Basic CD Scripting
I'm still kicking myself for putting off doing audio albums. At the time I felt that I had lots of content but that making a SCRIPT to be used in a studio was just out of my league. WOW! WAS I WRONG!
I finally had to get a six-CD album done to enhance another product that was on deadline. I had no choice but to sit down and try to write a script that I would read at the recording studio. I sat down to the proverbial blank piece of paper and stared at it for some time. I then went and got something to eat.
I came back and stared at the paper some more and then went back to get some more to eat. This process repeated itself until I was ready to throw up which would have been a blessing because at least I would have had SOMETHING on the paper.
I finally got the bright idea to get out the electronic text file from my latest book and copy some things out of it on to my blank page. As I started looking through the book I noticed lots of things that I wanted to say on the tapes so I copied them over to my page. As I looked further I kept seeing more and more things in the book that I wanted to say on the tapes. This is not surprising because much of the content of the book was derived from transcribing things I said during a speech somewhere.
After about an hour I was copying massive sections of the book onto my new electronic audio script file and I was noticing that I could simply read from the book and have a better script than I could have ever written. In fact, that's what I ended up doing. . . I pretty much finished a six-hour six CD album by reading from my book. About the only change I made was to substitute CD numbers for chapter numbers. i.e. instead of saying, "in chapter 3 we talked about XYZ" I would say, "on CD 1 we talked about XYZ." I had the entire script done in one evening!
The next evening I started reading the script while timing myself. I did two CDs each night for three nights in a row. (You wouldn't really have to practice this much if you were recording at home, but it saves you lots of time when you go to the studio because you don't make many mistakes).
I booked a digital studio for three nights in a row and recorded the CDs. Since I had already practiced, I could complete an hour CD in about an hour and 30 minutes or about $60.00 in studio time.
What do you think about that? A year's worth of procrastination and in one week I completed a six CD audio album that has been selling for $89.95 for the last 10 years.
This tip will save you lots of time and money if you are using a digital studio. When I do the project, I plan on walking out after each session with master tapes.
As I'm recording, if I make a mistake. I just back up to the sentence before the mistake and start from that point. I have made a copy of the script for the audio producer/engineer so he/she can follow along with me and back up to the same point of the recording. He gives me the cue to start and we continue making the master until I make the next mistake. We fix it and keep on going until we get to the end.
I then take a short breather and we hit the next CD and so on. This will save you a fortune. You wouldn't want the sound editor to have to go back after you recorded all the screw ups and fix ups and try to fix them later. It would take much more time with the clock running at whatever hourly rate you're being charged.
If there is no music involved, then the master is done when I get done talking.
All this doesn't matter too much if you are recording at home.
This all boils down to the fact that if you have written a book or even articles/reports, you already have the basics of a good audio script. Now I'll bet there are script writers out there that would consider this blasphemy, but too bad. I've got the results and sales to prove my point. I have virtually zero returns too, so don't worry about hiring a high priced professional to write your script.
I'VE WRITTEN NOTHING, SO WHAT DO I DO?
Maybe you've never written anything in your life. Maybe you are a lousy writer and hate writing. Not to worry. There are plenty of other ways to get content into a salable fashion on CD.
· Hire a college student. To take information you supply and turn it into a script. Many English and journalism major would be happy for some part time work on a project like this. It would also be good for their resumes.
· Record random thoughts on your topic. You can keep a digital recorder with you or even keep a simple note pad handy. (It's very, very important to get the thoughts recorded as soon as you get them. Trying to recall all of them later is virtually impossible) If you are using a recorder, get someone to transcribe the recordingss, then use your college student or anyone you can find that's good with words to edit and complete the script.
· Do a speech. Record it and have it transcribed and edited. Then take the transcription and re-record a CD in a studio setting.
· Do a speech. Record it. Edit it and sell it without going through the transcription and re-recording process.
· Use an Interview format. This is a great way to get a CD product done really fast. In this case you create a list of questions on your topic. You get someone else to ask you the questions and you answer them. It's pretty much like a recorded radio interview. If you both want to get a product, simply switch roles with you asking the questions and your partner answering. (keep in mind that you can sell your partner's CD and give them permission to sell yours. This way you get two products instead of one.)
· Do a telephone seminar and record it. You can record directly off the telephone with simple phone line adapters. Sometimes the conference call company you are using will do the taping for you. Then all you have to do is duplicate it if it's good enough or edit and duplicate if it needs fixed up a little bit.
So get going. Don't wait and waste time like I did. I lost at least a year of sales on this CD album simply because I felt like I couldn't write a script. Well you can get a script down on paper pretty easily and you can get a tape done even if you can't get the script done. Just use one of the other methods. Just do it