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.
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.
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.
Real short notes today.
* Many thanks to everyone who tried out for Voldemort, I’m pleased with the results and grateful at how many people were willing to put themselves forward!
* I just returned from a LessWrong meetup in Denver. These things are really cool, if you’re near Denver and would like to come to one drop me a line. It looks like we’ll be doing another one the first Tuesday of next month.
* Also, if you’re going to Denver Comic Con this year, I’m helping to coordinate the Author Track Panels. I’ll be in room 203 most of the day all three days, feel free to say hi!
* Yes, I know Harry complains a couple times about how slow they are going. Compared to how fast Quirrell could whip through the corridor, it’s probably slow. But compared to how long it would take a level-appropriate party to work through the corridor, this is definitely a speed run.
I have updated the available roles file to list the final available roles for HPMoR. They are mainly Death Eaters, plus of course Voldemort. Be warned – spoilers in that file, if you haven’t read the text yet.
Speaking of which, here is a link to the first Voldemort scene from a Very Potter Musical, if anyone was looking for a possible inspiration. Seriously, any assistance I could get on the Voldy front would be helpful.
I know I never had a background hiss to denote Parseltounge-speech before. I stretched my enunciation a bit and really stressed all the S’s, and I felt that was enough. The characters spoke in Parseltounge in long blocks, and it was telegraphed by people turning into snakes, and so forth. But in the coming chapters Harry and Quirrell drop in and out of Parseltounge a lot, sometimes multiple times in a single paragraph. Sometimes the lines don’t contain any S sounds. And to make matters worse, Harry’s Slytherin Side thinks at him a few times… and his Slytherin side talks like Draco, who also stretches his enunciation, so it sounds kinda Parseltounge-ish. So, yeah, I figured it was important to be much more explicit. Hope it works for everyone.
He’s OK, or at least, as OK as one can be considering the circumstances. It turns out my mother had been a bit hyperbolic in her distress, he didn’t lose his whole finger, only up to the first knuckle. Safety Third!
And if you haven’t backed up in a while, do so soon. I try to do so every six months, and I was just a little past that line. I figured I’d wait a few more weeks until I heard what corrections are needed on the updated prior episodes, fix them, then backup everything at once. That was a terrible idea. I’m ridiculously happy that I’d already uploaded everything, and that I keep my writing in the Cloud. Right now everything is a pain in the ass, but at least I still have an ass at all! (metaphorically)
Also, you guys are great. I received six submissions for the two Hufflepuff parts in this episode. I already have people sending me samples for Oliver’s lines, months in advance, and I haven’t even updated the available roles file yet! I’m feeling overwhelmed in a good way, thank you all! :)