Like I said, I was off to the Grand Canyon over the last week, and today is the first day back at the recording equipment and my own computer. I've already sent in a couple auditions since I'm still coming off "camping time." I've always been a night owl, but I was actually asleep by about 12:30 AM, much earlier than usual for me. That left me a bit of morning time to browse and record.
The trip was great and good times were had by all - we didn't make a mission of going to the bottom of the canyon and back (something that will probably be done if we end up going again), instead electing to just kick back in the campsite in the morning, make breakfast, take our time, then spend about 3-4 hours hiking each day, followed by dinner at the campsite and a round of games. Shockingly, we were able to finish two games of Cat-opoly, which is a record for me, as I've only ever finished maybe one or two games of Monopoly in my entire life. That we were able to finish them in a couple hours instead of days or weeks is mind-blowing to me.
We hit up the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails, as well as wandering around the South Rim trail, taking the occasional stops for the geology museum, the Kolb (I think) photo exhibit, and an amphitheatre presentation about the Havasupai, the native peoples of the Grand Canyon.
We also drove 1,400 miles each way through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona, and I have to say... I'm still very happy to live in Seattle. I won't go out of my way to disparage any particular area, but I was kind of surprised just how much nothingness there still is in the United States - I mean, on one level, you can be told just how many square miles of land there are or how much undeveloped land we have, but when you drive over 450 miles on what is pretty much a straight road through the exact same scenery, it hits you in a very different way.
That my girlfriend and I were still on good terms after that much time together in a car is, I think, probably a good sign. Somehow it came into being that every day of driving had to begin with a CD that contained this, though, so it's also surprising.
If you haven't had a chance to check it out, Labryinthine Dreams is now on Steam! I had a chance to play this in its original free version before it was put up on Kickstarter to get a complete facelift in terms of art, music, and voice over, among other things, so I'm really pleased to see it in its final form. It's a great game that interweaves the story and puzzles, and you can hear me as Artie in it. He's not the brightest light in the harbor, but he's got a hell of a lot of optimism and positive energy, which contrasts with Beth's more dour mood.
That's everything for today. Next month I'm off to visit family in Hawaii, so I'll have another absence towards the end of June - thankfully this one won't entail about 40-50 hours of driving. Have a good weekend, everybody!
As previously mentioned, I'm going on quite the road trip out to the Grand Canyon this upcoming week, so I will be unavailable to so much as check my e-mail (and if I can check my e-mail, I probably wouldn't want to anyway. I'm going camping, man!).
Labyrinthine Dreams should be coming out this upcoming Friday and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all turned out with the Kickstarter facelift. I will be mid-vacation during its release, though, so I'll have to try it out and let you know what I think a little bit later.
Have a good couple of weeks everyone, I'll see you towards the end of May!
So let me tell you why it's a good idea to have a second pair of good headphones around somewhere.
About a week and a half ago, the pair of headphones I had for about a year or so came apart at the earcup. They didn't snap or break, the earpiece just kind of detached from the headband. At the time, I recall examining the hardware and feeling like it must've been some kind of adhesive that came loose, because I didn't see any place where screws or anything would otherwise have attached the assembly.
However, since they happened to be under warranty with the particular store I bought them from, I figured having them repair or replace them (per the warranty's agreement) would be better than trying to fix things myself. Now, of course, I know better.
I took them to the store about 45 minutes away, with my printed out receipt and warranty. They informed me upon my arrival that they didn't carry those headphones any more, and I would have to settle for a gift card of equal value. I figured, "Well, I guess I can try out some other headphones, then." The store happens to have all their headphones laid out in rows so you can actually listen to them, so I was sure I could find something of commensurate value.
Well, I'm very picky about my headphones because of my work. For one, I prefer to use over the ear headphones, not on the ear or earbuds, because it gives better feedback on what your recording actually sounds like. So that eliminated approximately 80% of the headphones that the store carried. They didn't have a whole lot of selection when it came to brands, either. Sony, Bose, Beats by Dre, and Skullcandy, I believe, were the only ones that fit the over-the-ear bill.
Bose has a reputation for great sound quality, but their headphones were also $200+, and for voice work, it's always been my experience that I can find something perfect for my needs for significantly less. If I were using them as a monitor for singing or instrument work, I might consider that price, but for my purposes, that's really far more expensive than necessary. However, Skullcandy and Sony headphones all sounded very hollow and just had poor sound quality in general.
A bit disappointed that I couldn't find anything in-store, I was forced to go back home and find a pair online with the gift card I now had. Unable to find any of the kind I previously had (that I knew to be very good quality through experience), I decided to try out some Sennheisers. They were well-reviewed, and as a company, are generally well-liked.
After having previous deliveries of electronics equipment come to my door in pieces, I generally don't trust UPS with anything sensitive (I would definitely never allow them to handle my computer ever again except in dire emergencies), so when I discovered that I could actually pick the headphones up in store and they were already there, I was surprised in both good and bad ways. Good in that, great, I can go back tomorrow and get them (though it's not an insignificant trip, so that's frustrating). Bad in that, why were they available in store if they weren't for sale at the store? I know for a fact that location didn't have a single pair of Sennheiser anythings, let alone the model I happened to be looking at.
Feeling a bit frustrated with it all, I shrugged and decided to just go pick them up the following day. Not much else that can be done about it, right?
So I get there, pick them up, come back home, plug them in... And the sound's no good. Hollow and tinny, just like the other headphones at the store. I know it's not the sound file, I know it's not the sound card, I know it's not anything except the headphones, because I'm using the same equipment and files I had used with my previous headphones, which were good.
Well, clearly the store can't support or replace what I'm looking for (I haven't really had great experiences with them in the past, and I think this may have been the final purchase I would ever make with them. It was really more an issue of nothing else being nearby that got me there in the first place). So I'm thinking, well, the warranty is supposed to repair or replace my product with something of equal value. I paid for it with cash the first time, they could not honor the warranty's agreement, I should rightly be allowed to simply ask for a refund.
However, after once again returning to the store, I was very bluntly stonewalled and informed I could not get anything except a gift card (to a store I really had no interest in shopping at again). I spoke with a manager and received a similar response.
