In Production | Vacation by JC Miller (clip #3)

Vacation CoverPreview clip #3 from my audiobook production of Vacation by JC Miller, which is set for a summer 2017 release.

 Vacation is a Love Story set partially in the Cotswolds, the walking capital of England, where the lovers meet. In this preview clip, we find all the main characters who appear in the walking tour part of the story. Two extremely attractive and cultured French women (mother and daughter), a gay couple from North Carolina, an older couple from Australia, Annie from Vashon Island, Washington, William, our hero, and their bumbling tour guide. Listen as they deal with a “wee” change in itinerary.

In Production | Vacation by JC Miller

vacation-cover2This week I began audiobook production for Vacation [Sneak Preview], JC Miller’s charming “tale of love and loss and real friendship, artfully told. JC Miller is keenly observant not of the sensational but of the quotidian, the fleeting thoughts and sensations that overtake us when we think we’re strolling in a meadow or preparing a meal; the subtle inflections of the heart as it speaks to us. You will know her characters intimately and you can’t help but feel with them.” – Daniel Coshnear, author of Occupy & Other Love Stories, winner of the 2000 Willa Cather Fiction Prize

Set in the gentle hills and stone villages of the Cotswolds of England and in the atmospheric Pacific Northwest, a vacation walking tour of pastoral England sparks an attraction between an introverted scientist and a wounded and independent history professor.

Vacation is set for a Summer 2017 release. Listen to a Free Preview Clip from this week’s recording session.

 

Interest in audiobooks rockets, along with other digital storytelling – The Boston Globe

Are audiobooks responsible for a return to an “oral tradition,” due to the “unbridled power of the spoken word” and our evolving culture of multi-tasking? Or, as a narrator, am I simply paying more attention to the industry than before? I think the numbers speak volumes. The audiobook boom is a thing.

“…Despite the forces fostering the audio-storytelling boom, Susan Shipley of Dorchester, who often listens while she knits, sees the rise more as a return than a digital-age innovation.

‘Storytelling was originally an oral tradition,’ Shipley said. ‘When the scribes came along, I imagine the bards thought that was really new.’

D’Acierno of Penguin Random House Audio said she thinks the boom is pretty easy to explain. She believes that there is something natural in the attraction.

‘All of us love to hear stories,’ she said. ‘This is a way to get in touch with that again.’

Source: Interest in audiobooks rockets, along with other digital storytelling – The Boston Globe

Elizabeth Wiley’s Story Inspires

“Even if you’re doing a work of nonfiction, talking about, say, the history of immigration at the turn of the 20th century, you still have to know how to best communicate the through-line of the author’s intent or the character’s thought.”

Source: William & Mary – Giving voice: Elizabeth Wiley finds niche in audiobooks

Goodreads | The Audiobookworm’s review of Omari And The People

4.75★ Audiobook⎮ After finishing Omari and the People, I’m left with both a feeling of wonderment and confusion. Sort of like what I experience at magic shows. On the one hand, I’m in awe. On the other, I’m left a little baffled, but not in an unpleasant way. If you understand how the magician performs the trick, it’s not quite as magical.

Every single second of this audiobook captivated me…(read more)

Source: Goodreads | Jess the Audiobookworm’s review of Omari And The People

Self-producing At Home

What is the most difficult thing about narrating and producing audiobooks in your own home studio?

I am by no means a self-production expert, or any kind of audio production expert for that matter. I know just enough to sound as close to professional industry standards as I can with my equipment, my recording space, my signal processing, and whatever storytelling and acting skill I may possess. I couldn’t audio engineer my way out of a wet paper bag in a big studio. Now, two years into a serious effort to make audiobook narration my profession, achieving the ultimate goal of making audiobooks that evoke a compelling and satisfying storytelling experience for the listener is the primary and never-ending challenge. It’s a long road, but for people like me whose brain works a certain way, it’s at the very least fun and interesting. At best it satisfies my need to create in a big way.

I was a Radio-TV major in the mid-seventies and then I got my masters degree in directing for the theatre. I also started acting in stage plays my junior year as an undergrad. So I have at least a conceptual reminiscence of audio production, acting, and directing. I grew up splicing magnetic tape, ripping and reading news copy from the wire, producing and hosting live and pre-recorded radio, and envisioning, guiding, and being guided in the creation of theatre, the kind with a live audience. Throw into the mix a more recent and much longer career managing projects and it feels like audiobooks might be a good fit. Right?

One of the most satisfying things about self-producing audiobooks at home is having total control over literally every aspect of the effort to create an orally delivered work of literature that fulfills the promise of the story as only the spoken word can. While at the same time, one of the most difficult things about self-producing audiobooks at home is having total control over literally every aspect of the effort to create an orally delivered work of literature that fulfills the promise of the story as only the spoken word can. I am producer, director, audio engineer, and talent. This is not as easy as it sounds.

What do my directing brain and my technical brain do while I’m in front of the microphone attempting to reach my full potential as a storyteller? Do these two brains monitor the performance in real time, guiding and shaping theatre of the mind on a separate track as my storytelling brain delivers the best story it knows how? Or do the director and technician somehow take a break or at least objectively observe and simply wait for the storyteller to finish? So far, I’ve found the more aware I am of the director and technician in me while I’m speaking into the mic, the worse the performance. For me, this is the most difficult aspect at the moment.

When I go back and listen to my first audiobook, I am truly embarrassed. I have to think of that production and narration as my audiobook boot camp. In truth, I very nearly bit off more than I could chew as I reacquainted myself to mic technique and taught myself waveform editing, signal processing, and mastering on the job and on current technology platforms. The narration alone was a significant challenge with over fifteen characters, including teenage boys and girls, as well as four languages in addition to English, and three distinct European accents. What was I thinking? Add in my beginner level and slowly developing processing and mastering skills and the experience of completing my first audiobook nearly killed me. Well, not really, but it was very, very difficult. However, I learned a lot. As a result, my next project was a bit easier, as each successive one has been since.

At the same time, I become increasingly more aware that I still have more work to do to meet my own standards. I know I get better with each book, but I do have high standards where listening to someone tell a story for ten or twelve hours is concerned. So, I will continue to have more work to do as the most difficult thing about self-producing at home changes over time. And that’s a good thing. It means I’m making progress.