Contribute your voice to a dramatic Fallout podcast

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by credburn, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. credburn

    credburn First time out of the vault

    Feb 8, 2017
    Hey NMA dudes. I was a member here for many a years in the long ago, but for the most part I've just lurked around here. I mean, I guess I say that so you don't immediately look at my registration date and think it was all to advertise my podcast. It isn't; it's just that getting some actors together for this project was the impetus to re-register (old one lost long ago).

    I've always appreciated how NMA stood up against the -- well, seemingly the entire fucking Internet when it came to defending the merits of classic Fallout and pointing out the narrative and atmospheric missteps in the newer games. People don't seems to get why I think the classic game was the best and everything after was kind of...interesting attempts. I mean, I really love Fallout 2, and I enjoyed Tactics, and everyone seems to hate Brotherhood of Steel but I thought it was a fine, brainless hack 'n slash and so over the top that I don't's hard to take something seriously that doesn't take itself seriously.

    But anyway, my girlfriend and I are doing a project that requires a great deal of help. I know, I know... "my girlfriend and I..." projects are almost always a trainwreck. But we set up the podcast about a year ago and we're still doing it, so at least this isn't just some fleeting idea. Oh, I guess I should tell you what the podcast is.

    It's called The Spoony Bard's Aural Theatre. It is a podcast in which we adapt retro video games (or at least video games that don't already have voice acting) into a serialized radio drama, like something you'd have gathered around the radio back in the 50s to enjoy as a family or whatever families did back then. All the dialogue performed is EXACTLY as it appeared in the game, even if it is bad, or goofy, or just a poor localization. This is obviously a kind of nostalgia project -- nostalgia, I think, is what drives 95% of this. The first game we did was Final Fantasy IV. Actually, as I write this, we've still got one or two episodes to go until that season is finished. Which is why I'm coming to you now! Season 1 was kind of a test season, a proof of concept, and though it had a rocky start and is kind of awkward considering I'm voicing like 17 people in it, it did work, and it's pretty cool, if I do say so. It's the kind of podcast I really wish existed...and since it didn't, uh, well, it does now.

    The moment Girlfriend and I started working on this podcast, I had two games immediately in mind I wanted to do: Fallout 1 and Planescape: Torment. These two games were amongst my all time favorites for most of my life. Originally for Season 2 we were going to do a Shin Megami Tensei game but since Girlfriend is writing the script for FFIV and also is an actress and doing a lot of acty stuff, it gave me the opportunity to start on what was going to be a future project, Fallout 1.

    Well, what happened is I got really, really into this game and this project and so in the course of a month I played through the game, took over 4,000 screenshots and wrote a 100,000 page script, which I anticipate will span about eleven or twelve episodes.

    Now here's where I need you guys. I have about 138 characters that need voice work. About 20 of them are already voiced in-game, so that's that, and I'll narrate this story and my partner will voice the role of the protagonist so that in effect gets rid of a full 2/3 of the dialogue. But there's still about 1,000 lines that need to be covered. We have a lot of friends in the theatre down here, and some fans from the first season were eager to contribute, so that's fantastic, but there's still a huge amount of roles that are sitting empty. I suspect that given enough time I can find people in real life to help out, but I kind of also want this to be online within a month, so I'm trying to toss a big net out. And anyway, I definitely wanted to reach out to NMA people, the most hardest of hardcore Fallout fans.


    The way we've been doing this is, someone picks generally one or two big roles and a handful of supporting ones (for instance, you might voice, say, Ian, who has like 40 lines in the game, and then you also voice Raider 02 who has eight lines but they're all variations of "I'll kill you to death!", Mutant 05 and Kyle the Mechanic who has maybe five lines.)

    The Script

    Okay, let's see if I don't entirely derail this train of thought.

    The script itself is a little rough, but it's accurate. The Narrator lines are the only lines I've actually created; everything else is directly from the game itself. But the narration is subject to some alteration; you can ignore that, generally, since I'll be narrating it. But all those characters (besides the main character, Natalia and other characters already voiced in the game, and also a few that have already been selected by some helpful folks online and some people we know in real life) need someone to voice them. Here is the script, which I hope is easily accessible on Google Docs. I suck at the Google Docs and this computer seems to have a seizure when I try and use it so please tell me if I've really screwed it up.

