(Here’s a picture of a recording studio one can make for a mere $1000, according to toxnew.blogspot.com. My tech recorder had waaayyy more equipment. If you’re interested in recording your own work, I strongly recommend Newcastle Sound in Barrington, RI…He’s professional and great to work with. Shoot me a request and I’ll give you his number and how to reach him.)
Here’s what happened recently: I recorded at a sound studio. I kid you not…Just like the old-time movies where the actors stand at mikes and speak their parts (you know, when simple sound effects could be heard in the background like a door opening, a cigarette lighter struck in “The Life of Helen Trent”…or like “The Lone Ranger,” the series that played on the radio every Sunday night and had us all mesmerized, causing me to clop around the backyard and whinny as a young girl, as if I were out on the mesas of Arizona—horse territory.) Yep, my session brought them all back—those childhood memories.
“Why was I there?”
To tape record partial readings of the Grandpa and the Truck stories. That’s right—I wanted to load them onto the website, so people can hear what I’m going for in these—the mystery…the excitement…the fun.
Here’s what I discovered: It’s tough relaxing into the role. I did my first run-through breaking at weird parts of the narration,, didn’t have enough breath for a sentence and came whimpering to its close, or emphasized a word in a way I hadn’t intended. I couldn’t get my inflection right and I couldn’t relax (the thing that would make all else possible.)
I worried my old days as one who suffered intense social phobia (yes, me) while being the focus of attention would come back and paralyze me when I most needed not to have that problem (one can’t narrate when her tongue is glued to the roof of her mouth.)
I kept resorting to my bottled water, at my feet, taking a swig now and then, willing the impending panic attack away.
And then, a beautiful thing happened—I calmed down. Yes, it washed over me, as I got completely into the story I narrated. I could tell it was going well…the cadence…the rolling over the word turf, building into rising crescendos and then falling back…I felt like a pro…I’d conquered my fears.
I was getting the part across in the manner I intended…building excitement when CRACK! The container at my feet—the self-same plastic bottle– decided to get in on the act, too, sabotaging my chance at recording perfection.
It was a random act that plastic bottle would never probably make again in another 50 years…
But it did last night, as a crinkled spot popped out—enough to deep-six my acting efforts.
I fell back in a slump, sure I could never repeat my “almost-10” performance.
But I did recover and went on to finish. After all, I thought: “I’ve come this far. I’ll be damned if I let this silly bottle be my undoing.”
I did the tapings because my illustrator told me that’s how I sold her on my idea of the tales of a long-haul trucker for little ones. She said she got hooked when I read my stories to her.
So, I did this recording in a studio in Barrington, Rhode Island, a little brick building in small time America. But I gotta say: I hope it leads to BIG things, because I had to overcome a lot of angst to put this out there (sounds and readings are up on the grandpaandthetruck.com site).
It took two hours last night and my recorder was a top professional who kept us to a schedule he and I agreed upon, in advance. No surprises. He mixed the sound effects I wanted, too, in my readings.
I was absolutely amazed at his ability to utilize all his recording devices, the tech instruments at his command and I got to see what sound recording engineers do. Impressive!
So, in a little studio in Barrington, last night, I fulfilled the next step on this journey of putting my material “Out there.”
PS I wish I had real pictures of me struggling with the mike (in the first half hour) but with all my nervousness, “Who thought of photos?”…These others will have to do.
****Now, go to the www.grandpaandthetruck.com website, listen, and tell me how I did (seriously, I want to know.)