Monday, January 13, 2014

Audiobook Adventures: Post 33

This is gonna be a short post, mostly because I wanted to mention Black Data.  November, and particularly December, were very busy months for me, and I focused on other things over audiobooks and blogging about audiobooks.  But now we're into January, and I've finally sat down to really focus on it again.

I do still have that write-up to post about "Kalin," but I figured I'd wait on it because that book isn't finished yet.  The publisher took about three weeks to get back to me on it, and when they did, there was a list of changes as long as my arm (or as long as somebody with long arms's arm).  I am really tempted to bitch about their complaints that my reading didn't match the text, since the book itself had plenty of typos and nonsensical sentences I had to translate into correct English, but I suspect that some of their changes were actual mistakes on my part.  I honestly don't know the difference between "torturous" and "tortuous," or "resplendency" and "respendicity."

I haven't taken the time to make all the changes and re-record bits of that book, but I really ought to.  Even if it only sells two copies, that's two more bucks than I currently have.

Instead, I focused the past few days finishing up "The Jester of Scar," which is the fifth (and last?) book in my Dumarest contract.  I had only three chapters edited when I finished up narrating the book two nights ago, sitting down and forcing myself to read into the wee hours of the morning until it was finished.  Then, yesterday, I discovered that both Chapters Four and Five had a sort of interference on the recording, a static that I hadn't heard while recording* the chapters, which completely ruins the recording, and which experience has taught me, is impossible to remove.

So, last night, I sat and re-recorded the two chapters, then checked Chapter Six, only to find that the static was there for a minute or so, and I had to redo the first page of that chapter too.

Now I'm sitting here, editing the old and the new recordings, and relieved to hear that the ones from 2013 blend seamlessly with the 2014 ones.  One less headache to wor--  Actually, I'm blogging instead of editing right now, which gives evidence as to why I'm a week late on my deadline (whoops, nine days late now).  Sigh.

The main reason I stopped editing (besides laziness) was that, when I had to re-record last night, I came upon a character name that I hadn't any memory of (indeed, I think I may have pronounced his name two different ways between now and then).  Luckily, I had taken notes when I first recorded the chapter, and had written "American, talks like he has a cigar in his mouth."

Immediately, I knew how he was supposed to sound, and went to work, the character totally recognizable in my mind.  In editing it, I had to smile, because he really does sound like he has a cigar, and I wonder if the listener(s?) of the audiobook will wonder why he sounds like he's got his mouth full, or if they'll just accept it and move on.  I do so enjoy narrating audiobooks (when it works).

Like the other E.C. Tubb books, this one is filled with characters who have names, but only appear once, and never again.  In my notes, I have descriptions like "Low-class Brit" and "Throaty redneck," which hopefully sound different than "Aussie ruffian" and "Friendly Canadian 30-something."**  I did throw in my usual celebrity notations, even though no one will ever know I was trying to do Billy Dee Williams or Gene Hackman or Giles from "Buffy," since they're really just faces I see while reading, rather than me doing impressions.

The oddest one, at least to me, was giving one of the characters the voice of "Black Data."  In this series of books, there are villains who are emotionless plotters that, predictably, try to kill Earl Dumarest at the end and end up getting killed by him.  The first one, I voiced as Data from "Star Trek: The Next Generation," but I have tried to switch each one up in each subsequent book, doing one with an English accent, doing one with a pouty expression on my face (which made him sound like Lorne Michaels or Doctor Evil), doing one as Mr. Spock.  But this one, I thought I would do as Data, if he were a black guy in Chicago playing him.

It was really hard, because I tended to lean more toward an urban inflection, or more toward an emotionless, curious Starfleet officer.  It, and indeed, many of my voices, could turn out to be simply obnoxious, but I hope that he at least sounds unlike any other character I've done.

Man, it would be nice to get paid for all this work I'm doing.

Rish Outfield, Audiobook Guy

*Which makes me wonder how that is even possible, unless I declined to wear my headphones during the recording of those two chapters (which would be stupid, but not out of character for me).  The second lesson Big and I discovered in doing our podcast was to always wear headphones while recording.  That way, if the refrigerator starts humming, or a baby starts crying, or a cellphone starts interfering with your signal, you hear it as the microphone picks it up, instead of later when it's difficult (if not impossible) to re-create.  We were reminded of this basic lesson as recently as this week, when we discovered that the microphone that recorded Renee Chambliss at one of our NMX sittings was not turned on.

**The Canadian turned out to be a very major character, which shouldn't have been a surprise, since I read an extensive summary of the book before I started it, so I'd know which characters I'd have to create a persona for, and which could just be "English dude."  To my ear, Canadian sounds just like American, except with a couple of words said wrong, but he started to have some sort of rhythm to his speaking, a cadence that made him a character instead of just an accent.  And that's nice.

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