(88) Production Notes

Woo, this was a high-stress episode to make. Previous to this, all voice actors had months of notice that I would need to borrow their talents, and I had all the lines I needed already waiting for me when I was editing the episode together. With this chapter I was calling or emailing people on Sunday asking if they could get lines to me within 7 or 8 days, hoping they were available and scrambling to get out to those who live near me. I had to edit together the chapter with blank spots left in for voices to be inserted later – two of them being dropped in Tuesday afternoon. It was nuts, but everyone came through, and we have a brand-new episode out today! Heck, I even have several new voices! Thank you all!

And OMG, can you believe I got Jay Novella to do Argus Filch? Hellz yes!!

Also, as mentioned on the show, I will be participating in FTBCon, on a panel with David Brin, PZ Myers, and Eliezer Yudkowsky discussing whether human immortality is a good thing or a bad idea in principle. It’ll be broadcast live over Google+ and YouTube on Sunday July 21 at 12:00noon Pacific Time.

I also thought I’d post what Eliezer said about chapter 88 on his Facebook feed:

The cognitive skill taught in Ch. 88 is the insight that I call ‘wasted motion’. If you read Ch. 88 closely, a ‘Tick’ does not occur just because time passes. It occurs after each of Harry’s thoughts (or actions) that predictably do not contribute to [resolving the issue successfully].

For more general example, if you want to solve a problem, then after you’ve solved it, any emotional fretting you did about whether you could solve it will have been a wasted motion in retrospect – those thoughts will predictably not have contributed to reaching the goal in hindsight.

“But if I’m genuinely not sure if I can solve a problem, the value of information about whether I can solve it is high, if the cost of trying and failing is non-negligible!” True, though this depends on the existence of branches where you don’t solve the problem, which isn’t very heroic epistemology. The value of information about the exact level of effort required is even higher, and if it leads you to put in the correct level of effort, that will not have been a wasted motion in retrospect – heroic epistemology certainly allows for possible worlds in which higher levels of effort were required.

But regardless of this sort of obvious theoretical objection, *in practice* you would still be very well advised to fix in your mind the scenario where your goal has been achieved, and ask whether a thought will predictably not have contributed to getting there in retrospect. In a mind which has not practiced detecting wasted motions, there will be many, many wasted motions; so ignore the theoretical objections and just do it for a while.

The Sword of Good, part two

The scream that had to be stopped at all costs

Original Text

Intro/Outro Music: Nightwish – Ghost Love Score

SFX: Door Open, Trap Door, Door Close, Flare, WormsDisintegration-explosionMachinery (x2Sword Wail, Sword Scream, Sword Dropped, Staff Thump, Crystal Shatter

(SoG2) Production Notes

Brian’s rendition of the Lord of Dark is not exactly the way I would have done it… he has a bit of arrogance in his voice, even at the very end, where I had originally had reassurance and sympathy. I think I like it his way better. Some measure of arrogance is probably a key component to a character like the Lord of Dark… but more importantly, it reinforces that he is not me. When I identify completely with the Lord of Dark it’s very easy to see this story as a triumph of good over evil, intelligence over tradition. When there’s a small note of The Other in his voice it reminds me that he is not me, and maybe he can’t be trusted completely and implicitly. It makes the story a bit more complex, a bit more uncertain. Am I still sure that casting the Spell of Ultimate Doom was the best idea? Yes, probably. But no longer completely.

When I went to grab the scream from Come To Daddy I was pleasantly surprised that someone had already looped it over 9 minutes, saving me a lot of time and work. I also listened to it a lot over the next week. This may sound odd, but I really like well-done screaming. A lot of my favorite lyrics are screamed (which is not to say that screaming is always good, much of it is crap). There is something emotionally raw about it which sends shivers up my spine, and obviously I’m not alone. Even songs shouted with a ragged edge work.  I’ve had the Sword’s Wail and Scream mapped in my brain to the two excerpts I used since the first time I read Sword of Good years ago.

Doing this episode made me appreciate well-done screams even more than before, because I just couldn’t get Hirou’s scream right. I did quite a few takes and nothing sounded right. Nothing sounded sincere enough. I almost went with the Greatest Scream In Cinematic History, but I decided to try one last time. I had forgotten that the superman scream had echo and processing. With that inspiration and some reverb and echo thrown in I think I finally got something that works.

The Sword of Good, part one

Fragments of a novel that would never be written

Original Text

Intro Music: Blackmore’s Night – Loreley
Outro Music: Blackmore’s Night – Peasant’s Promise
Inn Music: Natalie MacMaster -David’s Jig

SFX: Orc Hiss, Sword Growl, Sword WailWooden Door Blown Open, Fire Wall, Orc Death Squeal, Sword Hack ‘n Spark, Horses Trotting, Horse Neigh, City Ambiance, Door Opening, Nighttime Ambiance, Coins

(SoG1) Production Notes

Having more time between episodes is interesting. I really liked the weekly pace before. And unfortunately a moderate fraction of that extra time is now being used sub-optimally (I finally started Mass Effect 3, which is cool-ish, but I’m not sure how I feel about returning to video gaming). But I do have more time to devote to my other interests, as well as spending more time on the episodes themselves – which is why Sword of Good part 1 has tons of sound effects, ambiance, and even some background music at one point. Can’t say I mind that part. :)

For those who are unfamiliar with TVTropes, be forewarned – going there for the first time will probably end up eating a large chunk of your day. Don’t follow these links if you need to be productive today.

These are the tropes called out by Hirou:
Dark Messiah
Knight Templar
Well Intentioned Extremist
Lawful Stupid