By Stephanie Ciccarelli
June 29, 2007
Do you want to learn the basics of recording from home quickly with the minimum amount of time and expense?
Check out this review on Pat Fraley's book / CD combo, "The Gypsy's Guide to Professional Home Recording" to learn the rudiments of producing professional audio at home on your PC or Mac.
A little while ago, I received a very generous gift package from Pat Fraley with all of his published learning materials for review here on VOX Daily.
I thought it would be excellent timing to start our reviews off with one of Pat's Gypsy Guides, specifically the Gypsy's Guide to Professional Home Recording, very apropos for what we've been talking about of late regarding audio production and professional home recording.
First, let me tell you a bit about Pat Fraley.
Pat is an extraordinary teacher based in Los Angeles, CA who is a sought after teacher of character, dialects, and audiobook voice over, and a performer who works in Hollywood providing his voice for animation and ADR (automatic dialog replacement).
Over his illustrious career, Pat Fraley has created over 4,000 character voices, placing him among the top ten performers of all time to be cast in animation. Pat also provides voice matching services for actor Tim Allen on movies such as Toy Story II and Wild Hogs to mention just a couple.
Teaching at events, workshops, conferences and seminars across the US, Pat's unique character voice curriculum is the only one accredited at the university level. He has taught voice over for 34 years, is a member of The Voice and Speech Trainers of America, and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Professional Acting from Cornell University.
What's more is that Pat also creates wonderful developmental products for purchase that get you going at prices you can afford.
One of Pat's sayings is that "Experience is not the best teacher, it's the slowest".
Having met Pat personally in Las Vegas at VOICE 2007, my first impression of him live correlated with how he presents himself online; a master voice actor and educator whose passion is to help people reach their full potential both in the training studio and in the real world of voice over work.
He is a professional that fully believes that as a teacher, one of his chief responsibilities is to expedite the learning process by sharing his experiences and he also plays an active role in getting work and setting up opportunities for his students, taking the classroom into the marketplace.
Now that you have a picture of who Pat is and his philosophies on education, let's get into the review.
Review of The Gypsy's Guide to Professional Home Recording
In The Gypsy's Guide to Professional Home Recording, Pat addresses:
• How to buy the least expensive professional-quality recording equipment
• How to set up the equipment
• Tips on recording and editing your own audio tracks
• How to convert your audition tracks to MP3 files
• How to upload and email MP3 files to agents, casting houses and producers
• How to direct yourself in the privacy of your own home
• How and where to set up a recording space in your home or garage
• Tips on how to record audiobooks
As I said before, Pat is a fan of brevity and likes to make your experiences learning this vital information as quick and humorous as possible.
The Gypsy's Guide to Professional Home Recording comes with a workbook (37 pages of text with a number of pictures) and a companion CD which Pat co-hosts with his partner and recent Audie Award nominee, Hillary Huber.
You'll be delighted to hear that the CD is very entertaining, has great chemistry between the hosts, and is very insightful. The CD runs for about 57 minutes.
The Guide is made with voice actors in mind who haven't yet tackled setting up their own home recording studio.
At the onset, Pat revealed the immediate benefits of Home Recording which I will detail below:
1. Facility of recording auditions at home
3. Inexpensive compared to former days
4. You can get yourself work without leaving home or paying for studio time elsewhere
One of the most impressive aspects of the CD was how interactive it was. Since Pat and Hillary were communicating directly with each other and their listener, all of the recording jargon / terminology was demonstrated on the recording so that you could hear the difference between say a condenser microphone and a dynamic microphone.
Another goal of this book was to help you find the best possible recording equipment for the least amount of cost. As Pat says, "Sound is about sound, not looks".
Pat dispels the myth that more expensive or elaborate is better and personally guides you through a tour of several different microphones, clearly showing that the most expensive doesn't necessarily sound best when compared to similar microphones that run at cheaper prices on the market.
At the back of the book, Pat includes links to websites where you can locate the items mentioned in the book and on the CD.
If you purchase the products that are listed in Pat and Hillary's grocery list of items, the tally comes in under US$350 to setup your entire home recording studio as a beginner starting out.
In summary, Pat's The Gypsy's Guide to Home Recording teaches more than just the how-tos of setting up and using a home studio. He also prepares you to direct yourself with several tools including text analysis (helps you to deliver lines and grasp the concept or purpose of the copy), an interesting interview with a prominent sound booth director on what makes the difference between an audition that gets work and one that hinders it, where to find free sound effects and how to interpret copy.
If you'd like to buy a copy of "The Gypsy's Guide to Professional Home Recording", you can visit Pat's VO Store here:
Have any of you already listened to the CD and read this book?
If so, please leave a comment with your remarks.