Monday, May 31, 2004

Did something that I've always wanted to do but never found the opportunity for. Connie rounded me, Yee, Cara and Annie up to have a dramatic storytelling session recorded at Xinmin Pri Sch. Yee and Cara got lost as usual, and having misinterpreted my directions was also par for the course for them. It didn't matter that they were late, anyway. The Xinmin staff were having some kind of meeting and we couldn't start recording until 10, although we arranged to meet at 9. Connie was nice and bought us breakfast while we waited.

It's fun to do 'voices' while reading a story. We read from a couple of kids' stories; one about a non-conformist little bunny and another about a curious little boy and the tooth fairy. We also read excerpts from 2 grown-up stories, "Tuesdays with Morrie" (Albom) and "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" (Bach). Both stories very inspirational, also about non-conformist individuals -- the first about a withering college professor with the most positive attitude to dying, and the second a young seagull with a passion for life and for flight. If you haven't read them yet, please do so quickly. Bach also wrote "Feathers" which is just as thought provoking.

Xinmin has a cosy little studio for the recording of video and audio projects. Quite pro, with photo-shoot backdrop, lights, sound system and studio-standard video cameras. In the control space there is a video editing PC and a complicated-looking slider setup and a synthesizer keyboard. The things we could do with a studio like that! The whole thing is so new the operators are still at the flipping-through-the-manual stage for certain functions that they haven't tried out yet. We had to be patient while they got their act together, in the meantime we decided who would read what and rehearsed.

Knowing the complexity of voice-over recordings, I was prepared to stay the whole day recording and rerecording take after take. Surprisingly, we were done by 2:30 which shows either how excellent we were at reading, or how low our standards of acceptability were. I prefer to think it was the former. Ahem. We heard clips of the recording just to sample our readings and I think we sounded ok.

Next thing to do is to layer in sound FX and music to set the mood. We also might need an attractive CD jewel-case design and then the readings can be used in primary and secondary schools in English classes. What fun! Thankfully, we've done the most major part of the production and the rest is just a lot of tedious and exacting work which someone else will be doing. Yee is so addicted to this idea now, he's suggesting we do a recording of Roald Dahl's kids' stories as well. Now, that is ambitious, and could well be worth doing. We'll get around the copyright issue somehow!

Now then, who's up for Monday nite bowling?

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