A Task Both Amazing and Disconcerting

I am embarked upon a journey into the unknown.

Okay, so not exactly, but I have the opportunity to do something fantastic and it’s not something I’m entirely prepared for. Steel Beneath the Skin is to become an audiobook. It’s something of an experiment; I use audiobooks a lot and have friends who do, but whether this will be a successful enterprise is an open question. The process itself promises to be fascinating, so I plan to document at least some of it here, as things proceed. I’m using the ACX service to find producers and get this thing going, so this will be my view of how that system works for this task.

Obviously, the narrator is going to be key. ACX allows you to hunt through potential narrators/producers for your ideal choice. In this case it hardly seems necessary, but it certainly is fascinating. The talent out there! I should be used to the idea. I listen to the books, I play a fair bit of video games, I like animated movies, so voice acting should be something I think of as commonplace, but there are people out there who can turn their hand to anything.

Thus far, however, I’ve posted the project to ACX’s site and I’ve received 8 audition recordings in 36 hours. The procedure is to take a short excerpt from the work you wish to publish, and this is used as the audition piece. The first problem, of course, was finding something to use for that. I wanted a self-contained clip, preferably with a reasonable amount of non-speech text, but also with Aneka and Ella speaking, and also Al if I could manage it. That would give a good selection of voices, particularly the two primary characters. I have decided upon a female narrator, and having Al in there gives an indication of how a male voice will sound. Aneka and Ella have distinctly different accents as well. Eventually I settled upon the short scene where Aneka tries on her swarm dress for the first time since it’s actually one of the few scenes in the first book which has all three together.

And now I have several different versions of that scene in audio. I do not mind admitting that selecting one person to do this is likely to drive me nuts. I’m horribly conflicted over several of them already. It’s sweet shop syndrome; too many good things to choose from and I have to pick just one… Okay, so it’s amazing, and fun, and fascinating, but how the Hell do I make a decision on this?! I’m selecting someone who is going to give a voice to these characters I’ve invested so much time in. This is going to be hard.

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6 responses to “A Task Both Amazing and Disconcerting

  1. Having had to audition and director voice over actors for presentations I guess I’d have some idea of the process you are going through. I wouldn’t go for the sexiest voice. I think you want a voice that sounds more down to earth and practical for Aneka/the narrator. Are you going to have a hand in the direction or will you leave that to the Producer?

    • I’ll be leaving the majority of that to the producer, but I’ll have input into the process at least regarding the general form of the voices and such. I have almost a dozen people to choose from now and need to do a narrowing job this weekend. It’s not going to be easy.

  2. I know I will definitely be curious to check it out provided I can buy it. I am really curious to hear how you imagine Aneka to sound, oh and Winter 🙂

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