Things to do list and going forward:

April 29, 2010

Namesake – Episode 2

The continuation of the Namesake project is more then possible now, all actors having assured me that they wish to carry on. Given how this podcast was made with local resources I am more then prepared to continuing writing and producing this piece.

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Chaotix – Into the Void

As I mentioned, my actors are almost begging me to do another podcast carrying on from Rise of the Atlas and currently its working title is ‘Into the Void’. Not much planned for this one and it might be some time before I get around to producing the first audio but I have some interesting ideas rattling around inside my head about it.

———–

Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 3

This is the most anxious project I want to tackle, an audio drama of my fanfiction ‘Blood Omen 3’. Up until now I hadn’t had much time to devote thought to anything outside of Namesake and Atlas, but now that I do I find myself really wanting to sink my teeth into it. Being a long standing Legacy of Kain fan this would be a dream come true for me.

I’ve been in contact with several professional voice actors on youtube (also fans of LOK, always an asset) and they’ve expressed intense interest – (they also flattered me and said that they had previous read my story and liked it).

I’ve been directed to http://voiceactingalliance.com  (a website I feel I may end up using a lot more in the future) and so very shortly I will have auditions up on their forum.

Final critical reflection – Chaotix – Rise of the Atlas:

April 29, 2010

Ever since I came out with my first fan based audio, A shadow over Chaotix, I have been raring to do another. Also I was greatly encouraged by my voice actors to do more and so I did. Unsurprisingly I have now the exact same response to the second Chaotix podcast – ‘great, now can we do more?’ It can be irritating at times but it doses help you gather support for future ideas.

I had the Sonic Unbound project going ever since I was at Hereward college (very long term) and ever since I had done audio work for my professional experience module last year, I had wanted to use those new skills for this hobby. In time it’s entirely possible it might turn all podcast, although I hope not as I think if I did that I’d be spending all my time doing it.

Much of the concepts for Atlas came from the God of war series games; especially the first part of the God of war 2 game where the protagonist was put against an animated Colossus of Rhodes. I wanted something of that calibre and so I came up with the Atlas; a massive ancient robot buried in the sands of the desert. When it came time to do a new podcast, I knew I wanted to try to give over the impression of size and awe and so most of the plot was formed I my head from that very idea.

Since Atlas is meant for my internet based audience, I had to include a lot more comic relief and a few elements of meme in order to catch their attention and draw it in. One such meme was the infamous online reference to ‘ITS OVER 9000’, a line from the anime Dragon Ball Z which has become a viral phenomenon over the internet.

I had quite a large set back at first, as a good many of my actors were either dragging their heals or had vanished off the face of the earth. This set my estimated release date back by at least two months.

Luckily these preliminary setbacks happened with plenty of time to space and so I was able to find some actors and replace others, which was indeed a shame as the original voice actors were better at it then their replacements.

What I learned if that informal voice actors quire prodding, a reminder every time you see them online in order to get the work done. I had to walk a bit of a tightrope as I need to encourage them to work hard but at the same time I don’t want to annoy them so much that they won’t work for me again.

However I managed to get them to do all the lines with time to spare.

I enjoyed working with my actors online quite a lot as we had quite a few group conversations over Skype and they often made plot change suggestions and this banter back and forth allowed us to collectively fine tune the script to make it better.

As Atlas was a great dealer longer then my ‘Namesake’ project, I naturally spent more time putting this podcast together then the other, although Namesake had a far longer and more extensive preproduction stage.

Overall I am quite happy with the way it came out, however if I did have the opportunity to go back and do it again; I might ask or hire someone to do unique music for the podcast, as even though there was no prohibition against it, I disliked using music and soundtracks from sources such as games and movies. However since the Atlas Podcast was a fan based work I suppose it was somewhat appropriate.

