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Sites of Radioplay Producers Who Are Active Members of Radioplay Contests

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RADIOPLAY magazine radioplaycontests.com

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Cover Art by Alexa Chipman.

Page 2 Advertisements.

November 2008 Vo l u m e I I s s u e 4

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This is the current page. It lists the Staff who worked on this issue, and the Issue Summary.

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From The Admin’s Desk, which is a letter from the administrator of Radioplay Contests to the readers of the magazine.

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The Comic Summary, which features the most recent comic strips that were posted at the forum.

Pages 6-7 Interviews about Voice Acting.

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Article by Fiona Thraille about beginning Voice Acting.

Page 11-13 Tutorials which could help you gain new techniques to apply to your production.

Magazine Staff

Production Manager - Lee Labit Page Designer and Page Formatter - Alexa Chipman Editor - Fiona Thraille

What Is A Radioplay? A radioplay is a form of play in audio format. The first radio plays were broadcast in the 1920s. These days, amateur producers produce radioplays (or audio dramas) but they are rarely broadcast on radio stations. All articles are copyrighted by their respective authors. RADIOPLAY magazine is (c) 2008 Radioplay Contests. All Rights Reserved.

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Welcome to the November issue of RADIOPLAY. It’s that time of the year again when you feel the first effects of the winter chill. Well, in some countries anyway. Welcome everyone to the November issue of RADIOPLAY. This month’s interview focuses on amateur voice actors who have been active in voice acting projects for quite a while. We have a total of four interviews with the same four questions. The voice actors went into some depth with their answers, so we’ll include their answers to the first questions and post the rest of the feature in the December/Holiday Issue. Speaking of the Holiday issue, we are currently holding a survey about what radio play enthusiasts want as Christmas presents. These may include items such as music or sound effects library from Sound Ideas or Apple Jam Packs, Sennheiser headphones for listening pleasure, iLife 08 or Cool Acid Pro for making your projects, a Snowball microphone, or someone to help you with writing a script. If you want to have your say, then email our editor, Fiona. Her email address is located on the Radioplay Contests website. We will not publish your name, just the product that you want. Also, we just launched our magazine website which is located at radioplaycontests.com/mag. You should be able to subscribe to the posts via an RSS feed when this issue is released, so you’ll know right away whenever we release a new issue in the future.

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Quick Confirmation

FuzzyFace: I always send a critique upon receiving an audition. I consider the audition process to be the first step in my direction of the show. If I feel that there are areas in which I would want to see an improvement, I point them out. Alexachipman: In my case, that comic should be titled “Dream Sequence” seeing as I never receive auditions lol (which is why I quit bothering to even post them).

It’s Not What You Think Alexachipman: I actually had to do that for a BSAP Sounding Board.

Setting Up A Mood

Lee: Do any of you set up a mood when listening to a specific genre of a radio play show? Teacup: No, but I wish I did, as I think it’s a wonderful idea. Crono04: I couldn’t imagine d oing otherwise. It just happens that most of them have an atmosphere of a lit room.

Sound Effect Awareness Lee: Does any of you carry a sound recorder just in case you hear a sound that could be useful in the future? FuzzyFace: No, but it’s a great idea. Teacup: No, I tried buying one that was about $80, because it claimed to be able to record wav or 128kbps quality. Yeah. wav quality hiss... Alexachipman: Indeed, I use my digital camera for ambiant sound like cafes and so forth but for crystal clear sfx you need a quality hand held recording device which I shall never own.

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I N T E RV I E W S

By Lee Labit

November 2008 I.iv

once, and started paying more attention to the audition threads. I have now appeared in about two dozen radio plays and a few flash movies, and have submitted lines for a couple dozen productions that have not yet been released, including a handful of fan-dubs. - Russ

1. Give us a brief history about yourself as an amateur voice actor.

2. How much of your free time (in terms of percentage) do you spend on voice acting?

I have been going to the Voice Acting Alliance since 2006. Granted, I always wanted to be a performer one way or another ever since I was a kid back in the early 90s and that’s very much a brief history of me as an amateur voice actor in a nut shell. - Pokejedservo

Actually, plenty. I mean, I’m not quite sure that I’ll be able to put that into a percentage but still, I often actually do spend plenty of time working on voice acting, especially for auditions, and I also have a fair amount to do for roles whenever I do get them.