    The SCRIPT:

    This is the entire game as I played through it, using one of the premade characters as the protagonist and trying to play it as best I can as a charismatic unarmed-combat expert naive Vault Dweller who pickpockets. I tried to talk to every notable NPC and perform every side quest that was interesting and didn't require me to go way out of my way for no reason to do. I wanted it to be believable that the main character might risk her neck to help out these people for reasons other than experience. I pretty much did every single quest in the game -- some quests are locked, depending on how you play, and since I was playing as not a raging psychopath there were certain raging psychopath quests that were unavailable. I tried to get as much dialogue out of everyone as possible, especially really interesting people like Set. Set is a ghoul in Necropolis who kind of talks in this jargon-laden beatnik freeverse, but unfortunately, I sort of screwed up my interactions with him. To get his full dialogue tree you have to do somethings before you do other things, or maybe after -- well, anyway, I didn't get it, so I had to kinda sorta cheat by digging through the dialogue files and stitching together my own tree. His dialogue is all accurate, but if you're a REAL hardcore Fallout fan, you may read/listen to that segment and say, "Hey, now Set wouldn't have said that if the water pump was already fixed!" But the average person I don't think would notice it. Nothing he says contradicts anything. So there's only a little bit of script doctoring to force certain interactions that SHOULD have been available but wasn't. Alas. Also, since a lot of the cut content is still there in the underlying code, I did lift a few dialogue lines that aren't actually in the game that you play -- not without a fan-patch, anyway, which I didn't use but I'm kind of kicking myself for it and when we do Fallout 2 I'm definitely going to.

    The script is a bit overbearing, especially if you're deciding what role you might want to do, and studying the role you have picked. There is an easy way to do this; simply create a temporary filter.

    If you select the entire spreadsheet (ctrl+a) and click on DATA > FILTER VIEWS > CREATE NEW TEMPORARY FILTER, it'll create handy little dropdown icons on the first row. You want to select Column B since that's where all the names are, and it'll let you indicate which roles are shown and which aren't. If you were to, say, be voicing The Master (which you won't, probably; it's already voiced and already pretty fucking creepy and awesome) then you would do so as indicated. You can view the ID # on the first column, which helps understand where in the script these lines fall. For The Master, all his dialogue is in one scene, but some characters have dialogue in the 1st, 5th, 8th and 10th episodes, so if you were to be doing the voice work for one of these characters it becomes essential to know where it is, especially in relation to whoever else is talking (which is probably just the protagonist; this game doesn't have very many three-way conversations) so you don't sound like someone reading from a translation or something.

    Most important, when voicing a character is to UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT. As I scrutinize the dialogue in this game it becomes very clear to me that different characters were written by different people with different styles of writing and varying degrees of English proficiency. I've tried to keep the script as true to the characters as possible, but there were times when I had to alter punctuation because a poorly placed comma can drastically change the way a conversation goes. I can't think of any specific example right now, and there were only a few changes, but I did have to more than once alter a dialogue ever so slightly so that it followed the demeanor of the character. That doesn't mean the dialogue is fixed...sometimes there is dialogue that is just awful and there's no excuse for it and no way to avoid it. For instance, there is one part where the main character can speak with a scribe in the Brotherhood of Steel. The dialogue exchange goes fine for most of it, but at one point you're given the line, "So you read books and stuff? That must mean you're smart!" or something like that. This is a stupid thing to say, it's entirely out of character, my INT is high enough that it's not alternative stupid-text, AND there's no other way to progress the dialogue except for telling them goodbye. Well, anyway, my point is, if you're going to voice 18 lines of a character, make sure you read what's going on AROUND the character, too.

    AND if you're voicing multiple characters, try to avoid picking two characters that are in the same scene unless you're confident in being able to create distinct voices for multiple people. It would be awkward to talk to a shop owner played by John Nomutantsallowed and then speak to the guard and have him sound exactly the same. This isn't Elder Scrolls, am i rite? You don't have to be Mel Blanc with a thousand different voices, either; if you like, you can just use your own voice! It's really up to you, but try and use discretion.

