Saturday, November 8, 2014

More into my journey

So, when I last left of, I had just given up the role of Hana and hired on a music composer. Things were going well for a while. We put out a few episodes. And then, as usually happens, I had to make changes in casting. Some people fell through. Some I had to let go. Things were getting frustrating. But I did gain a new composer, with more music experience, so that made life a bit exciting again. However, the other composer dropped off the face of the planet. And, on top of all of that, I had met the man of my dreams. Well, okay, not exactly of my dreams, but he was pretty darn close. All that aside, we decided to get married, and that added to the load of things I was doing. And with wedding planning, and real life happening, episodes began to become further and fewer between. I hoped to use that time allow my cast to catch up on their own lines, and even get ahead, but few took me up on that offer. And let me tell you, it was frustrating when I got back to where I could edit, after getting married and moving to a new location. We stuttered and started again, but got more sluggish as time rolled on. After another gap of not editing, I had a close member of my family die, which made it mandatory for me to take another break from even trying to coax my cast into sending in lines. And believe me when I say that once you get into the habit of not working on a project, it gets a lot harder to get back into it. That's party of why I try to have as many lines possible ready for my actors. I know they are busy, but I also know that if they get out of the habit of sending in lines, they'll let other things crowd out what they've promised to do for the project and we end at a grinding halt once again. But, the past few years have taught me a valuable lesson, or two. First lesson, long projects are hard, and it is very common for people new to voice acting and directing to abandon them as "real" life goes on around the project. Second lesson, it's easier to not voice in your own shows. Third lesson, keep a firm hand with your cast so that they don't get complacent. Let them know their deadlines and stick to them. Be firm. Be firm. Be firm. Fourth, script out your shows as much as possible before casting, and give yourself a buffer of episodes in case something comes up. Don't just release them as the lines come in. It doesn't work well. Trust me on that one.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Journey, cont...

Let's see, where was I when I left off last time? I know it's been a while and I really need to keep a more consistent schedule for this.

Ah yes, the story of my voice acting/directing start.

So, I'd put out a bunch of auditions for my radio drama. And, halfway through, with Shadows From The Past, decided to change it to the full out story, instead of just a segment of it. But I also had auditions out for my Fruits Basket show as well. And with only a handful of scripts ready, maybe a few more episodes' worth of chapters transcribed... you might be able to see where I'm going with this...

I had basic knowledge and no experience. It would be very safe to say that my first venture into the voice acting world was far from easy or smooth. I quickly realized that I was in over my head. Sure, things seemed to start out at a nice pace, but then I lost my Kyo due to natural disasters ruining his recording equipment, had to replace Shigure because real life took its toll.... the list goes on. 

And in that moment of despair, I was pretty low, wondering if the project was worth the hassle of continuing on with, especially since I was trying to do two at the same time, while maintaining a full time job. Not an easy task. I came across, or rather, another group wanting to do Fruits Basket came across me, wanting to combine efforts. But, when I saw the direction they were going, and their wanting more control than I was willing to give over, I declined, with the thought of our doing our own shows in our own ways. I wanted something more family friendly while still staying true to the heart of the story. The other group wanted to go for something much darker. I was more than happy to have not joined with them after I'd heard their first few releases. Not that they weren't good, because they were, better than I was at the time. But it wasn't the direction I wanted to go. And, for a time, I did follow their progress, knowing they were moving much faster and further ahead in the story than I was....

During that time, I came across a young lady who wanted to sign on as my music composer, and I was more than willing to give her a go, especially since I wasn't really good at making my own music. I think that giving her that chance helped out a lot. Then I was able to find a new Shigure and a new Kyo, which helped things out immensely. There was a light at the end of the tunnel again, and it wasn't a train.

