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"Damn my apartment and its once-convenient location near the station!"

Hired to record an audiobook, Sydney actor Julia Robertson's "saving grace" lockdown gig has become a crash course in patience.

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Dispatches from the blanket fort

Date: 12 Aug 2021

A bright and beautiful Australian winter day.

Noah, my 10-month-old cavoodle snuffles at my leg as if to say,lets go get that sunshine!”

My neighbour plays gentle jazz on the lowest notes of a bass guitar.

Native birds chirp outside of my window and I can hear the scratches of skateboards on the road outside as the local kids tear it up.

And I hate them. I hate them all. Because I am doing an audiobook. And what initially seemed like a saving grace to my lonely-actor-lockdown life has become a crash course in patience.

When I first agreed to the project, my agent and I had estimated the gig at 20 hours of work. That’s like, three days, right?

According to my friends and the internet, “it’s totally possible” to do voice work from home. “Most people do it in their wardrobe!” It’s as easy as that!

So, to be extra fancy, I converted an old clothes rack to be a sit-in sound booth, complete with bulldog clips for holding the iPad, charging capabilities, and a dog bed (because Noah and I are basically conjoined at this point).

I was impressed with it. I thought it looked pretty neat. I padded it with two large duvets, two throws, a moving blanket, and even a little sheepskin for my butt. Noah quickly found the dog bed and settled in. I began recording and, folks, I sounded amazing.

Granted, it did take me 20-odd goes of the first sentence to feel happy with my delivery, but the quality was good! And I’m 100% sure the sound dude will take out all my saliva clicks.

“This is going to be a dream!” I told myself.

Those “three days” breezed softly by as I continued to grapple with Chapter 1.

Now it has been weeks.

Noah hates the booth and sulks when I’m in it. I’ve never despised the bass guitar more in my life. Damn my apartment and its once-convenient location near the station!

But, I’m in this now. I’m really very in it. And while I wait for trains and planes and garbage trucks and my neighbours’ lockdown hobbies to quieten, I’m falling into the voice of Sophie Smith; laughing and crying with her, losing my breath in conversation with her lover, trudging through mud in Wales, and sweating from sex in Spain. It’s a beautiful and passionate adventure that I can’t quite believe I get to embody, albeit from a converted clothes rack.

Books are good like that aren’t they? Good books. Because although I’ve never been more isolated in my entire life, I still get to do all of these things I’ve never done before. Like voice an audiobook or climb ‘Spartacus’ in Kalymnos, Greece.

Don’t Fall: Adventures in Love, Loss, and Lead by Sophie Smith is available on amazon.com.au.

Follow @sophiesmithauthor for more information on the upcoming release of the Audiobook, voiced by Julia Robertson.

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