So, having made several back-and-forth trips with no success on any fronts, I came back home and took to Amazon, with whom I've had much better experience. It would mean trusting the safety of my headphones to delivery services, but there didn't seem to be much else to do.
So I go find what appears to be the same headphones I had previously, for $20 cheaper than they were when I bought them at the store. Great. I like those headphones, I had great experiences with them for the year they held up. It even comes with a lifetime warranty. I'll have to wait two more days without having a good pair of headphones (this is now becoming a serious problem with being able to get any work done, since I can't properly do sound editing without a good pair of headphones), but perhaps the ordeal will finally be over.
The day comes, they arrive, I unbox them, go to screw off the 1/4" adapter... And discover it doesn't screw off.
Now, I've owned several headphones over the years, and I think pretty much every pair I've ever owned or ever seen in person have all been 1/8" plugs with a threaded base allowing for a 1/4" adapter to be screwed on - thus allowing them to be plugged into smaller devices and headphone ports, with the option to plug into stereo systems, as well.
And it turns out, nope, this is the first pair of headphones I've ever seen in my life that come with nothing more than a 1/4" plug. No 1/8" adapter in the box, no 1/8" plug base, just the 1/4". I do not have an adapter to go down in size, nor does my computer have a port that accepts that large of a jack.
Well. It just so happens that the nearest electronics store that would carry such an adapter is about 30 minutes away. So, once again making the trip out, I arrive at the store to discover... No adapters. Lots of car adapters, car chargers, various things that you would use to perhaps plug an iPod or what-have-you into various outlets, but nothing that would reduce a 1/4" headphone jack to a 1/8" size. The thought occurs to me that this is because such a need is practically obsolete because, really, who makes a pair of headphones that can't plug into a 1/8" port?
As long as I'm there, I took a look at their headphones, too, but they were all quite cheap - both in price and in quality.
So, back home, pack everything back up, ship the damn thing back, try out another pair. Two more days of waiting, still with no guarantee that the new headphones will even be good quality. They have great reviews, several even mention they are specifically designed for vocal range frequencies - they're even made by the same company that makes my microphone.
They arrive, I check them out. They don't immediately sound bad, so it seems promising, but after having several days to get used to using them, I must admit, I like them less than the original pair I had. The sound isn't quite as clear, but it's close. They're slightly less comfortable, but still useable for extended periods of time. In short, they're good, but they're not what I had.
However, after going through all these trials and tribulations to just get a good pair of headphones so I can get back to work, the short answer is, they're good enough. Perhaps I will never have a pair of headphones that were as good as the ones I had (as they seem to be completely out of production or something), which often feels like a recurring theme in my life ("they just don't make 'em like they used to" as the saying goes).
So let me just be the one to tell you - if you have need of headphones for work or for any reason, and you happen to find a pair that you like... Buy a second damned pair, because woe be unto you if something happens to them.
I know, my update schedule sort of fell apart here. I do have a few things to keep you informed on, though, so here we go.
First off, Candace Broxton over at Ten Minute Interviews was kind enough to set aside some time and questions for me for one of her interviews. You can read the full thing over here. It's actually a pretty cool site that's exactly what it says on the tin. She has a focus on artistic and creative types, though I was the first voice actor/audiobook narrator to contact her, I think.
I actually found out about her through the RPG Maker forums, since she was looking for game devs to interview. Speaking of, I played a pretty cool demo of a game made with the RPG Maker XP engine called Mana Aeliria. If you're a fan of SNES-style RPGs, I'd really recommend giving that one a shot, as it's got some amazing polish, mechanics, and overall high quality. Also, it has some good voice acting in it, which is really a treat for independent and (presumably) low-budget games.
I met with a talent agency in the Seattle area recently, though it was very different than any other agencies I'd been in touch with. They schedule a sort of group seminar for 2 hours and bring in everyone who might be interested and basically walk and talk them through the process of what an agency does, what they'd propose to do for you, that sort of thing. I thought that was pretty open, since typically, you just submit your demos and/or your headshots and then just wait to see if they get back to you. Some are OK with follow-up calls, most are pretty against walk-ins.
Unfortunately, I ultimately felt that it wouldn't be a good fit for me right now. I won't go into the details, out of professional courtesy, and because I think anyone else who might visit the agency should really form their own opinion about whether it's someone they want to work with or not. I'm still shopping around a bit to see if there's something that's a better fit in the area.
I also signed up on a voice-over website that does primarily small, fast-turn-around, low-budget projects just to see what it's all about. I haven't had enough time with it to make any real judgement calls yet, so I'll hold public association with it for now until I decide whether or not I truly like it. So far it's been very interesting, however - the turn-around on submitting auditions, getting them approved, then being picked by the client is often somewhere between 30 minutes and a couple days, which is totally alien to the way voice-overs usually work. It also pays much less than a typical union job (and many non-union jobs) would, so it has caught a bit of flak for potentially devaluing the industry.
I don't really know where I fall on that line yet, which is why I'm not mentioning the website and why I'm reserving any other comments about it for now. Potentially, it might be a good source of supplemental income (I don't think it would be enough to live on) while I otherwise submit auditions for audiobooks.
Speaking of, I received a very kind note about one of my Librivox short stories:
I wanted to personally thank you for the EXCELLENT work you did with The Soul Master by Will Smith and R.J. Robbins, as included in the March 1930 Issue of Astounding Stories on Librivox. (https://librivox.org/astounding-stories-03-march-1930/)
Never once did I hear you trip over yourself, and never once did my suspension of disbleif waver. Your characterization was spot on. Your narrator voice stayed even and ambient, while each character was markedly different. O'Hara, Bland, and Dr. Kells had the most sincere inflections. You could easily apply your virtuosity to any animated feature, in my book.
Thank you very much for donating your time to read out these public domain stories, and I hope you continue to make time for it, or even better, I hope you find a way to pay yourself for such things. You may try an account on Paetron, where you could ask people if they would liek tot pay for you bringin public domain works to life. We have so many people in this world who can't afford books, and even more so audiobooks. Your work makes them available to anyone that can get into a library. http://www.patreon.com/
Whatever you're up to, I hope you find success. Thanks again.