I was voicing the role of Saki Hanajima (Hana), and doing a decent job. And, with the other show, I hadn't been able to find a narrator I'd like, so I was doing that as well, and quickly finding that I preferred to spend my time mixing and editing to actual voice acting, at least as far as my own projects were concerned. I did finish out Shadows From The Past, but decided to not pursue any more roles until I was in a more stable, and less demanding place in life. With that in mind, I surrendered the role of Hana to another voice actress, and the stress levels leveled out a bit.

That's when things started to stutter and start... but more on that next time.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Starting the process-How I got into voice acting

So, not sure how many will read this to start out, but I figured it might not be a bad idea to start posting about my experiences with voice acting, directing, and mixing and editing. But first, a bit about myself.

I am currently a preschool teacher by day, voice actor/director/mixer and writer/artist by night. I started working  in voice acting back in... oh when was it again? 2010? That sounds about right.

What got me into voice acting? Well, a lot of things, honestly. I have a friend who was doing amateur dubbing of little snippets of anime and video game sequences. I also had several friends who were really into anime. These worlds didn't collide until the second group convinced me to go to my first anime convention where Jerry Jewell was the guest of honor.

It was a small convention and I had the opportunity to sit down and just chat with Jerry about life in general. I will admit that, once I found out he voiced one of my favorite anime characters (Kyo Sohma from Fruits Basket), I did do a bit of fan-girling. But it was nice to recognize that he was just an "average Joe" like me, but who had either had a lucky break, friends in just the right places, or had gone out of his way to get into the field. I let this mull over in my head for quite some time. This is actually back in 2008, so I let it mull in my mind for a really long time. It was also during this time that I became friends with my (now former) roommate. She was one of the main reasons I moved to Texas. But more about that later.

Meanwhile, life went on and I was focusing on my artwork, doing pencil portraits for Jerry's band, no less. During this time, my anime friends and I were talking about how some of the anime shows were either just not really true to the source material, or were just incomplete, like my all time fave, Fruits Basket. The anime only goes about a fourth to a third of the way through the story, and isn't exactly very true to the source material. (Anyone who has read the manga will know what I mean, things out of order, and some specific characteristics of some major characters were changed.)

Anyway, while we were discussing this, one of my friends told me about a dream she had where I was doing a radio drama of Fruits Basket, going off of the manga. She also mentioned that I'd done a few other shows (redubbing them, that is) in this dream. Well, the idea stuck to the voice acting information Jerry had given me. And, thanks to my old roommate inviting me out to Texas, I fell in love with state. It was about a year later that I decided to move out there, closer to where all the voice actors are, including FUNimation.

However, I had a bit of a rough start after moving. I didn't know anyone, outside of my roommate and her family. I had to basically start over with everything, including finding a decent job, which I was finally able to do. During all of this, the idea of at least doing Fruits Basket kept creeping into my head. I couldn't keep it away, so I figured I"d do a bit of a test and us a fan fiction I'd written for a different anime as a sort of "crash course" in using the software (Audacity), and in learning how everything works.

Luckily, I'd already purchased some scripting software for a stint as an intern script writer for a small movie company back in my home state of Utah. Putting together a simple script was a piece of cake. And, I admit, I got a bit cocky and decided to just go ahead and start scripting out Fruits Basket, using the fan translation of the manga. I did my own transcribing and everything, thinking that it would be a piece of cake. I quickly found out that was far from the truth, but more on that later.

I decided to ask some friends that I'd met through mutual acquaintances, or that I'd run into and formed a friendship with, if they'd be interested in helping me out. However, after just trying that out, I realized that there would be a lot more to the project at hand, and that I was not satisfied with doing things halfway. I had to do more than just a snippet of the story to feel like I was doing something at all. So, I looked around and discovered the Voice Actors Alliance website and posted auditions. Again, I got cocky and posted auditions for Fruits Basket as well, with only a handful of scripts ready for the 136 chapter saga. I have since learned that was probably not the best idea.

And, to let you all sit in suspense, I shall continue with more later. My other projects are calling. That and I have a birthday to celebrate.