(113) Production Notes

The thing about greatly reducing the pitch of a voice to anonymize the speaker is that if you do it to a whole bunch of people, they all sound very similar and it’s hard to tell them apart. For purposes of anonymity, I suppose this is a feature. But for the purpose of a podcast, it’s a bug. You want the voices to be distorted, but still discernible as different people. So I used a number of different distortion methods to alter the Death Eater voices, but still leave them distinct. I’m going to claim that Voldemort’s observation of Mr. Honor’s quickly transfigured armor and jury-rigged Voice Distortion Charm applied to the majority of the Death Eaters, so they all had their own unique distortion charm rather than a uniform one.

I’m going back to every-other-week for the remainder of the podcast. If my calculations are correct, and there are no major complications, the final episode will air the last week of December. Which is a hell of way to set myself up for a Planning Fallacy fail. But you gotta have goals!

WorldCon was AWESOME, I’m gonna go again next year.

(111b) Production Notes

A quick personal note – you can now read the text of Red Legacy free from my fiction page, or buy it almost anywhere that sells eBooks.

You’ll notice that Voldemort has a new voice, one that more closely matches the voice described in the text (primarily high/shrieking/cold). It was a hell of a challenge finding a voice that was both high and evil-sounding. For a moment I considered doing something akin to Judge Doom, but I was worried that would grate on the ears after a very short time. In the end I went with a submission sent in by Alexander Jackson, and I think he’s pulled it off quite well!

If you re-download the Humanism chapter with the Voldemort flashback, you’ll notice I replaced Voldemort there with Alexander’s voice as well. And I’ve added an underlying “hiss” sound effect to everywhere in the HPMoR podcast that anyone spoke in Parseltounge. There were also a few touch-ups here and there thanks to proof-listening by Leonard Cohen, and some more will be coming in the next few months.

 

A number of people were quite affected by Hermione’s death when that first happened. I didn’t take it too badly, I dunno why. But I was really negatively affected by Quirrell actually being really evil and turning on Harry. I was much more emotionally attached to that character. So, regarding Voldemort in his True Form… (this is very similar to something I posted this in the /r/HPMOR subreddit back when the final arc was being published)

I very glad Quirrell has finally been replaced. There were a number of chapters where Quirrell was evil. Chapters I don’t care to reflect on. And then, Voldemort returned in truth. His voice changed, from a sardonic, controlled mentor, to a high, thin sound like nails on a chalkboard. His body became taller, bone-pale, his face disfigured. His eyes glowed red. This is not Quirrell. This is someone else.

And while I know, intellectually, that they are the same person… I do not see Quirrell. I see Voldemort. And my emotional core, seeing a different body there, doesn’t associate the two very strongly. This is a different person. This is evil. Quirrell had been murdered by this monster.

I am grateful, as this makes it easier for me to go forward. The effect is even a bit stronger in the podcast (at least for me), as there’s now a different voice actor and the change is audible with every word. I will miss Quirrell.

Regardless of your verbal deliberations on morality, your nonverbal emotional core sees no dead body and no blood; as far as it is concerned, I am just a talking hat.

(111a) Production Notes

Remember a few months ago when I replaced a ton of minor character’s lines with other people’s voices? And I thought I’d never have to go back and do that amount of revision again? Turns out I was wrong. I was recently contacted by a listener of Indian descent who received an unpleasant shock when she came across the Patil twins, due to the accent used.

It’s a strange walk that got me to this point. A lot of HPMoR is comedy, especially the first half. When I was doing all the voices myself I did a lot of goofy accents. In addition to highlighting the comedy, it also was fun for me, and it helped to differentiate all the characters when I was the only one doing the voices (both in my head and, I presume, to my listeners). Millicent Bulstrode had a ridiculous French accent, Dean Thomas had a spaghetti-western Cowboy drawl, Seamus was a cross between the Lucky Charms leprechaun and Groundskeeper Willy, and Zabini still has a crazy Eastern European/Russian accent (because I refused to let anyone else take him on. I just loved doing him too much, and as an Eastern European immigrant myself I feel I have some license to those jokes). It was all part of the silly fun.

But as more and more voices were replaced by people using their own, distinct voices, the silly fake accents disappeared. With very few exceptions the accents that are now in the podcast are natural accents from people who aren’t native English speakers.

The actress who voices the Patil twins was a friend of mine, who has since moved away, and who was merely following my precedent of voicing the twins with an Indian accent. She did some research beforehand and did her best to be authentic, but she didn’t employ a voice-coach. As a result she is a white woman putting on an Indian accent, and doing so in a less-than-perfect manner. It was far enough off to cause pain to a listener. The listener mentioned that such accents were affected at her school to belittle her. Given the Patil’s prominence in the anti-bullying SPHEW arc, I found that particularly upsetting.

Fortunately, Amanda is more than happy to rerecord the Patil lines without the accent, so this will be fixed in the near future! To anyone who came to the show recently and was jarred by the one goofy accent in a sea of normal voices – I apologize. That was entirely my fault, please don’t hold it against anyone else.

(109b & 110) Production Notes

Oh man, after hearing nothing but my own voice for so long, it was a very welcome relief to have someone else to work with again! I hadn’t realized how much I had gotten used to hearing other people while I working on these episodes. It turns out I enjoy the vocal variety a lot, and hearing just myself for so long may have made the episodes quicker and easier to update, but it was becoming a hell of a drag. Hooray for Dumbledore!

I hope my Dumbledore impression wasn’t too awful. I recorded Drake reading all of those Quirrell lines as if Dumbeldore was saying them, and then tried to mimic his pace and inflection when I read them. That was fun. :)

I debated a bit about the Description of this episode. I really, really wanted it to be “Surprise, Mugglefucker!” to most closely mimic the meme. But HPMoR has very conspicuously avoided the more severe caliber of American swear words, and I didn’t feel I had the right to cross that line. So Mugglefugger it is, even if it’s less funny that way.

Also I’ve written a little Beginner’s Podcasting post for anyone who’s interested in that sort of thing.

(108b) Production Notes

I was really busy over the last few weeks, preparing for Denver Comic Con (I had a sorta higher-level volunteer position), so I apologize to everyone who’s emailed me recently that I hadn’t gotten back to. That should now be corrected.

Speaking of which, I moderated three panels at DCC: What Can You Say To A “Young Adult”, Everything I Need To Know About Life I Learned From Super-Villains, and Religion in SF/F. I think they went pretty well, the audio of the first panel is available here, and the other two are coming later this week at my blog.

A listener pointed out that when Eliezer re-wrote Chapter 9 Penelope Clearwater got a few additional lines that I never got from Zoe Chace! I emailed her to ask if she’d do a few more, as it has been quite a few years since I first asked her help. She replied with “dude, obviously. i’m not gonna leave penelope hanging”  *SQUEEE*!!!!

And yes, I seem to have fallen in love with Sleigh Bells recently. Or at least, their Reign of Terror album. You might hear a few more pieces of their stuff in the background over the next couple episodes.