SIARAD: From Stage to Page to Audiobook


The South Australian government may have been the first state government in Australia to come to the financial aid of artists by providing quick response grants for Innovating Practice. What a privilege to be the recipient of one of these grants. With the funds granted to me I bought sound and video recording equipment, paid for the hire of a sound studio, paid other creative artists for their services and had some funds left over for living costs.

My primary project has been recording SIARAD as Audiobook. I decided to record the longer (prose) pieces in a professional studio. A local radio station PBA FM offered a very reasonable hourly rate and over 4 sessions I came away some very clean, crisp recordings. Perfect for the prose. At first I was disheartened that I didn’t have the funds to record the whole book in a professional setting but, as things turned out, it was actually a good thing.

By researching on the internet, and with the help of my partner, I made a cheap Home Sound Booth. In my bedroom, with my head stuffed into a cardboard box lined with mattress underlay, I began recording the poetry and shorter prose pieces. I used a Rode USB mic attached to my Mac, with a set of Sony Headphones plugged into the mic, and recorded the tracks in Garageband adding a smattering free Sfx downloaded from ZapSplat.

Rather than being big and performative, I settled on an intimate reading style that draws the listener in and is a much better vibe for an Audio Book. I just wouldn’t have been able to achieve this style in the studio, which is why it was fortunate that I didn’t have the funds and had to improvise with the Home Sound Booth! I experimented and played, finding joy and spirit in each piece. Some of my favourites turned out to be the ones where I was really playful with my voice, singing, layering and adding interesting and unexpected Sfx. As I finished each raw recording I uploaded it to Google Drive and shared the file with a sound engineer in Sydney. He cleaned up the noisiness, added some Sfx and sent the file back to me. I was so happy with the adjustments Jeff made and the sounds I was hearing. I looked forward so much to each new recording he sent back to me. In a few months our first draft was done!

Last week, Jeff and I finally ‘met’ over Zoom to discuss how to proceed to the next phase. Turns out it’s mostly superficial edits and additions that need doing so it looks like we’re on schedule to release SIARAD as an Audiobook by mid October. I’ll keep you posted on which platform/s the Audiobook will be available at. Watch this space! 

And in the upcoming weeks I'm signed up to do a crash course on how to best use the movie feature on my new Sony A6100 so that I can record vlogs and experiment with some video poems. Watch this space x2!

Thanks for reading and go well.

Caroline x