Some of the chapters that I’ve written for the story, particularly the chapters that deal with Eliot’s dreams, are kind of fun and interesting (at least I’d like to think they are) and that’s got me thinking about turning the text into spoken words.
Perpetual Bloom is the chapter that immediately comes to mind as I’ve been thinking about this new project. The premise of the chapter is inspired by Fellini’s 8 1/5–the scene where Marcello daydreams he is in a harem. In the harem scene, Marcello rules the roost, but in the Perpetual Bloom chapter, it’s the Waverley U. girls that are in charge of Brandt. My intention is to incorporate dramatic sounds effects into the story while layering my voice to convey the raucousness of a girl gang that’s up to no good.
One of the things I’ve been considering in this new project is how to execute the characters’ voices. Brandt’s voice (and Winter’s voice) has been the most challenging to figure out how to produce. I had considered using my normal voice for all the characters, including the male characters, but something about the Brandt character was calling me to alter his voice, especially because Brandt only exists in Eliot’s dream states. I also wanted his voice to sound discordant, so I’ve decided to use my regular voice, but in a slower tempo so that it will come out sounding more “manly”.
I launched GarageBand and used an excerpt of a story for the spoken words trial run. For my test run, I used an excerpt from the Love Letter (dream) chapter. It took no time for me to realize that layering my voice several times with sound effects and music isn’t that simple. In fact, even reciting the words into a microphone was a challenge. In the end, the 1:28 (minutes and seconds) excerpt took much longer than I had expected.
Below is the sample of my trial run. Because I spoke a lot faster and softer than I had anticipated (making it difficult to clearly understand some of the words). The music in the background is by Tame Impala (a very Beatles-sounding psychedelic rock band from Australia), one of my new favorite bands. I have included the song, It is Not Meant to Be, in its entirety because it rocks.
Excerpt from The Observation Room. Final illustration for the Observation Room.
It is Not Meant to Be, Tame Impala
“And I boast that it is meant to be
But in all honesty I don’t have a hope in hell”
To get back to Brandt’s voice, as soon as I played back what I had recorded (my voice in a slower tempo), I said aloud, “That’s how Carrie does Lance!”
By this I mean, Carrie Brownstein playing the role of Lance Oliver in Portlandia. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out how she was achieving such a manly voice for the character (the tempo may not be slowed down, but it sure sounds like it to me!). Her voice for the character also sounds kind of distorted and unnatural–on the verge of sounding demonic. It wasn’t until I started to slow down the tempo in my voice that I realized my voice was beginning to sound a lot like Carrie’s voice doing Lance’s voice. For Brandt’s voice, I slowed down the tempo to -6, which gives it a goofy-demon-like sound. Below, is one of my favorite Lance and Nina skits from Portlandia, The Pull Out King.
“I’m the pull out king.”
Pull out king commercials.
*Note–Eliot’s name used to be Tanith.
“Tanith,” Brandt scowls, “Your ridiculous and ineffective questions are holding back the group.”
“I can’t do this.” I blurt out in defeat and sit down on the chaise, trying to hold myself together.
Vespertina breaks her silence as note taker. “Revitalisant a la noix de coco,” she whispers.
“Vespertina! Don’t enable her!” Brandt shouts into the communication vent, causing feedback, and hurting our ears.
© Jacqueline Stuart 2009 – 2015