Trade secrets. How did you become better?
  • I've seen some people like Crazed Rambling for example. They started with quite average quality and over tens of hours of practice grew into quite enjoyable AB-readers. And I wondered, what exactly made them better? What did they learn? What hacks did they discover and started to use?

    I want stories! Stories of AB-readers!
  • For me? Practice. That's just it, like you said: tens of hours of practice. Pony fanfiction has the general tendency of being ridiculously long. Project Horizons is still far from over and it's already rivaling Sartre's In Search Of Lost Time in terms of lenght, so there's plenty of material to go over.

    When I started making an audiobook (or, rather, a dramatic reading) of PH in January I had practically no experience whatsoever in both live acting or voice acting. It's not been too long since then, I'm still not a fan of my work and I realize I have enormous room for improvement... but when I happen to listen to my earliest recordings, I positively cringe.

    So, it's a matter of practicing, really. And, of course, enjoying what you do. But who in their sane mind wouldn't enjoy lending their voices to technicolor marshmellow ponies? :p
  • This kind of the nature of the work. As far as voice at least. You see this same kind of thing for almost any TV and especially anything that is animated. For a current Simpsons or Family guy...then watch the first few episodes and you'll note that all the characters feel stiff and forced in comparison. It takes time to settle into a role. I've noted this in my own work on FOE: Heroes. Recently going back and listening to the Prologue I the point I'm going to redo it as now I'm much more settled into the main characters and the world in general.
  • Yeah, redoing the first chapters would definitely be a smart idea, but PH is so damn long that if I started making do-overs I'd probably reach my goal by the end of the next decade.
  • I would say that improvement for me is a matter of 3 things. 1. Practise absolutely is the mainstay of improvement. I cannot recall when one story was not just a little bit better than the preceding one. This is very satisfying. 2. Experimentation is excellent, both in terms of learning what works as well as what does not. The key to successful experimentation is being able to recognize which variable in the experiment made the difference. 3. Love the words. I cannot express how important this seemingly quirky idea is to me. We do Pony stories. We get to choose. The first thing I do when I see a promising story is to read a few paragraphs out loud. Either I will fall in love with the words (often the story content is unrelated to this) or I will not. If I do not love the way the story sounds coming from my mouth I will not read it. I have passed over recording many stories which made for fun reading silently because they just did not have that one virtue. And I have recorded at least a couple that I would not have read, if not aloud. When I find that combination where the author has both assembled the sentences beautifully and expressed his ideas clearly and elegantly then I can put my heart and soul into the work, lose myself in it. This may sound a tad crazy but it is a formula which will yield good results.
  • Well said Illya!  Especially for 3.  I get into the words by getting into the characters.  That is to say I very much become the characters.  Much the same for when writing..get lost in that and you ride the emotions and when the words are good and it's a good scene.   I love playing Hired Gun/Silver Storm...such a fun grump (but a big softy under it all) to ride along with.