David: Is this thing on?
David: You sure?
Alison: Yes. Stop that! Go!
David: Oh! Uh, hello! I’m David A. Scott.
Alison: And I’m Alison Chen. I play meek farm girl Alysa in the audio book “Alysa of the Fields, Book One in the Tellings of Xunar-kun Series”, written, directed and produced by Tina Field Howe.
David: And I play Szaren, a fearless hunter/warrior of the opposing and savage Trailmen tribe. Alysa and Szaren live on planet Xunar-kun. So why are we speaking to you today?
Alison: Well, we had such a great time recording the voiceovers for Tina’s audio book, we offered to make a plug to raise funds to complete this project.
David: So this is where it all started: Tina published Alysa of the Fields in 2006. She applied for a 2009 Artist Crossroads Grant, and to her great delight, she got it! The grant was awarded by The ARTs Council of the Southern Finger Lakes in Corning, NY and NYSCA – the New York State Council on the Arts. With this money Tina was able to purchase recording software and equipment, create a recording space in her home, and (most important) pay the actors!
Alison: Tina is nearly done recording and editing the set of 8 CDs (97 tracks; approximately 10 hours of sumptuous sound!) and is seeking funds to have it professionally produced and distributed. And she needs your help with the first round of replication (the proceeds should garner enough to order another printing, and then another…) Psst. David, do you think they’d like to hear some of the project details?
David: Absolutely, Alison! Here goes: Tina began with the intention of making this audio book different – REALLY different – from any she had ever heard. Instead of using just the author’s voice or one, two or three actors to record the characters, her vision was to use one actor for each major role and a group of actors for the background vocals.
Alison: The auditions were a huge success, with 50 actors auditioning and 41 (us included!) coming on board.
David: In January and February of 2009, Tina adapted the novel to the script format. In March, recording began in her humble basement studio.
Alison: At every opportunity she recorded two actors at the same time so they would have each other to play off, to help their lines sound more realistic, and also to make it more fun for them. But sometimes, due to scheduling, she recorded actors singly…then wove them in with the other recordings and the narrative, which she recorded in her voice.
David: After each session, recorded on her laptop, Tina completed the rough sound edit. After many, many moons (on Xunar-kun, a moon is about 3 earth weeks), she finished the recording. Next, she recorded “group” scenes for the background reactions and wove them into the supporting tracks.
Alison: Then she needed sound effects. She did obtain a couple of effects CDs, but she couldn’t find exactly what she needed so had to create most of them herself. She had such a clutter of objects on the floor of her studio that at times you could barely walk across it! Things like clay pots and jars, wet sponges (don’t ask), piles of wood, bubble pack, packing peanuts, containers of water, tree branches, reeds, a bean bag…you name it, it could be found on that floor! Tina also created many critters with her own voice (including the saroos, exotic birds and other scary nighttime creatures).
David: Enter Warren Jeffrey Motter, the music composer. Warren’s music is playing in the background. He created a variety of themes for the characters, groups of people, situations, and planet Xunar-kun. He recorded these on his keyboard and provided them to Tina as .wav files.
Alison: Tina thinks that Warren’s music is perfect for the setting, so she placed it wherever it felt right to do so. As she added the music, she also added the sound effects so that she could balance everything with the main voice track and background vocals.
David: So here’s Tina’s request. Now that the audio book is nearly finalized, she’s looking for help in financing professional production and distribution. Her plan is to begin distribution late this spring or early summer.
Alison: You see, Tina had a much simpler plan in mind when she first applied for the grant; but when she discovered that recording the unabridged novel would require 8 discs instead of the imagined 4, she knew that would naturally translate into higher production costs.
David: So in whatever way you can help, from contributing a single dollar on up (see the list of awesome incentives to the right), Tina will be one step closer to making the audio book a reality!
Alison: Be sure to go to her website, http://www.AlysaBooks.com, to learn about the actors and audio book, and to listen to clips! Well, David, do you think that’s enough information? Did we leave anything out?
David: Umm…just one more thing, Alison. Maybe two! People are really, really going to enjoy listening to Alysa of the Fields. From about age 12 and up, everyone will find something in the story, characters or setting that resonates with them.
Alison: That’s right! There’s a little bit of everything in this science fantasy story: a mysterious beginning, post-apocalyptic intrigue, teenage angst (yes, this does exist on other planets!), treachery, intolerance, danger, risk, reward…and even a little romance! The overarching theme is “finding the champion who lives inside of you”.
David: Hey, Alison! Do you think Tina will turn the second book, “The TrailFolk of Xunar-kun”, into an audio book, too? That one won First Place in the Written Art Awards, you know! I’d sure like to play Szaren again!
Alison: Gee, I hope so. Let’s keep it going! But first things first…please help Tina complete this project. Then she can bring the second to reality.
David: Yes, please lend a hand. It will be well worth it! We are David A. Scott…
Alison: …and Alison Chen. Thanks for listening!
Alison & David: Find the champion who lives inside of you!
- (66 days)