Final critical reflection – Namesake:

April 28, 2010

The choice to use Shakespearean mythology was made quite some time ago. I had always considered any mythology to be a rich course of imagination and resources for fiction and while my favourite bestiary was from Norse mythology; Shakespearean folklore had always had a special place for me ever since I heard read Macbeth. Of course, Shakespeare himself did what I am doing and adapted from various other mythologies to writes his tales. Which of course left me free to merge it even more with those original sources, but I intend to do that a lot more in later episode instalments.

I am a firm believer in a strong narrative, which is why when shown a clip of that abstract movie ‘Solaris’, apart from behind reminded of the ancient Greek pantheon by the name, it made no sense to me at all. It had no discernable story I could follow and as such, it did not interest me. The same is true for me with books, games and movies; special effects beside, if the story isn’t strong and new, then I’m not likely to see it. That was the policy that I set upon when trying to write the first draft of ‘Namesake’.

The rule is… never give an audience closure, especially on a first episode. If you want to keep them interested, then cliff hangers are the perfect bait.

Of course what I learned from going through the pre-production process was that it is VERY easy to get distracted by things to engage with. One time, I had been playing a detective video game that took place in the Vatican and I promptly went off and wrote a visit to the Vatican into my script, quite unnecessarily.

Practically, I did pick up new editing tricks using the Audacity; such as producing demonic echoes and a buzz as if someone was talking on a radio or a phone. It also helped that I had sound effects left over from my previous audio ‘Macbeth’ and could harvest them for re-use.

Character wise I am actually quite found of all of them and rather proud of how I managed to carry their personalities through in the audio. I would have been more satisfied with more time in which to do some strong character development, but since I am fully intending to carry on this series I expect I can do that later. The character I am most pleased with in terms of his creation is Oberon. Out of all of my characters that I created for this story, he commands the most powerful sense of presence.  

Arguably the most important thing I learned from my production time was that I needed to come to some understanding about my own techniques.

I know where to look for very competent voice actors, online and local and they are more than capable of excellent quality work. As my contact list of resource people grows on the internet, my potential network of actors might circle the world.

Of course this highlights my main error during the creation of the artefact, mostly done through preproduction. 

For quite some time I thought I had to change my production means to be more professional, but it wasn’t working practically for me.

Then I came to realise that it wasn’t necessary, that I didn’t need to do things the way professional radio producers did; that my present system was adapted well to my current resources.

I wasted a lot of time scrabbling to get industry actors and cooperation; no because I actually needed it but because I wanted to seem more professional. Wasting time and energy on this simply for the purpose of keeping up appearances was a big mistake.

The following question is if I hadn’t wasted all that time what would I have done differently? Looking back in hindsight I would have extended the length of the audio perhaps up to around 15 minutes and have included a lot more characters and events that ended up on the cutting room floor.

All in all I am quite happy with the way this turned out and it’s a great piece for which my Namesake productions can start itself on.

Chaotix- Rise of the Atlas Full Podcast

April 27, 2010

 

http://kojiokida.podomatic.com/entry/2010-04-27T08_44_27-07_00

Synopsis:

After foiling the plans of the vampire Victor, the chaotix are hired by the government of the nation of Logres to head up their supernatural response team. For their first mission they are teamed up with Mighty, an armadillo with a puffed up sense of his own self worth and then are sent to the desert bird kingdom to investigate reports of strange activity by the ruling house of Kukkuh. All the while the group is hunted by one of Victor’s vampire children, Xetera, seeking vengeance for the death of her master.

Main characters:

Vector: A crocodile with a talent for choosing the best paying and most hazardous jobs, Vector finds himself at odds with their new addition; Mighty the Armadillo.

Espio: A chameleon ninja, Espio seemed to be the most rational member of Chaotix and the counter balance to the eccentricities of the others. His ability to turn invisible back him an ideal espionage agent.

Charmy: The youngest of the Chaotix, Charmy bee is the word ‘manic’ incarnate. His personality is not yet matured but he had an intuitive sense for opportunity and uses it to his advantage.

