And We Have Audio . . .

Apr92012

You know, it seemed like a simple idea. Do Keynote presentations, add audio, put together a workbook and a notebook, hey, piece of cake. I’ve been teaching for forty years, I can do this.

So far for this project, I have learned Photoshop and Audacity, found where the Mac keeps its special characters, become a passionate devotee of Graphics Fairy and Dover Clip Art, and realized that my voice is so nasal that I sound like Fran Drescher. Lani finished her 102 lecture day before yesterday, but it’s taking me longer because of the learning curve and my distaste for my own voice. She’s had a lot of experience in broadcasting, plus she has a great voice. I don’t even like to leave messages on answering machines. But I have just now finished my sixth attempt at recording a half hour audio track for Lecture 103: Introduction to Conflict, and this one is a keeper (still nasal, though). The slideshow is done. The audio is done. I’m going to tweak the notebook and workbook some more because they don’t look right to me, but the content is good. I’m thinking my first Writewell lecture is pretty much finished.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s good. Lani and I kind of egged each other on in the graphics department. I had a lot of clip art in mine, and then I watched hers and thought, “Man, she’s good,” and went back and reworked mine. Eventually, we’ll be the death of each other but at the moment, it’s good for us to raise each other’s bars. I may, however, have gone overboard on the clipart. The last frame of the lecture, before the end credits, is a compilation of all the examples in the lecture. I like it, if I used a mousepad, I’d want it for my mousepad, but that’s a lot of stuff for thirty minutes of lecture. On the other hand, there are 180 slides. You be the judge:

We don’t have a definite launch date yet, but it’s soon. The website is pretty much done, Alastair has figured out the pay-and-deliver system, and by the end of the week, we should have the first three lectures ready to go. Oh, and do not search for Writewell.com because that’s somebody else. We’re WritewellAcademy.com. or we will be once the site goes up.

I can’t believe that audio is finally finished. I think Wolfie’s barking in the background on it, but that’s just extra texture right? Because I am not recording that sucker again.

Edited to add: It wasn’t. There was so much heavy breathing on there, it sounded like an obscene phone call. I recorded it again, but still, since I’m stuffed up, too much mouth breathing. Maybe I’ll do it again pretending to be Marilyn Monroe. She was a heavy breather. ARGH.

Filed in Writing

45 Comments to 'And We Have Audio . . .'

On April 9, 2012 at 7:30 am Mary Stella said...

Most people don’t like how we sound when we play back a recording. I wouldn’t sweat it, Jenny. I’ve listened to you speak for over 15 years and never once thought there was anything bad or annoying about your voice.

Students will buy your lessons for the content, not how you sound when delivering it.

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On April 9, 2012 at 11:23 am Lisa in Atlanta said...

Many years ago, my fiance and I arrived at his home together. He hits “play” on his answering machine and walks into the next room. There is a message from some girl, and clearly from her tone, they were quite close. I was starting to get jealous and upset, until I realized the message was from ME and I hadn’t recognized my own voice.

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On April 9, 2012 at 8:14 am Lani said...

I hate my own voice. Always have. That’s why I’m so relieved that Alastair is editing all of my podcasts now. I think it’s just how people are.

Anyway, we’ll take a look at the audio file and figure it all out. Don’t throw it away yet!

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On April 9, 2012 at 8:23 am Brussel Sprout said...

We all hate our own voices – even really famous and wonderful actors get all squirmy when they have to listen to themselves. It’s because we sound so different in our heads from how we sound to other people. But both voices are us. Weird.

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On April 9, 2012 at 8:38 am JulieB said...

I love this! Ditto to what everyone said about your voice; I have a degree in broadcast journalism, and I recently heard a message I’d left for the kids and shrieked, “Is THAT what I _sound_ like?”

Sadly, they all nodded.

