Waddaya mean I tawk funny?

by Doc Coleman on February 20, 2013 · 2 comments

in Voice Work

This past week my focus has been on ACX. I’ve been scouting out opportunities for some paying voice work gigs. I’ve noticed some interesting things while perusing through the lists of available properties looking for a narrator. Most noticeable among them: an awful lot of the work waiting for a male narrator are romance novels. I even looked at a few of them. After all, if it sells, it sells! But I quickly figured out why these romance titles hadn’t been made into audiobooks yet…

There is one thing you really don’t want to do in your book if you want it made into an audiobook: Add a bunch of exotic looking, but effectively impossible to pronounce words/names. Especially not the name of your main character. What looks cool on the page, becomes a constant stumbling block to someone reading the text aloud. Like your narrator. Yup, that’s what most of those romance books seem to have done. In order to cultivate the appearance of exotic flare, they were chocked full of verbal land mines.

I did find something I’m going to audition for, and it is a bit of a challenge, but we’ll get to that a little later… Oooh! Suspense! ;D

Kee and I spent a good chunk of Sunday working on cleaning up the craft room. At one time, this room had been my den and my computer desk had gone in here. Then Kee decided that she wanted to have me around and begged me to move the computer down into the living room so that when I’m on the computer and she’s watching TV, we could at least be together. At that point, she moved some of her crafting stuff into the room and it was re-dubbed the craft room. At a later point, it became storage space for things that we didn’t have a better place for, and quickly became piled high with stuff. Our project for February was to clean it out and put it into usable order once more.

The weekend previous, we’d pulled a lot of junk out f the room and hauled it off to the dump. Including the old computer desk that had exceeded its usable life span. This weekend, we cleared enough space that we could add shelves to the room and get the stuff up off the floor and in some semblance of order. Now it is lined on either side with wire shelving units and is nicely cleared down the middle. So much so, it gave me an idea.

You see, I’d been thinking about setting up a studio space to work on my recordings for ACX. Knew we’d come around to that, didn’t you? Well, the shelves created an opportunity to create a temporary studio just by putting some blankets up between the shelving units. Boom! Instant sound diffusing surface! The blankets scatter sound inside the space, dampening it, and likewise dampen sound from outside. It isn’t sound proof by any means, but I figured it was better than what I had been doing just recording in my living room. So, to test this theory, I recorded two auditions for this ACX novel I was aiming for: one in the studio “tent”, and the other in the living room with no real noise control.

When I pulled the two files off my recorder and compared them, I noticed an obvious difference: The “studio” version sounded enclosed, boxed in. The other recording was just a voice in a space. It didn’t have that enclosed feeling. It could have been from anywhere. Other than that, there wasn’t much difference between them. The noise floor of both recordings were very comparable. It didn’t really seem worth setting up the tent.

Of course, there was one more wrinkle to the whole thing: The book I had chosen was supposed to be read in a New York accent. I did my best with the recordings, but I didn’t really know how good it was. I’d done a lot of English accents in my time, but not a lot of New York accents. So, I asked myself if I knew anyone who knows a New York accent backwards and forwards. One name came to mind: Nuchtchas, a native New Yorker! I sent her a link to the version I considered the best of what I had and asked if she had any tips. She replied that I had done was more New Jersey and less New York. She gave me some guidelines on how to make it more of a proper New York City accent.

It also occurred to me to contact the author and find out if there were any more specifics for the accent. He responded rather quickly, and told me that what he was looking for was a Brooklyn accent, with just a touch of New Jersey. I did some more research online, finding a number of videos from various sources on how to do different New York accents.

As a result, I’ve spent most of today speaking in a Brooklyn accent and trying to get used to it. And I think I’ve re-recorded my audition piece at least five times. Now I just have to figure out which version I want to send in. Right now, my throat is tired. And I’m not sure which accent I’m using anymore!

Next week I really need to get moving on editing. I’ve put it off far, far too long.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa (My World...in words and pages) March 28, 2013 at 9:25 am

That is great you have friends you can contact. And great the author responded so fast for you.

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2 Doc Coleman March 30, 2013 at 11:55 pm

It is nice when people are willing to work with you. I keep reminding myself that I don’t have to know everything, as long as I know where to find the answers that I don’t know.

Doc

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