Hello, My name is Danielle McRae. I also go by Fairuza. I am an amateur voice actress from the Voice Acting Alliance and have been for 4 years. I had a strong love and affection for acting when I was a child and I have a strong passion to become a professional voice actress someday. - Danielle McRae I began voice acting around 2 years ago, just as a hobby. I was a senior in High School then, and I was an aspiring actor in my school’s theatre company. Eventually I grew tired of stage acting, but then I was watching some cartoons on TV, and I thought about how it might be fun to do something like that. I had always been a big fan of anime, cartoons, and video games, so I decided to see how I could get into this kind of business. A quick Google search later, I discovered the Voice Acting Alliance forums, where I officially began to voice act as a hobby. It’s been an on and off kind of hobby for a while, but I have recently been able to get some proper equipment, so now I can really dedicate myself to it much more fully. - Daigo787 I used to be very active in community theater, but had to give it up. I started voice acting in June 2006 when I saw a notice for a radio play based on the web-comic “Red String” by Gina Biggs. I auditioned and was cast as Mr. Ogawa, and joined the VAA as a result. The project actually went nowhere for some time, as the original producer could no longer find time to work on it, so I contacted Gina Biggs in October, who decided to revive it herself. My role is fairly small and, two years later, only four episodes have come out. The following January, I decided to see what other shows were starting, and auditioned for and was cast in two: “The Vampire Game” and “The Musgrave Ritual.” Unfortunately, neither went anywhere. In April, I auditioned for “Agent 003” and was cast as Richard. That was really the first active radioplay in which I participated. In December 2007 I auditioned for Mochan’s “Dodging Raindrops.” Not only did she cast me (as Kei); she recommended that I audition for a role in bomberman61’s “The Limit,” in which I was also cast. At that point, I was active in three radio plays at

I also do this stuff at night, but I used to get complaints from people like my parents, especially from my father, when I was doing things such as any sort of dramatic yelling or maniacal laughter or things like that. Well, nowadays, I tend to do these things earlier in the day. Nowadays, I usually try to do at least two auditions a day: one from the visual projects forum on the site and the other one from the audio projects forum. Well, I still do occasionally tend to look at the Voice Acting Alliance’s sister site, the Voice Acting Club every now and then but I do still spend plenty of time at the VAA. So, I could definitely say that I spend plenty of time doing voice work, especially nowadays since I’m not quite as busy as I was last year, when it did get rather hectic. Oh sure, I still have a little bit of history from last year but still... - Pokejedservo Hmm... Somewhere around 4-5 hours would be the exact estimate of time I usually spend voice acting. I guess it also depends on how many projects I record for at once. Sometimes, it gets up to 3, maybe 4 projects at one time as well as if there are a lot of lines to record for it. - Danielle McRae I would say I spend a good 50-60% of my free time voice acting. If I am not auditioning or recording for a project, then I am usually experimenting with my voice to see if I can discover some new voices. - Daigo787 That’s hard to measure, but it is probably between 10% and 25% - Russ 3. Do you think you are much better now than you were in your first few projects? Sure, I simply try to work with things such as my vocal range, my acting range, what accents I can do and things like that. Though, granted, I also have a bit of a better microphone and a better computer than I had back in the summer of ‘06. So, I’m pretty sure that kind of helps there, as well. - Pokejedservo 6


