Thursday, June 12, 2014

The challenge of the voices

The recording of a podcast in a dramatic reading style is a fairly challenging task.

Not only do you have to read the story in a clear, articulate voice; you also have to create consistent voices appropriate for the recurring characters in the story (or stories).

Abigail author Mark Walma is currently in the process of creating recordings of the first four stories in the Abigail Massey collections, the stories contained in Volume 1. He has built his own personal recording studio in his home, using two computers, the Apple "Garageband" program and a special, professional quality USB microphone he received as a gift last Christmas.

But building the studio was nothing compared to the challenge of coming up with distinct voices for the many characters in the stories.

"Yes, it's been tough," he laughs. "I'm a writer, not an actor or a voice-over specialist. I'm no Mel Blanc so I have been finding it a bit of a struggle."

He says the fact that the stories contain more female characters than male makes the challenge even more difficult. "Every story features Abigail, Martha and Miss Pierce. Plus you've got Jenny and Alice to account for. That's a lot of women's voices to create and keep consistent."

Mark reports that, despite these challenges, he has finalised the pod casts for the first three stories and, after doing a little polishing, is pretty happy with them.

"I got 'Passing the Test' done first and then played it for my partner to get her take on it," he says. "She really liked it, at least most of it. She didn't like the voice I had created for Miss Pierce, though. 'It's too nasal sounding,' she said. So I had to go back and re-record all of Miss Pierce's dialogue and then stitch it into the main recording. That was a fun experience!"

He plans to record the fourth story, "Canada's Sweetheart", in the next week or so and hopes to have a CD of the recordings for the entire fourth volume finished and ready for sharing before his appearance at the McAdam Railway Station on Canada Day, July 1.

"It would be great to have it ready for Canada Day," he said, "just to have something new to offer people in the long break between last Christmas' release of Volume 3 and the launch of A McAdam Station Christmas, our new Abigail Massey novella, this November."

Mark will be on hand at the Station on July 1 to take part in the Canada Day festivities. Come out and say hello!

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