    YOU MUST HAVE AN OKAY MICROPHONE! You don't have to own a recording studio, but your microphone needs to be better than some XBox Call of Duty headset. You don't need to edit it; I can do all that. But there are some things I can't edit, like the raspy muffled underwater sound of a shitty mic.

    I guess that's it for now. If you want an idea of what the goal of this is, you can check out our first season at The first season is a bit rough, since it's just two of us, but you can get the idea. The primary reason for this thread is to start assigning roles. I hope to in one month have the first episode prepared; once the voice acting is all done, then all that's required of me is to do a lot of editing, which means half the job will be finished and then I can just release these episodes for the next ten weeks while we figure out what the next game is going to be (uh, for anyone interested in contributing your voice to THAT game, the next one will likely be Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devel Saga (which I know nothing about) followed by the SNES game Shadowrun.

    SO IN THIS THREAD Just reserve what role(s) you want. If you're eager to contribute, feel free to sign up for multiple roles. If you want to do a unique, character voice, you can, sure! Look, our standards for voice acting isn't super high. If you're incredibly terrible, then I might have to make a judgment call, but I suspect if you're willing to join our little thing here then you're at least confident enough in your own voice acting ability and so therefore I am as well. OH and I REALLY need people to voice some throwaway roles, like characters with only one line, or characters like, say, Raider Male 2 or whatever, who might have five lines of dialogue, four of which are "I'll get you!" but it's important -- VITAL -- that someone takes these roles. If you do get a role that has five or six of the same line, please voice each one uniquely. By that I mean, Raider 04's lines might be "You shouldn't have come here." "Die!" "Ouch!" "Die!" "You shouldn't have come here." "Ouch!" I could just reuse the one recording, but I'd rather not do it that way.

    SOME of these roles are currently being negotiated with in real life with real actors from the community theater. Nothing is really set in stone, and if you don't get the role you like perhaps I can work with you to find another.

    HERE is the Dropbox thing. When you're ready to upload the .wav or .mp3 or .zip or however you want to record your lines, just name the file(s) after the character you're voicing and upload it:

    Some podcast stuff:
    iTunes | Website | RSS

    Social etc:
    Twitter | Facebook

    You can email me privately at or at where Girlfriend might answer instead. She's not a major Fallout fan, but she's not dumb or anything.

    Oh, and uh, you know...if you WANT to actually listen to the podcast, that'd be great, too. Or tell people about it. Write an iTunes review. Well, whatever. Anyway, that's all for now. Phew.

    Oh: Oh, damn. I forgot. One other thing. This is based on Fallout 1, and so...based on the lore, the only reasonable way someone might have an accent is if they're from Vault 15, which (later lore, I guess) experimented with various cultures. Which is shy Shady Sands is run by an Indian when the rest of the known world is Caucasian and a handful of black people. So...what I'm saying is, unless you can fake an American accent really well, we probably can't use your voice.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
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  2. PlanHex

    PlanHex Useless layabout oTO Moderator Orderite

    Nov 4, 2007
    Well, I fail in the non-shitty-mic and American accent categories so can't help out, but just wanted to say I think this is pretty neat.
    Might check out the final fantasy thing. Do these make sense for people that haven't played the games? 'Cause I haven't played that.

    Also, with regard to PS:T, are you familiar with the novelizations of it? Because I'm guessing this entire concept is like the fan-novelization of PS:T but as an audio-book?
  3. naossano

    naossano Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Oct 19, 2006
    Good luck with your project. It fits well with the 20th anniversary of the franchise.
  4. Einhanderc7

    Einhanderc7 Vat dipped, grown and still oozing with perfection

    Apr 22, 2016
    My original post was based on the idea that you were Mr. Antwiler because of the Spoony moniker, however after discovering that you are in fact not this person I retract my initial offer for assistance based upon the fact that I am too busy, and you have no track record with those I have contacted.

    I wish you luck with your goal.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
  5. credburn

    credburn First time out of the vault

    Feb 8, 2017
    Well, nuts! Though I didn't read your unedited message so I'm not especially disappointed.

