The Power Of Four – Recording an Audio Book
Four months of recording, six months of editing, and a whole lot of teamwork. That’s what it took to get the Carl Brewer Power Of Two audio book onto digital shelves.
February of 2020 a friend and colleague, Dan Horton talks to me about his desire to produce an audiobook version of his mother’s book, The Power Of Two. Having a small handful of audiobook experience, a bit of cash incentive, and an overly-keen desire to help a friend, I told Dan I would offer my services to record and edit the whole book, as well as find a VO artist who could do the story justice. A tall order indeed, I knew I needed some help.
Bring In The Team:
Starting with Dan Horton, the man with the vision. Dan was present for every record session, he directed the performance, checked pronunciations, and signed off on everything we recorded. Dan also did the final edit and mastering pass, and uploaded the book to Audible. Then we have Libby, the voice talent. Talent is an understatement, as Libby is a seasoned veteran in the voice acting business. Libby and I had done countless sessions together over the years, and when Dan said he was looking for a mature and gentle female voice, she was the first person I called. Despite an accomplished acting career, Libby spends most of her recent days painting. Her artwork has an unforgettable style, as can be seen in the picture above, and has found her great success in the art community. We’re very thankful she took the time to crossover back into voice acting to do this project. Next is Emily, the editor. What is often not considered when it comes to audiobooks is the amount of editing work it takes to meet Audible standards, and to make it a pleasurable listen for the consumer. Emily’s been around the block with dialogue editing, and already had a few audiobooks under her belt, so she was the perfect candidate for this role. On this project Em tirelessly combed through a dozen hours of recorded material, and spent weeks cleaning up the voiceover making it sound great. And finally we had myself, Ben the engineer. I had the pleasure of bringing this dream team together, and recording the reading the book. This project was an especially unique experience, because right after we assembled the team and were set to start production in March 2020… well… you may know where this is going.
Following the news of the first Covid variant and imminent lockdowns, our studio adapted quickly. All the engineers were outfitted with personal gear and licenses so they could operate from home for the foreseeable future. We went from big sessions with several clients, ensemble records, catered food spreads and after-work drinks… to engineer’s recording from home, clients in their bedrooms on Zoom, and voice talent in their closets on Source Connect. A once grand and formal process of creating art together in a studio reduced to video calls, bad network connections, and posting countless mix revision links for clients to review on their laptop speakers.
There were however some silver linings. For me – the ability to record remotely from home was life changing. All of a sudden my bedroom became a space station where I could do professional quality audio work any time of day, and with anyone in the world. It was a new age… and we weren’t the only ones who adapted. Libby was also completely outfitted to record from home with a semi-soundproofed closet, a decent interface, a Source Connect license, and coolest of all her own Neumman U87. And thus a new production plan came into fruition. We were to record the entire audiobook remotely, with Libby on Source Connect and Dan on Zoom. I would run the Pro Tools session from my home studio, recording Libby’s dialogue through Source Connect, and patching Dan in to listen and direct. It was the perfect plan. Until…
Nothing. Until nothing… it really was the perfect plan. We set our own hours, and would casually message each other after work seeing if we were available to record a few hours here, a few chapters there. It became a very calming experience; settling in at my desk for the evening, connecting with Dan and Libby, and combing through this very interesting story. All in all we probably did about 20 sessions stretched over four months. Could it have gone faster? Absolutely – but we didn’t feel the need to over-exert ourselves. Overseer Dan was less concerned with rushing the product out, and more concerned with making it a pleasant experience for all involved. I think that energy comes through in the final product, as Libby sounds consistently calm, confident and relaxed. It certainly allows me to look back at this project with good memories and feelings.
One of the most compelling figures ever to lace on a pair of skates, Carl Brewer was a gifted skater and stickhandler, renowned for his ability to control the pace of a game and to goad opponents into costly errors. His talents made him an NHL all-star and one of the cornerstones of a Toronto Maple Leaf dynasty. But he was also a loner playing a team game, a free spirit in an era when players were expected not to make waves. Teammates and management alike wrote him off as an eccentric, an enigma. At what should have been the peak of his career, he abandoned the game, embarking on a lifelong search for meaning in his life. Along the way he met Susan Foster, and together they would discover that purpose. The Power of Two tells the story of how Carl and Susan successfully battled the hockey establishment over the issue of player pensions. Together they uncovered fraud, corruption, and betrayal of trust, ultimately helping bring down the powerful Alan Eagleson. The Power of Two also provides intimate insights into Brewer, who was aptly remembered as a magnificent, misunderstood fanatic, and his enduring bond with the life partner and ally whose tireless support he depended on.Susan Foster – Author of The Power Of Two
This was an important story to tell, and author Susan Foster conveys it wonderfully. This book deserved to be re-ignited and I believe hockey fans everywhere will find tremendous appreciation for Carl Brewer’s story, and the poetic yet detailed way Susan decided to share it. It makes me proud to have been apart of this book’s legacy, and to share that pride with everyone involved. If you’d like to be one of the first to listen to The Power Of Two in audio-book format, you can check it out on Audible here. Alternatively it’s also available on Amazon here.
Thank you for reading.
Ben @ Back Pocket Sound