Creating varying voices.

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mightyfelix
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Post by mightyfelix » April 18th, 2019, 9:45 am

Re accents, I only do them if I feel the text necessitates it. Sometimes a story may draw special attention to the fact of someone's accent, whether through narration or in fact phonetic representation of their speech. For my current (and very slow-moving) solo, I have several characters of this kind. I found that I could switch between my own voice and up to, say, two other voices fairly easily, but when it came time to add in the third voice, I just couldn't do it reliably. So, for one character who doesn't show up more than five or six times during the course of the story, I went and found every appearance of hers and recorded all of her lines in the book in one go. (Let's hope I didn't miss any.) Then I've been editing them in as I go through the rest of the book. If the text doesn't make any special mention of someone's voice/accent and/or how others react to their accent, even if it does mention where they're from, I just don't worry myself with attempting an accent.

I do think tempo can be extremely helpful in differentiating characters. (Note, I change my tempo in real time while recording. I don't think I would ever trust it to the "change tempo" effect during post-production.) In another book I've worked on, there is a set of twins, one of whom is often described as "drawling," and of whom the other is always quick and energetic. I've gotten good results from contrasting their speeches with one another by having the one speak slowly and lazily and the other chatter away as if there isn't enough time in the world to say all the words she wants to say.

KevinS
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Post by KevinS » April 18th, 2019, 11:00 am

Thanks for the viewpoint and suggestions.
E agora, José?

lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » April 23rd, 2019, 12:41 am

I don't want to contradict our lovely Lymiewithapurpose, but sometimes changes in speed of reading for certain characters can be effective. Not too exaggerated of course, but even changes of speed during a speech by one character can have an effect, such as slowing down for suspense, and sometimes speeding up for dramatic moments. Words can also be emphasised, not by volume but by giving the word more time. Even a sort of hesitation.

I agree that changing the pitch too much can be counterproductive. I've never tried changing the pitch in the editor - maybe I'll give that a try!

EDIT: (Good advice too from mightyfelix whose post I had missed, so I'm really reinforcing what she has said).

lymiewithpurpose
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Post by lymiewithpurpose » April 23rd, 2019, 6:05 am

lurcherlover wrote:
April 23rd, 2019, 12:41 am
I don't want to contradict our lovely Lymiewithapurpose, but sometimes changes in speed of reading for certain characters can be effective. Not too exaggerated of course, but even changes of speed during a speech by one character can have an effect, such as slowing down for suspense, and sometimes speeding up for dramatic moments. Words can also be emphasised, not by volume but by giving the word more time. Even a sort of hesitation.
I guess I didn't explain myself well enough then :D. I agree with you that changing speed can be a good and useful tool, I just think you need to watch how much you change it. I have tried to listen to audiobooks where people dramatically changed the speed for different characters, and it didn't work. There was no flow to the story and it just felt chunky. I do tend to do what you say, I sometimes speed up during action events and slow down when I feel like it calls for it. But what's hard for me are the people who talk so fast for one character that you can barely understand them and so slow that you get bored :cry:. So to sum it all up, yes, changes in tempo are a valuable tool that I use quite often, just make sure it doesn't go over the top! I hope I made myself clearer here :D
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lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » April 23rd, 2019, 11:36 am

Yes, and you make some excellent points.

SonOfTheExiles
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Post by SonOfTheExiles » April 24th, 2019, 11:05 pm

In Librivox voice characterisations, as in life, I am guided by what Harry, Peter and Spike would've done.

(For anyone who doesn't get the reference, I am talking about H.E.G.S., the Highly-Esteemed Goon Show).

Peter Sellers did most of the voices, Spike had a few, Harry was generally Neddy because he had what he himself described as a "laser-beam voice" ... whatever he did, he still sounded like himself. But Harry's "Neddy" character was always the anchor for each show, so don't discount a limited but nonetheless exceedingly excellent repertoire.

However, you may discover that you have more voice characterisations in you than you think. My accent is Australian, reasonably well-spoken at needful times, but capable of being broadened into something positively criminal-sounding as the need arises.

But try out the "foreign-sounding" accents too. (I realise, of course, that 7.5 billion people minus 25 million people find MY accent foreign-sounding :wink: ). You may achieve unexpected results. However, some things, it seem, are international. Sydney, Australia was originally founded as a prison colony and when this Australian essayed a Slavic accent for a gypsy role, Kitty (Sonia) informed me that I sounded like a member of the Russian Mafia. :lol:

Don't necessarily always be bound by the apparent intended characterisation of the voice in the play. Though it's a great sound, I can't do a New York Jewish accent. So when a theatrical agent with a surname indicating this accent came up, I tried my attempt at a Southern (tending towards Texan) accent. Sort of an Elvis mentor. I think it worked ... and it provided a contrast to Devorah's "Goldie".

So I say, read the role in the play aloud, and try a voice characterisation. Perhaps the first one you try will be "The One", but if you find yourself going "Nahh...", don't worry. Sometimes a great one can pop out all unawares. Just free-associate, and see what happens.


Cheers,
Chris
"Sorry, my tongue got in the way of my eye-tooth, and I couldn't see what I was saying..."
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KevinS
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Post by KevinS » April 25th, 2019, 3:17 am

Thanks very much, Chris. Most interesting.

My challenge is doing 'young' again. Alas... That boat has sailed.
E agora, José?

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