Ray: A burned out hippie from a by gone era, Ray the flying squirrel is their professional link with the Logres government and their team. He knows how to work the bureaucrats of the service to keep official trouble out of their hair.

Mighty: The newest member of their group, Mighty the Armadillo is a professional agent for the Logres government. He doesn’t do things by the book, seeking his own way to get to their target; usually through whatever lies in his path. He is almost constantly in conflict with Vector’s own egotism.

Jet: The captain of the pirate airship, the Obsidian Eagle, this hawk has been a torn in the side of the ruling monarchy of the bird kingdom for years.

Xetera: The eldest vampiric child of the Vampire Victor, Xetera serves a mysterious organisation called the Unseelie court but her attention is constantly diverted by her desire to punish Chaotix for their interference, a meddling that resulted in the death of her maker.

Kukkuh: Kukkuh the 15th is a despot, ruling over the desert Bird Kingdom. He rules with an iron hand, strangling commerce with huge taxes. He seeks any way to expand his domain and his many archeologically excavations are not so much to find clues of the past but to search for ancient weapons.

Erazor Djinn: The last of an extinct race, Erazor finds himself in the modern age stranded and alone. Returning to the only land he knew as home, he watches over the desert; always observing.

Secondary characters:

Foust: Wing Commander of the dragon air force, Foust is the only dragon seated on the Logres round table council. He is Chaotix’s boss and not a dragon to cross.

Shahra: The daughter of Erazor djinn, Shahra survived by being magically sealed inside a ring by her father’s enemies.

Victor:  A vampire lord, one of the six original vampires, apparently killed by Chaotix when they foiled his scheme to bring forth the dark lord Argus. But his dark legacy follows them everywhere…

            Storm: The bosun of the Obsidian eagle and Jet’s personal bodyguard

Wave: The true ‘brains’ of the Obsidian eagle pirate ship, the helmswoman Wave the swallow.

Emerl: A sentient robotic entity created ages ago, entombed for thousands of years under the sands of the desert.

(Note: These characters are ALL property and copyright of SEGA, however these incarnations and character development are mine. This cover image was created by my good friend,  Aya, who is also the voice of the character ‘Charmy’ in this audio. Additionally, while this audio is complete I will drag out revealing this to my Sonic Unbound watchers as I intend to post a lot more ‘coming soon’ artwork on the site; to be mirrored here)

I will post final evaulations for both projects before Friday.

Coming soon post – ATLAS

April 25, 2010

A poster I produced for my SONICUNBOUND devianart site the Podcast will be up soon for both the blog and the website

100% Project complete and podcast ready for streaming

April 19, 2010

I had some technical difficulties in regards to my podcast provider. I was originally going to use the site ‘mypodcast.com’ but I had so many problems with their software and website, that I switched and am now being hosted on ‘PodOmatic.com’. I find their service far easier and much less hassle to use.

And as such I can post for the blog the complete finished project: Namesake – Episode 1

http://kojiokida.podomatic.com/entry/2010-04-21T01_47_14-07_00

Why have I called it Episode 1? Well because I do fully intend to continue this story and because this time I did it with resources close to home, I can do that at my own leisure rather then trying to organise it all with outside agencies.

With Namesake (at least episode one required for the fulfilment of university criteria) finished, I can now devote my time to completing the Atlas audio. I am still at something of an impasse as to whether or not I should post this to the namesake podcast, as technical the Atlas production is not related to my professional work.

Atlas Production: 80 % complete

April 15, 2010

Currently I am on schedule. I nearly have all the lines and sound effects and while I am perhaps a little behind, having estimated completion time of a month ago, I am making very good time.

I also have discovered that my original estimation of the Atlas Audio being an hour long is going to be off at least by twenty minutes. I now judge the overall time to be somewhere within 40 – 45 minutes.