So thank you very much Adrian, I was really pleased to hear that someone enjoyed my contributions. I had also never heard of Patreon before, so that's something I've bookmarked to take a look at later. I think I'd have to figure out what to specifically tailor my content creation towards and, more importantly, what I could reward contributors with.
Speaking of content creation, I've been totally shut down from it for the last few days and it's been killing me. My headphones rather unexpectedly broke when I picked them up to put them on (apparently a common problem with that particular set, after I found some reviews), and it has been a nightmare finding a replacement pair for similar price and quality. I was up and down the headphone section of the particular electronics store I went to and I honestly couldn't find one pair that was a good price and didn't sound hollow or empty or tinny or something. I eventually ordered a pair online, but they also were no good.
I honestly really liked the headphones I had, even if they're apparently prone to breaking. I had them for a year without any issues and they really were amazing in the sound quality department. I ordered a new pair a couple days ago, and they're supposed to arrive today, but I just can't do proper sound editing without a good pair. I wouldn't feel right submitting auditions when I didn't have the chance to listen to my files as they really sound, to make sure it's as good as I can make it.
I never thought I'd feel so stressed out about not having headphones for three days, but man, it really has been killing me. I'm anxiously watching my front door for that delivery truck so I can get back to work!
With the weather warming up a bit and some of the mountains becoming more accessible, my girlfriend and I went hiking out at Hurricane Ridge. Since it was about 50 degrees or so on the mountain, I was really pleased with the whole hike. We pretty much just went until snow completely covered the trail, then turned around and came back down. I'll see about getting some pictures up soon, but if you're in the Seattle area, hiking season is upon us and a lot of the upper elevation areas should be available in about a month or so.
One last note - I will be absent from May 20 to about May 28, because I'll be out at the Grand Canyon! Will do my best not to come back looking like a lobster, and I'll be sure to get pictures for it somewhere.
Have a good one, everybody!
I know it's been a couple weeks since I updated - not too much terribly new to report, but I thought I'd keep you all in the loop.
First, the 13.5 hour book I finished is pretty much all done and I'm just waiting on a check to arrive in the mail. Once it does, I'll let ACX know I've received payment, and the book should be pushed through into processing and final quality control.
As far as auditions go, a rights holder got in touch with me to let me know I had a "phenomenal voice" and he had a few questions about book production. I replied to him a few days ago, but I hadn't heard back yet. I'm expecting to hear back soon, however, and may have a 3 hour-or-so book to work on over about a 10-14 day period, maybe less.
Zach Fortier is also in touch with me about producing the trilogy-set of CurbChek, CurbChek-Reload, and StreetCreds, and I'm just waiting to be sent the link to the audition page for that on ACX. I'll be recording a new preface for it, then uploading the set together as a single purchase. I'll keep you posted on that for those who are interested.
I also got in touch with a local talent agency, who expressed great interest in meeting with me after seeing my resume. I don't know too much about the agency, and there is an orientation I'm going to that, as far as I know, is basically just an informational sort of seminar for all interested talent. Since I don't know if it will ultimately be something I'm going to pursue or not, I'll not mention the agency's name for now. I'm planning to attend next Friday, so I'll let you know if that avenue ends up going somewhere.
Away from the voice-work arena, production on my game has taken a little hiatus after some pretty intense work marathon days after finishing with auditions and other work around the house each day. I'm making lots of little changes to the project, but the next major section will be quite the thing to tackle.
With Spring making more and more of an appearance around the Seattle area, I've also been out with my girlfriend at the Beneath the Streets tour, Pike Place Market, Gas Works Park, doing a couple laps around Green Lake, and generally spending time with her on her off days. We've actually got a camping trip to the Grand Canyon coming up next month, and I will see about getting some photos to share with you for the time. I'll be looking to work my narration schedule around that, as well, so that I'm not trying to do any major crunches right before or right after the trip.
Also, if you haven't watched it, I'd highly recommend the new version of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Sometimes I feel like they bring up a subject only to not come back around and explain it in more detail, but it's certainly a very glitzy, effects-heavy, sometimes animation-friendly look at various astronomical subjects. Sort of feels like a series of college intro classes to a lot of different topics all at once. It's really great, and I'm looking forward to the new episodes each Sunday - especially since my current Sunday series, The Walking Dead, just finished its season finale.
For those of you interested, we were out at Woodsky's over in Fremont catching it at 9 PM on Sunday. Looks like they'll be watching it at the bar every Sunday when the new episodes are out, and there was actually a pretty good showing of people (no more sitting room when we were there this last Sunday). Lots of chatter during commercials, but people were very respectfully quiet while the show was on and we all drank our drinks. Was a good time, very much looking forward to hitting it up again.
Think that pretty much covers the stuff I may have missed mentioning over the last couple of weeks. Hope all's well with you guys.
Just the one audition today, so I decided to get a little extra work done. Trimmed up the beard (boy was that overdue), vacuumed the house. Was going to go dust out the computer - not that it's terrible, it's just been awhile since I've done it - and discovered I am, in fact, without compressed air. Need to run some other errands at some point, so will just put that on the list and eventually get the computer tidied up a bit when I do everything else.
Looks like my last project is just in a queue for review by the rights holder, but it is apparently looking "really good." We'll see if there's anything they bounce back at me, but I think it turned out pretty well.
Finished a major section of my game last night and released a new demo build on the community forum. Tackling the next area means creating the maps (ugh), so I'm sort of taking a break for now and trying out some other peoples' games in the format of Let's Play.
Not much else to update on for the day, just grabbing a bite to eat before probably settling in for the evening. Might work on my project later on tonight, guess we'll see.
Submitted my completed audiobook a week ago, just waiting to hear back from the rights holder that they've approved it. Was away for the weekend as a little break following completion of the project, back at everything today.
Hadn't heard back from the rights holder yet, so I started in on auditions for the next project. There are a couple possibly lucrative ones - much more than I'm used to seeing on ACX - but that, without a doubt, also means the competition for them is going to be through the roof. I certainly wouldn't count myself out, but I'll be looking at more auditions tomorrow, as well.
