I went on a course a couple of years ago called ‘Find Your Voice’. It was for people wanting to get into commercial voiceovers…all about using microphones and marking up scripts to emphasise the right words and creating memorable characters with vocal tricks. The others on the course were real actors, hoping to get into the voiceover game, and they were pityingly tolerant of the non-vocally-talented writer who just wanted to make competent podcasts of her book.
We all went through that thing where you hear your voice and squirm because it’s not how you sound in your head but, unlike when you hear yourself on a tinny outgoing phone message, we had it booming at us in a pukka sound studio with boards full of things that blokes with ponytails know how to tweak. As if that wasn’t bad enough, then the room full of people who’d had voice training dahling discussed how you sounded. They’d make suggestions for changes; try this pace, try that tone, pretend you’re shouting at a class of toddlers or addressing a meeting of the Hitler Youth, remember when your cat died. You’d try again and listen again and sound different but this time it was less about not hearing what echoed in your head and more about hearing the things the others heard and wanted more of. Continue reading “Find Your Voice”
That pesky podcasting journey. We left off last time as I burbled confidently about the software required to record author interviews. I seem to recall mentioning that familiarity with the geekery was all it took. It turns out though, that you have to make a few more mistakes before all is well in the poddyverse. Just in case you fancy popping some interviews on your website for fun, traffic and interactivity, here are some of the things I learned the hard way.
I had already made a few decisions about the interviews themselves. I’ve been interviewed enough myself to know the frustrations of being asked all the wrong things by someone who clearly hasn’t read the right book, so I wanted the end result to be pleasing to the author. At the same time, I wanted to get a little beyond the usual verbal press release. I hoped to find areas of common ground, get a bit psychological maybe and of course have a fine old chat and a bit of a laugh. That’s a tall order with someone you can’t see and have never met so I plumped to semi-prepare us. Continue reading “The Hubris of the Long-Distance Podcaster.”
I have accidentally become a podcaster. Looking back, it was probably inevitable. I’m a talk radio fanatic anyway, I like to think I’m an animated story teller and I have a great face for radio. All I needed was to realise that in the free and open, peer-to-peer world of blogging and youtube, there are no gatekeepers to radio either.
It began when I was given a book. The Best Laid Plans, a humourous look at politics by Terry Fallis, another Canadian. No-one wanted to publish it so he recorded himself reading episodes and uploaded them as podcasts. People liked them, he won prizes. Brilliant, I had a book to publicise, I was going to learn to podcast.
I bought a microphone and asked everyone I knew how to get started. I struck gold with a pal who produces videos for Youtube. He told me to download Camtasia Studio and work with the ‘record narration’ option, then produce the file as an mp3. I had a starting point but I learned upsettingly slowly. Recording 10 minutes of speech requires some serious preparation. Gradually I settled into a routine…have a glass of water handy, blow your nose before you start, print off the script so that you can see it as well as the computer screen. If you fluff, leave a sizeable silence before you repeat the sentence so that it’s easy to find when editing. If you’re not sure what intonation to use for a phrase, repeat it different ways and select the best option later. Don’t speak while you shuffle papers! Continue reading “Why not podcast your book?”