I did have two setbacks. The first was an inconvenient time lapse that had a sound effect going on for several seconds longer than it was supposed to, ruining a good scene. I had to go back and change it after I had already compacted it down into an MP3 file.

This disrupted a good deal of work I had done since and I have to compensate, taking a whole day to do so.

The second setback I have is possibly a fatal one. I do not have original music available for my larger Chaotix audio. As with my previous audio I am using sound tracks from various other sources, such as anime and/or games.

While this solution suffices for fan based audios, I am not entirely certain that I can used soundtracks and then put forward this audio as part of my degree show package, being an issue of copyright and plagiarism at issue.

My personal inclination is that it should be alright as long as I do not demand any sort of payment, it is not purely the song itself and I do not claim ownership of the song in any respect.

I will bring this up before the degree show but if it does turn out that I can not do this publically then at the very least I have my Namesake audio.

My Current estimated date of completion of this audio is the 27th of April.

Namesake Character Artwork

April 13, 2010

Production reflection – Namesake

April 12, 2010

Current progress of complete artefact: = 99%

Once all my actors’ lines had been delivered, actual production took far less time than I thought it would. In fact, I had the entire audio mixed, edited and completed within the space of 24 hours. I am actually quite pleased with my production rate as the quality of my final product has not suffered because of the speed.

I have had reviews on my prototype done by people both locally and online and both reviewers wanted to know more. They both wanted to know ‘what was going to happen next’. That is the sign of a successful story, when you leave your audience wanting to know more.

I’ve left it currently at 99% because I have one thing missing, a beginning and end narration to announce the title and the end credits. As this is a small role and requires no great pains on my part to finish, I’m going to see if I can get Shelly to do this for me.

My father played the voice of Oberon, showing himself up to be quite the amateur dramatist. He also unintentionally gave Oberon a butch English accent which I hadn’t wanted but worked for the character in a strange sort of way.

Given the new narrative format that I was following, it was a tad difficult to incorporate the excellent OST done by Simon Gumbleton but I did manage it and the soundtrack does match the action and compliments it very well. I will have to remember to let him know of the Podcast when I put it up.

Sound effects were taken from the following sites:

Sounddogs.com

Freesound.org

Both are royalty free sites that I have used in production work of audios before and I recommend them as a vast source of SFX, especially Sounddogs.

All in all, I feel this has been my most well produced piece of audio yet, including the current Atlas audios I am still currently in the middle of doing.

All my attention will be focused on getting the Atlas audio done in time either for the 30th hand in date, or for the degree show.

Progress of my story

April 11, 2010

Early Story –

 

“The second war with the Fesonian Imperium is over and all ships are being recalled from the front lines. The Hudson is returning to Earth when it’s forced to make a ron-dauvu with a station.

At the station they are diverted to find out what happened to a scout team that was exploring the outer fringes of Human territory for planets for colonisation.

When they arrive they receive a distress signal from the station. When they go into orbit, they are unexpectedly bombarded with a shower of Vajra motors that rip the ship to pieces. Those that survive are forces to hot drop in drop ships, unprepared for landed and end up crashing on the frozen island to the west of Avalon.”

This was my original synopsis, for a story very unlike what I am creating now. Essentially ‘Shakespeare in Space’. It didn’t get very far at all. As such the Macbeth concept was dumped for a number of years for other fantasy until I revived the concept, in my very short lives comic:

Comic –

 

 

 

This really shows my early work and my developing art style, comparing to more recent works I have done.

 First version podcast –

 http://kojiokida.podomatic.com/entry/2010-04-25T00_01_05-07_00

Done last year, this podcast shows my first thoughts on creating the audio story. But This was early on in my introduction to audio work and so the flow didn;t fit entirely.

New Artwork –

 compare with my earlier comic work (the last picture is of oberon) I have improved the design and have taken on a different style of artwork since then (Okida is my artist name)

 

Images used to inspire:

 

 

Following inspirational images for character where taken from:

http://nosgoth.net/BO2/conceptart.html