Friday, November 15, 2013

How To Make A Story App - Step 6

Record the voice narration.

On my last app "I Eat You" I used the iPad app "Tiny Vox" to record my own voice - making all the crazy fish voices and generally making a fool of myself. It was fun but now I'm in app making 2.0 and for Gary's Place I decided to hire a professional! But back to Tiny Vox - wow! what a cool app for only a couple of bucks. If you're on a budget you can get good clean sound tracks with this little gem. The built in noise cancellation leaves the front and back end of your sound clips hiss free.

But I got really lucky that I ran into Tabitha Thompson from our SVS classes. She was looking into the whole process of leveling up her illustration skills as she's already a talented writer. I mentioned that I was looking for voice work and she said she would love to provide a sample - it was amazing - I only found out after the recordings that she was trained professionally.

Tabitha Thompson has an advanced-level degree in theatre from Cambridge, England, and has worked as a professional actor, singer, and dancer since 1989. You can contact her at tabitha.voiceact at icloud dot com.

Then I worried that I wouldn't be able to afford her - but her rates were really reasonable - so I paid for 3 hours of her time which included driving down from Salt Lake. Then I paid for an hour of time with a sound studio. Since I'm in app creation 2.0 I wanted to leave no stone unturned. My goal in making this app is to give reviewers, moms, dads, kids, peers, very little to find fault with. 

I tried to give as little input as possible during the recording since I'm really just an illustrator. I told myself, "Let Tabitha feel free to explore her art as you enjoy being left alone to explore yours." The result was really fun. Being the professional she is -she nailed it on the second take. I only asked her to re-read a few lines twice for a few reasons she wouldn't have understood without seeing the illustrations.

The sound guy (Ryan Haldeman part of the “kid history – youtube” team)  used (my favorite large file sharing site) to send me the voice recordings. Then I used Audacity to cut the long sound files into page segments. We all thought it would make a better product to have Tabitha read the entire manuscript – rather than break each page for my convenience. I think it gave her a much better flow and rhythm...and it's super easy to cut the file on your PC or Mac.

Audacity is a free program you can download and you can learn what you need in about 20 min by watching various youtube videos. Want to learn how to cut a file? Just ask youtube: “how to cut file audacity” then watch a 5 year old lay it out – could you have predicted this 20 years ago? Ha! Oh – one little trick with Audacity. You'll want to export your files in mp3 format (if you're working with Kwik) – BUT Audacity can't do that for you because of the pesky royalty Audacity would have to pay to let you do that – instead – try to export to mp3 from Audacity anyway – Audacity came up with a link when you try to save that takes you to a 3rd party web page where you can download a tiny program that works behind the scenes with Audacity to magically create mp3 files – in fact after you install that second program you can just export mp3s right from Audacity.

Stay tuned as I'll keep sharing my progress on "Gary's Place" which I plan to submit to Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. in a few weeks. I'll continue to blog about this process even sharing my sales stats when it hits the various app stores! If you're wondering where the first steps are I started this project back in September 2013 - check these links:

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 5.5
Step 6
Step 7
Steps 8 & 9


  1. Thanks for sharing the info... voice is important and impacts people in ways many don't realize. I love telling children's stories, and the nuances of voice is largely the fun! I appreciate you.

    Sharon Quinn

    1. Thank you Sharon - you know how to make a guy feel special! :)


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