Raising the Bar(d)

Recently I replayed some of my earliest character voicing, which I do from time to time to compare the quality to that of present day.  Now, with the voiceover training, and experiences I’ve had through making audiobooks, the difference is very noticeable.

I began voice acting roughly 3 years ago, when I joined the computer gaming community, playing Skyrim, specifically Interesting NPCs. I found it marvelously enjoying, and I was quite proud of my work, even becoming a popular sought-after voice for several mods.  Then I created Anna NPCs.  Like I said, I was proud of the voice acting… at the time.  But compared to what I can do now, I’ll be honest… it kinda sucks.  I wish I could redo all those roles.  But unfortunately that would take waaaaayyyy too much time.

It’s been quite an interesting journey, and I’ve had a vast amount of improvement, particularly in this past year after taking a workshop last November with John St Jon.  To quote the lovable Sam Gamgee, “There’s an eye opener, and no mistake!”  That was when I decided to get seriously involved in voiceover, launching my “second career” in January this year.  I entered into training with Such-A-Voice, joined ACX (audiobook production), made myself business cards, a new website, created a company name and brand Castle Audio Productionsand jumped in on the social media scene.  I even took a gulp and began experimenting with the dreaded M-word… Marketing!


The latest step in my journey has been learning how to improve my audio files.  So far I’ve been doing just the basic minimal processing requirements for mods and audiobooks, mainly because that “technical stuff” baffles the bejezzus out of me, and I’d rather just do what’s necessary than risk over-processing when I don’t understand the rest.  The fact that many online videos and tutorials all have different opinions about how files should be edited, and “it’s an art, you’ll have to experiment to find what’s right for you” really just add to my confusion.  It seemed to me that Compress, EQ, Normalize, and Limiter all do very similar things, so why do I need to do all of them?  Fortunately, I have an ex-audio engineer nearby (my dear husband), who took some time to educate me.  I didn’t realize EQ has be tailored to a person’s individual voice!  That makes it even more daunting.

I can’t wait to get my professional demos done, which will be soon!  They’ll have scripts, coaching, and editing all specific to my voice.  The Bar(d) has been raised.  My performance, and my mastering, are of much better quality now.  Keep on soaring 8^)  Happy Halloween!

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Surprise Wedding Guest


My new Nord was testing my custom wedding for Valyen (in my new world space Druid grove) when who should show up as a guest but a young Bosmer who introduced himself as Yarbrough!  My other Dragonborns were of course familiar with him, but this was the first time he’d popped up so unexpected, and yet so conveniently.

How fitting, a bard at a wedding, albeit a bit unusual.  I mean, a Bosmer bard who plays Nord songs??  I asked to play with him, but as this was just a test character, I had not completed the Bards quest, so I played badly in Warrior’s Life.   Nevertheless, my happily newly wed Nord then requested Mogo’s Mead (gotta get the guests drinking, right?) and tossed him a few coins.

I can only assume, on the back end, that Yarbrough is programmed to be a Player “friend” from the start, and that’s why he showed up.



Tools and Tidbits

And that's when I told him
And I said, “Look lady, if your pipes are leaking water, I’m not going to waste my time deactivating them.  I’m the Dwarvenborn, not your personal plumber.”

Here are some more newsy bits and baubles that I didn’t touch on in the last post because they did not exist yet, at least in my solipsistic view of the universe.

  • On the Bioware forums there are some nascent tools available for DAI modding for those interested. Since this is a game where the player has a voice, the only thing I’d personally be interested in adding are background scenes and atmosphere NPCs who dish out one-liners with no response from the Inquisitor. There are a couple in Skyhold, for instance, that you click on and they have about a dozen sound files set to random.
  • Anna Castiglioni did a mock radio show  interview with James McLauchlan complete with Skyrim ad breaks to help promote her mod.
  • For those waiting on audition decisions, I’ve made a few but I’m waiting to confirm some stuff like mic checks and things of that nature, will be sending out emails shortly.
  • Podcasts might return soon as well, I know at least Alice and I ran into a snag during the holidays and never got a chance to record. I’ve pretty much abandoned the idea of a regular schedule though.

I’ll probably be releasing 3.09 as soon as the new follower Treads-the-Ashes is finished and voiced, which includes all the minor roles and things of that nature. Trailers forthcoming.

Modcast – Episode 2: Shrike

It’s Wednesday, which means a new podcast episode, huzzah. Well, Wednesday in my time zone at least. Editing took a little longer than usual due to some technical snags, but fortunately the universe revolves around America, so…uh…USA, USA, USA!!!


This week Christian and Anna interview Shrike, one of the key contributors to Anna NPCs as well as a couple of his own mods.

Morndas Mug

barware-mug-es-morndas-fullThis was posted on Facebook’s Skyrim Modders United.  Now you can drink your skoo– (I mean… coffee, or cocoa) in style with your “I hate Morndas” mug!  Available now at The Bethesda Store.

Just don’t drink from it in the company of a certain thief who stole the day, cause she’ll have something snarky to say about it, mark my words.  If she could read, that is.  Do they make a braille version, because I didn’t see that on the store pages…  So I guess the only way she’d know is if you told her.  Come to think of it, she actually might laugh, that jaded, derisive laugh she has.   Then she’d go fishing.  Maybe in your own home, to show you how annoying Morndas can really be.

Sorry, my thoughts ran away for a bit.  I was talking about a mug, right?  Should have her mug on it instead of the Dragonborn symbol.  Okay, bad pun.  Don’t punish me!

Music – A Warrior's Life (Mandola Version) by Anna Castiglioni


Here’s Anna Castiglioni performing a mandola version of A Warrior’s Life.  Mandolas, also known in Mando’a as the Mando’ade, or “Children of Mandalore”—were a nomadic group of clan-based people bound by a common culture. Boba Fett, for instance, is a Mando…

Never mind, apparently it’s a musical instrument of some kind. That makes a lot more sense.