Tag Archives: Airlift Productions New Orleans

AudioBook Production 101… Goes To The Dogs!

Sean O’Shea, the dude who’s got Los Angeles on a leash, records his New AudioBook “The Good Dog Way” at Airlift Productions New Orleans


The email came into the Airlift Productions Studios, innocently enough, from Los Angeles in mid-Spring, it was Sean O’Shea, looking to make the AUDIO version of his new book, “The Good Dog Way”, a reality.

Having worked with Sean a year and a half ago, recording VoiceOver tracks for his DVD series, I knew what I was working with.

And how.

With tens of thousands of followers on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, Sean’s like-ability factor, as well as his talent, is more “off the chain” than many of the dogs he’s tamed and trained.

But, he confessed, he was an “AudioBook Virgin”.

Knowing it was his first time, I committed to being gentle.

Micheal Ziants & Sean O’Shea, navigating the twists & turns of AudioBook production, Airlift Productions New Orleans, June 2017

Our pre-production meeting included tips on studio mic technique, definite ‘Dos and Do-Nots’  – no dairy products the day of recording (audible phlegm), petroleum jelly on lips to limit vocal artifacts, etc. – and I taught him how to “punch & roll”.

We edited his AudioBook masterpiece AS WE RECORDED IT!

Mistakes were fixed right then and there – on the fly. No tedious post-recording editing sessions here. No. We got it right – right there!

Ziants & O’Shea applying “The Good Dog Way” with Airlift Mascot ‘The Shadeaux”

And roll, we did, through six days of recording, every afternoon, Monday-through-Saturday, teaching America – and the world – a more human, and humane, approach to LOVING our favorite, four-footed, furry friends by LEADING them.

As the sessions progressed, Sean’s confidence and studio savvy grew, as we plowed through chapter after chapter… “Dismantling Dogs”, “The Drug that is You”, “Arousal is the Enemy”, “What you Pet is what you Get”….

Sample just a taste of “The Good Dog Way”, with this one track that Sean calls, “Bar or Therapist”, here…

By Saturday, all 1.73 gigabytes of edited material were ready to be normalized, properly mastered, and prepared for AudioBook internet consumption.

I saved all the edited wave files for future use to create CDs down the road, and crunched the entire project into 192 kilobyte-per-second mp3 files for quicker internet downloading purposes.

What a week. What a project. What an AudioBook!

Andy Rooney once opined, “The average dog is a nicer human than the average human”.

And, no doubt, you’ll put your nicer human’s best paw forward by putting “The Good Dog Way” through your earbuds today.


“Mike was a saint, and ridiculously patient and supportive (and helpful!!) for this audio book virgin. In another environment, without the support, and with pressure to perform “right”, I probably would have completely fallen apart. So the MVP for this getting done goes 100% to Mike and the chilled out environment he’s cultivated…personally and within his studio.

A big heartfelt thanks to Mike Ziants and the years of expertise he brought to this project to ensure I sounded my very best. If you’re ever in Nola and need the best audio dude, and the best dude dude, holler at my man Mike with www.airliftproductions.com

Thanks for the great week my friend! :)” ~ Sean O’Shea


Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from New Orleans since 1984

Menasche, Ziants & Carell – Take #2

Educator-Author-Brain Cancer Activist-Major Mensch David Menasche before doctors and Life had their way with him… proud, defiant and topless – displaying his “I Decide” tattoo

Hard to believe, but this past Thanksgiving weekend 2015 marks one year since my pal David Menasche dropped his body … and moved on.

Oh, not that it was any surprise – diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2006, he/we often joked as he would come for recording sessions at the Airlift Productions Studios, that here came a “Dead Man Walking”. He knew he was on borrowed time for some time. We all did.

But it was the things, the issues, the subjects we talked of endlessly that continue to reverberate and resonate still today through all of my waking, and yes even sleeping, hours.

Emerson, Thoreau, Shakespeare, Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus of Nazareth, even Scot William Wallace from Mel’s “Braveheart” and the concept that “Everyone has to die … but not everyone truly LIVES.”

Case in point, pictured above, David even had his body tattooed with the words “I Decide”, so even while unconscious on an operating table, he was letting the attending doctors know who, indeed, was in charge of the flesh he carried around.

Cajones? Guts? Tenacity? Courage?  I don’t think the average man walking around today in America even has a concept or a clue.

And to think that he dragged his body across America – SOLO – from south Florida … all the way to the Golden Gate bridge & Hollywood, then back east & north to New York City, before coming to crash in New Orleans for awhile – all in a quest to figure out if his life, his very existence, even ever mattered.

David Menasche in the Airlift Productions Studios, November 2013, recording “The Priority List: A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons”

Rest in Peace and rest assured, brother David, it certainly did.

As you scramble across the holidays to find that perfect stocking stuffer, and you’re looking for something to make a difference, consider “The Priority List: A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons”  from that wacky Amazon crowd.

Or, alternately, you can grab the AUDIO download for your ipod or digital device here – “The Priority List” Audiobook – in David’s own resilient words captured in November 2013 at the Airlift Studios.

A teaser from the Airlift-produced prologue is here ….

David’s take on working with Airlift and me? While I’m certainly gratified and humble regarding my contributions, the testimonial he gave me after days spent recording his audio book is a tad embarrassing, but very heartfelt and sincere —

“I would like to thank Micheal Ziants and Airlift Productions for making the recording of the audio version of my book such a pleasure. Not only is Micheal an incredible audio engineer, he is my new best friend. This guy is one of the coolest cats I have ever had the honor of meeting. He made me comfortable, he made me feel talented, and he actually made my book into a product I can actually imagine people enjoying listening to. So far, the opportunity to work with Michael on a future project is my best incentive to write another book.” ~ David Menasche

Meanwhile, Hollywood and Steve Carell are laying plans for their adaptation for a cinematic treatment.  Having worked intimately with David, and being a fan of Steve’s work through the years, I feel he is the perfect choice for this heroic, poignant drama-dey in-progress.

Warner Brothers selects Steve Carell to portray David Menasche in the movie version of “The Priority List”

Norma, if you’re reading this – stay strong and keep your faith. Paula, if you’re reading this – David understands. Jennifer, if you’re reading this – call me, let’s compare notes and catch-up.


Actor Steve Carell’s Tribute Tweet to  David Menasche


In closing, just one of David’s and my favorite thoughts that we spoke of, meditated on, and laughed often about continues to reverberate and resonate – “You’re a ghost driving a meat-coated skeleton made from stardust. What do you have to be afraid of?”


Airlift’s Micheal Ziants & Author/Bud/Educator/Major Mensch David Menasche sharing recording studio stories and after-dinner laughs in the Airlift commissary, November 2013


Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans since 1984