Michael's Musings

Oh, Brother! A New (Ad)Venture

“So, what have you been up to?”

I’m glad you asked. (That was you, wasn’t it?)

Lately, I’ve been pretty thoroughly wrapped up in a handful of projects. I’m slowly, slowly chipping away at the new YA novel, tentatively titled Bird With Paper Wings; I’m heading up a team that is developing curriculum for high school English; I’m finishing up with my school visits for the year; I’m practicing my photography when time and weather allow; and lastly, I’m having a ball in my home recording studio, making lots of silly voices.

It tires me out just to list it all! That last item has been a real time investment, but also the most fun. I’m doing all this voice work for a new iOS app on which I’ve been invited to collaborate.

No, it’s not a new Midlandia Press app. In fact (and there are a lot of reasons for this), it’s looking like Be a Buddy, Not a Bully will be the last of my Tales of Midlandia stories to make the leap to iPad. It saddens me, no doubt — especially as our apps continue to get great reviews from places like USA Today, Education.com, and Common Sense Media — but as that chapter ends, another one begins.

Here’s the deal: the team that developed the apps for Midlandia Press is working on a new venture. They’re developing an app-daptation (to coin a phrase) of a syndicated comic strip called Oh, Brother! It will consist of three volumes, with about 81 strips in each. It will also have a lot of creative content, where users can build their own strips in a variety of ways.

So…knowing that a) I have a bit of experience in sound recording; b) I am a pretty good reader; and c) I enjoy doing silly things with my voice, the development team asked me to spearhead all the audio recording for the app. I’m also playing the titular “Brother,” Bud.

Even though it’s not my own creative work, I figured, “Why not?” I do have all this recording equipment; I have the software; and I’m always eager for a new challenge. At times, it’s intimidating, bringing another writer’s work to life. Even when I was making films, I was always using my own source material. But this Oh, Brother! project is great mental exercise. And I’m having a blast doing it — even if the high-pitched voice of Bud requires me to pop throat lozenges like they were Reese’s Pieces. I will definitely be keeping folks posted as launch approaches.


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