Zach Fortier got in touch with me about releasing a trilogy set of his audiobooks, so for those of you that were interested in picking them up, but maybe wanted to use your Audible credits towards something a bit longer, this might be a more attractive purchase for you. I believe it will be StreetCreds, CurbChek, and CurbChek: Reload bundled together into a single purchase/download, with a new preface at the beginning that I haven't seen yet.
Work continues on my RPG, as well - seems like every time I think I'm about to make progress to the next area, I see a hundred other things that I should improve before moving on, expanding what I've already done and making it more interesting or fun. Optional content is always kind of a pain in the ass, too - gamers pretty much demand it now and will dismiss a game if it doesn't have it, and yet it involves putting lots of time, effort, and frustration into creating content that may never actually get seen or played. But if you don't, you can bet someone's gonna' fry your ass over it.
Ah, well. Done with auditions for the day, anyhow, so it's off to hunt for dinner, then back to work on my hobby.
Great movie and great soundtrack if you haven't seen it, been my favorite movie since 2009.
Looks like ACX is doing site maintenance, so I couldn't upload my latest chapter to the website. Technically, it's the last chapter, as the last section is actually called the epilogue. Still, tomorrow will make my 8th day in a row of work, and it's a little daunting that the longest part of the book is the one I'm doing at the end of such a stretch - especially since I need to come up with at least one new character voice for a guy who just makes an appearance here.
But I'm almost done, man! Been a long project, with the final book probably clocking in somewhere around the 13.5 hour mark. That's a lot of recording time and a hell of lot more editing time. Still need to run it through my own quality control before submitting it to the rights holder for final review, but looking at the big pile of script on my desk always feels satisfying as I get closer to the end of a project.
Of course, that also means that sometime next week, I begin auditions for new projects. Would love to have something lined up by the end of March, but we'll see how it goes.
When I happen to have free time, I've been doing more work on my game, too. Among many other things, I recently created a couple new animations for some transformation abilities - check it out.
Feeling the drag of a long work-week, especially since what I've been doing in my free time is basically more work, but really looking forward to taking a break for a little bit. You know what I've got my eye on, too? South Park: The Stick of Truth. I've seen some other South Park games before and thought they were pretty forgettable, but I have to say, I REALLY want to play that after watching the first hour or so.
Unfortunately, I'm trying to save up and I'm just not really sure the $60 purchase for a new game is something I want to do. Tempting as it will be once I get paid for this project and go deposit my tax refund, there really are more important things to worry about.
Plus I think it would end up distracting me from working on my own game, which I've been doing on and off for a couple years now, and I really want to make enough progress on it to at least release the next build version for a new demo.
Ah, well. Hope everyone's having a good week - catch you later.
Chapter 24 completed, putting me at about 71% completion. Had a good weekend away from the computer after that 10 day run of recording and editing, but it's nice to be back to work getting things moving along once more.
Friday will be a particularly long day, as that day's section will be about 50% than the others so far, meaning I'll probably be producing about 45 minutes of finished audio that day. The following Tuesday and Wednesday are going to look like that, too, but hopefully the final book should be submitted for quality control by the end of next week.
Just finished the longest chapter of the book so far, though I know for sure there are at least 3 chapters that will be significantly longer before the book is over. That also finishes up one of two long stretches of no days off for now - taking some time to relax over the weekend, then I'll be back at the grinding stone come Wednesday.
Hope everyone's having a good week, enjoy your time off when you get it!
Just finished up the big climactic court trial scene, which involved a lot of arguing and false accusations and such between a few different characters. The chapter was largely dialogue uninterrupted by much prose, so I was doing quite a bit of talking and yelling at myself. Always a sort of strange experience - for most people, anyway.
That chapter puts me at 63% completion, so I'm just about 2/3 of the way there. Will have more work tomorrow, which will mean I'll have worked 9 of the 10 previous days, then I'm off for 4 days, then I'm back to work another 8 days in a row and hopefully finish the book.
There might need to be some tweaks after passing it through quality control, so I won't say it'll be 100% done by that point, but it's steadily coming along and looking for something like an early April release.
On the note of hobbies, I added another major project alongside my sketching. After recording voice-over for an independent video game that I believe is also looking for an April release, I decided to browse the community forums for that particular game engine and discovered there was some call for me to finish the project I'd been working on. I had a demo up that ran about an hour to an hour and a half of playtime (I'm hoping the final game is about 3-4 hours) and it turns out it was a little more-liked than I originally thought.
I honestly really enjoyed working on it, but after focusing on the audiobooks a little more exclusively, setting aside more time for my girlfriend, and getting into the (EDIT: just remembered I can't tell you what game it is yet, due to the NDA) beta, I just sort of forgot about it until recently.
I started work on it again over the last couple days, though now I feel kind of bad for not working on my large-scale sketch. Too many things I want to do at one time, I guess!
Somewhere in the commentary track for Futurama, either Billy West or John DiMaggio (I think) make the comment that one of their character voices is just a bad impersonation of a famous actor. It's been quite some time since I've heard it, so I forget the specifics - but they laugh and make the point that, if your impression is so bad that nobody knows you're trying to do an impression, you can basically just use it as a new character voice.
Anyway, I'd say I'm following that advice at the moment. Won't give too much away on that one, but I'm definitely making good use of a bad impression.
On another note, I'm currently about 52% of the way done, at 7 hours and 12 minutes. If things continue on this sort of pacing, then the final audiobook will probably be in the vicinity of 13 hours 45 minutes. Yeehaw.
The chapters are getting much longer now, too. I'm at the 49% completion mark, with 18 chapters completed. The remaining 51% is comprised of only 12 chapters and a long epilogue. It won't be a full day's work to only complete one chapter in a day, but it would be noticeably more than a full day's work to complete more than that from here on. Will probably be striking a balance between the two.
I'll be looking to finish the book somewhere around March 15, perhaps a few days before. I've got the chapters all laid out around my recording studio in piles of, "At least this much per workday."
On an art-related note, I was able to work a bit on the next section of my Escher drawing. I had to compress a few things and make some alterations to make things properly fit within the dimensions I'm giving myself, so it's no longer much of an exact copy so much as it is a "spirit of the original." The next step will be shading, but here's a look at what I worked on last night.
