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Wednesday
Mar192014

Newtown Review

Recently I was priveldged to narrate Newtown for Tantor Audio, a powerful look into the shootings in Conneticut last December.  Publisher's Weekly recently reviewed the audio book and shares some nice comments:

Newtown: An American Tragedy

Matthew Lysiak, read by Adam Verner. Tantor Media, unabridged, six CDs, 7 hrs., $34.99 ISBN 978-1-4526-1821-0

Lysiak goes into the heart of the Newtown massacre to try to recreate what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School and why. He explores the lives of the victims, the survivors, and the killer. His balanced approach avoids blaming in lieu of identifying the various dynamics at work and the issues that allowed for the event to occur. Narrator Verner turns in a winning performance, his voice conveying appropriate emotion while still presenting the material in clear manner. Verner provides subtle voices for dialogue but infuses them with accurate feeling. Additionally, he wisely avoids melodrama when describing the massacre. The audiobook also includes an insightful interview with Lysiak. A Gallery hardcover. (Dec.)

Monday
Aug192013

The Four Hour Chef - Free Download!

Recently I was priveldged to be hand-picked by Tim Ferriss himself to narrate his most recent NY Times best-selling book: The Four Hour Chef.  Tim narrates some introductory material, and Neil Gaiman also lends his voice!  It was an interesting process since usually most cook books are not turned into audio books :)  As Tim notes in the book however, this is far from "just" a cook book.  Included amongst recipes for things like "Sexy Time Steak" are lessons on building an emergency debris shelter and how to play Bear Ninja Cowboy.

This book was a fantastic honor to narrate, as well as being eye opening.  Like Tim, I've always feared the kitchen and it's arcane ways.  Tim breaks down the process of cooking in a very articulate way - making connections far outside the kitchen, to life, learning styles, and even dating.

In an incredibly generous gesture, Tim is offerring the book for download for FREE!  Snag yourself a copy here, and enjoy!

FREE Four Hour Chef audio book

Tuesday
Jul232013

Research Spreadsheet for Audio Books

As narrators, often we are tasked with researching the books we narrate.  Usually this isn't too onerous, involving looking up a few arcane technical terms or historical figures last names.  If we're unlucky it involves ancient Sanskrit and proto-indo-European gods, along with a smattering of Tibetan Buddhist meditation terms.  Or my favorite pet-peeve - when you finally find that YouTube interview featuring the scientist with the weird last name, only to realize they've cut off the introduction.  They have his name on the bottom of the screen, refer to him by his first name, but never pronounce Dr. Tsiobhannuchiam.  Maybe they're as stumped as I am!

Anywho, a recent book I narrated had quite a bit of challenging research involved, and I quickly tired of cutting and pasting 600 terms into various online resources: Dictionary.com, Merriam-Webster.com, YouTube, etc...so I whipped up this little spreadsheet that will auto-create some links for you.

As you'll see, there are hidden columns between A and G that contain the first portion of the link, which is then concatenated with the term or word in column G.  More hidden columns turn that into a hyperlink and assign friendly linktext as it's easier on the eyes.  The result is an easily clickable link that will take you directly to the appropriate webpage.  The formulas are pre-filled for the first 1000 lines, so just writing your term in, or cutting and pasting a list should give you your links.

Once there, you can write your phonetic pronunciation, or cut and paste if you so desire.  I started with the 5 options I use most:

  • Merriam Webster
  • Dictionary.com
  • ForVO
  • Google Pronounce (googling the phrase "pronounce + your word)
  • YouTube

You can add your own favorite website search or service - just add appropriate columns and the search string (do a search at that site and copy the URL into notepad or your spreadsheet, then just remove your sample search term.  Experiment!).

Some other search strings I find useful but didn't include are:

http://www.npr.org/search/index.php?searchinput=example

http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=example&submit=Submit

...amongst many, many others.

You can download the template below, let me know if it's useful for you!

Research Template with Links

Tuesday
Jul022013

Audio Books at the ALA

Recently I was invited to give a reading for Blackstone/AudioGo at the ALA conference in Chicago.  It was a great experience, and I get to read alongside Angela Dawe and Katie Kellgrin.  The crowd asked some interesting questions about the recording process, and we got to explain a little bit about the industry to librarians.

 

 

Thursday
Apr042013

ISDN experiences more death rattles?

The ISDN debate continues, with people declaring it's death every other month or so.  Where I am in Chicago, ISDN lines are very expensive, over $200 a month, and that's even if you're not using it!  I actually bought a nice used ISDN box a couple of years ago and never ended up hooking up the service - I just don't have a need for it.

So - I've kept my eye on other alternatives, primarily SourceConnect.  I've heard good things and bad things about SC, everything from "it's a perfect solution," to "NEVER use this product."  Why the disparity?  It seems sheer bandwith speed has a lot to do with it, which shouldn't be a problem for me as evidenced by the picture below :)

 

 

 

Enter SoundStreak - a program/solution that has been getting a lot of press lately.  They released a Windows version recently so have popped up on radars again.  Unlike ISDN and SourceConnect - your voice is not recorded in real time to their system, but rather saved on your system and uploaded when the cilent chooses.  I came across two videos showing a bit of the back end, and this EWABs episode features Beau Weaver explaining his take on it (about 33 minutes in).

If you're recording to video - I can see the value in this, but otherwise, I can do the same thing with a Skype phone patch and an FTP program.  I hope to purchase SourceConnect eventually, but it's hard to make the jump without the need! :)