“Summer Reading” is about a girl interacting with a robot, discovering the joy of reading paper books. In both tales, Takei performs a number of voices, clearly distinguishing the characters for the listener.
“The fun part, really, is the preparation, the trial and error,” he says. “You go through the fun of preparation. When you’re recording, time is limited. I had the chance to only read it twice—two stories, each read twice.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Takei created his own “cubby hole” home studio for the recording, piling up couch cushions, and hanging a rug and a comforter, to absorb any external sounds. Once the recording is complete, “They pick and choose the sentence that’s better,” he explains, calling the whole process a collaboration, and particularly highlighting the work of Amanda Rose Smith, Head of Audio Production at Serial Box.
The Serial Box team adds sound effects after the fact, such as trucks along the highway in “Saboteur” and the sounds of the robot walking in “Summer Reading.” The latter he described as a “klump, klump—I didn’t quite expect my robot to be klumpy,” he jokes. “I expected him to be more aerodynamic. The klump is so old-fashioned.”
They also added a reverberation to his delivery of the robot’s lines. “I didn’t know they were going to do that, but I thought, ‘Oh, how wonderful!’”