Live from Emo Dojo
Live from Emo Dojo

Episode · 4 months ago

Careers for Crazies; Voice Acting, Narration, and How to Embrace Our New Robot Overlords

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

John Emotions shares what he's discovered so far in his voice acting adventures, and how artificial intelligence and ocean floor-mapping technology will change the way we think of audio forever. He also shares his thoughts on how drummers and graphic artists survived the attack of the machines years ago, and how voice artists in the new world might utilize technology to their advantage. Email john@emodojo.com or leave a voicemail/text at (405) 440-3330. Please leave a review if this podcast moves you.

As you heard on yesterday's episode,or you'll hear on the next episode if you're listening backwards, that I'm alwayslooking for ways that people with mental illnesses or mental disorders can make a livingbeing themselves. So yesterday we talked about artwork and and FT's. I overlycomplicated it. I went back and listen to that episode and it was verylengthy. What I meant to say is buy some etherium with coin base,put it in your coin wallet, about a hundred fifty bucks worth, signup for OPENSEE and uploads your artwork to open see connect your open sea accountwith Coin Wallets Voollah. That's what I meant to say, but it tooklike fifteen minutes to spit it out. In this episode I'm going to talka little bit more about something I'm working on and you'll recall that I'm gettingstarted with voice acting and like book narration. Well, through that process I foundanother thing called artificial intelligence voices. So I'm going to kind of connectthese thoughts and I hope you can follow along because again it's another way thatpeople with mental disorders or creative people both, can have a job that pays decently, that you know, put a roof of your head and food inyour belly and just be flexible around fund yourself, you know what I mean. It's not so regimented and structured that it squeezes the life out of you. So, yeah, on top of and FT's, I'm pursuing this voicestuff now. The first one is pretty straightforward, voice acting or voice narration, depending on what you're reading, I guess. So what I'm starting with? You know, I've just throw a process of elimination. You have tostart somewhere first, and I'm not sure what I'm going to like. SoI found a great coach like apparently is world renowned and award winning, andhe happens to be here in the same town I live in, which doesn'treally matter because all of this can be done over skype anyhow. But Istarted working with him and that's going to be fun. So I'm working towardnarrating non fiction books, like selfhelp books and business books and things like that, because, well, it seems like a cool challenge, because you havewhen you're reading something like that could be nonfiction. Well, that is nonfictionby by definition, I guess, like a business book or something you kindof have to understand the concept and read the kind of through the spine ofthe story, I guess, to know how much tension to keep into eachsentence, because if you give every sentence like super emphasis, then there isno emphasis that it's going to wear the listener out. So I'm going towork on that and I'll let you know how that progresses. I'm going todo that under my real life name and you know, just because that couldbe a real job can turn into a real thing the next thing I'm workingon. It's really cool. So here's...

...the deal. Back in the S, when a record company would sign a band, only the best bands wouldget a budget from the record company to make a music video and then youget on MTV with the hopes of like being super famous. Well, ina way it turns out it's sort of like that in the book world.Your book has to have really high hopes of making its money back or ahigh demand in that sort of thing before the publishing company will front you themoney to pay to have an audio book made. Now, if you're nota good reader, you I've heard people like I listened to audio book bya famous drummer that I like well, he read his own book and apparentlyhe reads like a drummer, which is crazy, because he was reading hisown story, he wrote the book, and yet he couldn't read it.He read it like a drum like you'd expect the drummer to sound reading abook, frankly, and he was reading like his last name is mother's lastname, as one character per line, and reading his bandmate by you knowname, but every line sounded exactly the same and it's so hard to like, follow along because he was not a trained narrator. He was a guysaving some money because he thought people would want to hear his voice. Butthe problem is it's not really your voice you want to hear, it's thecontinuity of a story and in that sense, keeping the continuity of a story isreally fully imagined in your head. When you're reading a nonfiction book,you have to imagine there's a story in there and get into the author's headand kind of delivered in that same way. So I'm kind of excited about that. On the flip side, though, there aren't, how do I say? There are hundreds of thousands of books in existence that do not haveaudio books available for them, which is a problem, especially to people withoutsight. If you can't see, you can't read. But they love tohear stories. So I'm working with the company now that's going to take myvoice and I have to like read it and like several different emotions, thesame script over and over several different ways, and they're going to convert that intoan artificial intelligence voice that could speak any words. So the benefit ofthis is then they can go start instead of having a publisher having to paya six or seven thousand dollars to have a book created for an author,these books can be generated for a fraction of that cost just by feeding thetext into a computer that then applies my ai voice to the book while I'mdoing something else. So that turns into residual passive income for me, say, the Ai Voice Creator, and it gets lots of books that were previouslyunavailable up onto audio bookshelves. So I think that's a win win and Ohboy what they can do with this voice technology. So it's just beginning now. So I think it's really fascinating imagine...