Had a bit of a SNAFU with recording yesterday that put me in a position where I wasn't able to get to editing until today.
However, over the last couple days, I've added over 2 hours of material to the book, putting me at about 45% completion. After I record and edit the next chapter, I should be at the halfway mark!
On an unrelated-to-work note, I occasionally sketch. Nothing professional or even particularly noteworthy, just a no. 2 pencil and some computer paper. I did a little bit in high school and a little bit in college, but I haven't really touched pencil to paper in about 5 years or so. The last thing I was working on was a large-scale version of Escher's Relativity. At the time, I didn't have a ruler or any kind of straightedge on hand, so I was just kind of winging it. I was making a version that would've been 4x3 in 8.5"x11" paper, but I was only able to complete two sections before I sort of burned out on it and then haven't sketched anything since then.
Well, I decided I wanted to try and do it again. I've re-measured the piece out to be a 3x3 piece instead of 4x3, and I also happen to have a ruler around this time. I worked out the top left corner over the last couple nights after work, and out of curiosity, I decided to compare it to the one I did back in college. I think it looks much better.
It's a lot of work per section, and sketching is one of those things that I don't enjoy doing, but do enjoy having done, so we'll see if I'm able to finish the project this time around. I always felt a lot of regret about not finishing the large-scale drawing the first time, though, so I'm going to focus more on getting it completed.
But audiobooks come first!
My production schedule at the beginning of the month was hitting the recording equipment and the editing studio pretty hard, but the last week or so has been significantly slower. Much slower than I personally would've liked, but I'm happy to say that a good chunk of that time was spent with my girlfriend, particularly with the presence of Valentine's Day.
I'm planning to get back to my initial speed and efficiency of production as of today, however. I have several chapters to finish editing today that I've been slowly working on over the last week, then I expect to average one hour of finished audiobook a day for the next week.
This will, of course, mean very full workdays and skipping over my "weekend," so I guess this is more like playing catch-up after coming back from a vacation.
I have other news, as well. For those of you who know about the RPG Maker series, I actually worked on a game for quite some time using that particular engine. I have a game demo that's about an hour long, but that project has fallen by the wayside over the last 6 months, as has my participation in the community's forums.
Well, the art director for one of the community's commercial-release games contacted me about using a voice-over I sent to them for promotional purposes. I happened to really like the dialogue in the game, so I recorded a short section of some of it and sent it to them. They initially told me they weren't planning for any VO for the game, but they thought it was cool, nonetheless.
I've let them know they are more than welcome to use the sound file however they'd like. If I get any follow-up on that from them, I'll let you know.
What game is it, you say? I'll let you know when it gets commercially released.
One final bit of information - CurbChek-Reload saw a sudden jump in sales over the last week, with about 37 copies sold in the last 7 days. Zach Fortier, the author, informed me that he did a promotion on Book Bub recently, as well as an interview, so that might have something to do with it. If you haven't had a chance, that and Hero to Zero were submitted to Readers' Favorite a couple months ago for review. Zach had high praise for my reads of those two books in-particular, so if you're interested in (admittedly graphic) true crime, give them a look-see sometime.
Anyway, I'm off to my sound editing. Should have about an hour and 15 minutes or so to post up by the end of the day if all goes well.
I suppose people will want to question my team spirit, but I'm more of a couch-supporter. It's not that I wouldn't enjoy watching the players live - I just don't like crowds. And for those of you who don't live in the Seattle area or keep up with the news, there was, uh... a crowd. I think I heard something about there being more people in Seattle today for the parade than Seattle even has as a population.
Now, I avoided the city proper, but that kind of influx of people still made traffic all over the state late, including the bus I had intended to catch on the peninsula to get home from the ferry terminal. After standing out in freezing temperatures with a wind chill coming off the water (wearing decidedly less-than-Winter-appropriate clothing), I was a little worn out by the time I made it home.
I also discovered the last of my tax forms had come in, so I sat down to do taxes. It's almost 10 PM and I'm still trying to figure out what to do about dinner. I also need to do a bit of beard-trimming, as I was oft-reminded by my girlfriend over the last couple days.
I had done some recording on Saturday with the plan that I would be editing it tonight, but I think I'm going to produce better-quality work if I just start fresh tomorrow. Shouldn't be too difficult to record another chapter and then spend the day editing the three I'll have in reserve, subsequently posting up one more finished hour to ACX. Then Friday should be back to the usual schedule of two to three chapters a day.
Really, though, I'm very happy and proud of all the Seahawks. The level of skill with which they performed at the Super Bowl made it look like they showed up to play and Denver didn't. I'm sure the Broncos weren't sleeping on the field, but the game the Seahawks played was just at another level. And for a franchise that has never won a Super Bowl, that's gotta' be a hugely proud moment for the whole team. I know there's a lot of gratitude being tossed to the 12th man, and I can't deny the power of having loud, diehard fans supporting you wherever you go, but it's hard to say all the accolades don't really rest on the team's shoulders. They really earned their title.
Now, then. I'm off to find some little scissors, then some grub, then relax for the night. Hope everyone's had a good week and nobody's stressing too much about the upcoming holiday (you didn't forget about it, right?).
Up to 3h1m on the audiobook at the moment for finished time, so it's a little over 20% completion. Coming along quite nicely so far, hoping this pace continues until the end of the project.
Taking tomorrow off to visit a special someone, then I'm back to the equipment on Saturday before the SUPABOWWWWWLLLLL. Seen lots of Seahawks love all over the place, and happy to see Marshawn finally partnered up with Skittles (can't believe he hadn't already, really).
With work done for the day, though, it's time to do laundry, hang out, and play games with a bunch of European and Aussie/NZ people 'cause all the 'Muricans went to bed. Good times.
Finished reading the new project Sunday night, began recording and editing yesterday afternoon. Listening to chapter 5 right now for quality control, making sure it flows properly and that I didn't miss anything on my initial pass editing - any outtakes or anything I maybe skipped over somehow.
The chapters are much longer than in any of Fortier's books, so it feels like a pretty good accomplishment to get a couple chapters done in a day. There's a bit more voicework on this project, too, since there are more characters and dialogue to do the back and forth on. It's a nice refresher on my character performing abilities after doing several nonfiction books.
