Random House Audio continued their convention tour, bringing some of their audio book production team to Star Wars Celebration VI as well as having a show floor presence. I caught the Star Wars University: Audio Books panel with staff from Random House Audio, producer Aaron Blank, narrator Marc Thompson (check out my interview with Marc), and director Kevin Thomsen. Crashing the panel was Leland Chee, keeper of the Holocron. Key points from the panel:
- Marc performing voices of Embassy-Who-Climbs (from Mercy Kill), Cilghal, Yoda, Jar Jar and more
- How Marc selects voices, and Kevin develops the script, effects, and music
- How titles get selected for audio books. Coming soon: the Darth Bane trilogy. With the introduction of online distribution, more titles can be converted to audio format without having to produce hard media
- Pronunciations and working with the authors
- The worst ringtone to use to disrupt a Star Wars convention: Star Trek TNG theme
- Aaron discussing recording Tim Zahn and Betsy Mitchell giving the annotations for the Heir to the Empire 20th anniversary edition
- Dealing with how to abridge stories – and luckily not needing to that anymore, thanks to fan support for unabridged versions
- Production timeframe of creating audio books and dealing with typos in the text – sometime Aaron finds typos through reading the text aloud that are not otherwise found.
At the end of the panel, we were treated to an exclusive clip of the upcoming audio book for The Old Republic: Annihilation.
Random House Audio also had space on the show floor, combined with Del Rey, where they had the recording booth set up for fans to record a few pages from Heir to the Empire, and try out their character voices. Sadly, they didn’t do record-your-own-fan-fiction, like they did at Comic Con in July.
I went to the booth on Sunday afternoon, and got the second to last spot in the booth. After signing a release and reviewing the four selections, I picked one with Threepio, Lando and Aves. Random House Audio will eventually send me a MP3 of my recording – we’ll see if the distracting shenanigans of Erich and Joe from Del Rey will make their way into the final cut.
Also at their booth, Random House Audio had a fan’s choice vote for an upcoming Star Wars novel to turn into an audio book. The choices were Death Star, Knight Errant, and Allegiance, and it looked like Allegiance was the top vote-getter when I was there.