Audiobook Experiment: Learning what I need to learn

Part of any new endeavor (or just life in general) is figuring out what you know and what you don't know, and trying to plan for the things you don't know that you don't know. I knew I'd be able to nail the technical aspect of making audio recordings. Once my booth was set up I did a quick proof of concept and on my third try poking at the settings, I got it sorted out and uploaded a file that passed the ACX tech check. 

Now for the things I don't know. Namely how to be a narrator. Like, with my voice. I've been learning—listening to audiobooks, watching videos, reading tips and tricks—and practicing. I thought coming up with distinct voices for each character would be the thing that really tested me, but the more I practice the more I think "narrator voice" is my biggest challenge.

I am damn good at "mom reading," aka reading short books to children with all the appropriate emotion for Piggy in the Puddle or Fox in Socks (I rock Fox in Socks). And I even pass muster when reading longer books aloud to my kids. They laugh at the funny parts and cry when things get sad. The book comes alive for them. But when it comes to recorded narration, I feel like my natural reading voice is a bit dull and certainly too fast. No problem, I tell myself, I just have to put in more conscious effort. But as it turns out, if I think too hard about my voice, I forget how human emotions work. Then shit comes out filled with misplaced melodrama (One character DRAMATICALLY absent-mindedly rolls a chair from side to side! Another stomps off with all the fire and passion of... Eyore). 

This is going to take practice and preparation to fix, I think. I hope. So the next step is to do more marking up of the text to help me find the right emotional emphasises and then read, record, and listen, read, record, and listen, over and over until either it sounds half-decent (at least good enough to share with people who can offer critiques) or I give up. I don't want to give up. So tomorrow it's back into the booth for me. Wish me luck!

I moved a light into my booth so I can see in there now.

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