Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Island Earth - The Concept

Long before God gave me my sight back, I began thinking that it would be pretty cool to become an audiobook narrator. Those of you who know me are already familiar with my experiences with audiobooks and how enjoyment I got from them. If you don’t know me, go and check out my other blog Audiobook-Heaven. The more I listened to audiobooks, the more I began to think that would be a pretty awesome career. Getting paid to read books, can you imagine? Okay, I know there’s a lot more to it than just reading a book, but it still sounds cool. I kept telling myself that if (when) I ever got my sight back I would give it a try, if not as a career then at least for fun.

Well, today marks the beginning of what I hope will become my next great adventure. This is the day that I stop thinking, and start doing. The concept is basically to find stories to narrate, and then narrate them.

Finding the stories is not as difficult as you might think. There’s this thing called Project Gutenberg. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s this great project that gathers together stories and books that are no longer under copyright and makes them freely available to anyone in the form of ebooks that can be downloaded from their website. Many of the stories are older ones where the author has died and none of his family kept up the copyrights on his work, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s just work that an author decided it wasn’t worth keeping a copyright on, perhaps something that didn’t sell very well.

At any rate, the stories have no copyrights so anyone can use them for pretty much anything they want. Their terms and conditions are clearly spelled out and there are almost no restrictions at all. I learned about this from one of my audiobook contacts who does something very similar to what I’m considering. So that’s where the stories come from.

Step two is prepping the book. I’ll begin by reading the story all the way through as I would normally read it. This will be done on the computer of course where I can enlarge the text because my eyesight is still a little rough. Then I’ll go through the story a second time, this time making a list of the characters and highlighting each character’s dialogue in a different color so I’ll be able to tell at a glance exactly who is speaking. I’ll also make some basic notes like ANGRY so I’ll know I need to use an angry voice or something like that. Finally, I’ll mark break points. The whole story won’t be recorded in one take so I’ll need to mark the breaks where I can stop and rest. That way when I make a mistake I don’t have to redo the whole thing, only a small part of it. I can do all this in Microsoft Word, but I’m going to look around and see if there’s something that might be tailored a little more for this specific kind of work. I’ll ask some of the narrators that hang out at Audiobook Community.

Then will come the actual recording, and this is the part that worries me. I don’t have a recording studio in my home so I’ll probably have a hard time getting good quality recordings. I’m going to try it in our basement. One of the rooms down there is carpeted so I think that will be my best shot. I need to decide what recording software to use, another question for the narrators, and also get a decent microphone. From there it will be pure trial and error; getting used to reading out loud, familiarizing myself with the software, figuring out ways to block out the background noise, and all that stuff.

The finished product, assuming there ever is any, will go onto the internet for people to download and listen to. I won’t try to charge for it of course, not at first anyway. If it catches on at some point, then who knows. Right now the idea is to get my voice out there where people can hear it. Eventually, it might fall upon the right pair of ears, or when I become more comfortable with it I can make a demo disk to send to the audiobook publishers.

Right now I’m thinking that this will be a separate venture from Audiobook-Heaven, so I’ll probably create a new blog specifically for it. I already decided a long time ago to call it Island Earth Audio. Why Island Earth? I dunno, I just think it sounds neat. Also, there’s an old song called “This Island Earth” that I’ve always liked a lot. I think that’s where the idea came from originally. There’s also an old black and white sci-fi movie with that same title although I’ve never seen it. The logo will be a cartoony looking palm tree beside a cartoony looking planet earth.

So that’s the concept. I’m hoping it will turn into something special, but if it doesn’t I think I’ll have fun doing it anyway. And really, it all comes down to God in the end. If this is what he wants me to do then it will catch on, and if it’s not then it won’t. I’ll be praying about it and asking God for direction. And if you feel like sending up a little prayer for it as well, then all the better.

John 9:31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. ESV

Isaiah 30:21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. ESV

1 comment:

  1. Maybe the free laptop wasn't for me. Maybe it was a tool for you?

    Hey, stranger things have happened. ;)