Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tales Casting Call - Block 1

I'm now accepting auditions for several characters that appear in Tales of Elves and Trolls, episodes 1-3 of Series 1. Here are the details:

Please audition with the lines below, and send as 192kbps MP3 to:

Please remember to label your MP3s as follows:


Auditions close on August 14th.

Episode 1 “Troll Tree Removers”

Troll tree removers Agnor and Runkthussle receive a suspicious scroll from an elf named Sydor Goldenleaf, asking them to remove a tree in the Sighing Forest. Despite their reservations, they jump at the chance to cut down a tree in elven lands. The tree turns out to be a sentient oak named Faarenmul, who won’t be felled without a fight.

(troll tree remover, 30-40 years old)
Agnor is the quintessential gruff and bad-tempered troll. He loathes anything to do with elves, especially the trees he spends his time removing. He considers himself the smarter of the two brothers. He calls the shots with the tree removal business and doesn’t suffer fools. Like all trolls in Tales, he refers to himself in the third person.

Audition Lines:
“We’re in elven lands now. Agnor’s not seen trees like dese, and neither have you, you unobservant lump of rock.”
“Agnor can and will fell you, demon tree! Behold, his juggernaut!”

(troll tree remover, 30-40 years old)
Agnor’s younger brother, and partner in the tree removal business. He’s considered the less intelligent of the duo, but actually has more sense than his brother thanks to his inquisitive nature. He is constantly brow-beaten and doesn’t stand up for himself. His manner is far less gruff, almost endearing.

Audition Lines:
“Dere’s magic in dese trees, Brother. Runk doesn’t like it.”
“I wonder how many drakes it took to carry it all.”

(sentient oak, many centuries old, recurring character)
Having existed since the glory days of magic, Faarenmul is knowledgeable in ancient lore. He has grown insular and harbours contempt for the lesser creatures (except for the birds – his only companions). He dislikes trolls to the point of luring many to their deaths and carving their petrified corpses into decorative standing stones. He enunciates his words with care and his voice is deep and booming.

Audition Lines:
“Your names, trolls, and business here!”
“I existed long before trolls came down from the mountains to move like a blight across this land. Yet you think you can fell me like so much timber?”

Sydor Goldenleaf

(elven sorcerer, 30+ years old, recurring character)
Sydor starts out as a cold, calculating dark magician obsessed with reclaiming a lost magical artefact. Years of absorbing dark magic into his body have locked away his compassion and moral scruples. Sydor is eventually cleansed of dark magic and becomes a fragile, damaged creature. His quest for power is replaced by the drive to protect his orphaned niece, Lora – irregardless of his own well-being.

Audition Lines:
(evil Sydor)
“Agnor and Runkthussle. Good ... day to you.”
“You trolls have always been a greedy, ignorant bunch. But even I misjudged the depth of your stupidity.”
(good Sydor)
“I’ve suffered much these last eight years. To learn that my niece still lives lightens my heart no end.”

Episode 3 “To Go In Search of Trolls – Part 2”
Sticky and Lora have captured Gnorr the troll, only to discover he hasn’t any treasure.
Gnorr leads them to the lair of the Fellthorn Trolls, which is brimming with gold. But the bandits prove tough adversaries.

The Fellthorn Trolls
(troll bandits, any age)
This quartet, consisting of Amrok, Gan, Quern, and their leader Hobold, are all that remain of a once-mighty band of ruthless bandits. They refer to each other as brothers, but it’s unlikely they’re related. They are battle-scarred and ugly, with matted hair and zero personal hygiene. Gan, at least, walks with a limp. It’s theorised that Hobold became leader because he’s uglier than the others. Somewhat past their prime, they still strike fear into the hearts of elves with their reputation. Their speech is guttural and ill-educated. Hobold and Gan have the most lines, but four are needed for walla.

Audition Lines:
“Wha’s dis? An imp! Our luck improves by the second, Brothers!”
“Grab it! It’s good luck!”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

SFX Session

Thinking in terms of sound effects, you tend to listen to the world a little more intently. I've noticed, over the last few months, just how noisy the world is. Even when I'm walking in the woods, the background hum of the town can still be heard, and birds and breeze and squirrels. Fine if that's what you need, but these and myriad other sounds can intrude on an otherwise perfectly good recording.

This morning I set out to capture some studio-based sounds. Now, my studio is a large room in the basement. It's packed with junk so there's practically no reverb. The ceiling and walls are insulated, and I can close windows to keep the bulk of the traffic sound at bay, but it's not sound-proofed by any means. I turn off my PC and record with my netbook and USB Preamp to ensure the least amount of noise on my recordings. But today I was hampered by several factors, including: the sound of heavy rain, the council trimming grass along the highway with weed-whackers, someone mowing their lawn nearby, a noisy crow outside my window, and, most annoying of all, the neighbours nailing siding to their woodworking shop. Having recorded the bulk of what I wanted today and turned my PC back on, the pounding of nails and the cawing crow seem to have vanished. Oh well, them's the breaks.

Back to what I was saying about listening. I require a particular sound for my first episode of Tales, and hadn't quite worked out how to achieve it. Then last night while making a salad, it hit me. Not the salad - but the sound. So this afternoon I could be found squeezing what remained of a head of romaine lettuce in front of my CAD GXL2200 microphone.

Other objects I had in the studio today include a four-foot length of 6" duct pipe, a cardboard postal tube with end-caps, and some wind-chimes. What possible use have all these things in a fantasy adventure set in a quasi-medieval world, you may ask? Well, you'll have to wait and see....

Monday, July 4, 2011

It Begins...

Welcome to my new blog! As I'm about to embark on the most challenging creative project I've yet undertaken, the production of a full-cast audio drama, I've decided to chronicle its development here. You can expect everything from progress reports to detailed technical geek-speak about the production process (for which I make no apologies!).

The series in question is called 'Tales of Elves and Trolls,' based on my novel of the same name. Both the novel and the series is suitable for all age groups, but I'm uncertain as to whether the show will be given a G or a PG rating. It will be produced for Brokensea Audio Productions, who host a variety of highly entertaining audio dramas that are free to stream or download.

As of this posting, I have the first three scripts (of eight) of the first series prepared, and am in the process of collecting, creating, and editing original sound effects. I've also begun work on the music for the show, and will be covering that in more detail in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, here's the book trailer my good friend Stevie at Brokensea produced for me earlier in the year. It'll give you an idea what to expect from the finished show (if I can live up to his excellent production standards!):