Furrywood has had its first event outside of a furry convention! And what a blast it was! The recordings from the Furrywood: Voice Acting
panel at BABSCon 2017 are now posted
A year ago, after wrapping up my voice acting panel at Biggest Little Fur Con, I was approached by a woman who introduced herself as staff for BABSCon, a brony convention in the San Francisco area. She said she really liked the panel and wondered if I could bring it to her convention. This was the first time I had been asked to go to a con outside the furry fandom, so there was no way I could say no! I agreed and she helped me get on the events schedule.
Trouble is, I didn't know anything about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic!! Realizing that my usual furry-themed scripts might not resonate the same way for bronies, I had to come up with MLP-friendly content. So in the weeks before the convention, I started up my Netflix account and began a brutal binge of six entire seasons of the show, watching most of them within two weeks. With only a few days before my panel was scheduled, I forced myself to the computer and began typing up whatever I could. I have a policy against using established characters in my scripts because they already have a voice attached to them and it removes the freedom panel attendees have to find their own voice. So I made up eight new characters based on what I had seen in the show and managed to write nine brand new scenes all in the space of a couple days. Phew!
And it worked! I had a great crew of very talented people show up to my panel. There was a ton of enthusiasm, and a lot of very gifted talents showing up, giving me some outstanding recordings to bring back. Was really happy with everything I got. But even more amazing was the quality of the staff at the con! There were so many people there to help me set up the gear, helping me pass out talent release forms, giving me a huge boost of assistance unlike any I had gotten at a convention before. On top of it all, they were supportive, friendly, just really great people giving me a lot of assistance. Coupled with the enthusiasm and talent in the crowd, it was a terrific experience.
One other point is that I changed the gear setup this time, going backwards a little bit. I was given just an hour with 15 minutes to set up and break down. Also, I wasn't staying at the hotel, so I had to carry all of my gear with me. That convinced me to replace the headworn microphones I've been using for a while to go back to the Audio-Technica AT4040
mics I once used for every recording. Coupled with the incredibly light and portable AirTurn goSTAND mic stands
, I was able to make a very portable setup. Using clips to hold up the paper scripts, I didn't need to bring my computer monitors as teleprompters, and because of that, I was able to record the audio using my iPad instead of my laptop. I was able to fit the whole package into one wheeled back, and the sound quality was outstanding! I'd forgotten just how good those AT4040s sound!!
I hope you all enjoy listening to these recordings as much as I had making them. A big thank you to everyone who attended and recorded! And also, thank you for your patience! I usually try to have my recordings done within a week, not the 3 weeks this took. But I had some family obligations to attend to. You know how it goes. :)
And now we're up to 524 recordings performed by 574 actors! Thanks, everyone!
Posted by Carrizo on Sun, 7 May 2017
What a difference a year makes! In 2016 only eight people showed up to my Voice Acting panel, but this year we packed the room! Of course, it helps when you're scheduled for the afternoon instead of 8am in the morning.
It was great to see so many furries excited about voice acting, and especially to see so many new faces! Furry Fiesta continues to grow every year, and with it bringing brand new voices to the panel. Remarkably, I added 12 new actors to the list, bringing Furrywood's total voice actor count to 558! Incredible!
I re-attempted recording face data at this panel, adding a webcam to the teleprompters. But it looks like two HD video streams is just too much for one lone USB port. While the hardware all worked fine, the data recorded is glitchy and has too many dropped frames for proper feature tracking. So it's back the drawing board!
But everything else about the panel worked well. The recordings came out clean, the teleprompters never failed, and there was just lots of enthusiasm in the room. So much, I wish it could have gone longer! So many people showed up, there was no way to record everyone who wanted to record in the 90 minutes I had. A few people asked me if there would be a chance to record later in the con, which sadly I couldn't since the panel space was all booked up. I apologize to everyone who wanted to record at TFF and didn't get a chance. I've already reached out to con staff to see if I can run two panels or an extended panel for next year to hopefully help more people get a chance to record. And it would help if they heard from attendees as well! If you went to the voice acting panel and didn't get a chance to record, write to convention programming and ask if there can be more voice acting next year!
Anyway, the recordings are all posted! You can find them right here: Furry Fiesta 2017
And just to mention, the Motion Capture panel went MUCH MUCH better this year than last, and we got some terrific data to show. Going to be next on my list to produce, so keep watching for some Texas-made furry animation soon! And thank you to everyone who attended my Furrywood panels! We're up to 516 performances made by 558 actors and still growing!
Posted by Carrizo on Sun, 2 Apr 2017
Furrywood has successfully outsourced to Canada! You can now find the 11 performances recorded at Vancoufur 2017 posted here: Vancoufur 2017
This was an exciting event for me as it was my first time taking Furrywood outside of the United States. Granted, not very far, but I hope this will be the first of many opportunities to take my recording gear out of the country and capture international voice talent. A big thank you to everyone who attended the voice acting panel at the con!
