Read Part 1 here!
Now that I finally finished reading the book (so exciting! Can’t wait to read the next one and see what happens next!) and making character and pronunciation notes, I’m ready to record!
The first thing I did was to take a good look at my recording space and make sure it’s set up for long-form recording. Usually, I record standing up, with my mic nestled into the sound-treated closet space in my office. But for a book of this length, that’s not very practical, especially when I’ll need to hold up the text in front of me! Also, when I make a mistake reading a short commercial voiceover, I just keep rolling and can easily repeat the entire script again, but for a whole book, I need to be able to start and stop the recording as needed, which means I’ll need to be able to control the computer somehow. If I set up the mic near the computer itself, it picks up noise from the cooling fan, so that’s not an option.
What I ended up doing is setting up my closet space at a lower height, and sitting on a small piano bench. It’s not as comfortable as an office chair, but it doesn’t squeak as much, so it’s perfect. I stacked some boxes and covered them with blankets in front of me, so I can prop my iPad up at eye level and read easily. Reading on the ipad is also great because it gets a little dark in that area, and I don’t need a light! I hung a heavy duvet blanket on a rack just behind me to help deaden the sound waves, and used small pieces of acoustic foam to stick on any flat or reflective surfaces nearby. To control the computer, I flipped the monitor around to face me, then used the Apple wireless Magic Mouse and wireless keyboard to set up keyboard shortcuts to start and stop a record. This way I don’t have to jump up, take off the headphones, and squeeze out of the recording area each time I flub a line!
Then, I make my own physical preparations to record. This means wearing clothing that doesn’t rustle and no jingly jewelry, and brushing my teeth and wearing chapstick to help avoid dreaded “mouth noise.” This refers to all the clicking and popping and smacking that we do when we speak. You don’t usually notice it on it’s own, but when amplified through a microphone…wow! I had no idea I was so clicky. I tend to be a little chronically dehydrated, which just adds to this, because it causes my mouth to provide extra saliva to fix the dryness (sorry for the TMI), which makes things noisier when you hear it moving around the mouth. (Nice mental image, right?) So I drink lots of water, and also use some voiceover “tricks” like biting into a granny smith apple (the tartness helps) or using a throat spray (I like the honey apple Entertainer’s Secret).
When recording commercial voiceovers, I try to record during the day when my 10 month old son goes down for his nap. That way it’s extra quiet, since he likes to be heard while he’s awake (I swear, the kid is always singing! Which I love about him, but I’m sure my clients wouldn’t…). I put the dog in the bathroom and turn off the air conditioner and pool pump so no hums or vibrations make their way into the audio. Then I put on my earphones and hit record, working until I hear the telltale singing again on the baby monitor. Editing can be done while baby plays nearby, but recording? Not so much.
…at least that’s what I USUALLY do. Today, it became apparent that this wasn’t going to work when the neighbor’s yappy dog started barking nonstop, and the OTHER neighbor started playing “Puttin on the Ritz” on a stereo player on repeat in his backyard (random, right?) while helicoptors passed overhead. Sigh. I did manage to get the prologue of the book recorded in between barking sessions, but I think I will usually be forced to record late at night after everyone else has gone to bed for the longer portions. That’s fine by me, though, since I’m a night owl…I think I do my best work later at night, plus my voice is warmed up more. So tonight I’ll begin my journey of telling Lucy’s story through Virulent…