All posts by Leo Cosh

#AudioDramaSunday: Finding Your Voice

Hey folks, Leo here, with some more sound advice for this Audio Drama Sunday!

This time it’s about characterisation  then a little focus for creating those voices in the booth.

First things first: remember that inspiration can come from anywhere, not just a character’s backstory or the universe’s preconceptions.

Ask yourself whether anything else inspired the way you imagine that character’s demeanour – a friend? a family member? the mannerisms you once heard a celebrity used during an interview? Then, take a note on how that builds the character in the mind of others in your team. There will be different interpretations between different people, and that perspective can help build the voice for your characters.

Beg, borrow and steal!

When you need to get into character, consider mannerisms and body language for the booth. If you’ve discussed influences on the character with the rest of the team, such as film characters or specific people, study recordings of them! Even if you’re not aiming to mimic or create an impression, there may be good hooks or potential trigger lines to harness. (Trigger lines are catch phrases that help you get into the zone for a specific character. I’ll be covering those in more detail another time!)

Musicality can help reveal speech patterns – listen to the rhythms dialects adopt, consider listening to songs in those accents or languages and mimic. You’re not looking for fluency here; instead, you want to get accustomed to individual sounds and break them down so you can reapply them. Consider the difference between when someone speaks versus when they sing; do they find themselves going into a higher register, drawling or emphasising certain vowels compared to their speech?

Research Accents!

If you really want to nail down an accent, perhaps even with regional accuracy, I have found one particular resource invaluable – the International Dialects of English Archive: https://www.dialectsarchive.com/

IDEA has a world map of global English speakers reading set pieces and then completing an interview about the reader’s background. There are tons of recordings and most have accompanying transcripts – I would suggest picking a selection of recordings for your target accents and then mimic or practice away!

This is part of an ongoing series of articles I’m writing about our experiences of writing and performing audio dramas for the EraScapes division of Shades of Vengeance. If you’d like to get involved with our projects in some capacity, please feel free to contact us at erascapes@sovcomics.com!

– Leo

#AudioDramaSunday: Audiobooks, fear, and you!

Hey folks! Time for another #AudioDramaSunday post.

This time, I want to talk about how to record audiobooks. In particular, on our Survival Horror anthology Life On Gaia (https://sovcomics.com/product/life-on-gaia-audio-book/) – there were a lot of lessons I learned during and after recording!

Preparation is key!
Warming up is ideal to set the scene. Vocal warmups can help with your overall headspace as well – plan for it every time and recording will go more smoothly.

Pacing takes practice.
In a sequence of short stories, like Life on Gaia, every story will have a different feel. Remember that you’re not just a narrator and there are different characters to get across to your listeners. Characters have different pacing to each other at times, and reading any dialogue once as a narrator and then again ‘in-character’ was a big help for me!

Pickups happen for a reason!
Sometimes you know you want another pass at that last sentence, or the director knows your rhythm is off. Rushing through will just mean you miss stuff, so never be afraid get another take just in case.

Pause when things get heavy.
Sometimes stories go into dark places, and there were times during Life on Gaia where we finished one story and knew we were either done for the day or needed a few minutes to change perspective. Emotions will leap from the page and affect you, it’s part of great storytelling, so know when to take that break.

I hope these four Ps are helpful! If you’d like to hear the results of these and more lessons, be sure to check out Life on Gaia, available on our website right now: https://sovcomics.com/product/life-on-gaia-audio-book/

– Leo

#AudioDramaSunday Music: How to work with it and where to find it!

Hey Folks!

Last week, I talked about the sound design of A Titan’s Rise. Today, I want to dive into how music can make your world pop. We’ve used music to boost our Audio Dramas since before we had brilliant composers on the Erascapes team – I want to show you how we found them by looking at the original Radio Free Taranis episodes.

Our podcast set around Midnight Terry’s anti-establishment rants needed music to break things up, so the writers’ room started by talking about what genres would best suit the mood and then I went on a journey!

Enter http://dig.ccmixter.org/

This fabulous network of Creative Commons musicians and remixers created a full genre archive that lets you search by instrument, mood or theme! No matter the size and scale of your ideas you’ll be able to find something to get creativity flowing.

One piece of advice – Make sure you check the full terms of the Creative Commons usage license on the track, as it varies depending on the creator and even the track sometimes!

If you want to hear what we built by doing this, you can check out Radio Free Taranis on audible right now! https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/B07XVT4X1J/?source_code=AUKFrDlWS02231890H6-BK-ACX0-164477&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_164477_rh_uk

– Leo

#AudioDramaSunday Spotlight: The Sounds of A Titan’s Rise

Hello everybody!