...all how far we've come with visualtechnology, right from early like steamboat Willie cartoons to full on Avatar things likenowadays where the full every like in marvel comics and stuff, where entire scenesare just fully CGI. So we've come so far in the visual realm,but we've never really applied applied that technology horsepower to the audio world. Andwhat I'm getting at now is soon, now that they're kind of targeting alot of this technology to audio specifically, is we'll be able to take myaudio voice, for example. Oh, in my audio my ai voice isgoing to be John Emotions. So somewhere in the world of the uncided peoplethat are buying audio books in the future will go down and see narrated byJohn Emotions, and I think that's fucking dope. Here's what's even cooler.So of course you can imagine, let's say, just say, a CGIversion of me, right, you can imagine what I look like? Youcan't because I try to hide what I actually look like, but I knowwhat I look like. I look like a regular person, a regular whitedude, let's say, and through CGI you could turn my character on screen, mean to be a black guy version of me, or a Hispanic guyversion of me, or an Asian guy or even a feminine version of me. You could do anything on the screen, and I'm sure you, as alistener, can imagine that with your eyes. Sure, of course youcan change a CGI character, to mix and match at will. You knowai does it with deep fakes and things like that already super easy. Butnow imagine with my ai voice, if they can apply the same technology andall of a sudden I'm speaking mandarin or I'm speaking Spanish or even ancient Latinfluently and accurately. But it's really just me, still at home doing nothing, having already submitted the script. That's how powerful the new software is goingto be as we move forward. It'll be able to take me and turnme into any of those characters. I can be multilingual on the fly.So here's where it's really interesting to me, because I'm new to the voice overnarrator type industry. Very new, completely new, brand new. Right, if looks like it's a couple episodes ago, I just said I'm justgoing to go do it. Well, there's tons of people in the voiceoverindustry. They're fucking freaked out, apparently, about about ai in general. It'sgoing to take their jobs. Oh, it's coming for a job, asthe robots are coming and I think it's interesting that I'm coming in rightnow because to me it does. It's not taking anything from me. Ididn't have anything in this industry to begin with, and I also have thewisdom of being into other industries that were supposedly going to be taken over byautomation and robots and, you know, easier tools for them, for themasses. One of those is drumming. I've been drumming since I was alittle child, like three years old. Love it would drums and eventually haveelectric drums. Now to at some point...

...in the late s early S,synth drums were coming out, programmable drum machines that just played the whole songall at once. You didn't need a drummer and there were people in thepublic realm and the media or whatever like, Oh, is this the end ofdrummers? No, it was not the end of drummers. I've never, ever to this day, lost the gig to a synth machine. Youknow what I mean? And people might say, well, you don't knowabout the gigs you didn't lose. I do, because I know which gigsI try for and I get the gigs I try for as an organic drummer, like a human drummer whatever. There are some great things about electric drumsper se. Electric drums, that programmable drums, I'm not talking about I'mtalking about electronic drum sets that look and feel similar to regular wood drum setsand they play the same once you get used to them. However, youcan, you could just, at the push of a button, change itfrom a drum set that sounds like led Zeppelin and then to one that soundslike Duran, Duran and then maybe a reggae sound. And you know,there's just that's fun. At the touch of a button changing your drum set. It changes your whole mindset it, and you know that's cool. Butagain, that thing didn't take over my job. That actually helped. Soelectric drums came and helped a lot of times I played to what's called theclick track, which is a sequencer. There's the sequence drums, but youknow what it's doing? Things that I don't have limbs to do while I'mplaying live. So say my right hand is over on the ride symbol,my left hand is doing something on the High Hat and then the snare drum, and my feet are busy with the bass drum in the high hat petals. I've got no other limbs. Maybe I want a tambourine shaking in thebackground. Maybe want a cowbell on every other beat, maybe I want adifferent like random salsa beat on a wood block or something. Well, Ican program all of that and still play the drums. So they killed.They coexist together really nicely and I think in the same way that's the thingthat many existing and former voice artists are kind of missing, is that ifyou embrace the technology you can, you can make it work with your existingset up, whatever you're doing now. It could enhance it. I don'tknow if you have apple plus TV, where I don't know what the fuckapples doing with the names of their products these days, but anyway, applehas a channel where they play TV shows. They have original series and whatnot.You can get it usually for a year or so if you buy adevice like a laptop or something. So you might already have it and justdidn't try it out. There's several good shows on there, Ted Lasso,etcetera, etc. But the one I was interested in there's one call withthe producer, the music producer, Mark Ronson. I think it's called seethe music something like that, and he did a really cool episode about autotune. I don't know if you know much about how music is produced orif you've heard the term auto tune before, but I'll try to explain it thebest I can. There there's songs...