As for the graphic, I think it’s too busy as a starting visual, but if it’s the visual the is bringing all the pieces together at the end, keep it. I love it. It’s quite fun, and I think students will really enjoy it.

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On April 9, 2012 at 8:39 am Nan said...

For some reason, I sound like a little girl in recordings–squeaky and just…immature. But I don’t think I sound like that when I hear myself talk…kinda weird and unnerving. I’d really rather believe I sound like a grown-up woman, not a 10-year-old.

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On April 9, 2012 at 11:19 am Jennifer said...

Me too! I pondered doing a podcast at one point, then realized I couldn’t stand listening to myself enough to edit it (and I don’t have some poor schmuck willing to do it for me). Ugh. Why is my voice high and squeaky when speaking, but not well pitched enough to sing either?

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On April 9, 2012 at 8:55 am Deborah Blake said...

People tell me I sound (and apparently, resemble) Bebe Neuwirth (from Cheers). I don’t see it–or hear it–until I watch a video of myself. and then, yup. I sound really nasal to myself too. My answering machine message took multiple tries.

For what it is worth, I have listened to both you and Lani, and I think you both have lovely voices. And I’d pay extra for barking dogs :-)

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On April 10, 2012 at 8:35 am stephanie said...

You do have a Bebe Neuwirth quality to your voice, now that you mention it. That’s kinda cool:)

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On April 9, 2012 at 8:56 am Diane/ TT said...

My voice, too, is high-pitched, so I sound tinny to myself. What also bothers me is the voice attitude I sometimes hear in myself: sloppy and not-caring-enough. I can work on that, but the pitch is hard to alter.

But, like our appearances, I’m sure we are far more critical of ourselves than others are.

Good luck! I hope that you feel less stuffy, so that you can sound less stuffy to yourself.

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On April 9, 2012 at 9:01 am Diane/ TT said...

Oh, and I forgot that I had to re-subscribe to get Storywonk Sunday, so the episodes that are out there are something that I can look forward to (dessert after the NY Times -vegetables- and Science Friday – meat). I certainly enjoy hearing Lani and Alastair and you all talk. I don’t think there’s a new Popcorn Dialogues just now, but when there is, I’ll listen to that, too.

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On April 9, 2012 at 9:17 am lee said...

It’s just common courtesy now; some one says “I sound like THAT?!?” and I say “of course not!” and honor is served all around.

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On April 9, 2012 at 9:28 am Rose said...

I like both your voices — I love the popcorn dialogues podcasts, always listen to ‘em even though I never watch the movies.

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On April 9, 2012 at 11:18 am Jennifer said...

Right, this is an audience who’s already been listening to your voice for awhile now :)

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On April 9, 2012 at 10:01 am McB said...

Nobody likes their own voice when they hear it on a recording. And I’ve heard you speak and didn’t find your voice to be nasal, so stop worrying about that part. I think we just don’t hear ourselves the way other people do so it always comes as a surprise.

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On April 9, 2012 at 11:04 am Sara C. said...

I don’t think you sound like Fran Drescher at all. The first time I heard your voice (Popcorn Dialogues or maybe a guest appearance on Will Write For Wine?) I thought you sounded like Lynne Rossetto Kasper on The Splendid Table from public radio. It’s a great show about eating and cooking (what’s not to like?) but a large part of its charm is its host.

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On April 10, 2012 at 1:11 am Redwood Kim said...

Well, I’ve never heard Jenny, but I think that’s high praise indeed. She has a wonderful voice.

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On April 9, 2012 at 11:11 am oneoftheotherjennifers said...

I’ve heard you in person, and on Popcorn Dialogues, and you have a great voice that always sounds like you’re smiling. Of course, Lani has the voice that would have flowed from the mouth of Venus rising from the foam, so no matter how nice your voice is that’s bound to make you feel insecure.

I like all the clip art on the final slide. It would be terrible if we couldn’t pause to really look at it, but since we can pause it’s terrific.

Can’t wait!