Beyond being my first appearance outside of the States, this was also my first time engineering the panel from a Windows laptop. The motion capture panel has demanded more out of my computer than my trusty 13" MacBook Pro can provide, so earlier this year I purchased a 15" Acer Predator. While I was able to get away with lugging that brute to my local Further Confusion con, I quickly learned there was no way I could fly with a 10 pound laptop. I returned the Acer and picked up a much lighter Asus ROG. Just before leaving for Vancouver, I had my mocap software on my Windows laptop and my voice acting software on my MacBook Pro with plans to take both. But when I realized how cumbersome that was going to be, I made a last minute decision to leave the MacBook at home. The first night of the con, I stayed up late furiously rewriting my recording software porting it to Windows. And I did it! Though I made the sacrifice of having to record 16-bit audio instead of 24-bit. Any audio nerds out there will understand my grief.
Thankfully, I've since corrected that issue and now can manage both voice acting and mocap with the same laptop. A lot easier to carry around airports!
The last thing I want to note is how I experienced something at Vancoufur I've never experienced before. The voice acting panel usually starts with a quick presentation introducing myself and talking about the equipment. Once I've explained how we're going to go through recording, I ask for the first volunteer. It's always tough to break the ice, so usually only a few hands go up for the first round. By the second, I usually have lots of hands going up. Vancoufur was the first time I ever had NO hands go up!! I like to think that Canadian furries are so polite, no one wanted to take away from anyone else's chance to record.
Eventually we got our first recording, and it was smooth sailing from then on out. As an extra bonus, I recorded Furrywood's 500th voice acting performance. Unbelievable! As of Vancoufur, there's been 508 performances given by 546 talented furry voice actors. Thank you every single one of you who has contributed your talents to the panel!
Next up are the recordings from Texas Furry Fiesta 2017, as well as motion capture samples! Hope to get some video posted here before too long!
Posted by Carrizo on Sat, 1 Apr 2017
After a highly successful outsourcing to Canada, it's time to take advantage of another entertainment industry tax shelter and pack up for Texas Furry Fiesta 2017
TFF seems to have become one of my places for experimental new Furrywood panels. Last year I held a Voice Recording panel, teaching techniques for improving dialogue recordings at home. And this year, by special request from a friend, I'm hosting a Foley panel. Wait, what? A FOLEY panel?!
Yeah, I'm scratching my head, too. Foley is the technique of recording sound effects live to picture. It's a fascinating field, very important to achieving quality sounds for movies. It's a fascinating topic at a furry convention, though, since foley is so important to bringing animation to life. While live action films often get "free" sound effects just from having a microphone on the set, in animation, there are no free sound effects and everything has to be done by hand. Which makes this process even more important to do and do right. I'm not 100% certain what we're going to do for that hour-- but since it's Furrywood, you know it'll involve audience participation! So bring your high heels!
Just like last year, I'll be hosting my Voice Acting and Motion Capture panels. And there will be some changes this year! Voice Acting has been improved, now with video teleprompters so you won't need to hold a script while you perform. I've also been working hard to get video cameras working as well to capture the actors as they perform. This is to try using facial tracking software to further animation characters faces in the motion capture panel. Which has been MASSIVELY upgraded...
Not going to beat around the bush here. I was super, SUPER disappointed with how Motion Capture went last year. The Kinect-based solution I was using failed to perform as expected in the lighting conditions that we had, and I simply hadn't prepared enough for the panel. And I apologize for that. I was so frustrated with my lack of preparedness that I tripled my efforts for Biggest Little Fur Con that year, which went extremely well. But I still wasn't happy with the Kinect. I've since purchased some Noitom Perception Neuron suits, motion capture suits that you wear, and have been getting much, MUCH better results. So for anyone who attended my mocap panel last year, please accept my apologies, and please if you're still interested in mocap, come to my panel this year! I promise it will be much, MUCH better than before! Better equipment, better results, better preparedness. This time I intend to put on a show in Texas!
The scripts for Furrywood: Voice Acting
have been picked, and you can find them listed below. I was so excited to see Ursula Vernon, the author/illustrator of the Digger graphic novel series, as a Guest of Honor for this year's con! And even better, she gave her permission to have three more scenes from Digger appear as scripts in the packet. Along with a fourth episode of Shellback, we've got four brand new scripts never before used!
Finally, as a final note to all the talented people who recorded at Vancoufur 2017, I'm very sorry that I haven't gotten your recordings edited yet! It's been a mad scramble ever since I got back from Canada, and I just wasn't able to take the time to edit the recordings this weekend. After I return from Furry Fiesta, Vancoufur will be my first priority, so I'll work hard to get your performances posted! Sorry to make you wait!!
Posted by Carrizo on Mon, 20 Mar 2017