Once I get chapter 5 uploaded, that should mark about 15% completion on this project, though that assumes the rights holder won't want to make any minor changes or anything.
Probably going to be doing more work tomorrow and Thursday, then I'm gone Friday, then I'm back to work on Saturday, then I'm gone Sunday through Tuesday, then should have several more days in a row to be back at the equipment and computer.
Technically have until the end of March for a deadline, but I'm hoping to get the book finished by the end of February. We'll see how production goes. The end product ought to be approximately 14 hours long if it continues along at this pace.
Just accepted an offer to begin producing a new audiobook. Its estimated length at completion is about 14 hours, so I expect the project should keep me busy for the next several weeks. It's a thriller about a hitman with a conscience (semi-Dexter-ish, if that helps - only takes hits on "bad" people) who ends up not being able to go through with a job that he's blackmailed into, forming a connection with the intended target.
I'll be reading over the manuscript over the next couple days, making notes and writing down questions I'll have about pronunciation, names, character things (there's an accent one of the two main characters has that I'm not 100% on yet), etc. Once I have a feel for how the story progresses from start to finish, I'll be recording the first 15 minutes of the book per ACX's standards, and once that's approved, I'll be given the green light to finish up the rest of the project.
I'll be updating as I move through various stages of production, so for those of you who've been enjoying following my progress, I'll probably be here every few days to let you know how it's all going.
On an unrelated note, very pleased to see the Seahawks going to the Super Bowl! Was so emotionally drained after the 49ers game (was pretty nailbiting the entire game) that I couldn't get any auditions recorded. I'll probably be taking Super Bowl Sunday off to get together with family and watch the game. The Broncos had an equally impressive year in terms of wins, so I think it's going to be another edge-of-your-seat game. Go Hawks!
You can find it here!
On the audition front, I've got 6 auditions that I'm waiting to hear back on still. Wasn't much today to speak of, but I'll probably be looking at some of the stipend deals tomorrow if the regular PFH pay isn't there.
I also took a look at some radio job postings in the Seattle area, but the only two that stood out to me were, unfortunately, looking for someone who represents the "25-44 year old woman who loves to text" (not making that last part up) demographic. Alas, I don't quite fall into that category.
Just hanging out for the rest of the evening, back to auditions tomorrow.
Been continuing to remodel the bathroom in short bursts here and there (cabinet and light fixture came down today), then otherwise finding time to record more auditions.
Auditions are one of those things you just have to shotgun blast. Anyone who's so much as tried out for community theater knows that it's not just about being good - it's about being the face and/or the voice the director/rights holder wants for the role. People casting roles have to listen to a lot of auditions, and it's rare that you get a clear choice - you usually like multiple people, and you just have to select the one who best fits your particular project.
So, just like putting out resumes while job-hunting, auditions are something that just get cranked out until something gets picked up. There are some... Interesting projects on ACX that I'd forgotten about since I've been working on Zach Fortier's series over the last few months. It's its own form of entertainment to browse some of the more "out there" ones while looking for something that I think I could be a good fit for.
On an unrelated note, Seahawks vs. Saints tomorrow! Seahawks were tied for the most wins in the entire NFL going into the playoffs, and both our playoff games will be at home, so I think we're looking pretty good. That being said, it's the playoffs for a reason - all the teams are tough. Nonetheless, you'll find me parked in front of the game tomorrow before I look at more auditions. Go Hawks!
Just finished the last of editing for Hero to Zero! Yay!
There will be a couple days to give it a final pass for quality control, make sure everything flows properly, there aren't any consistency or pronunciation issues or anything like that, then it will be submitted for processing to Audible. Expect to see it out for sale somewhere around the end of January!
Zach and I have been discussing getting CurbChek-Reload and Hero to Zero up on Reader's Favorite for review and, if it's well-liked, to submit it for their annual International Book Award Contest! So if you're fans of the audiobooks (which I hope you are if you're following this website!), keep posted and I'll let you know how it all goes!
My girlfriend works in the hospital industry on nights and so was busy over New Year's Eve - so I decided to take the opportunity to do some editing at her apartment so I could swing by the hospital at midnight (with some pizza for everyone who was working there that night). We both decided that maybe we should do something a little more exciting next year!
However, I'm up to about 60% of Hero to Zero recorded and edited, with the rest of the chapters recorded and just needing editing. So overall, I'm probably somewhere around 70-75% completed. Aiming for a deadline of January 15, but I'm pretty sure I'll be done before then.
It didn't help that my project file for chapter 11 (which is about a 12-minute section) had been corrupted and I lost all the audio from it - when I went to my thumb drive, where I keep a backup of my projects, that ALSO had been corrupted! So I spent some time today re-recording it, then editing it together.
Anyway, looking like the plan is to pretty much work steadily on editing for the near-future, so hopefully you should be looking for a start-of-February release for the audiobook of Hero to Zero!
I will probably be taking some time to audition for new projects as Hero to Zero comes to a close, so we'll see what the schedule looks like in terms of the next title for production as January goes on.
Hope everyone's having a great new year so far!
Just got lots of editing to do now. Editing is the most time consuming (and much more tedious) part of the whole process, and really the part that feels the most like a "job" to me. Video editing is something that feels fun to do, but sound editing is pretty much just staring at waveforms and trying to cut out thin lines that are often so small as to actually be invisible, and you just have to do it by ear. It's also one of those things that I think only other sound engineers pay attention to, because I see a lot of amateur recording on Youtube that has excessive mouth noise - my own older works included. When I try to show it to my girlfriend, she thinks I'm crazy and just hearing things.
If there weren't so much discussion about mouth noise amongst the audio engineer and narrator community, I probably would think I was crazy. It's one of those things that nobody notices unless it's done wrong - which means, unfortunately, your work will go completely unnoticed if you're doing a good job. It's true of all behind-the-scenes jobs in performance art. Foley and sound effects in movies come to mind as something you only notice if they're doing a bad job.
Anyway, recording has its own problems and can also be pretty arduous, so I'm very glad to have the majority of it all taken care of. Onto the clean-up and trimming that cleans the rough, raw recording into immaculate, polished product!
