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ErikH2000
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icon The Second Grand Audition (+1)  
Auditions have begun for voice acting parts in our nearly-complete game, DROD: The City Beneath, which is the successor to our previous two titles, DROD: King Dugan's Dungeon and DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold. We have 80 pages of dialogue waiting to be recorded. We have 40 different characters in need of a voice. You are encouraged to try for a part. It isn't hard to audition. You basically just need a microphone, a computer, and some functioning vocal chords.

There's a lot to cover here. I think I'll do it FAQ-style...

What is this game about?

DROD is a hard game to classify. Ed Pegg, Jr. of the Mathematics Association of America called it the "World's Greatest Puzzle Game". Greg Costikyan of Manifesto Games called it "Sokoban meets Gauntlet". My wife called it "that annoying thing you spend so much time on". As an actor, you may be most interested in the story told through the game. The main character, Beethro Budkin, battles the ultimate bureaucracy in a subterranean world crafted fresh from our writers' imaginations.

What do you need?

Lots of people of all shapes and sizes to record voices over the internet. Well, actually maybe ten to twenty people. There is no single type of voice we need. Actually, the more distinct types of voices we have, the better. There's no particular bias against accents, other than that your English should be clear. Women are particularly encouraged to audition because we typically have less female voices to choose from when casting.

What do I have to do to get involved?

First audition. If after hearing your audition, we feel we could use your talents, then we will contact you privately to invite you to join our team and record real lines used in the game. You will need to sign a contributor's agreement with us before we can use your work in our game.

How do I audition?

Links to the eight sample parts for which you can audition are listed below:

The Pit Thing
Gossiper
King Dugan
Drokkendut
Stalwart Captain
First Librarian
Prombly
First Patron

The lines in these sample parts are not the totality of what each character says. And some of the lines in the above parts have been deliberately changed to avoid blurting story spoilers. We would like recordings of these parts just to get an idea of your capabilities. To submit your audition for a part, record the lines on your computer and save them to a file. Then post the file as an attachment in a reply to the corresponding topic from the list above. The file can be in OGG or MP3 format. You can also use WAV only if you put the file in a ZIP or RAR archive so people can download it easily.

Please don't apply special effects to your recording such as pitch-shifting or reverberation. Even a noise reduction filter is problematic. We need to hear what your unaltered voice and also your home recording environment sounds like.

We will not use any of your recordings without getting a signed agreement from you saying that we can.

I sound bad because my home recording setup sucks. Will this affect my chances of being picked?

Unfortunately, yes. We have to work with people that can produce recordings of reasonable technical quality. On the bright side, you don't need a professional studio to meet indie game standards. A lot of people get by with a fifteen dollar microphone and a quiet room. Here are some tips to help you get a good recording:

* Turn off things in the room that make noise. Printers, fans, cd-rom drives can all add to the noise level.
* When recording, find the right distance to be from the mic. Basically, get as close as you can without causing clipping. "Clipping" is a distortion in the recording caused by your voice being too loud (or your mouth too close) to be correctly captured by the microphone.
* Certain sounds like P's and S's tend to generate artifacts in the recording from the extra wind leaving your mouth. A microphone with a windscreen over the end (a foam cover) will help avoid this. You can also try recording with your mouth just to the left or right of the microphone.

Which parts should I audition for?

Any or all of them. We just use them to get a rough idea of what you can do. Casting decisions may involve some more targetted auditions afterward.

How should I record the lines? I don't understand who these characters are or how I should portray them.

Just record the parts some way that you like and call it good. We aren't looking to give specific instructions at this stage. You can always post more than one version of the part, i.e "funny" version and "serious" version.

What do I get for auditioning?

Well, nothing necessarily. But there will be a contest running in parallel in which all audition entries will be entered automatically. That will be announced and described in detail in November. I did want to point out that even if you don't get shoulder-tapped to record a part in the game, you can still have a fun time with the upcoming contest.

If I get chosen to record a part in the game, what do I get then?

You get a free copy of DROD: The City Beneath shipped to you on CD with a nicely illustrated jewel case. You get your name in the cast credits for the game. You get to participate in a unique type of audio production which we've been gradually honing to semi-perfection over the years.

Huh? "Unique type of audio production?" What are you talking about?

The script itself is generated from the game levels. The script does not follow a linear progression, because of branching storylines, and this creates additional challenges. We record all the parts online, through the forum, with contributors logging in to a private board. Everyone can download and listen to everybody else's recordings. Smaller parts will be open to multiple versions from different actors, and we'll just go with the one we like best. Other parts are cast to one actor after more targetted auditioning. You record from home, but there will be a community of peers to have fun with.

