Wednesday, January 29, 2020

More Behind-the-Scenes on the Hey, Kiddo AudioBook

Evolution of a book cover from initial concepts to final design. 

Paul Gagne of Scholastic Audiobooks is the reason why HEY, KIDDO was put forward for an audio adaptation. We rolled up our sleeves together trying to figure out how to tell the visual story in an auditory way. I wish we had cameras following us the entire time because the story behind the story would have made for an incredible documentary filled with so many ups and downs and emotional breakthroughs—and ultimately an Odyssey Award win!
But I am grateful that author Lisa Yee took this behind-the-scenes video. (Did you know that she voiced the soap opera actress from Shirley’s “stories”?)

If you listened to the HEY, KIDDO audiobook, you’ll be transported to the various environments in which the story takes place. The soundscapes of exterior spaces, the lighting of a grandparent’s cigarette, a car engine.... These are all thanks to the brilliant Steve Syarto who helped stitch this whole audio experience together! Here he is with corduroy pants recreating the sound of a very young Jarrett trailing behind his mother as he walked down the street. Steve is the unsung hero of this project which is why I jump for joy every time the sound design gets a special shout out in reviews.

More stories from the audiobook production! Since we wanted to use a different voice for every single character AND have authentic “Wustah” accents throughout, what better place to record than in Worcester.

Angela had a few moments before her nursing shift started, so she came on in to the recording studio to voice the preschool teacher. She walked in nervous (which is silly because being a nurse would make me WAY more nervous) and she walked out with a smile on her face, joking, “This is the first time my Worcester accent came in handy!” Thank you, Ang, for bringing such warmth to that preschool teacher! (And you didn’t meet Ang in Hey, Kiddo because how I know her isn’t an area that was covered in this book. A lot of scenes that were set in high school and the teen-friends-sphere were cut to focus on family life.)

Marty Cariglia is another old friend that I tapped to lend a hand with the HEY, KIDDO audiobook. Mart voiced the dismissive Phys Ed teacher. And he totally NAILED IT! So he either has a future in voice acting or belittling dorky 9th graders. But he brought just what that scene needed! Not pictured: Marty rolling up with sunglasses on like he was walking out of a Hollywood trailer ready to shoot his scene.

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