Monday, January 28, 2013

Rish Outfield: The Audiobook Adventure Continues

As I mentioned last week, I'm still struggling with this mad quest to do audiobooks for money.  I have to admit that I pretty much fell into despair this week, when
1) the microphone jack on my computer stopped working, and then when I thought I'd gotten it going again,
2) there would be an inexplicable buzzing sound in the background of my recordings, one that only showed up on the recordings, but not when I was reading the books.
3) I spent hours cleaning up my fifteen minutes for my first book, and sent it in, only to have the agent mark down the timecode every time the buzzing could still be heard.
4) I was sure there was a short somewhere in the mic cord, so Big kindly bought me another one when we were together on Monday. The damn buzzing sound continued.
5) So, I asked Big if I could borrow his microphone, but it wouldn't work without his heavy-duty mixer.
6) I did my work over again, starting from the beginning, recording with the mic settings way up so I could lower the volume and mask the damn buzzing (henceforth referred to as TDB) if it came again . . . which it did.
7) The resulting recording, which went way farther than the first fifteen minutes of the book, ended up sounding worse to my ears than the first one did, but at least you couldn't hear TDB. I sent it in anyway, though now I wonder if I had lost all sense by doing that.
8) Of course I got a rejection email from the author's agent, where she said, "The sound quality is nowhere near the levels we expected it to be, and is inconsistent with the quality expected by" For some reason, I went pretty much crazy over this email, and typed up a response that went something like, "Yes, I understand. I apologize for wasting so much of MY time."

But before I sent it, I went for a drive, seething and angry at the world. I had really, really tried to do this thing. And when I wasn't trying to keep the kids from screaming or running around or banging on my door, the phone was ringing, someone would turn the TV on, loud enough for the mic to hear it (perhaps even over the buzzing noise?).

I called Big on the phone and told him I was so frustrated I wanted to burn my bridges, and that I was going to Best Buy to buy another cord for the back of my computer, but if that didn't work, I would throw everything against the wall. He told me, "Just make sure you don't throw my microphone against the wall."

This made me even more furious, and I told him to go ahead and air the last episode of our show, because I was done with anything even remotely related to recording or podcasting. It was childish, sure, but I had warned him I was about to burn bridges.

I did get the plug at Best Buy, and hooked it up, and immediately, the sound quality seemed way better . . . but it did--inexplicably go out completely the next day.  My guess is, there's a short in my microphone jack, or in the mixer itself, because there's no rhyme or reason as to when things go wrong.

It can be difficult enough to perform the written word when the equipment works perfectly, as in this shudder-inducing example:
But one of the authors actually okayed my submitted work, and that really buoyed up my confidence.  He liked my audition, liked the voices I chose to do for his characters, and accepted the first fifteen minutes without complaints or delay.  I never did respond to the rejection I got from the agent, and instead have been focusing on this guy's book.

I've been recording late at night, when everybody else has gone to sleep, but my voice tends to start getting strained or my brain starts to no longer process words at around the two o'clock/two-thirty mark.  During the day, I try to edit what I've recorded, though I'll admit that it's less fun than editing Dunesteef episodes or readings for other podcasts (mostly because I probably see this as a job rather than something I'm doing for passion).

I'm now on page eighty-four, which isn't even halfway through, but I think it'll get done (barring any recurrence of TDB), and someday I can be on here asking people to go out and buy my reading.  Fruitlessly asking, of course.

Rish Outfield, Narrator

1 comment:

Seraph said...

Good on you for sticking with it, in spite of the trials and tribulations ! I hope you can eliminate TDB for good soon !