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I believe so. I feel that I started to really improve over the years through practice and taking up some voice acting classes. I think that there’s no such thing as having way too much experience in this craft, it’s always great to absorb anything and everything that can help improve one’s acting ability. - Danielle McRae Every time I audition, I find something new about my voice, and I get a little more confident in my ability. At first, I really didn’t think I could stand a chance against some of the more experienced people, but I just had to remember to be myself, do my best, and not try to compare myself to anyone else. - Daigo787 Yes. I have become more comfortable acting into a microphone, and have developed a number of alternative voices. - Russ 4. How many different microphones have you used? Oh, let’s just say a few. I’ll admit to you right now that I don’t really know about model numbers or any other little tech specs like that. Sorry, I’m a little bit of a noob regarding these technological aspects. But still, I went for at least a couple of them that were really cheap POSs (Point Of Sale) that barely even worked. And then I had one that used to work pretty well for a while and then it was starting to fall apart. I had another one that was decent at best and was at least workable, but I could have gone to something better and I did get something that was a little bit better at Radioshack a while back. But then oddly enough, I ended up going for a new microphone recently at the Salvation Army that was considerably cheaper and works slightly better. However, I’m still keeping the one that I had from Radioshack around, you know, just in case. - Pokejedservo I first started off with a Labtec Desktop microphone, then I slowly started working my way up, through a microphone metamorphosis. I then gradually worked my way up to a Logitech desktop microphone which led me to a Shure SM58, then to my latest and favorite microphone so far which is the Blue Snowball microphone! - Danielle McRae I’ve used some pretty cruddy mics, ranging from a generic desktop mic, to a built-in monitor mic. I currently use a Cyber Acoustics Premium headset mic, but I am planning on upgrading to something better once I get the money. - Daigo787 Originally, I used the microphone built into my iMac G5. That had horrible fan noise, requiring producers to do a bit of cleanup. Most of the way through the run of Agent 003, I switched to a Plantronics gaming headset, the “Pro 1.” At the start of “Dodging Raindrops” I purchased a Blue Snowball microphone. - Russ

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By Fiona Thraille This guide is designed for people who enjoy acting and would like to get involved in satellite audio drama productions, but don’t know where to start in recording lines at home. If that sounds like you, please read on...

Equipment you need - Hardware A microphone Voice acting needn’t be an expensive hobby. The biggest outlay an actor has to make is on a microphone. These range in quality and price and it’s possible to get a good recording from a microphone for around $20. There is a microphone review thread here. http://voiceactingalliance.com/board/showthread.php?t=9236 Most cheaper or mid-price microphones plug directly into your computer - either into a USB drive, or into a microphone socket. Generally, it’s better to use a free standing microphone than a headset one, to avoid puffs of air distorting your lines. A pop screen If you talk directly into a microphone, the air from your voice will hit it, causing a distortion in the sound. This is usually impossible for a mixer to remove, so using a pop screen is essential. A pop screen creates a thin barrier that allows the sound to get through but not the air. You can buy one from audio retailers or make one very cheaply by stretching a pair of nylons around an embroidery hoop or coat-hanger. There are excellent instructions on making one here. http://jakeludington.com/project_studio/20050321_build_your_own_microphone_pop_screen.html (As making the stand is more complex, you may prefer just to hold the pop screen up in front of the microphone when recording). Earphones These can be everyday ear-buds, or over-ear phones, but these are essential for listening to your lines clearly for any puffs, mouse clicks and other strange sounds before sending your lines. It can be hard to pick up these things on speakers. A comforter/towel No, not for recording on cold nights! This is a cheap way of reducing echo. If you are recording in a room with a flat wall behind you, you may find the recording sounds echoey, or even distorted. Hanging soft fabric on the wall behind you absorbs the sound and reduces echo. If you want to reduce background noise, too, you can also use the comforter by draping it over your head and the microphone - making sure it doesn’t touch the mic. Hot and uncomfortable, but it does the job brilliantly. Equipment you need - software You need a piece of software to record your lines. Windows Sound Recorder is not suitable for recording broadcast quality lines. If you don’t have a favorite program already, there is a completely free, user-friendly program out there that many voice actors use for recording lines, called Audacity. It is suitable for both PC and Mac users and is free to download here. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