    Narrative it makes as much sense as the plot does in the game. You don't have to play it to understand what is happening, but it does rely pretty heavily on nostalgia. There are lots of sound effects, little quips that are nods to those who have played the game and understand why little things are significant in some way. To understand the podcast, you need only listen, but to really appreciate what we're doing, I think you need to at least be a fan of video games. That is to say, I think your average guy listening to it will just think it's a silly story with weird sound effects.

    I am aware of the novelization, but this wouldn't be based on that at all. I've heard the novelization is pretty good, but I should think the author took liberties in explaining context and thought processes and...whatever else goes into that. In our podcast, we don't ascribe anything that isn't explicitly shown on-screen. So like, for instance, it's pretty clear in FFIV that Cecil feels remorse over having taken part in the destruction of a town...we get this because we see a flashback and we see him with his head turned down. But it doesn't explicitly say he feels bad, so we don't say so. We imply it by telling what is happening; he reflects on the events and casts his head down.
  6. credburn

    credburn First time out of the vault

    Feb 8, 2017
    Hey, fellas! I don't mean to drag an old thread back up for my own self-serving purposes, but...well, I mean, actually I guess I do intend to do just that but I don't know how to word it in a way that doesn't make me look like a selfish attention grabbing jerk. So I won't do anything more with it, I'll just leave this here and, you know.

    I do this for you! The first episode is up and ten more should follow over the next five months. I have rounded up folk from the local theatre, NMA, somethingawful, reddit and some other folk I am just in contact with and together we recorded more than 3,000 lines of dialogue. Goodness! Thanks to all who helped.

    I don't make any money from this; in fact, since my partner and I just moved this podcast is requiring us to adhere to a kind of budget. But this is something we really enjoy doing; the whole project came about when I wondered if such a thing existed, and since it didn't, we wanted to make it happen!

    Anyway, thanks again, all. I hope you enjoy the episode; some things might be a little rough, but in the episodes to come I'm sure it'll smooth out. It certainly should sound better than the first episode of our first season!

    Oh, one more thing...there are a ton of little details and things that I think most people...or maybe all people won't immediately get, either because the references or whatever are so esoteric or maybe I did a shitty job of conveying what I wanted to.

    I have mentioned it before, maybe, but I wanted to say that I tried to include as much of the game's original text as possible. I, as a narrator, try to illustrate what is happening, but whenever possible it's the game that should tell the story. I, and this project merely act as a kind of interpreter. So, if you hear that twinkly sound, that "blin-bling" or...well, you know it. It's when you hold the left mouse button on something and a couple icons for available options appear. In this podcast, you may hear that sound, which is usually followed by a description. Since a lot of those descriptions are kind of...cheeky, they may sound weirdly contrasting to the narration, but...whatever, that's just how it is. I imagine anyone playing the game must experience much contrasts between themselves and the character and everything else. I don't know if that was a good or bad choice to do that, so let me know!
  7. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht I guess you're through, huh? Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    Sounds pretty cool, I'll give it a listen later.
    Somehow I missed this thread when it came up, but since I neither have a good mic nor an american accent (can't flush the german out of my voice) I couldn't have contributed anyway.
  8. Arnust

    Arnust Maybe you've seen it, maybe, in a dream...

    Feb 2, 2016
    Same, unless you need some underage potato Spanish accented English (I'm signing up for the Mordinos in advance) I wouldn't have been useful.
    Will give a listen to it and don't worry that much about "spamming", it's stuff going on.
  9. credburn

    credburn First time out of the vault

    Feb 8, 2017
    I should not have said anything about omitting people with accents. It's dumb; it's California. It would likely be mostly white folk from California, but it's still a pretty diverse place and not unrealistic to think German (or Mexican, or French, or Irish, or whatever) accents, language and culture would have been passed down the two or three generations it took for the vaults to open again.
  10. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht I guess you're through, huh? Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    Eh, maybe next season or whatever. Remind me to keep an eye on this, it definitely sounds cool. A Fallout radio drama is definitely not something I've seen before.
    Also, I'll post this in the news.
  11. MercenarySnake

    MercenarySnake Kept you waiting huh?