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On April 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm Lani said...

See, Crusie? I hate my voice, I think I sound lispy and shrill, but this Jennifer (and thank you, by the way) thinks I’m an audio Venus. You can’t trust your own assessment of your voice. I love the way you sound. You sound SMART, which is an ideal quality in someone who’s teaching.

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On April 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm Jinx said...

Very true. Based on PopD, at least, you definitely do. Which is a plus. :)

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On April 9, 2012 at 11:25 am katyL said...

At first, I thought Wolfie was responsible for the heavy breathing. And since I was with you on the “barking adds texture” thing, I was thinking cute.

But I agree with everyone else, I don’t like the sound of my voice on any device. I like yours, though. Think it’s very warm & friendly. Sans the Marilyn Monroe breathy thing, that is. That may be too friendly for this scenario. Plus, adding that may just nudge it up to informant quality & not sure deep throat is what you’re going for here:)

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On April 9, 2012 at 11:28 am robena grant said...

I think your voice is fine. Mine. If ever I recorded parts of my WIP and listened I was shocked at how tired my voice sounded. The dog would listen for approximately two minutes then get up and leave the room. : )

It’s been kind of cold camped out on the steps of Writewell Academy. So happy classes are about to begin.

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On April 9, 2012 at 11:44 am Terrie said...

I love the graphic and think it would make a truly wonderful moused. More tie ins? I’m so excited to hear that the site will be up and running soon. I really don’t care what you sound like, like so long as you’re there!

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On April 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm Terrie said...

I have no idea how all those typos passed by me when I wrote that comment. Umm — mousepad. A truly wonderful mousepad! And in the last sentence I sound like a several decades beyond time valley girl. Hangs head in shame.

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On April 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm Robin S. said...

I would say you’re being too picky, but then I remember ‘picky’ gets us awesome books. So I’ll just send you FGBV’s and tell you we’re all in awe and waiting.

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On April 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm Terri Osburn said...

I was a radio DJ for eight years and still have that “I sound like that??” reaction. Countless hours on air and I don’t know how many commercials. Some that might still run today on that dinky small town station. My boss (IT company) knew I had radio experience so now my voice greets you on our phone system. Sounds like a phone sex operator, which I totally was NOT going for. Every time I call into the office, I cringe.

I remember when I took the Revisions class that I thought Lani had a great voice for radio. And I’ve heard you talk in person and thought you had a great, rich voice. Recordings never sound the same as in real life. That’s why professionals pay so much money for expensive microphones. And if you want to cut down on the breathy stuff, try putting something between you and the microphone. Like a thin sponge or even stretch a knee-high over some crafting circle. I’m sure you have something like that laying around. (Lying around? I think it should be lying…)

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On April 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm Jenny said...

Well, it turns out that Lani could strip out the breathing, so the last one I did that had the least obnoxious amount of gasping on it she fixed. Now she’s going to teach me to edit audio. How cool is that?

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On April 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm Terri Osburn said...

I was going to say “Or you could edit the breaths out” but didn’t want you to yell that you’d have to learn one more thing. LOL! You’ll love it once you can edit the files. How do you think radio people turn 45 seconds of copy into a 30 second commercial. ;)

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On April 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm Danyelle said...

Too funny! Yes, it’s true that most people hear their own voice inside their head and think, “I have a marvelous voice.” Then we hear it on a recording and cringe. I once saw an interview with Janet Jackson who said she hated the sound of her own voice. Janet Jackson!

The exception to this rule are all the delusional – but hilarious – people who audition for American Idol.

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On April 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm Dnelle said...

I recorded a message for our answering machine that redirects people to a different number because we keep getting calls for our local movie theater down the street. I tried to enunciate carefully so people could hear the other number and tried to sound pleasant. The result? Everyone tells me “you must have been really mad when you recorded that” or I get “You sound just like your mother.” I don’t know what to do with that.

