While I tend to be a little shy, at heart, there is an extrovert inside me itching to emerge. In the past, acting in local theater let me unleash my inner showboat, and recently, speech-making through Toastmasters helps satisfy this urge to be big and noisy. However, one of the most fun ways I answered this craving recently was by creating the audiobook of The Crandall Haunting.
I loved this process, although it was often daunting. Microphones, preamps, decibels, hertz — so many foreign items and concepts, learned in a hurry. The Internet is an amazing resource for this kind of initiative, with so many kind people, who had “been there, done that,” posting step-by-step directions that solved almost all problems I encountered. Of course, that didn’t help with the big trucks, tractors, airplanes and thunder storms that seemed to know whenever I wanted to do a recording session, but patience was a key quality that helped me through those noisy moments. Luckily, the music of crickets and peepers didn’t penetrate the walls, or I would have been out of business for several months!
I learned that sound editing takes just as long as recording, if not longer. While editing the recording, I stared at the sound waves running across my laptop screen, and I actually started to recognize the sound waves for such key words as “Emerson,” “Clara,” and of course, “Crandall.” And I learned that “Shhhh” looks like a big fuzzy bug when depicted in sound waves, and, oddly, not unlike a burp. Since only one of my characters says “Shhhh,” in one spot, I actually saw burps more often (mine, not the characters). All extraneous noises, such as burps, airplanes and even my husband’s accidentally rattling hangers in the adjacent closet were edited out of the final version, of course.
With audiobook production, the technical bumps in the road seem endless. ACX, the company behind audiobook seller Audible, has very specific requirements for recordings, which involves a mysterious process called “mastering.” Attempting to do this is where I hit the wall. I did not have the equipment to do it well, and it would have taken me weeks, ending in a poor result. Luckily, I found the kind and wonderful Marshall Davis at Davis Sound, and he did it for me quickly. He also did something else magical that improved the overall sound. If anyone needs a master masterer, contact Marshall: http://www.davissound.net/audiobooks.html
Check out the mini video that runs with this post, and you’ll see my ultra-sophisticated recording studio, otherwise known as a clothes closet, complete with a dresser, shelves of bedding and a stockpile of board games.
You can hear a short clip of the recording on this website (it’s on the right sidebar). You can hear an entire, 4-minute chapter on its sale page on Audible or Amazon. To hear the full result, buy it at Amazon, Audible or iTunes, and then you can take The Crandall Haunting with you in the car, in the gym, on a walk or wherever you like to listen. I think you’ll find I did justice to the book and its characters with my deep voice that can switch easily back and forth from female to male characters. I personally listen to audiobooks when shoveling horse manure and feeding sheep, but I’m sure not all of you lead such a glamorous life.