I Think, Therefore iMac – Week 25

The new iMac is here! The new iMac is here! What, you never watched The Jerk? If you haven’t figured it by now, most of my posts and headlines are quotes or rip-offs of quotes from movies or TV shows. I thought about making it a contest, but most of them are pretty obscure, and I don’t want to have my family be the only ones getting the answers right, so for now I am just assuming that all of you get the references.

But, I digress. I received the iMac today, and I can’t call it new, but it is new to me. As always, I am self funding this Voice over Work process, so eBay is my new best friend again. A refurbished iMac with a slight chip in the glass is, IMHO, a pretty good investment. It serves as my internet connection within the Cone of Silence, so I can check emails, pull down manuscripts, lookup pronunciations, and queue up audition scripts on it while the remote head for the DAW is reserved for recording only. I may check into a lite version of ProTools or Ardour for this box to do quick hit or one off recordings.

I branched out into two more Voice over Work sources this past week – Voices.com and Edge Studios.

First, a little background from Voices. I mentioned in a previous post I had received a phone call from a real person from Voices, a professional and personable rep named Shan (pronounced Shawn). We played phone tag for a bit, since I don’t answer calls that I don’t have in my contact list, but eventually we spoke directly, and for over 30 minutes. Shan was very patient and explained how Voices worked, which was pretty much in line with the research I had done earlier and what I had said in a post several weeks ago. He also, not surprisingly, said he thought I could do quite well on Voices as I probably had the ability to do this kind of work (as everyone has said that was trying to sell something). I explained my reservations, and that the $400 price tag was a bit daunting, but like all good sales reps, he had a 25% off offer that just by happenstance was going to expire the very next day. What propitious timing for me! Anyway, I bit and signed up, and now will start trying to do some auditions on there, along with my ACX work. I believe it is better to have several lines of work, and this might pan out from what I am hearing.

My other foray was with a layout of $30 to Edge Studios to do a professional evaluation of a recording. The concept for Edge, one of many pay for services they offer, is to record an audition or indeed just a sample file, send it to their engineers, and they will provide feedback on what to do to make your studio sound better. You also have the option to make this recording public and Edge members of one of their public forums can provide per feedback on your stuff. I am expecting to receive some technical advice from them, not so much performance notes. I am hoping for some direction on use of compression, EQ, or mastering processes that will improve the overall quality of the technical side of things. More news as it becomes available.

Oddly enough in recent days, I have had two contracts that had to be cancelled within ACX. This is the first time this has happened for me, and fortunately for me neither of these was my fault and neither cost me any money! One was due to a error on the part of a Rights Holder putting up a book for audition that they had already had recorded (oops), and another had a problem on the Rights Holder side of things with a conflict between PFH work and Royalty Share work. To cancel a contract in ACX, both parties have to inform ACS that they are willing to dissolve the contract, and then in a few days an email confirms that has happened and the project automatically disappears from your In Production window. Easy Peasy.

Another newbie for me is the concepts of bundled books on ACX. These apparently are fairly common, as I alluded to before, when a Rights Holder had several audiobooks already in retail, and they will bundle them into one package. I assume this is related to better marketing somehow, as the longer books have a higher price on Audible, but I am not sure of the details there. I had one of my first customers offer me to take four books that I had produced for him and combine them into one bundle. This required only a few steps:

  1. Record a new Opening Credits for the bundle itself, and upload it.
  2. Upload the Opening Credits and body of the first book in the bundle in their individual files. Note the Closing Credits for the individual titles within the bundle are not generally uploaded.
  3. Repeat step 2 for each additional title.
  4. Record and upload a new Closing Credits for the bundle itself.
  5. Choose or mix a new Retail Sample for the bundle.
  • For this work, I was paid the face value of one hour of the PFH rate I agreed to for the above books. Not bad money for four minutes of recording and maybe 20-30 minutes of file manipulation.
  • That brings us up to date on all this past week. Please share any insights you have on Voices, Edge Studios, or anything else relevant!
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