I wanted to take a quick second to tell you about an awesome project that is just about at the end of its Pozible run, and could use a little love getting over the funding line. I’m not involved in the project in any way myself (except as a backer and avid fan) so I can tell you about this completely devoid of an ulterior motive save that I think the project is fantastic, and it would be criminal for it not to go ahead. Particularly with a number of very interesting backer rewards I’ll talk about in a second.
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So I got involved in a debate online recently about violence in video games, in the aftermath of the latest shooting tragedy in the US. The debate itself was over at Paul Strikwerda’s blog. I’d suggest reading the initial post and comments over at Paul’s blog, as I won’t try to reframe Paul’s argument here and risk putting words in his mouth. I did find the debate short and disappointing though, which is why I wanted to take the time to think things through and post a wall of text over here.
First, the caveats: Paul appears to be a great guy, he’s tremendously talented and prodigious in his output. This post isn’t attacking him, but rather picking at some flawed thinking and hand-wringing around a topic I’m rather concerned about. Whether violence in video games and media in general affects us on some deeper level is something I care a lot about. I’ve cheerfully consumed violent media for most of my life, and while I don’t personally believe that media has a harmful effect, or that children are so fogged in their thinking that they can’t separate reality from fantasy, I try to keep an active interest in the other side of the argument. Confirmation bias is something worth striving against.
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As promised, I have a Halloween treat for you! I’ve lent my voice to George Hufnagl’s most excellent sound design stylings, and this has created a piratey ringtone for you to download for Halloween.
If you’ve ever wanted being unable to answer the phone to feel like a game of Monkey Island, or if you prefer, a snippet of Pirates of the Caribbean, this may be a step towards that goal.
You can read more about it all at Sounds Like George. Go on, ya landlubber!
(also: it’s worth mentioning that the fantastic art here is courtesy of Mr. Dave “The Booty Hunter” Rigley.
Just a quick note, while things are MAD around here. I’ve been having an absolute BALL collaborating on a few projects with George Hufnagl, one of those being a neat treat for Halloween which should be ready in the next day or two. You can find a teaser that George has written over at Sounds Like George. Can’t wait for that to go live!
I’ve also done some voice over for a Drama Pod audio drama that should be out on All Hallow’s Eve as well, or thereabouts.
In the meantime, hope things are well with you and yours, and have a truly ghoulish Halloween. It’s my favourite holiday of the year!
One of the Big Two reasons I’m over in the US right now is recording my new character demo reel with the exceptionally talented Scott Burns, which I just did yesterday. It was a blast, and I got everything I was hoping for out of the experience.
It’s almost two years to the day since I recorded my last demo with Scott, and I felt the difference in how comfortable I was, if nothing else. The recording booth is my temple, my workshop. I feel at home there, and come to it with a reverence and focus on the task at hand. Which is a nice evolution – it’s not so long ago that I was more nerves than anything else in someone else’s booth.
I’d forgotten what a wonderful luxury it is to have someone direct you, having a second ear listening to what’s going on, and steering you toward a result. Scott and I talked about how he was updating his own demo soon, and he mentioned he should probably get someone to work on it. And I completely agree – you need a fresh ear to fall in love with all of the qualities of your voice that make it fantastic that you’ve lost clarity on yourself over time.
It was also invaluable having someone else direct when jumping between nine different characters over an hour and a bit, to help position them uniquely in terms of sound and emotional content, so I could just focus on giving the best performance I could. At the same time, I can see the next steps in terms of improvement. I’m not satisfied by a long shot yet. I wish I’d had time to attend Crispin Freeman’s Character Types workshop before choosing the copy for the demo in particular, but it’s been a mad few months. And I feel more and more like I’m in the right place at the Melbourne Actor’s Lab – getting that honest emotional connection to a line is something I need to work on making more consistent. When it happens, it’s amazing. You feel like you can throw lightning with your hands. You’re alive.
Dont’ get me wrong though – I’m proud of the work I did, and I can’t wait to hear the finished result. Rest assured I’ll be putting it up everywhere.
Just a very short followup:
The audio from Mick Gordon’s presentation at IGDA is now available online at the IGDA Melbourne blog. (actually, it was available a few days back, but I haven’t been able to get on here to post)
Also, on the topic of freelancing, I finally watched Mike Monteiro’s most excellent talk on dealing with clients and money – “F*ck you. Pay me.” If it seems confrontational from the title, it’s anything but.It’s about getting to a place where you can do your best work, because you know that you’re protected from all of those ‘what if’ scenarios that can sap away your energy and get between you and your best work.
That being said, if strong language offends, there is a measure of that in there. Forewarned!
Can’t recommend it enough. And on that note, I’m starting to sort out contracts and legal representation this week, which is something I would have liked to have done much earlier, but for time. I haven’t been burnt by bad situations yet, so here’s hoping I can follow good advice before having to learn the hard way.
I made it back to IGDA Melbourne this month after work got in the way last month, and boy was I glad I did. This month was a presentation by Mick Gordon on freelancing, which is something that I’m spending a lot of cycles on at the moment. Mick is (going by the description on his website) a composer, sound designer and audio director, and prolific freelancer with some impressive credits to his name (like Dead Space 3!) and a real handle on how to manage freelancing.
Mick’s energy level and dedication to the audience was incredible. He got what he wanted to say out as succinctly as he could (showing the time he put into the presentation, and honoring people’s time) and he devoted as much time as he could to answering questions. And when he was answering questions, he was committed to giving people a satisfactory answer.
The presentation itself was broken down into three key sections:
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So, this is me making a combination confession and resolution. I’m not a big fan of blogging over here, but I’m going to change that up over the next few months. Why? Well, let’s talk for a second about why I haven’t first.
It’s not voice over work.
It’s not getting in front of a microphone and recording voice over. I mean, I’m not self-described as a ‘blog artist’, right? So a nagging voice tells me I should be in front of a microphone instead.
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