Start Small, Just Record
With any new project, like recording a Your Life Story, it’s important to start!
Filling your life with the preparation is often a form of procrastination. For that reason it’s important to get underway and seeing results as quickly as possible and here is a simply way to start, to get you underway on your path to the proficiency that you are after. When it comes to recording a Life Story you will need to feel comfortable with using the technology, organising your thoughts and speaking well. The sooner you start and get used to the process the better.
Don’t be surprised that you feel a bit overwhelmed with the technology and the process of recording. It’s all new and will take time for you to become familiar with.
Your voice will sound strange. It’s not as you hear it yourself but the more you listen to it the faster you will become used to how it sounds to everyone else and it will no longer bother you. Reverberation in your skull when you speak makes your voice sound deeper than it is, so to hear your voice as others hear it is often a shock as it sounds higher pitched. If you don’t like your voice, relax you will get used to it the more you listen, just give yourself time to adjust.
If you’re intending to record someone else in conversation with you there is the advantage of having someone to engage with and bounce ideas off. Someone who can relax with you and engage in a real conversation. This is the easiest type of recording to create as you are doing what we all do all the time, it’s just that this time you are capturing it.
If you’re recording yourself the challenge is slightly more difficult, in that you need to create an engaging conversation with the listener and you need to imagine that you have been asked a question or you wish to contribute some information into a conversation where the other person is intently listening. Then you tell a story explaining what is appropriate and would have been expected of you if there was another person sitting with you.
Most people find the thought of recording themselves awkward and although they normally can speak well and sting along a conversation, the moment a microphone is placed in front of them they gum up and fall all over their thoughts and suddenly the normal congruent speaking style becomes a ramble of mismatched thoughts full of stammers, umms and arghs.
Practice makes perfect and with that recording practice you will learn what can be left in or edited and what needs to be repeated and re-recorded.
So start practicing. Start recording. Start playing and don’t worry if it is broken, you’ll improve. And it’s best to improve with practice rather than when you turn on the recorder for the serious business where you have less time to make errors.
Practice with real content. It will help to improve your memory of the stories you want to tell and put them in some sense of order. As you think them through you will be reminded of additional stories to mention later.
To record by yourself first we need to create a mental state that takes us to where we will be able to speak as though someone else was in conversation with us. Then the conversation will flow as if they are quietly listening.
In the audio of this episode I explain how I start a one sided conversation by telling the story of how I started my skydiving life. Make sure you listen to this story to fully understand these points.
To speak well as if in conversation with someone this is the method I use:
- Create a list of questions and statements that will provoke you to respond – This orders your thoughts to stay on topic
- Create a story for each as a response – Mental visual queues take you back to those times and experiences
- Start recording by saying the question or statement out loud, as though said by someone else – Creates the mental space of being asked, it can be removed later
- Start the story with an introduction or repeat the question – These are edit points to introduce the story to the listener
- Start at the beginning and just tell a story – Imagine the situations, feel the emotions and allow them to flow through your voice naturally
- Write notes or mention new ideas – these can be removed later in the edit
- Stay on the subject – Part of the practice is staying on topic and disciplining you to talk from start to finish of a story
- Speak in your normal conversational style – Don’t put on a ‘radio voice’, everyone else knows your real voice, the only one you’re fooling is yourself. Just speak your story!
- Practice editing - You will be surprised how much better it is once it’s edited and you will learn what you can and can’t get away with during the recording.
- Keep the audio – Data storage is so cheap today there is never a need to delete a file as you never know if you may need it.
- Listen back later – Once you’re distanced from the recording by a few weeks you can listen objectively and will probably be surprised at how good the recording actually sounds.
Remember this is practice, don’t restrict yourself. Allow everything to happen and expect to get it wrong. If you find that something happens like emotions or a major stuff up, relax. Remember your not publishing these recordings. It’s only practice.
- Select a subject to talk about
- Write a question or statement that provokes your response on that subject
- Set up your recorder
- Follow the process above to record the story of this subject
- Edit the audio
- Repeat on another subject
- Make and keep notes to use later for the proper recordings
There are more ideas and motivations in the e-Book Recording Life Stories to help you along with the surveys before and after you read the e-Book to help me understand your needs. Just sign up for it in the side bar form.
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