Audioblog for Sept 6, 2004

Here is the audioblog for September 6, 2004. Today I discuss Kiss Me Judas by Will Christopher Baer, some constructive criticism on ways to sound more natural when reading a big chunk of copy into a microphone, my techniques to improve my interview style, the notorious “Technorati bomb” I orchestrated earlier in the year, and how the poor quality of Windows Media Player made me drop the Creative Commons licensing experiment.

Links mentioned in this episode:
The Importance of Law and IT – a program on IT Conversations
CCTag – a program I sadly won’t be using anymore
Kiss Me Judas – a novel by Will Christopher Baer
The Contortionist’s Handbook – a novel by Craig Clevenger
The “Technorati bomb”

Update: Doug Kaye emailed me with some of the technical rationale of Ernest Miller’s copy reading (which I talk about in the audioblog), namely that what you hear in the show is something that had to be redone for technical reasons and the second time around was less peppy than the first. That’s natural enough, it’s hard to muster the same enthusiasm every time (and why voiceover artists get paid the big bucks.) The editing on it is slick enough that I’d have never known if Doug hadn’t told me. That’s the magic of digital editing. Now when I make a flub in the audioblog that is egregious enough to need to come out, I just stop to leave a few seconds of silence (so I can find that spot easily later), and then repeat what I was trying to say. I’ve found that I can take out the flub and the silence and the edit is imperceptible. 5 minutes after I edit it, I can’t even remember where it was.

That brings up some more advice to those of you doing interviews for audio use. If you have technical problems that lose part of your interview, do not just reask the same questions that you lost. Take my word here, what you will get is an unenergetic rendition of what was said the first time, but with much more sighing and audible (visual, if you are in the same room) discomfort. The first interview that really made me step up my skills was with the fantastic Alan Lightman, MIT professor and author of Einstein’s Dreams. For the first 10 minutes or so of my talk with him, the tape was rolling but a bad mike cable connection meant that nothing was being recorded. The beginning was the easy stuff (from my list of questions, natch) and on the spot I had to come up with different things to ask him based on what he had been saying in the first, lost part. Mostly, I asked him variants on the originals that dug deeper and/or approached the material from a different direction. After it was over, he and I both agreed that the replacement interview was better than what was lost. He was also sympathetic, as he once drove out to someone’s house and talked to them for hours in book research and came back to find blank tapes for all of it.