The last couple of days have been bad for recording - excessive mouth noise I just couldn't seem to get rid of, for example. Really wasn't as far as I wanted to be.
Today, however, I'm chugging right along. It seems like days that I follow a particular routine are always the best, and deviating from it tends to mess with my work. I wonder if it's just superstition or a mental thing - but today's going really well.
Just about to start recording chapter 14. There are 23 chapters total (meaning this book is a little bit shorter than the others, although the chapters are also longer on average), though 8 was sort of a double-chapter. Basically planning to keep on recording until my voice is done for the day, then do it again tomorrow. I expect I'll either finish recording tomorrow or be within a couple chapters, then just spend a lot of time editing.
It's a little early to set a for-sure day of finishing, but I think I'm going to shoot for somewhere in the vicinity of January 15 as a deadline. If editing goes well, though, I may be done several days before that.
Will keep you posted!
EDIT: SEO Marketing Tips: The Business Owner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization is now on Audible! It's a quick little reference guide for how to design your website in such a way that search engines will show it in their top results more readily.
Phew! Just got done editing together a slightly-longer-than-33-minute chapter for Hero to Zero. To put that into perspective, the average chapter for all of Zach's books so far has been somewhere in the 7-10 minute range - the longest one I'd done prior to this was in StreetCreds, one that was about 22 minutes or so.
Started editing at 3:30 PM today and it is just now passing midnight, so I think I'm gonna' call it good for the day and get the new chapters uploaded on ACX.
That catches me up on all the material that's been recorded so far, so the next step is to record another batch of chapters to sit down and edit. However, overall progress is at about 40% completion in terms of recording, editing, and quality control (listening to it again after editing to double-check for errors or other necessary changes).
The chapters in Hero to Zero are longer than the other three books in Zach's series, so I'm actually making good progress by having 1-5 recorded and edited, with 6-8 (8 is the very very long one) recorded and waiting to be edited. Basically, it puts me somewhere around the 25% completion mark.
However, I'll be away from the recording equipment for the next few days due to the holidays! I hope everyone's having a good one.
Do you ever have a slow day at work, or you come back from a 3-day weekend, or otherwise have some kind of interruption to your regular workflow, and it seems like getting situated again and back into the groove just ain't gon' happen?
After the "on the road" editing didn't go quite as well as I had planned, I resolved to spend lots of time today editing - only to discover there was a large holiday dinner (with many dishes needing to be cleaned) that I got roped into after getting home. Not that I'm complaining about great food or paying my respects to the chef by helping cooking. But after spending about 2 hours traveling, then getting everything unpacked and shifted from my flash drive back onto the computer, checking up on missed messages, and realizing I hadn't actually had a moment to just sit and do my own thing for the first 9 or 10 hours of my day, I really wanted to just relax. A couple hours later, it's almost midnight and I haven't made any progress on editing.
Not that the late hours are awful - I'm routinely up until anywhere from 5-8 AM most nights (leftover sleep habits from working swing shifts and being a natural night owl). I'll have all day tomorrow to get lots of work done, too, but then the next holiday rolls in and I'm missing days once more to be with family.
I don't think it'll be too tough to get back into the regular swing of things come New Year's, but damned if I don't feel like I'm not as focused as I should be.
Anyway - back to the "sound lab," gonna' be burning the midnight oil tonight to get some chapters done and some mouth noise scrubbed.
EDIT: By the way, if you prefer to follow me on Facebook, there's a link to my Facebook page over in the contact section. My girlfriend has been very insistent that it's really strange seeing a picture of me in the corner of the webpage, the body of the webpage, and in the link to my Facebook. I'm not sure if I agree or disagree, but it's fun messing with her by just leaving it as is anyhow. If you have an opinion on the matter, drop me a line on Facebook or via e-mail.
Follow-up thought: if anyone's interested in promotional copies of CurbCheK-Reload, I could talk to Zach and see if he has access to any. Feel free to visit his Facebook page, mine, or send an e-mail if that's something that would interest you.
You can find it here! Zach told me that Reload is the closest he's been to telling his stories as true to life as possible in terms of an unblinking account of his calls and cases. Nothing's sugar-coated, and there are some truly interesting chapters containing stuff that I don't think would ever get produced for TV or movies due to their nature.
Progress update for today.
SEO Marketing Tips: The Business Owner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization by Erik L. Devash just went in for processing today, so it should be out in a couple weeks!
Chapter 1 of the Hero to Zero audiobook has been recorded and edited, with chapters 2-5 recorded. Planning to do a lot of recording today, then will be away from the home computer and recording equipment for a few days. But fear not! The purpose of focusing on just recording today is to take my projects with me and do some editing to keep on top of the workload while I'm gone.
Hope everyone's having a good week - see you soon!
EDIT: All done with recording today, especially after a marathon session in front of the microphone thanks to the longest chapter of the book (it's basically two chapters in one! Listen One Get One Free! A LOGO sale! ... Alright, I'm done). Puts me up through chapter 8, or about 40% done with recording. Of course, the editing is the much more time-consuming part, so really I'm more like... 10-15% done, maybe? Tough to estimate that sort of thing, but that would be my rough guess.
I've received the manuscript for Hero to Zero, so I'll be reading it over the next couple days and then recording will begin towards the end of the weekend. Seems like it should be an interesting read, with a different tone than the other three books I've done for Zach so far - the title's pretty self-explanatory, so I won't go into a lot of detail about what I mean, but I think you should look forward to it.
EDIT: I'm all out of promotional copies, too, so if you like StreetCreds or CurbChek, you'll have to pick it up on Audible! Keep posted for CurbChek-Reload information. It's ultimately up to the rights holder, but if you're interested in a promotional copy for the next book to come out (probably just before Christmas), shoot me an e-mail and let me know.
Just coming back from the belated Thanksgiving weekend I had with my family - I hope everyone's enjoying their December and not getting too stressed out with the upcoming holiday season.
Just finished up production on SEO Marketing Tips: The Business Owner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization and sent it in for processing. Look for it somewhere around the end of December - it's actually pretty interesting.
