I visited the producer today to listen to it - all three minutes of it! I feel like I sound hyper, but my voice coach was telling me to turn up the emotion to 11, because otherwise I tend to sound flat. So I did. The producer added fades and sound effects (e.g. truck noise for a snippet of dialog that was taking place on the back of a truck) and put the whole thing on a digital file.
My next step is to open an account at ACX - the service that connects authors with readers for Audible and iTunes audiobooks - and get set up at home. Making a voice booth does not have to be expensive, I learned. And I'll need to lease the Adobe software package, which includes Audition for sound production.
I'm excited because this is something I've kind of always wanted to do. But I didn't really consciously form the desire until the last couple of years. My family were literary people, and I grew up with family reading hour, where the four of us would sit in the living room and take turns reading a chapter from a young adult novel (Madeline L'Engle, Lucy Boston, Susan Cooper) or classic literature for young people or adults (Dickens, Louisa May Alcott). Looking back, I realize those hours gave me a lot of confidence and proficiency in oral reading. It's easy to take something for granted when you forget that it doesn't come easily to everybody.
It wasn't until I enrolled in acting class last fall that I started thinking seriously about voice arts. I enjoyed reading my personal essay for the class, and I wanted more.
The following semester there was a Voice for Actors class and I jumped on it. I was a little disappointed and frustrated with the class because I felt there was a lot of time wasted in "filler" exercises and not much time spent really speaking. But by that point I knew what I wanted to do, so I did an online search for "voice actor training" and started taking lessons with my voice coach.
We started on simple exercises - tongue twisters, and reading a sentence with different kinds of expression - and then worked on things like McDonald's commercials. I mentioned that some day I hoped to do audiobooks, thinking that this was something I'd have to work my way up to, after doing a lot of hamburger commercials. But to my surprise, my voice coach said, "OK, let's train for audiobooks!"
The whole thing seems like it happened very fast - mostly over the summer. But it's been in the works for a long time. Of course, there were audiobooks around when I was a kid, but they were a pretty cumbersome proposition - a box of LPs or an armload of cassettes. But now that people are listening to books on their iPods and Kindles, it's a whole different game.