Sunday, August 27, 2006

Voiceover Lessons

At the advice of some listeners, I have found a voiceover coach. My goal is to make these speeches come alive and become as interesting and exciting as they were originally. There is no way to know exactly how these speeches were delivered, but the very fact that some of them were over two hours long indicates that Ingersoll was a captivating speaker. Who today would sit through a two hour speech without being forced to?

It all depends of course, on the subject and the speaker, or rather the manner of presentation. I am not a professional, and may never be, but I want these recordings to be as professional as I am capable of. As I learn new techniques, and apply them to these readings, I may become guilty of overdoing the techniques I learn, like a young actor learning his craft. I ask your indulgence if I do overdo it, and your constructive criticisms, especially from anyone who speaks for a living or has other specific skills in the area of reading, storytelling, teaching, lecturing, public speaking, etc. I certainly don't want to sound ridiculous, because the subject matter is so important.

My podcasting host,, or as it is now called, offers me unlimited bandwidth, but limits my disk space (unless I pay more money). When I get near my disk space limits I will be taking older recordings off of the list. As time permits, I will re-record some of these, with the intention of making them more enjoyable and listenable. I will then re-introduce these new (and hopefully, improved) versions into the rotation.

My release dates are irregular because some recordings take longer than others, obviously, and I publish them as they are completed. There is some audio editing and re-recording involved, to correct misspoken words (although some might dispute that) and extraneous noises that get into the recordings (like my dogs barking). This editing, although minimal, is still time-consuming. A one-hour reading, for example, may take me close to two hours to record, and another hour and a half to edit. I am learning as I go. My point is, that like everyone else, sometimes my daily life interferes with my latest obsession (this podcast), and the recordings come at uneven intervals.

Thank you, everyone, first for listening, and second, for your support and encouragement. I thought that if I could bring the words of Ingersoll to life today, it might influence and inspire someone or many people to make the world better by eliminating or reducing superstition. I would love to see his words translated into foreign languages and presented in audio format to people in other countries throughout the world.

This is not meant to say that Ingersoll was a saint. All humans have their flaws, and most of us have at one time or another held incorrect opinions, based on incomplete information, or just plain ignorance and prejudice. I am sure he had his faults too. I don't know; I am not an Ingersoll scholar. But what I love about him is that he says, in an eloquent way, what most thinking people have thought. He gives us courage to speak up and say "that makes no sense at all" when someone makes a ridiculous claim. He reminds us of our right to think for ourselves, about everything, and to make up our own minds. He loved truth, and justice, and liberty. So do I. And I hope you do also.


Anonymous Joe Boatman said...

I think you are doing an extraordinary job and service to the entire podcasting community. You have enlightened me to an important individual that I knew little about. More importantly, the rational message of Ingersoll is equally important today as it was over a hundred years ago. Thank you so much. Also, although voice lessons might add a bit of pizzaz, I think you are doing a fine job now. My only suggestion would be to give the year, title, and occasion of the speech at the beginning of the podcast. I would love to make an audio library of his speeches and it would be helpful to have that bit of information added. In any case, I think everyone owes you a thank you.

9/04/2006 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Ken said...

I love the podcast! I read Ingersoll years ago. I now listen to him while I drive, at bedtime, etc. This is a wonderful way to rediscover this great material. I am a speech-language pathologist (but not a broadcaster). I think you do a fine job (nice baritone voice, good pacing and inflection, excellent pronunciation) but I do notice that your voice dries out as the recording progresses: Have lukewarm water to sip and hydrate your vocal cords - this would make a difference. DOn't use cold drinks. Drink plenty of water a half hour or so before you speak - this will hydrate your system.
Ken M MS ccc-slp

9/11/2006 4:08 AM  
Blogger Kirk said...

What a wonderful effort! Thank you so much for bringing Robert Ingersoll to the world through your podcast!

Ingersoll has been my hero for decades. I've enjoyed reading everything he's written (I own the 12 volume "Works of Robert Ingersoll"), but you bring the readings alive.

Perhaps you've heard the Thomas Edison recordings of Ingersoll speaking. You do very well in comparison.

Thank you again!

9/17/2006 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Fred Trellis said...

I previously gave glowing feedback in iTunes. And I have no need to retract that - these are wonderful podcasts, introducing wonderful writing and thoughts to me - and I am very grateful.

Sadly, I cannot find a way to give you this message privately, but the last few podcasts downloaded through iTunes subscription (superstitions 1-4 crumbling creeds...) cause my iPod to reset. They crash the iPod. No other podcast from you has done this - and I wonder if you have made a technical change? I am so frustrated, because i would dearly love to hear these later readings. please keep up the excellent work.

Best regards, Fred Trellis

10/10/2006 12:04 PM  
Blogger JHC said...

Hi Fred.

I don't know what has happened; I haven't changed anything I had been doing previously. I am using, now as my podcast provider. I simply upload the mp3 files, type in the description, then add them to the podcast. BTW, you can contact me directly at I have had trouble myself in the past with a couple of different ipods I have had; it may be a problem with iTunes or the iPod itself. One possibility is that you may have reached a bad spot on the hard drive. If you like, send me your email address and I can send you the mp3 files directly (tell me which ones to send). You can add them to your iPod manually and see if it is realy the file causing the problem.
James Carr.

10/10/2006 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Gary Church said...


Thanks so much for doing these podcasts! Though not a professional, as you admit, I think you are doing a wonderful job. Your voice and pace are easy and enjoyable to listen to, in fact I thought you were one of the excellent narrators so often heard on PBS documentaries.

If only there were orators as skilled as Ingersoll today! In our times, the likes of Ingersoll are needed once again to combat the superstition and mythology being spread by powerful and politically active fundamentalist groups.

Granted, we have Dawkins, Sam Harris and other freethinkers taking up the banner but that oratory style no longer seems to be in use. What a shame.

Thanks so much again for the wonderful service you are providing.

10/12/2006 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Parzival said...

You doing a great service with these Podcasts. It is through them that I have become acquainted with Ingersoll. I have started recording some of his speeches myself for my fiancee to listen to on her Ipod. I can't thank you enough for your work here!

10/15/2006 11:35 PM  
Anonymous dean cameron said...

I love your podcasts. I think you're doing a great job. Even if you weren't, the power of Ingersoll's words would cut through.

You're doing a great job and a great service!

Rock on.

10/27/2006 1:58 AM  
Anonymous perri said...

I really like the podcasts. They're very clear and well enunciated. Thanks for producing them and introducing me to his work!

And if you don't already know, there's a link to a few of Ingersoll's audio recordings in his own voice.

11/02/2006 8:40 PM  
Anonymous perri said...

I really like the podcasts. They're very clear and well enunciated. Thanks for producing them and introducing me to his work!

And if you don't already know, there's a link to a few of Ingersoll's audio recordings in his own voice.

11/02/2006 8:41 PM  

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