author of a non-fiction book had heard my sample, and mine was the voice she wanted to read her book about resolving workplace disputes with your manager.

I went into the sound-proof recording booth, and Dave G (the producer) gave me a quick and dirty course on how to perform as the narrator of an audio book. And it was a pretty cool tutorial. I though that it would be all about being clear and direct with your voice. But he had me work on things like rounding out the sound of my voice, as well as really varying up its pitch to convey the meaning behind all the text. It was also strange to be reading a book out loud that had never gotten a chance to read before. Sometimes I stumbled over a word, a phrase, or a particular sentence construction. When that happened, I always laughed a little to myself and made a "bleh" sort of noise, and then we just went back to take a second stab at the line. Only two or three moments really gave me trouble, but I nailed them all eventually.

I worked on the book for a total of three hours, and I was surprised at how hard it was. My mouth was working pretty hard to get all the articulation that I needed to speak clearly. Also, I was talking for nearly three straight hours. The next time I record a book, I know to prepare my voice a little bit more, and be ready for that marathon talking session. I thought it was going to be a rather simple affair, much more like recording the episodes of my radio series. But it was a much more focused sort of work, especially since I was the only person in the sound booth. I hope I get to go back and do another one.

1 comment:

JParis said...

Sounds enjoyable, Nick. A simple scenario, yet it still calls for your talents and hard work. Once completed, you're able to go home with the feeling of a job well done.