We've done all this stuff before, by the way. So don't get the idea it's a wacky out-of-control experiment. Well, maybe slightly wacky and out-of-control, but we basically know what we're doing.

What's the schedule on this thing?

The auditions start now and end as soon as we have enough actors for the parts we need. Practically speaking, the auditions will be finished by end of November. Ah, but here is the important part... We will start privately contacting actors as early as November 1st, and begin recording parts even before the auditions end. When we're no longer casting parts, we'll make a public announcement stating so.

The separate contest will begin first week of November and run until the end of the month. The contest's outcome does not affect who is invited to participate in recording for the game.

And also...

Feel free to post any questions you have in reply. I can also be e-mailed at erikh@caravelgames.com, but public discussion is preferred.

-Erik

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[Last edited by ErikH2000 at 10-25-2006 07:24 AM]
10-24-2006 at 07:30 AM
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Briareos
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What I'm wondering - shouldn't there be a few more female parts in that audition? Or does TCB's plot somehow work like Settlers 2 TNG where all the women mysteriously vanished and you have to go look for them? :)

(Not that I'm applying to do a false female voice, but still... ;))

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10-24-2006 at 08:05 AM
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Mattcrampy
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I think it's probably more cynicism that we won't get any female voice talent than anything. I'd say there's a couple of roles there that are androgynous.

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10-24-2006 at 10:22 AM
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eytanz
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Regarding female voices:

- Remember that the Eight roles given are samples - there are (many) additional characters in the game.
- Matt's right in that there are quite a few roles that can be played by either gender.
- Furthermore, there are a few characters that are now written as specifically male, that in theory could be turned into female if there's enough female voices to make the extra work worthwhile.

I can't speak for Erik or the rest of the team, but personally, I'd be very happy to have more female voices in the game. For now, regardless of your own gender, don't worry about whether the same parts are associated with male or female art - just go ahead and record any of the parts you think you can do well.

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10-24-2006 at 11:54 AM
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Jason
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quote:
eytanz wrote:
- Furthermore, there are a few characters that are now written as specifically male, that in theory could be turned into female if there's enough female voices to make the extra work worthwhile.



Beethro as a lady? Awesome! ;)

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10-24-2006 at 11:57 AM
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Chaco
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"a few" meaning "not all" meaning "not beethro because he's already a male in JtRH and we'd have to write some sort of plot device in order to change that"

I might audition. Might.

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[Last edited by Chaco at 10-24-2006 12:00 PM]
10-24-2006 at 12:00 PM
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eytanz
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Yeah, any character that's returning from JtRH won't change genders.

Note that JtRH itself had two female roles - the negotiator and the instructor. So it's not a female-less world. Back when JtRH was recorded there were really no female members of the community, but that's not the case anymore, and if more female players audition, that'll be great.

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10-24-2006 at 12:11 PM
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Jason
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Are there any age limits for auditioners?

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10-24-2006 at 12:13 PM
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NiroZ
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quote:
Jason wrote:
Are there any age limits for auditioners?

As long as you have a good voice, they really don't care if your 4 or 94.

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10-24-2006 at 12:19 PM
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eytanz
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quote:
eytanz wrote:
Yeah, any character that's returning from JtRH won't change genders.



For some reason, after writing the above, I suddenly had the following bit of dialogue flash in my mind:

39th Slayer: Beethro Budkin, at least we meet again (maniacal laughter). I know you thought I was blown to bits - and I was, Beethro, I was - but the Empire's finest surgeons put me back together, piece by piece. Well, most pieces. They left some parts out. Notice anything different?
Beethro: Slayer?
39th Slayer: They call me "Janice" now, actually.

(I'll leave it up to you to decide if this is a genuine TCB spoiler or not).

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[Last edited by eytanz at 10-24-2006 12:19 PM]
10-24-2006 at 12:19 PM
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Mattcrampy
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quote:
eytanz wrote:
(I'll leave it up to you to decide if this is a genuine TCB spoiler or not).


I don't think so but I really really hope I'm wrong.

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10-24-2006 at 12:46 PM
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schep
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Oh man oh man. Now in addition to trying a couple of Al Dente Holds every evening, I have to stop by Radio Shack ASAP and get myself a microphone. This is such a good way to build up hype as we near the release point.
10-24-2006 at 02:25 PM
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Ezlo
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That was fun! I did a first run through of them all, and maybe later I'll practise more.
10-24-2006 at 02:43 PM
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gamer_extreme_101
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Same as last time, is it possible to use audio-altering capabilities such as EAX when auditioning, or are they to be your voice only?