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Once you have a program, you are now ready to record, but there’s just one more thing to set up. Most producers ask for Mp3 files. Audacity needs an extra free download called a lame encoder, available free to create Mp3 files. All the information you need is here. http://www.guidesandtutorials.com/audacity-lame.html Congratulations! You’re now ready to begin recording! Recording lines in Audacity First, plug in your microphone. Check your audio settings on your computer and check that you have set this microphone as your default one. Now open up Audacity. Quality Check the producer’s requirements, as they can vary, but generally most ask for 44100hz 16-bit Stereo MP3s of 128kbps or 192kbps. To change your preferences, click on the top menu Edit>Preferences>File Formats Here you can click on the boxes (coloured green in the illustration) to alter export format and bit rate. Edit>Preferences>Audio I/O Here you can change from stereo to mono recordings. Recording Use the big buttons to start and stop recording and play back. Make sure the microphone input level is loud enough so that your lines are audible without being too loud. Usually around -12db is fine.

When you record your lines, always leave a ‘tail’ of a few seconds at the end where you record, but don’t speak or breathe. The mixer will be able to take this room ambiance as a sample which they can then remove from your lines to make them cleaner. Listen to your lines for delivery, but also quality. Make sure there are no strange noises or distortion like breath puffs and edit out mouse clicks. Check with your producer how they want the lines. Some like them cut up into individual numbered files. If numbering, always put the line number first. eg. 34_character name. That way, they are easy to order. Some prefer scenes in one long file. When you’re happy, use the file menu to export the whole file or sections as Mp3s. Label them carefully and then zip them into one file. Depending on the file size, you may be able to send the lines as an email attachment, or via a free delivery service such as Yousendit. Welcome to the world of online voice acting. Have fun! Useful resources What do I need, Where do I get it, How do I use it? Individual links for software, microphones, tutorials, etc. http://voiceactingalliance.com/board/showthread.php?t=34482 Audacity User Manual http://audacity.sourceforge.net/manual-1.2/

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Finding auditions Individual radio groups often hold auditions. Check out their website and join their group or forum for casting calls. Also smaller groups and individuals list on other boards: Voice Acting Alliance boards http://voiceactingalliance.com/board/forumdisplay.php?f=41 Audio Drama Talk Forums http://www.audiodramatalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=57 Voice Acting Club http://voiceacting.proboards62.com/index.cgi?board=general

Comments About RADIOPLAY I have to say.. I love reading through this stuff, there is a lot of just great info in the magazine. Thank you! Marrcus “Crash� Beattie - Audio Drama Talk Just DL-d it and am reading! Love Stevies Article! Bill Hollweg - Audio Drama Talk Coolness. I love me some Garage band tips. AtomicClockwork - Audio Drama Talk Excellent work! It always impresses me by how professional and well edited it looks. Good tips there too! Keep it up! Ultrarob - Audio Drama Talk

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Two Time-Saving Tips in Garageband By Lee Labit This month’s Garageband tutorial is about two tips that can save you time when working with a large scene in Garageband. #1 Reordering Tracks. The first tip applies to every type of software that can re-arrange tracks. Your computer, whether a PC or a Mac, can only display a few tracks at a time. So you need to scroll down when working on some of the tracks. Suppose that your scene has 16 tracks, 8 of them are below your point of view if you do not scroll down. Also, suppose that you have 5 characters, 3 of them appear within the first minute and then the other two join them in the fourth minute. So for the first few minutes, you will probably be working on 3 voice files and a few music/ambience/sound effects files, let’s say 5. Therefore, your track arrangement looks like this: Character1 Character2 Character3 Music1 Ambience1 Sound1 Sound2 Sound3 Now, fast-forward to the fourth minute when the two characters appear in the scene. After importing both them in the scene, their default place would probably be below ‘Sound3’ track. Assuming that those two new characters interact with the first three characters, you would have to keep on scrolling down and scrolling up to match up when their speech ends and begins. This is not a big deal if the fourth and fifth characters have a few lines but it gets annoying when they have numerous lines since you need to keep on scrolling back and forth to make the time-line adjustments. So, in order to solve the scrolling problems, just rearrange your track list to look like this, assuming that you don’t need Sound2 and Sound3 at the moment: Character1 Character2 Character3 Character4 Character5 Music1 Ambience1 Sound1 Therefore, you won’t need to scroll anymore to make speech arrangements or edits. This would probably save you at least 5% of your time but a lot more when you’re working on a long scene/file.

