Before we get in to this month's blog, I want to say....I had never considered being a narrator! It wasn't even on my radar until fellow narrator/author and actress CSE Cooney suggested it. Now, how I missed it as an option is surprising... It is full of all the things I look for when I work: variety, creativity, sensitivity and challenge. Is it easy? Not always. Is it stimulating? Absolutely! Earlier this year I referenced many of the reasons I enjoyed being an Audiobook Narrator (check out January's Blog 2017: Audiobooks Off and Running! ) and now, more than 30 books later, I am currently plop in the middle of a multi-month run of recording several Amish love stories, a non fiction on why people have affairs, a first responder drama series, a couple of cozys and the next installment of The Country Club Murders Series. I am having a ball!
I am often asked what goes in to recording a book, "Do you record, like...all day?" and so I thought I would blog this month about the process. Please note, this is my process. It is evolving as I go but, here is how I currently go about recording an audio book.
Once I have received prep, I go in to "the workbook". Because my fiction titles are often serials and my non-fiction titles are thematic , it is important to keep notes for each title. I keep composition books because I am old school and find writing things out and color coding works for me. I use these books during the recording of initial as well as reference material for later. I find out the length of the book, the amount of recording days I have and establish a minimum amount of pages to be recorded daily. This is the bottom line number. I always schedule in some wiggle room.
Then you prep the book to be recorded. Research the author, research tone, look in to previously recorded titles in the series. Start reading the prep. I make notes on characters, any pronunciations I am not clear on (this has been VERY enlightening because it turns out there are several words I have mispronounced my entire life!) and make notes about possible dialect work that may be needed. Make notes for visuals or song references...basically, ANYTHING.
I make notes as I go in the recording as well. If something strikes me, I make a note. Sometimes there are notes for the editing team, sometimes a note to myself to go back and listen to something (this is one of the reasons that cushion time is important to me).
Once prep is completed, you are good to go! Get in to the booth and start recording. I find there are always discoveries in the booth because often, the switch from reading it on the page to the spoken word is full of surprises. Emotional arcs and pacing that may not necessarily have been obvious in the prep phase. I have, on more than one occasion, started crying during the recording and have had to take a break to flush out the emotion. Walks at midday are always good for me. A quick walk outside clears everything. I find them invaluable for a vocal and emotional rest.
I also discovered early on that I needed what I call, social breaks. I am a "social" worker by nature and thrive on interaction. Because of this, I find seven plus hours in the booth without interacting is not natural for me. So, with each break for water and the bathroom, I make sure I have a small interaction.
Staying hydrated is extremely important because of mouth noise, I drink between 60 to 80 ounces of water daily! And apples...apples are my best friend for clearing the mouth marbles. Some narrators swear by green tea but I find it dries out my mouth. Warm water with honey once in awhile....plain warm water when necessary. Also, for me, a cup of coffee goes a long way!
As I head in to the new year, I have set some extensive goals for 2018 and look forward to hitting that exciting 100 title mark! That will be a banner day indeed!
So, to all those who ask....yes, I do read, like all day! ...and it's fantastic!
Hey, Callie! Where's your October Blog...Building my Website, Building Me? Well. You know, that's a funny thing. It's called a delete button and you know what? If you aren't paying attention and you hit that button.....stuff deletes!....
....what a world!