Newly Scrupulous


If everything came easy, life would be pretty boring. Fortunately, there’s always plenty that doesn’t simply fall in our laps. In fact, if you’re pushing yourself even a tiny bit, you’ll soon come to a wall. You’ll have to stop and regroup. You’ll have to read that paragraph again and maybe even once more, just to understand it.

Leonardo daVinci carried his Mona Lisa painting around with him and worked on it when he found the time. It’s not a big painting, and he wasn’t a great artist, but he put in the time and it paid off. He’s still famous to this day, and his painting is the star attraction at the museum in which it’s displayed. He wasn’t in a hurry to finish it. If I weren’t always in such a hurry, I’d probably end up doing more quality work, but I’m always trying to win some sort of imaginary race with myself.

Now that I’m aware of my slapdash tendencies, I can decide to control them. I can decide to slow down and become careful. “Scrupulous” has never been my strong suit, but maybe now I can veer in that direction. I just bought a new software program to process audio recordings for I plan to narrate books, as there is a booming demand for audio version of text. I set about asking advice from people who were already doing this job and at least mildly succeeding.

Like everything nowadays, it’s a home-based activity. As an actor, you don’t get to walk into a recording studio anymore and have a professional audio engineer take care of you. You are the engineer. You buy the microphone. You build the booth to house it from echo and extraneous noise. You master the final recording and send it off to the client.

This is democracy in the marketplace, but like most innovations the transition has not been smooth. There are no more editors and proofreaders that come with electronic publishing. You could hire them, but the expense would be yours, not the publishers. Many of the books I audition for are written more poorly than many high school essays I’ve had the pleasure to grade. So far, there is no gate and no gatekeeper. It’s up to the marketplace to decide.

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