(6b) Production Notes

Originally, this was the first episode that had a voice other than my own.

I tend not to put too much trust in the promises of others. Humans are flakey – they get bored or tired, or something important comes up. Sometimes they die. I knew this would be a long project, and I didn’t want to have to rely on anyone else to complete it. But as I was working on this episode I was talking with my friend Drake Walker, and complaining about my lack of vocal range. There had already been two old men in the previous two weeks, and I didn’t have a third “old man” voice to use for Dumbledore. In retrospect this doesn’t matter – the extras are forgettable and would soon be forgotten. But I didn’t know that yet, and I was frustrated. While I was trying out a new old-man-voice on him, Drake suggested that he voice Dumbledore.

Drake has been my friend since middle school. He knows more about me than anyone else alive, and I trust him more than anyone else I know. In addition to that, he has a good stage presence and a rich voice. So I weighed this for a moment and asked him if he was sure he wanted to do this – it would stretch well over a year and some weeks could require a lot of time in front of the microphone. He jumped at it, and I agreed.

It was one of the best things to happen to the podcast. I still didn’t trust offers from anyone whom I didn’t know in person, but it opened me up to the possibility of collaboration with others. Eventually I opened up enough to accept lines from complete strangers (more on that when we get to the first of those episodes), and even soliciting for voice acting help.

Those who listened to this chapter when it first aired will notice I removed the “Dark Harry Theme”. Most people would recognize it as the T-1000 Theme from Terminator 2 – a low menacing swell, somewhat industrial in sound. While I feel it’s of an appropriate mood, I’m not really sure it’s needed. And it becomes harder and harder to incorporate it as Harry rotates into dark mode in the later chapters. I dropped it later on, so I’m taking it out now as I go along updating these.

(6a) Production Notes

This episode contains the first of numerous musical bits. I was terrified by this because I’m well aware of the fact that I can’t sing worth a damn. Fortunately I quickly realized that I could overlay the original music track to mask my own singing. This has saved me (at least partially) on many occasions since then. You’ll also notice Harry’s voice suddenly dips to a very un-11-year-old level when he’s singing.  I’m bad enough in my natural tone, I couldn’t possibly carry a tune while pitching my voice high, and so I refused to try. The world’s eardrums are slightly safer as a result.

(4&5) Production Notes

This episode marked my first created sound effect. I wanted something to punctuate the gold pile spilling, but couldn’t find anything that sounded right. I took a “dropped doubloon” sound and repeated it several times with slight time offsets to get something semi-acceptable. It’s not terribly impressive, but it marked a psychological switch for me – from mouth-piece to becoming actively involved.

One of my favorite parts of this episode was adding the door bell whenever someone crossed Madam Malkin’s shop threshold. It was inspired by the “Life Serial” episode of Buffy, which started almost every loop in the magic shop with the door hitting it’s bells as it was opened. It wasn’t in the original text, I just thought it would be a lot of fun to do. As the podcast progresses I start adding a lot of things to audio episodes just for the simple pleasure of “this will be fun for me.” I dunno if it makes them more enjoyable for the listener, but it certainly makes it a lot easier to get through the hours of post-production work. :)

The door is described as propped open, but I didn’t see why that would stop a magic bell with the magic equivalent of a laser-trip. That’s also why the bell sounds the same every time, and interrupts itself when two people leave in quick succession (well, that and technical limitations).

In the original recording when I did Draco’s voice I put on a sneer to (hopefully) make him sound more like an arrogant prat. This creates a lot of problems whenever you say a word with a strong “fi” sound in it (like “fish”). It comes out kinda whistley and wet (try it). To combat this I eventually morphed into simply pulling my upper lip back tightly, baring my upper teeth in a sort of aggressive grin. I slow down my speech to indicate a calm mastery of the local peasants. All this together makes for a feeling of absolutely predatory ownership. I can’t get into this pose without a feeling of sweet evil joy underlying every sentence. As such, Draco has become one of my favorite characters to voice. :)