Strange Talking Birds

Charlie talks to Pete Anders about Strange Birds and his role in the exciting new part of our collaborative project. 

 What are you working on Pete? 

Are we ready to tell people?

We can tease.

The elevator pitch for the project would be a "Strange Birds audioplay", what that means is that a group of people will get together and record some shenanigans. 

How did you find Strange Birds? 

I saw you, Bryan and Sarah posting the RP twitter threads and thought it was interesting and shelved it in my mind under interesting and then saw Sarah mentioning it on a periscope about it and thought “Hey, this is a thing from way back, I need to go check it out" and I sat down and read all of the chapters that were around at the time and thought "This is cool”.

 What about Strange Birds did you like? 

I think being a person that reads a lot, I found the format of collaborative storytelling very interesting and new. It’s not something you usually see, when you have books that are written by two authors or more, it’s always one concise thread of things and this is multiple voices telling the same story. It’s new and I like this!

What are the challenges for adapting from our original tweets?

Right now I am working on the first draft of the first chapter. I am having to adapt the narration to a third person perspective and experiment with how it would still work smoothly with the differing perspectives still and that’s the main challenge. Making it work and still having it be the same story. It will be interesting where the three writers have their own voices and then you (Charlie) have multiple NPCS/characters so it’s not just three voices but five, six, seven.

At the end of the day, I think it is going to be worth the effort. Spoken word is so different from the written word, it can boggle the mind. An audio play is different from an audiobook and we have multiple people working on it with editing and sound effects… 

Where do you think the audio play fits into current entertainment trends?

As a format you see the popularity of audiobooks and podcasts - people listen to these things on their way to work or jogging or just to listen to something and I think the audio only niche does have a place. It should have a market and space in this world. It’s exciting to have a new format that you didn’t think about when you started the project.

These characters are going to have a voice soon, this is kind of surreal for us. When you first came to us with the project idea we realised we hadn’t thought about the characters voices, so thank you for adding those details to our world.

That’s how I started with the whole audio play and voice acting - asking myself “how does so and so actually sound?” and just reading a few lines of a book out loud… sometimes in the middle of a crowded metro and I get looks and some people think I’m crazy.

Which character are you most looking forward to bringing life to? Which ones do you think will be a challenge?

I think, being a man, I can’t do the female voices.

Aw, I was looking forward to you doing Faye.

Well I can but they won’t sound as good. I thought about it but then I decided I would probably get a voice actress as it would sound much better than me doing falsetto. I am most looking forward to the female characters because I can easily play with how Ollie or Ellwood can sound but I can’t do that with the female characters. So I am looking forward to sitting down with our voice actresses (there’s more than one) and we’re going to see how they sound.

I am so excited. Hearing the Ellwood tests (which can be found HERE ) was such a weird moment. Good weird, but weird. I think not knowing what to expect because the only voices in our head were our own and here you were going to the effort of recording yourself saying the words...

Weird thing is, the Ellwood tests were not really something I had planned. I was just working on the script and I sat down to see how it sounds and it sounded ok, very impromptu and far from finished but it made me think “this is something that’s really happening then”.

Giving life to a voice and it’s easier to add the intonation and subtext in a voice than it can be on the written page, where in the novel you might have to be more explicit we can use tone and pauses.

It's funny you started with Ellwood but he doesn’t really appear in Chapter One until the end and he’s the second main character. Who is your favourite character?

Nessie. She’s the first character we see and I really like the way Nessie is and acts, the whole concept of living with dragons her whole life and now she’s in a lowkin world with people like her, not being flying lizards.

Dragons: HEY!

Well, they are. But anyway, yes, that's why I like Nessie. She’s just thrust into this new unusual world and the others all know how things work but this is a recurring theme with me - I like seeing things that are different and taken out of their element and how they interact with others.

Which character do you think you are most like?

I’d like to fancy myself as a mad scientist type, a dreamer and an inventor so I’m probably going to say Ollie.

Big thank you to Pete and all of our collaborators for joining us on this project. Please do keep an eye out for more updates on the audioplay and much much more, you can find news on our news page or follow our tweets!