My husband and I have recently started recording audio books. I have logged many (many) years of acting on stage and in film and Doug has put in an equally large number of years performing and recording music. We both love reading books and listening to audio books, so when the opportunity arose to narrate and produce an audio book, we thought, "Absolutely! This is right up our alley(s)".
I mean, how hard could it be, right? Little did we know . . . .
When I was asked by the author of that first audio book to write as a guest blogger about my experience, we thought it would be a nice short piece, but (as you can probably tell by this long-winded introduction) I just couldn't seem to stop writing, so it became a 4-part series.
This is Part Three in that series
Part Three: We're Recording an Audiobook!?!
Once my husband’s ears stopped ringing from my unintentional assault on them, we went through the checklist.
Copy ready? Check. Microphone on (well, we tested that already . . . ) Computer up and running? Check. Refrigerator off? Check. Furnace off? Check. Dogs shut up in the back room? Check.
Let’s do this thing!
We had deliberately waited until evening, after most people had finished the day and gone inside to do whatever people do between supper and bed, hoping the outside noise would be at a minimum. All was peaceful and quiet. Perfect.
I took a drink of water and began the introduction. So far, so good.
On to the first chapter. I’d already read and reread the manuscript, made character notes, and marked spots that needed special attention when being read aloud. I took a deep, calming breath.
“Stop!” I hear from the next room.
“Don’t you hear that?”
I tilted my head and listened. Ah, jet noise. Our house is not in the direct flight path, but during certain wind or weather patterns, the air traffic is rerouted so that it passes near us. It’s not loud enough to notice during normal activities, but is quite obvious in the recording. I sighed and waited for it to pass.
“Okay, start again, Chapter One.”
“Chapt—no, it’s coming back.”
“Sounds like they’re in a pattern. We’ll have to wait till they pass.”
Two emails, a trip to the bathroom, and a water refill later, I finally sat back down in front of the microphone and listened. No jets.
We were well into the 7th or 8th page before the next jet interruption. Or was it a helicopter? “Patience is a virtue”, I said to myself. This was to become a phrase I would repeat daily.
Finally, we got into a rhythm, and I was getting into the performance of the characters, when again from the next room I hear, “What are you doing in there?”
“It sounds like you’re chewing or smacking.”
“Well, take a drink. Do something. It sounds awful.”
Ah, the green apple slices. That’s what they’re for. You can chew it; you can suck it; you can bite it but not chew it; you can chew it but not swallow it. The reports disagree on exactly how to best get that apple pectin working on your dry mouth, but green apple is universally touted on all the voice-over sites.
It didn’t work for me.
I tried water. I tried apple juice. I tried cinnamon. I tried drying my tongue. It got better, but it appears I am cursed with a noisy mouth. It would just have to be added to the list of things to edit out post-recording.
When the neighbor turned on his compressor, which he often does when working on his car, we called it a night.
Despite, jets, passing cars, my mouth smacking, and neighbor intrusions (there really weren’t any trains, but I thought it sounded good in the title), we made it through the first chapter.
Our feet were wet and we were ready for more.