Last Friday, I finished recording the final chapter of The Tangled Forest, which I've narrated myself.
I would not say I enjoyed it.
Things that I learned:
- My *click* gods, I have a clicky *click* mouth.
- When I was a kid, I played the trumpet. When you play the trumpet, your breath condenses against cold brass and periodically you need to open the 'spit valve' and empty the spit onto a 'spit cloth'. You need a spit cloth when recording audiobooks.
- Your mouth is either too dry or too wet - it is never the perfect humidity.
- Even though you spent nine months writing the sodding book, you're buggered if you think you can read it.
- Words are really hard.
- In your head, you might hear a strong accent, but weirdly, the microphone doesn't seem to pick it up - you are you, in every character.
- Two years of drama school and a three-year theatre degree don't actually mean as much as you thought they did.
- Crows are fucking loud.
- Neighbours are fucking loud.
- Put your phone on silent.
- Cats are fucking loud.
- I can get really angry with myself when I get things wrong.
- The thought crosses your mind that it might be easier to reprint the book, matching spelling to the way you want to pronounce things, than it is to go back and rerecord something with the correct pronunciation.
- Writers who requisition words they can't pronounce are dicks. You are a dick.
- For some weird reason, you burp a lot when narrating an audiobook.
I found it fairly frustrating and I intend to nail together an out-takes reel for entertainment value. There were a few swears in there. I was working in very difficult conditions. Too early in the day and I had to speak between crow caws, too late in the evening and I had to speak between crazy cicada calls. I decided the only way to get through it was a regimented one chapter a day, every day, until the end.
Ticking off that final recording was a real sense of achievement.
So far, I can't bring myself to listen to it.
I plan to start work shortly. Clearing up some of the clicks and fiddling with the EQ and compression. Try and make it sound a bit more professional than some lass hiding in a shed with a mini-mic and a duvet over her head.