It's a sort of quick-reference for tips on how to get your website noticed by search engines like Google and Bing and all - which, paired with Erik Devash's other book, Frustrated With Yelp?!, is a good bit of advice for getting noticed with a small business in the online world. I honestly enjoyed reading and narrating the both of them.
Sent a message off to Zach Fortier about production on Hero to Zero, so hopefully should be seeing the manuscript for that in the next couple days. After reading through it and getting a feel for the tone of the stories it will contain, production should begin sometime early next week.
Thanks to everyone who came and checked out the AMA and to the people who were kind enough to ask some questions. I've still got some promotional copies of StreetCreds and CurbChek available, so if you'd like one or the other, just send me an e-mail via the contact page on the site here.
Just started production on the booklet SEO Marketing by Erik L. Devash. It'll probably end up being about 35-40 minutes long by my rough estimate and is more designed as a quick reference guide for small business owners on how to improve their website so search engines will pick it up more effectively. Should be finished with production by the end of Thursday night, then will be taking some time off for a belated Thanksgiving.
After that, I'll take some time to read and digest the material for Hero to Zero, then recording and production will begin!
And of course, in case you aren't absolutely sick of hearing me mention it in every news post, look for me tomorrow on Reddit at /r/books at 5 PM EST for my AMA. Hoping to get some interesting questions and follow-up discussion, since to my knowledge, no other audiobook narrators or producers have done an AMA on that subreddit yet.
CurbChek-Reload has now been recorded and edited and will undergo a final review from the rights holder and me before being submitted to Audible for processing.
I'll be taking a short break, then will begin work on a short book called SEO Marketing Tips: The Business Owner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization by Erik L. Devash. When that's finished, I'll be going back to work on Zach Fortier's next book in his series, Hero To Zero (which technically began production tonight... Shh!).
Will likely be away from the computer for a couple days, then will be back here on Wednesday at 5 PM EST on Reddit for the AMA at /r/books. See you then!
Hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. We had a little mini one with some appetizers - due to schedule conflicts, we're doing the "big dinner" next weekend.
CurbChek-Reload has been recorded and edited up through chapter 32, so that just leaves a handful of chapters and the preview for Hero to Zero left! The plan is to do half of the remainder tomorrow, and the other half on Sunday. That should still put me on track to have recording and editing completed by the end of Dec. 1.
There will be some time to listen through it again for quality control, then it will get sent off to Audible for processing (basically their own version of quality control), then it will be up for sale.
By the way, I have some promotional copies of both StreetCreds and CurbChek that I'll be giving away during the AMA on Reddit this upcoming Wednesday. I'll post details as part of my AMA post! I look forward to fielding questions from everyone.
Just got back to my recording equipment tonight. Only a handful of chapters to go for CurbCheK-Reload, so I'll keep you updated through the week on whether the goal of a Dec. 1 finish date for recording and editing is achieved.
On another note, you can catch me on Reddit for an AMA over at /r/books on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 5 PM EST. I'll be hopping on to answer questions about whatever people throw at me, but maybe they'll be about audiobooks in some form or another.
Erik L. Devash, the author of Frustrated With Yelp?!, got in touch with me to do his next book about search engine optimization (SEO). I don't know the title yet, but it should be on Amazon relatively soon.
Following CurbCheK-Reload, I also have plans to narrate Zach Fortier's fourth book, Hero to Zero. He may or may not be working on a fifth book in the series, so if you've enjoyed either the written or my narrated versions, you might be getting another one down the road!
Although the official confirmation has not been handled, the plan is also for me to narrate The Broke Ass Brigade. From what I hear, there are two other books by Don Romonov that may be available to narrate, but I'll have to get back to you with more information about that when I have it.
Recording some more chapters for CurbCheK-Reload tonight, then will be seeing a break over the next several days for the Thanksgiving holiday. I may get the opportunity to do some more recording on Wednesday, but otherwise production will continue in full swing on November 29. Still planning to complete recording and editing by Dec. 1, then there will be some quality control and review before the book is off to processing.
Chapter 24 of CurbChek-Reload has been recorded and edited, putting the production along at exactly 2/3 of the way complete (if you include the preview for Hero to Zero).
If all goes as planned, I'm hoping to finish production on it somewhere around Dec. 1, and given an estimate of 3 weeks of processing by ACX, the audiobook should be released just before Christmas! Recording and editing will be taking a break with the Thanksgiving holiday, so if I'm kept from the mic for too long, then I expect I'll have production finished closer to Dec. 3 or so.
Will keep you updated!
Just finished recording chapter 17 of CurbCheK-Reload, which puts me at just under the halfway marker in terms of page count. The latest batch of chapters are actually relatively tame compared to most of the series - some amusing stories about his K-9 dog, EMO, as well as lamenting about the sorry practice of ride-alongs. The next chapter is a story about why you never want to be the one holding the legs of a corpse that needs to be moved. Always go for the arms.
Don't think I can tell you more than that for now, but trust me... It's good advice.
Mucked about with Paint.NET today to try and figure out some color schemes and layouts for the site today. Hopefully you'll be reading this within a week or so!
Also recorded a couple chapters for CurbCheK-Reload today. Due to many technical difficulties (ultimately requiring a system restore), I wasn't able to get as much done today as I wanted. However, I'll be hard at work tomorrow and the next 5 or 6 days, so I should still be making good time towards my ultimate goal of finishing by the end of the month so you guys can have another book in Zach's series available before Christmas.
Still planning to do the AMA on Reddit, of course, just want to make sure the website is in proper shape before we start going public!
I'm currently in production for CurbCheK-Reload, so if you enjoy CurbCheK, there are more stories from Zach about some of the darker things he faced.
Hey there, folks. Just a quick progress update for today.
CurbChek-Reload is approximately 25% complete, and is coming along well. CurbChek should be out on Audible sometime around Thanksgiving, and of course StreetCreds is already up for sale on Audible!
The website is currently in development, but upon its completion, I will also announce an AMA on Reddit, at the books subreddit. Good news for those who come along: I have some free copies of the StreetCreds audiobook to give away as promotional material. Haven't decided the avenue to best do that yet, but rest assured, I'll have a snazzy little gift for somebody.