Voice Acting – Codename Cygnus

Toldja I was busy this summer!

One of the things I’ve sort-of fallen into in the last year is helping local indie developers run their Kickstarter campaigns. (You’d be amazed how well people can botch a campaign.) Lately it’s mostly been minor consultations for a nominal fee, but for Codename Cygnus I worked very closely with Reactive on setting up their campaign and then managing it once it was live.

Being a Jack Of All Trades, I ended up doing my 1930’s newsreel voice for this radio spot. (You may recognize it.) Voice acting is a lot of fun, generally, but something that I haven’t really put much effort into pursuing. So many things to do, and yet the day is finite. Always a blast when opportunities fall into one’s lap.

From The Archives: Guitaway!

From The Archives:

This is a project I did in my final semester a California College of the Arts. The class was called Mixing It Up – we went weekly to the East Oakland School of the Arts to work with (mostly minority, mostly low-income) kids on art projects. Predominantly we used field recorders and just talked to them, and then chopped up what we recorded. The finished works were, actually-factually, streamed over pirate radio for that year’s Whitney Biennial.

I worked mostly with a kid named Cameron. He was learning to play guitar, inspired by his love of Guitar Hero. So I brought my guitar every week. This project was made by taking a sample of him playing a single note and building a song out of it in PxTone Collage. Then I overlaid samples of him talking about music. (I’d really love to actually sequence this as a Guitar Hero song, someday, somehow…)

On a more somber note: working with Cameron was my first experience with social inequality. East Oakland is the most dangerous neighborhood in one of the Top 10 most dangerous cities in the country. Students at EOSA were often disaffected, as you’d expect teenagers to be, but then the teacher says, “oh yes, DeAndre’s problem is his best friend was shot and killed last week.” Cameron flatly said that his goal in life was to live to be 18, so he could leave Oakland forever.

I don’t have a point, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

KOT

I edited a weekly sexual politics podcast called Kink On Tap for about 35 episodes in 2010. Here’s a rundown of what I’d do for them.

This is an unedited sequence – it’s ~25 seconds long:

This is the same sequence after editing and noise removal:

You can tell by the fact that it’s 5 seconds (20%) shorter that it’s been edited, but in case it’s not obvious how, notice the differences in this snippet (the first is the edited version, and the second is the original piece):


You can also compare these (again, the first is the edited version, the second is the raw audio):


What’s been done here is, first, I’ve removed the ambient white noise of the microphones. Then I rooted out any stutters, um’s and uh’s, pops, or audible mouse-clicks. (In the case of “this- this- this show,” I’ve spliced the S of the first “this” into the SH of the word “show.”) Finally, I shortened any pauses that feel just slightly too long. It’s important to make sure the final version still feels as natural and conversational as the original, which is why some some stutters make it into the final edit; I only remove anything that breaks the flow of the conversation.

Editing couldn’t correct Meitar’s pronunciation of “initiative,” however.