    Aug 22, 2015
    Well if you need more people for voice acting roles I wouldn't mind pitching in.
  12. Ben Soto

    Ben Soto Professional Salt Shaker

    Jul 7, 2014
    My voice is a bit high-pitched, but I've got the accent down pat. If you need any more VAs, drop me a line.
  13. credburn

    credburn First time out of the vault

    Feb 8, 2017
    MercenarySnake - you and I talked a bit already.

    Ben Soto - we can always use another voice, if your mic is of okay to good quality. Your pitch shouldn't make a difference for most characters, though perhaps I wouldn't use you for a mutant. I will in a little while send you a PM with what roles we have left for the upcoming episodes (I will know in a little bit; I'm somewhat disorganized right now.)

    By the way, I appreciate you rank the series but leave Fallout 4 out altogether.

    So in about fifteen minutes, I think, Episode 02 is released. I have to say, this is embarrassing to say but this is probably our worst episode. The fact is, I had to get this finished in only two days; most of the recordings were finished but some people kind of let me down. I love that you guys and other people have contributed your voices, but I must insist from here on that if you want to voice a character, please send me the voices for that character some time before two days before the episode is to be released.

    Anyway, the episode isn't bad but there was no real second run through for editing. The volume is a little loud in some places, there isn't enough time between each line of dialogue, Natalia and the other actors appear to have interpreted the scene differently when getting it all together. It's my fault, and I intend to go in and clean up a lot, re-record many lines, but that'll be later. My partner and I are very busy right now (full time jobs, moving, family visiting, and we're both now in a play) so...the next episode could be a little rough, too, but I learn with each episode and this one will be improved later and the next one will definitely be better. This episode might be kind of boring, too...unfortunately, given the premise of this podcast, it means little to no summarized narration when the characters can otherwise talk. Which means this episode, in which our hero enters the Hub, there is a lot of talking. But we do meet interesting folk...Bob the Iguana Guy, and then there's Dan the Brahmin Man, with whom Natalia gets into a weird argument with. I want to say something about that argument; if it sounds weird, it's because it is weird and oddly written. There's no reason for Natalia to lash out, or for Dan to do so. It's like a line in between was edited out or something. Anyway, we were going to cut it entirely but ultimately decided not to, and the reason is for people like the community here. I feel like real die-hard Fallout fans will appreciate the inclusion of dialogue that seems bizarre or off. It's also why we kept such lines like "You spoony bard!" from Final Fantasy IV: even bad translations, or awkward dialogue is part of the game, it's part of the experience for better or worse. But I would appreciate it anyway, that if you guys find some quirk we do in this podcast that you absolutely hate, let us know, so we can get better!

    That was a big block of text, wasn't it? I'm sorry. I also didn't want to bump this thread because I feel as though it's served its purpose. If the mods wish to close it, it would not bother me. If anyone else wants to contribute their voices, you may send me a PM, or an e-mail and we can work something out!
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  14. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht I guess you're through, huh? Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
  15. Ben Soto

    Ben Soto Professional Salt Shaker

    Jul 7, 2014
    That's mostly because I've only played, like, 15 minutes at a friend's house. I'm actually still kinda hyped for it.
  16. credburn

    credburn First time out of the vault

    Feb 8, 2017
    Hey, NMA dudes!

    I wanted to post one last time in this thread to say the podcast season is finally finished. It's eleven episodes long, about an hour each, and emcompasses the entirely of Fallout, from beginning to end, with all but a handful of quests (excluding quests that could not be tackled due to binary decisions made in the game) completed.

    Thanks again everyone who helped out. It was a lot of work, and it was my first attempt to tackle something like this with so many people, and uh, it's a learning experience and I will do better next time.

    We're taking a break before doing another season, but we definitely want to do one! In the meantime, I hope you guys enjoy it -- my partner and I don't make any money from this or anything, so it's really just a project with the hope to entertain people. If you like the podcast, tell some people about it!

    The last episode contains all the stats of the end-game, too, if anyone is interested.