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The Order of Oddfish

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“OwlyVoices” Makes a Full-Cast Audio Adaptation of Chapter One of The Order of Odd-Fish

May 23, 2016

A few months ago I found something terrific on the Internet. A group of super-talented people had taken the first chapter of The Order of Odd-Fish and recorded it as an audio drama, complete with sound effects, music, narrator, different actors for all the parts, everything! I was floored by how good it was. Such engaged and committed performances! The sound and music and editing were so well-done! You can hear Part 1 through the video above; parts 2 and 3 are below.

Naturally I had to get in touch with the person behind this!

Her name is Kirsten, and she’s a 21-year-old voice actor and writer (you can follow her on Tumblr at owlyvoices.tumblr.com for more voice acting, plus updates and casting calls for Order of Odd-Fish and other projects). I asked her why she chose this book and she wrote back:

Well, I’ve been a big fan of Order of Odd-Fish for a few years now (I’ve read it at least 9 times, honestly) . . . I really wanted to hear what these amazing characters would sound like if they had actual, audible voices, and I wanted to try and introduce the book to other people, too.

I first found the book at my public library about 5 or 6 years ago when I was looking for something to do a book report on. I thought the cover looked really weird (it was the hardcover edition), and the synopsis seemed pretty interesting, so I went ahead and checked it out. Now, it’s my favorite book, and I actually own two copies.

First of all: thank you! Secondly: hooray for public libraries! It’s inspiring for me when folks just find my book randomly, on their own, and end up digging it.

Here’s part 2 of the recording:

I asked Kirsten what particular challenges she had in recording this. Kirsten wrote back,

For me, there were three layers of challenges. First, I had to type up the first chapter of the book so that the voice actors would have a script to follow. I actually missed a few lines here and there and didn’t catch them until the actors had already sent me their completed lines, whoops. Then, as the narrator, I had to try and not flub up anywhere (I flubbed a lot, though), and try to make my voice sound half as interesting as the book was. Finally, as the editor, I had the challenge of trying to fit everyone’s lines in where I wanted them, so that it sounded natural and had good timing. Since everyone recorded using different audio equipment and settings, too, I had to try and edit everything to sound at least similar enough that it was possible the characters were all in the same room together. Oh, and finding just the right royalty-free music and sound effects was pretty hard, too!

Fantasy, who plays Jo on the recording, talked about the recording too:

The challenges I faced would have to be trying not to laugh. Haha. It is a fun book to read through if you want to get a good laugh out of. Also trying to get the emotions so it matches the character but it was a fun process because I then get to see what ways I can portray this character so it fits for who she is . . . I learned a better understanding of Jo’s character and being able to put myself in her situation. When you do whether your acting out the character or not, you get deeper and deeper into what goes on.

Leara Morris-Clark (who played the eggplant lady as well as providing additional background voices) added, “I was mostly challenged by doing the background chatter. I am not very good at that.” Nonsense, Leara! You were great, as was everyone else!

Here’s part 3 of the recording:

The director Kristen concluded with,

I learned that editing larger-scale audio is pretty hard sometimes, but actually tons of fun! And that adding music in just the right place really helps hide weird tones in audio recordings . . . As of now, we’re planning on recording a few more scenes from the book! And by “a few,” I mean . . . a lot. I really need to narrow down the choices, pick just a few. The next scene we’ll be doing will either be Sefino’s introduction (in which case, we will need to find a Sefino), or the scene from the Dust Creek Cafe (in which case, we will need to find several old people). Either way, it’s going to be a blast!

And I know it will sound great!

Thanks so much for making these recordings. I feel very lucky and honored to have my book be the focus of your talent and hard work. I can’t wait to hear more!

And folks, you can check out more of Kirsten and friends and all her great projects at owlyvoices.tumblr.com.