Zoe Chace Is Penelope Clearwater

OK, I know this isn’t dignified, but I’m just barely suppressing a complete fan-boy moment right now. Zoe friggin Chace of NPR’s Planet Money agreed to do Penelope Clearwater for the podcast! And then recorded the lines and sent them to me!

If you don’t know Planet Money, they’re an economics show on NPR with a twice-weekly podcast. Zoe Chace is a regular and she has the most amazing voice (I once geeked out and made a sample clip for people who haven’t heard her yet). The inflection and accent just pull me in, it’s a joy to listen to.

As Penelope only has a few lines I managed to drop them in over the weekend. You can hear them here:

Chap 70 at ~7:45 and 17:50
Chap 50 at ~15:30
Chap 21 at ~7:30
Chap 14 at ~24:30
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  1. Ok, so I’m up to date with the podcast and it’s great to be up to date, but I’m sad I’ll have to wait for new chapeters… so it feels really bittersweet :)

    Thanks for a greay journey, you’ve a really, REALLY good podcast. With some cleanup it could match the better professional audiobooks. So while I’m going to post a few suggestions about how to improve the podcast, but please consider it a glowing 5 star review regardless, ok?

    So, my ideas of what can be imporved: reduce the use of speach tags or saidisms (if you don’t know what they are: http://malcolm-wood.com/Saidisms.html). The dialoge occasionally becomes choppy because you’re inlcuding all speachtags from the writing. Which can make the podcast really choppy when two other voices are talking, and you’re injecting “said x” between every line. Since the podcast have voice as a medium all descriptions about how voices sound are not necessary, we can hear it in the voice. Its needed when a lot of people are talking, but not when a 3-4 with distinct voices are talking.
    This also works for other descriptions of sound, for example reading “pause” aloud when the sorting hat was thinking.

    This is probably a bit hard, since you’re att different places, but the rythem of other voices are occasionally quite different than your own, also leading to a choppy experience. Especially when switching a lot between your voice and other voices with a different rythm in quick successions, so consider if you can move quick injections between two lines belonging to a different voice before or after them.

    So what I really suggest is that you take a bit more artistic license with text of hpmor, and adopt it a bit more to the medium you’re using. You do a phenomenal job with the reading it self, so just adjust the material a bit and it will be even better.

    Also, you probably know this but some voices are a bit too forced, sounding silly more than anything else (Harrys mother, and for several chapters McGonagall to name the most obvious). For those cases I think it might be better doing female voices (where you don’t have anyone to help you) in a more normal tone. When things sound silly is breaks suspension of disbelief much more than having a recognizable male voice reading the lines of female characters in a more normal tone.

    So once again thanks for a great podcast. I really liked it despite the minor issues mentioned above and similarly I hope you do enjoy a comment like this more than quick note that’s only flattery. Its not meant to be harsh, only constructive.

    • I just noticed I failed to post this at the most recent page, mega fail, but I’ll hope you’ll still read it.

    • Thank you for the notes!

      I felt very nervous when I first started, I didn’t feel I had any right to change anything, so it is as close to a literal re-reading of it as I can get. I’ve loosened up a little lately, but it’s still a hard instinct to break, I feel like I’m transgressing. You can never really tell which parts you might thing are superfluous, but the author things are important, ya know? That said, I have been taking out “saids” a bit more now that I have other people lending their voices. When I was first doing it myself I figured it was pretty important, since it was just my voice. Also I wanted to keep in the descriptions of the voices, as I didn’t trust my “voice acting” (no experience whatsoever with acting) to convey what was written.

      I appreciate the advice about female voices. I’m still forced to do them now and then, I’ll scale it back a bit. And I’ll start getting more of the early McGonagall replaced with Autumn’s voice. :)

  2. fanboying with you

    I’ve been relistening to the older episodes and when I heard Zoe I thought I was hallucinating. Holy awesome! I’m right there fanboying with you.

  3. her voice makes me turn off planet money…in stereo on long drives…it’s horrific

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