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Remember, keep re-arranging tracks to suit your needs. Do it minute-by-minute (in terms of the scene, not in real time) if you have to. #2 Save Instrument. There is a button at the very bottom of Track Info’s Details labeled ‘Save Instrument...’ in Garageband. Basically, it saves the setting of your effects such as Echo, Reverb, Equalizer, and plugin settings that you may have used. This is another huge time saving tool. For example, suppose that you make a setting for each of those effects and you want to use it on a different track later on. The manual way is Step 1: Import your track. Step 2: Configure the Effects settings. Step 3: Repeat Step 1 and 2 for other tracks that you want with the exact same settings. Step 2 may take only a few seconds, once you figure out all the settings that you want for the first time. However, step 3 could get hectic if you have a lot of tracks. This is when the ‘Save Instrument...’ button becomes useful. Once, you’ve finished all the settings that you want for the first track, click on the ‘Save Instrument...’. It will pop-up a box which asks what you want to name it. Name it something specific such as ‘telephone’ if you’re going to use them on characters who speak via telephone or ‘tunnel’ if you’re going to apply the settings which makes the characters seem like they’re inside a tunnel. Below is my personal list. As you can see, I have a setting that I named ‘insidecar’ for dialogues that take place inside a car and I also have character-specific settings which are really settings for the voice actors of those characters, to adjust their microphone quality and/or effect.

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How to Create One Track Voices By Alexa Chipman Often one of the first problems people run into with Audacity is the fact apparently every line is on a new track. Within five minutes of audio, there can be almost thirty tracks creating a sort of descending staircase effect. The cause of this is that Audacity creates a new audio track every time a file is imported. As of the newer versions of Audacity, however, this can be bypassed. 1. Import the first line for that character as usual with File > Import > Audio. This ends up with a new track like the one below. 2. Import the second line for that character using the same method. This will create a second track below. Use your selection tool to select the audio in the new track and either use your keyboard shortcut or go to Edit > Cut. The audio that was in the second track will disappear. 3. Still using your selection tool, click once where you would like the second line of the character to go on the first track. You can move it around later, but it is a good idea to try to time it right. For example, if there is a short pause between lines, click close the the last line, but if there is a long pause between lines, click far away from the last line. 4. Paste the cut audio line by using a keyboard shortcut or the Edit > Paste menu. It will appear as a selected block of audio. Delete the now blank track and leave the first track with the two lines. You can use this method to add in all the lines for the character in one go, or to add them as you edit the scene. The important part is that instead of fifty separate tracks for one character, you end up with only one track for that character. I would also recommend renaming the track to be that character, instead of the default name of the first line you imported. 5. The timing of each line is not always exact when pasting in, so you often need to move a line around once it is on the track. The newer versions of Audacity automatically recognize a line that has been pasted in, so if you use your move tool (the double arrow used to move lines around) it will only move the block you pasted together. If we take the two lines in the screencap above, whenever you click on one with the move tool, it will only affect that particular block and not move the entire track. If you want to move more than one line on a character, select both together with your selection tool before attempting to move them. To reiterate: there is no need to select an individual line to move it, but to move more than one you must select both. To run an effect/filter on all the lines present in the track, you must select the entire track before applying it. If you want to run a filter on only a few of their lines, select only the lines you wish it to affect. 13

RADIOPLAY Issue #4  

The fourh issue of RADIOPLAY magazine has two tips on Garageband, an article on how to begin voice acting, and interviews with some amateur...

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