Friday, December 7, 2012

Comfy chair, sexy mic...

Sophia Raab Downs, my friend and producing partner, (Racing Daylight), dropped by for coffee and a chat the other day.  When she arrived I was recording.  She found me in my cosy chair, reading into my sexy Spark microphone.  She said I should post a photo of myself recording, but I never look like what I think I look like, so instead I'll share the chair.

In the beginning of my short audiobook career, last February to be exact, I recorded Street: Empathy, by Ryan A Span, Dalston Junction, by MeiLin Miranda, Unraveled, by Courtney Milan, and Desiree, by Annemarie Selinko, with a borrowed mic and mixer (thanks, Jason Downs) on my Mac Book Pro with Garage Band.  

I upgraded to my own system when I got the first audiobook paycheck: a Sparks mic and an Avid mini mixer, still on my Mac Book Pro.  Thanks to the very helpful sound specialist Chris at Sweetwater for making the distinction between spoken word versus music recording.   

The Queen of Last Hopes, The story of Margaret of Anjou, by Susan Higginbotham is the first I've recorded on this system.  I didn't believe it was possible, but it's clearly better.  The voice almost floats in space.  Sounds weird, but it allows the reader to be more intimate with the listener.  Thanks to Paul Ruben for teaching me about the less is more of audiobook recording.

Once I moved my Itunes to an external hard drive, the whole system works more efficiently and at a good speed.  I can't figure out how to speed up the editing process though.  Maybe there is no way, and I just need to learn patience.  It is the part that cleans up much of the cracky mouth sounds and the melodramatic breaths. Patience, patience, patience ... is not working.  Maybe tomorrow. 

I have found, to my somewhat naive surprise, that my narration is not to everyone's taste, via the often bruising customer reviews on Audible and Amazon.  My advice to the vitriolic, PLEASE LISTEN TO THE SAMPLES!  It will save us both a lot of buyer's remorse.  Some people just prefer oranges to apples, it's okay, nobody died making these recordings, and so far even those who haven't liked them are still living, I think.

Next up:  Farm Stand, my own novel, shopped by agent Claudia Menza for years, (thanks!), self-published long ago, soon out in Kindle.  My daughter Caitlin (who will be at the 3W Holiday Craft Fair in Brooklyn this weekend, selling handcrafted napkins, tablecloths, pillows ...)  will be improving the cover for me in the New Year.


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