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10-24-2006 at 02:58 PM
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krammer
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Is it essential to zip/rar .wav entries, when they are comparable in size to the entries in .ogg format?

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10-24-2006 at 03:38 PM
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coppro
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Do we get contest participation?

Pleeeeeaaase?
10-24-2006 at 04:36 PM
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Fafnir
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Great idea, Erik! I think we should definitely change one of the female characters' names to Janice, though... :D

And I would guess it's the same as last time - your voice only.

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10-24-2006 at 04:47 PM
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NekoIncardine
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1) I need to get Haushinka (an IRL friend of mine and semi-pro voice actress) to look at these, she might be interested in a couple specific parts actually.
2) a general note on my submissions: If I'm acceptedfor any part, I'll use Haushinka's mic gear (a very nice pro-quality setup) for cleaner recordings. Those ones I posted last night were done on the only working mic I have in my house ^_^;;

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10-24-2006 at 10:14 PM
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ErikH2000
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To the FAQ above I added the following:

* Anybody is welcome to audition, particularly women, who we have less of.
* Don't use special effects or processing on your recording.
* Technical quality of the recording is regrettably a factor in choosing people to join the cast. Some tips for getting a good recording are listed.

-Erik

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10-25-2006 at 07:27 AM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
krammer wrote:
Is it essential to zip/rar .wav entries, when they are comparable in size to the entries in .ogg format?

Generally, wav files are much larger than ogg files, all things being equal (bit rate, frequency, mono/stereo). I don't care that much about this however.

-Erik


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10-25-2006 at 07:30 AM
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Briareos
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Maybe this should be in the FAQ too:

quote:
So how do I record stuff and save it to MP3 or OGG files?

Unless you already have an audio recording program you're comfortable with you might want to try out Audacity, which is a free audio recording application that's available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux and can save both OGG and MP3* files.

* needs the MP3 plugin that has to be downloaded separately


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[Last edited by Briareos at 10-25-2006 11:31 AM]
10-25-2006 at 11:29 AM
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Chaco
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Well, if there's one thing I've learned from most of this, it's that I have a remarkably British accent if I don't change my voice intentionally.

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10-25-2006 at 03:54 PM
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Tony
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I'll definitely give a go at all of these soon. (What? No Denfry?!?)
10-27-2006 at 02:25 PM
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larrymurk
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quote:
Tony wrote:
I'll definitely give a go at all of these soon. (What? No Denfry?!?)


Hey, but you're a pro.
Isn't this amateur auditions?

(I'm just kidding of course. I'd love to hear you voice act more parts!)
10-27-2006 at 05:03 PM
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Banjooie
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Larry, you should join. ...As long as we don't let you do Beethro's voice.
10-27-2006 at 09:00 PM
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mrimer
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quote:
Banjooie wrote:
Larry, you should join. ...As long as we don't let you do Beethro's voice.
Ooh, I can think of the perfect part in TCB for Larry's Beethro voice.

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10-27-2006 at 09:04 PM
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Banjooie
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oh god what have i done
10-27-2006 at 10:18 PM
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schep
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Well, there's my posts uploaded. A few general comments. As anyone who listens will hear, my voice is fairly deep. The First Patron entry is closest to my natural voice, but on most parts I made only minor changes to my voice. I could do more cartoonish voices, but there don't seem to be many of those in JtRH and Smitemaster's holds (unless there's need for more goblin variety, maybe). My normal accent is midwestern US, and I can pull off a few other accents if I'm trying, but when I do a voice that's not my own, I tend to become vaguely more British-sounding. Not that accents are likely to be a big deal.

I'm using a $20 'noise-cancelling' mic from Radio Shack and Gnome Sound Recorder, and things seem to sound pretty good to me. I was able to reduce clipping and sibilance problems by experimenting, but I think there are still some problems in what I posted. Any feedback on the quality of my recordings is welcome.

This was fun.

10-29-2006 at 07:15 PM
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Kevin_P86
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Off topic: Congrats on being a smiter... :)

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10-29-2006 at 07:23 PM
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ErikH2000
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Shoulder-tapping has begun. I recommend for everyone who has an interest in working as an actor on DROD: The City Beneath, please make sure the contact e-mail in your profile is set so I can reach you. Note that if you set the "Allow e-mails" option, your e-mail address will not be publicly visible anywhere.

-Erik

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11-10-2006 at 06:52 AM
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