Now that the Kickstarter is funded I wanted to dig a little deeper into a few aspects of A Titan’s Rise (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erascapes/a-titans-rise-a-cyberpunk-full-cast-audio-drama?ref=1tx0ci)!

Did you know that we recorded our own sound effects? We felt it was important to fully craft the unique nature of the Consortium setting and give extra support to our fabulous voice actors.

We spent two days recording SFX that included combat, footsteps and even machine parts for the tech, appliances and vehicles that you hear as we explore the Consortium. From USB Fans and smoked salmon, to combat boots and watermelons, we used a huge variety of props in surprising ways!

Here are my top tips for those of you starting out in sound design:

– Sounds are deceptive!
As long as you reach your end goal, you don’t necessarily need to replicate ‘accurate’ noises (I know this will come as a shock, but we didn’t have a faster-than-light engine core lying around to record!).

– Use your space!
Take your time as you set up each effect. Position your mic carefully and don’t forget that, sometimes having your artist change position can give you more variety.

– Always have a back-up!
If you’re recording object damage or using fragile props make sure you have an extra or alternative – only having the ability for one take is a recipe for disaster!

– Be a team!
You need at least one person to monitor your recordings as they to make sure things come out alright!

You can hear what these basic approaches and more brought to life in our samples on the Kickstarter and through the full version of A Titan’s Rise, available here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erascapes/a-titans-rise-a-cyberpunk-full-cast-audio-drama?ref=1tx0ci

– Leo

Spotlight: Era: The Chosen

Today’s Spotlight is about one of our newer RPGs that really tackles the psychological and supernatural aspects of horror.

You are a member of one of the few defenders of humanity fighting against an unseen enemy. The five clans who became known as ‘The Chosen’ have been fighting this enemy – the Anonassi – for centuries and an arms race has resulted: the Chosen’s modernisation and ingenuity versus the Anonassi’s biological adaptation.

Throughout with an inter-generational conflict set in the Renaissance, Industrial Revolution or Modern eras.

Players have to contend with Terror: every encounter leaves scars, mentally and physically, and when players encounter these triggers they have to face the insanity with willpower rolls

Will you surpass your fears and earn a trophy to remind you or your resolve? Or will the terror break you, leaving you one of the many Chosen left catatonic by the enemy?

If you’re interested in learning all about the Aether, Lost lands and more about the Chosen feel free to find more on Drive Thru RPG https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/287797/Era-The-Chosen–Core-Rulebook?manufacturers_id=8156

Spotlight: Era The Empowered – Artemis

Today we’re taking a dive into the Era: The Empowered universe and learning about Artemis – the supposed leader of the Old Gods. This group awaken to “reclaim” Terra.

Before engaging in battle with the hero team Aegis, the ‘Goddess of the Hunt’ makes herself known with a live broadcast over Terra, and a challenge to her foes.

Introducing of the core events in the Empowered timeline, Artemis’ reveal leads to An awakening of more Gods for Aegis to overcome: you can learn more about them in the Era: The Empowered RPG.

Interested in hearing more? Artemis’ arrival is one of our first EraScapes that you can listen to right now! https://soundcloud.com/erascapes/era-the-empowered-artemis

Spotlight: Blue-Shift – Frenemies

The most infamous day of February is days away, a time for dates, gifts, and frenemies!

You read that right – especially if you’re a speedster named Blue-Shift.

The fastest person on the planet is not only playable in our RPG but her story is being told in our fabulous comics!

In “Frenemies”, you get a glimpse into a vigilante’s work-life balance, trying to make civilian life work while also donning her crime-fighting armour. When her Empowered life collides with her secret identity, she’ll have to make some hard choices.

Check out the link below if you want to see the beginning of Blue-Shift’s balancing act in issue 1 and see what else is in store for her in issue 2, when a new foe appears!

Get it on our store: https://sovcomics.com/product/blue-shift-digital/

Spotlight: Era Survival – Colony

Since spring is still a while away, make use of the grey skies and winter cold for some extra ambience as you try to work together to overcome the apocalypse!

In Era: Survival – Colony, band together as you choose your role to organise and defend against the threats towards your settlement: natural, mutant and man-made.

Take the role of the Leader, the Recruiter, the Salvager or the Defender in this 1-4 player game, each with their own important responsibilities in keeping the colony running.

For those of you who love a challenge, this card game offers an onslaught of disaster that you have to overcome! Tou may have repelled some attackers or even surpassed infection, but could famine be your downfall?
https://sovcomics.com/product/era-survival-colony/

WILL YOU SURVIVE?

