Acting! Genius!

This post was actually supposed to go out last night but I had some technical difficulties.  I guess Myspace doesn’t figure Firefox is a good enough browser for them to fully support on their Blog entry form — I had to resort to Internet Explorer in the end.

Anyway, imagine the date of this entry is June 14th.

I got back in contact with Tara Ricasa tonight. She’s the actress who did the voices for the two main characters in Don’t Fear the Sitter. I was afraid that her contact info would be out of date, since the last time I had any contact with her was more than a year ago. It turns out she’s still in San Diego (she was a student at UCLA when she recorded for me but went home to San Diego after graduating). It’s a good thing that she’s still nearby.

You see, soon after my big recording session last year I realized that I would need another session with her. I guess it’s pretty common in animation. After assemblng my animatic with all the freshly-recorded voice parts I realized that it was missing all the little bits — the grunts, yelps, whimpers, screams, and other vocalizations that aren’t explicitly called for in the script. Like, when Jenny gets knocked over by the cops, if she makes a little yelp then that’ll help emphasize the impact.

There are also some lines that I’d like to re-record that just didn’t come out right for one reason or another. Mostly it’s that the inflection isn’t quite right or that I wasn’t able to get the levels right in the recording studio.

For the cases where the inflection wasn’t right, I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to micro-manage a little more. I hate to say that — I want to let the actors do what their jobs without me telling them every little detail of how they should perform a line. In the end, though, they don’t understand the story and the situation like I do. Or maybe I need to get better at explaining what’s going on? I don’t know. I imagine it’s different for live-action actors or voice actors who record simultaneously with the other actors in the scene. They have more to go on — being able to see the set, being able to play off the other actors, and so on. I recorded all my actors one at a time, mostly because of logistical reasons. In my ideal world I would have had them all there in the same room, feeding off each other’s energy.

In the cases where the levels weren’t right it’s mostly because we were recording something loud. I couldn’t seem to figure out the settings on all the equipment to get a good loud scream or yell or whatever. No matter what I tried, the recording always clipped, causing distortion and a useless sample. There has to be a combination of settings and microphone that will allow for loud recording. Actually, the possibility that the microphone was the problem just occurred to me recently. Maybe the one I was using was one that’s good for quiet stuff but not loud? Wel, I happen to have a vocal microphone for live performances that can probably handle loud sound just fine. After all, it’s designed to have a singer belting it out at the top of her lungs straight into it, isn’t it? That’s my theory, anyway. I hope it plays out that way in reality….

I’ve got the animatic hovering at about 5:07. I’ve got it down pretty compact now. I even had to increase some of the timing because I had reduced it too much. In a way it’s nice to have that happen, since that way I really know it can’t go any faster. I’m not sure what more I can do apart from some outright cutting of scenes. I haven’t totally ruled out that possibility but first I think I want to show it to a few people and get some feedback.

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