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On April 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm Leigh said...

I’ve heard you speak, Jenny. I didn’t find your tone nasal, at all.

Looking forward to The Writewell Academy launch.

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On April 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm Louise said...

Listening to our own recorded voices we all think it sounds weird and turn to family asking, Is that me? That’s not me, is it? Having said that, when I was receptionist at an international bank and answered the phone, men would forget why they rang. Perhaps I should’ve made a career change right then … phone sex operator. Breathing out, Hello darling. 25 years on and my voice is starting to sound like a gravel pit. ;-)
I hope you’re not too concerned, it’s part of who you are.

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On April 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm Louise said...

BTW, LOVE the art work and — Story is Character in Conflict

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On April 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm Melanie said...

Am super excited! Bring it on!

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On April 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm Jenny said...

And today I learned to edit audio. And that I have to go back to the doctor because nobody should be breathing like that. I sound really nasal and stuffed up, so that’s not good, but it’s understandable so I think it’ll be okay.

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On April 9, 2012 at 9:26 pm Kelly S said...

I hope the doctor is able to help and yay for audio being editable!

My mom and I have allergies. For the past 3 weeks when I call her, I don’t recognize her voice as she sounds awful.

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On April 9, 2012 at 11:00 pm S said...

I have the opposite problem – I’ve been told I’d make a killing doing phone sex. I think male business clients are disappointed when they meet me and I’m not the sexpot I sound like on the phone!!!

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On April 10, 2012 at 12:18 am Sure Thing said...

FGBVs for the doctor’s visit, hope s/he fixes you right up!

I’ve recently started liking my voice. It helps that I’m learning to use it better. And turns out I have a good singing voice, so that’s helping me to accept the range on my speaking voice.

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On April 10, 2012 at 3:00 am Micki said...

It’s like when someone says they are going to serve you pickles, and it turns out to be pickled radish or something. On its own, from an objective standpoint, it’s perfectly delicious. However, from the subjective standpoint of “pickles” — it’s not a pickle! A dill pickle, I mean.

So, your standpoint is that you should sound like what you sound like inside your skull, but the recording is serving up this other stuff, and You Don’t Like It. It is Not What You Expected.

So, yeah, voices should definitely be judged by a third party.

(-: On the other hand, how wonderful it is to keep learning, even (especially?) when one is teaching! Good job, you!

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On April 10, 2012 at 8:39 am stephanie said...

I’ve heard you in person and on podcasts and I don’t hear the nasal. I think there’s something wrong with the technology:) Of course, until a few years ago I still sounded like I was six years old so maybe it’s just me. I don’t think so. Clearly this many people wouldn’t just be patting your hand and telling you it was okay. We’d be on call for it but we wouldn’t gaslight you.

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On April 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm Jenny said...

You’re going to hear the nasal on this. I managed to take out the gasping, but I am really congested right now (TMI) and it sounds like it. Must try some new meds. Claritin is not cutting it.

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On April 14, 2012 at 3:47 am Alaina said...

Claritin doesn’t work for you too? It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? I think everyone hates hearing their own voice (I sound like an eight year old), so maybe it’s just a matter of getting accustomed to it? Either way, I think everyone will just be happy to listen to your words of wisdom.

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On April 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm Jim said...

Okay, so where is the audio to be found? Looked all over your site but to no avial

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On April 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm Jenny said...

Oh, sorry. It’s part of the Writewell lecture package. Which means it’s not out yet. But the betas are almost through, so all I have to do is revise the audio, and we should be going live with it all on Friday. At least that’s the plan.

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On May 19, 2012 at 12:13 am Corin said...

I have a British colonial accent and one time when I had a cold a male friend had me come over and record his outgoing message as “Jasmine”. I guess he wanted a snotty British but sexy husky sound? I hated calling his phone after that…too weird. So I relate to both not recognizing your own voice and having the snuffles. :) Men are weird.

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