Spotlight: Why we love Era: Lyres

Greetings Roleplayers, Storytellers, and those who love a laugh!

With one of our favourite conventions, CON-Tingency, on the horizon, I thought it was time to tell you a little bit more about Era: Lyres; our take on low fantasy storytelling. This is a game about grabbing all the glory with none of the bloodshed (because that sounds dangerous!).

We have combined the best elements of roleplaying and co-operative problem solving – after the players think up a brief idea, such as ‘that time you robbed a dragon’s horde’, you each take turns regaling the audience of the tavern, ballroom, or even palace with your heroics.

But watch out! you may have to roll for displays of your prowess… and fix your story in the process!

This flexibility is why I think it’s awesome – on top of the Gamemaster providing you with a (hopefully) engaged audience, your teammates provide you with plenty of opportunities for recurring jokes, thinking on the fly and general silliness as you build your story turn by turn.

This is also a perfect foray for first time roleplayers who want to learn about staying in character, so grab your dice, character sheet and broadsword!

The Adventure awaits on our store! – https://sovcomics.com/product/era-lyres-pocket-edition-digital/

— Leo

Spotlight: Radio Free Taranis

Good Evening! With Valentine’s Day only a month away (!) This spotlight is for all you cyber-cupids out there; on Radio Free Taranis you can join anti-Consortium lothario Midnight Terry for the best pick up lines this side of the future.

Get suggestions for conversation starters and memorable opening lines you’d never have thought of, such as:

“I’m Midnight Terry and I’m here to reach into your mind and inject some truth into your brain!”

“You’ve wandered into the only place where you can hear the raw, uncut truth…”

“Come get a dose of reality that’s sure to curl your toes!”

However, if some of you want a break from romance, then the other side of Terry’s rambling may be more to your taste. Set to give you a new perspective on life in the Consortium – outside of corporate episionage or the Resistance – this is about Terry’s quest for justice.

For a taster, we have a preview playlist over at Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/erascapes/sets/radio-free-taranis-previews

And Season 1 will be available here soon!

Happy listening!

— Leo

Spotlight: Tales of The Empowered Vol. 2

Hey folks! I hope your New Year is off to a super start!

Speaking of “super”, those of you who want some more superhero action have come to the right place: we’re expanding our Era: The Empowered Universe with another “Tales of the Empowered” book!

Like volume 1, this anthology collects heroic exploits, breathing more life into the Empowered universe – With volume 2 on the horizon now is your chance to add a hero to our canon by joining our Kickstarter – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/tales-of-the-empowered-2?ref=98m4p5

If you’re interested in how “Tales of the Empowered” sounds, here’s a story from volume 1: Martian Pants Man versus Technodile! – https://soundcloud.com/erascapes/era-the-empowered-story-1-technodile

— Leo

A New Year, A Living Campaign!

As the New Year brings new opportunities for all, there are more futures to consider.

One way to make your mark is to change the Consortium forever: our Living Campaign will start at the end of January 2020!

A Living Campaign allows YOU to shape the future of the Consortium by sending us the results of your sessions (via E-mail to publishing@sovcomics.com or on Discord – https://discord.gg/6C4H9Cv ). Ed will change the areas of influence for the Consortium and the Resistance according to what happens personally, and that will mean everyone is affected by your experience!

What happens in the Living Campaign will shape the world for the upcoming Consortium book, which will begin its story in 452CE, so your characters may even be featured if you contribute…

All expansions are allowed, so you can customise your experience – take the fight to cyberspace, trade routes or the minds of your enemies.

N.B. If you got The Era Zone and have issue #3, you can send us a message NOW to shape the starting position for everyone else!

2020 is your chance to make your mark on the Consortium, so choose your faction and fight for control!

A great place to get started is with our Definitive Edition, with includes plenty of expanded story and genre-bending GM tips. You can get it here: https://sovcomics.com/product/era-consortium-definitive-edition-rulebook-digital/

Happy New Year from the Shades of Vengeance team, and here’s to some new opportunities!

– Leo

Spotlight: Era Zone #4

Happy Christmas Eve all!

As the nights are drawing in, we have a fantastic offering for those of you interested in all things Era D10.

Era Zone #4 is the fourth installment in our zine for all things relating to Era roleplaying! This year, it has included campaign sessions, character profiles and more – all inspiring content for you to enjoy!

Best of all, it’s now available on Drive Thru RPG
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/296180/The-Era-Zone-4-November-2019?src=newest

Happy playing and a Merry Christmas from SoV!

– Leo