Behind the mic

by Doc Coleman on August 21, 2013 · 7 comments

in Voice Work

It feels like I’ve been able to get a lot done this past week. I’ve got a contract for a new voicework project, although I’ve not been given leave to identify the project yet. And that has gotten me back behind the mic again for something more than the Balticon 47 Wrap up. This weekend I recorded auditions for three new Audio Drama. Well, actually I think one of them is a continuing project that was in need of new cast members.

Am I overdoing it with voice work? Perhaps. But I don’t really expect to be cast in all three roles. Yet each audition is the potential to reach a new audience, and another credit to my resume. And those credits should help me land future paying gigs. I really should work in a new ACX audition or two in the coming week. Those are the gigs I really want, as they are the ones that are paying.

So why do the audio drama auditions instead of ACX? Well, the audio drama parts are just fun. In the latest batch I’ve got a pirate, a supervillain, and a secret agent. Even if they turn out to be small parts, it is the kind of part that appeals to me as a character actor. In a lot of ways, it would be much more fun to have a steady stream of small bit parts than to do one big part. The big parts are much better for getting your name out, but most of the time the small parts are more of a challenge as an actor because you have to convey a character in a lot fewer lines and still portray that character as a complete person with a unique history.

I also need to get back behind the mic and record a new episode of The Shrinking Man Project. While I have kept things going this summer over on the Facebook Fan Group, I haven’t made time to record any new episodes. In some ways, I’m a bit at a loss for what to do with the Shrinking Man Project. Of all the projects I have going, it is the one with the smallest following. It is the most niche. But those followers have also been active in a much higher percentage than normal. Logically, I should shut down the podcast and re-focus my energies on some of my bigger projects and new endeavors, but I don’t want to just drop those folks who’ve been with me and have been actively following my progress, and making progress of their own. And then there is the fact that I haven’t said everything I wanted to with the Shrinking Man Project. I’ve still got a huge list of Philosophy topics I have yet to address.

On the flip side, this probably means I should redouble my efforts to put out more Shrinking Man Project episodes so that I can bring the podcast to a more natural conclusion, but I find that with the difficulties I’ve been having in keeping my eating under control and exercising regularly, I don’t feel much like a role model. Of course, I started out the podcast as just a guy who was going through the process of losing weight, not as someone who was an expert at weight loss. I never intended to be a role model, but that didn’t stop some people from expressing their admiration for me and my dedication to my own weight loss. Which makes it hard to continue to put out episodes when I’m not feeling all that dedicated.

All of this means that I still don’t know what I’m going to be doing with the Shrinking Man Project in the long run. In the short run, I need to record some new episodes.

Another thing I need to do in the world of audio is figure out what I want in terms of a mixing board. I have gone back and forth with regard to the need for a mixing board for the kind of recording that I have been doing. My Zoom H1 and H2 do a fine job of basic recording when I’m working with just a single voice, which is what I usually do. But there are still some limitations on what you can do with a canned recording, that you don’t necessarily have when you can push your audio through a mixer as you’re recording. Some of those things you can do in post with the right kind of audio software, but you still have to learn how to do it. It should be easier to learn how on a physical board instead of a virtual one. Right?

Obviously I still need to do some research. Anyone want to give me some suggestions? I have a copy of J. Daniel Sawyer’s Making Tracks. I should try to carve out some time to read it.

One other thing that has been changing in the production realm, is that we have started looking at moving to Reaper. Up until now we have been using Audacity for noise cancelling and some minor editing and Garage Band for multi-track editing. But more and more we keep running up into limitations with each program. Audacity has a tendency to be flaky and crash while you are in the middle of something, and Garage Band is pretty limited in the types of formats you can output your audio in. And none of Garage Band’s output formats are non-lossy. They’re all compressed, which means that you’re losing some of the content.

So, we’re looking at Reaper. Reaper isn’t free, but it has affordable licences for small operations like us, and it is capable of doing a lot of professional-class editing. The drawback of Reaper is that it is designed for people with a pro audio background so there is a steep learning curve. Fortunately, Reaper has a two month trial that we can use to try to climb that learning curve.

I wonder if there is a Reaper made Easy book…

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kee August 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm

We did find a work around for Garage Band to output podcasts to WAV or AIF. You have to convert it to a ‘song’ by deleting the ‘podcast’ track. Then export it to iTunes in your format and re-add the podcast info there.


2 Doc Coleman August 23, 2013 at 5:33 pm

True, but that is a bit kludgy. It would be much more efficient to have a single program that would let us export into the correct format, and do noise reduction and multi-track editing without having to migrate to a different tool to do specific things.



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: