Monday, April 01, 2013

Audiobook Adventures: Week 11

I would have predicted, when I first started this adventure, that I'd have grown tired of blogging about recording books for Audible long before eleven weeks had gone by.  But it's still fun, and a huge diversion from the day-to-day slog of recording/editing/uploading on my overstrained computer.  Heck, I never would've guessed a decade ago that I would still enjoy blogging on here, or thirty-something years ago, when I first wrote in a journal.  But I do.

So, I had a wholly pleasant experience recording a short book (the Western I believe I mentioned) recently which not only paid cash, but had absolutely zero mistakes or changes requested by the author.  I'd say it took two weeks or so from receiving the contract to having the whole thing done and approved, and the money in my PayPal account.  It seems to me that even the recording and editing experience was a pleasant one, except for my unfortunate jumbling of the words "raider," "rider," and "ranger," which I didn't have a B.D. Anklevich listening to make sure I got right.*

In other news . . . I have had the meaning completely--hell, WE have had the meaning of "irony" completely ruined by its misuse in the past decades, to the point where I never know if I'm using it right, and have to do a little word-replacement exercise in my head every time I use it.

So, is it ironic that I tried over and over to please an author's agent with my sound quality, finally getting my recordings at a level where they sounded good to me and her, only to get an email from a producer this week telling me I have completely ruined the sound with all my "tinkering and mastering" (as he put it)? He said, and I quote, "No one is going to listen to six hours of your voice with the tinny qualities and artifacts you have created."?

It's sort of the opposite of hilarious, because I have now been trained to, immediately after stopping each recording, to do Noise Reduction. Hence, there are no extant "clean" recordings that he wants me to send him.  The versions with all the background hiss taken out are the only versions to send.

I honestly don't know what to do. If one hour of completed audiobook equals ten hours of work, that means I'm making, roughly, zero dollars and also-zero cents per hour at this job.  Do I want to go back and re-record?  Would you?

The other bit of irony, if I can use that term, is that while recording the book, I was thinking to myself, "This is so fun and so freeing as to be literally awesome."  You see, it's a collection of short horror stories written almost a century ago now, and I was given no direction on how to perform them other than to do what I do best.  Well, if you've heard my work on the podcast more than thrice, you know what I do best, and it was head-shakingly cool to realize that if I wanted to do a story entirely with that uber-phony Mid-Atlantic accent they used to do in movies . . . I could.  And I did.

I sat down one night and recorded the whole story, from beginning to end, until about three-thirty in the morning, laughing at how oh-so-clever I was for talking like nobody really talks, and knowing I could get away with it.  I was even thinking about doing a whole series of these for the publisher, maybe two a year, or one every quarter.

I'm a guy who's easily discouraged and has a tendency to let every little speedbump ruin my day.  But I'm not going to quit.  I'll just focus on the novel with the deadline only hours away this week, see if I can't get at least close to finishing it when my time runs out.  I don't know about you, but not quitting something when it gets difficult is as close to success as I get nowadays.

Rish Outfield, Audiobook Narrator

*And then it was a pain to try and fix those errors in the editing, since the sound quality and my voice were no longer the same, and my attempts to use the correct words from earlier/later in the book never sounded right either.

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