...out there by like share. Ifyou believe in love, where does that one part where she hits the choruswhere you do? Do you believe in it? Tweaks the note a bit. That's auto tune and also the sort of fake sound some pop artist likeno fense, but like pop artists like Brittaney Spears, use autotune, notin that note tweaking way but to actually smooth out of voice. When hervoice was a little flat or she couldn't quite hit a certain note. Autotunewill help nude your notes into place, so it makes it sound more perfect. However, the human ear still here's something slightly robotic, so it soundsa little off. In the case of Pop music and people like Britney Spears, it sounds very polished and kind of almost METALLICI that's because it's going throughautotune and I think that's really how the inventors of autotune proper that you know, the brand name of software. Originally intended it to be used like tocorrect slightly off vocal performances, and then people like share, I think shewas one of the first to use autotune specifically to tweak the note intentionally toa different octave within the bars that she was already singing. And so thisisn't to be confused with other vocoder kind of sound effects. Like one ofmy favorites is what I call the robot sound, like from the old srap Egyptian lover or intergalactic from the Beastie Boys, that kind of robodi sound. There's tons of bands, Mr Roboto, all that stuff that I kind oflike that it's kind of fun, but that's not autotune. Autotune is, you know, the thing I just described. It's where it tries tofix vocal performances that are not perfect or, in the case of share, sheuses it to tweak right there. And here's the trip. Here's howautotune came to be. It's there's a software that autotune is based on thatthe originator developed to measure underwater caves and valleys and mountains through like a sonartake technology. So what it's doing is it's reading saying out waves as theybounce back. It can map ocean floors and, you know, depressions,volcanoes, all the things that are on the ocean floor that we can't see. The original software would go under water and just shoot out the sonar andmap the entire ocean floors. That's how we have maps of ocean floors.Well, what autotune doing? The autotune software, it kind of evolved fromthat, is basically emulating the caves and valleys in your throat. So imaginethis now, if it knows the caves and valleys by Ai Algorithms. Now, in the future, check this out. It will literally I vision a dayin two years from now tops, where you can go somewhere and havea laser scan of your throat that can...

...be read into a autotune type ofmachine and give you a perfect profile of your voice that you can then tweakvisually and see what the different tweaks sound like on the screen before you applythem and then, of course, save those different models. But what I'msaying, what I'm getting at now, is that that technology is what they'llbe able to use to make my you know, White American sounding voice soundlike an appropriate Latin American voice, Asian language Voice, Europe, you knowdifferently European accents and things like that, or their specific languages. It's notjust the words they're saying, which was kind of easy for a machine totranslate words. Now put the actual accents and sound will sound authentic, becausethen they could take voice maps of people from those native country languages visually insoftware and morph them with my voice map from here, meanwhile changing the wordsso it will literally sound like in a here's the hope that I can turnjohnny emotions in this weird little character that you hear all around the world indifferent circumstances. Like you're inter in Brittany and you call up a company andyou here I'm on the voice answering machine, or you're in a subway in Atlantaand you hear the voice overhead telling you to get off the train ata certain stop. You know, just like that. Not because I wantto hear my voice everywhere, but because I want this recurring revenue stream.Could you imagine just getting pennies every time your voice is played or heard onthose kind of systems in those different countries around the world. So I thinkif you get in now and get in early, you might be able tobuild a brand for yourself with your voice. And I'm telling you, if you'vegot mental illnesses or a mental disorder, it's pretty easy to sit in apadded room with the microphone and Rant. So it might be the perfect jobfor you. But one last thing on the autotune, and especially withwhat Ronson showed on his on a series. was what makes it cool, becauseI didn't think autotune was cool. I was to I kind of likethe share song pretty cool. I don't like this the production of Britney Spearsmusic. Much I love Brittany, I just don't like the production of herold music because of the autotune. But when he brought it up with somenew artist like tea pain where they crank that fucker up all the way andnow they're they're really just fucking with auto tune as a new form of art. So I think that's cool because it's progressive and it's breaking new ground andit's using a tool in a way that it wasn't intended to use much inthe way that Jimmy Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen, use the guitar and theways that you're not supposed to play it. Tom Morello, you guys Bella Fleckon the base. Yeah, I think there's something to be said aboutthat, because vocalist don't have a lot of options with the MIC, butwith the not going to think through a fuzz pedal or distortion, sometimes distortion, or sometimes you'll get that old telephone...

...sound or just some cheesy cliche kindof sounds. But one auto tune came around. You can adjust autotune toyour own desire in the studio. So you want it set on low,medium, high. It goes like from one to ten. Tea Paying cranksis up to ten. So he gets that wabble up our will. Ican't even imitate it because I don't have auto tune right here. So yeah, I just because as a drummer I've always had these extra toys, nowelectronic toys, to play with, and I think it's only fair that vocalisthave toys like auto tune, especially if they're going to break them and usethem in the ways they weren't meant to be played with. That makes themartist in my mind, and quickly the other industry I used to work inthat got was going to get taken over by robots or the masses or thenew tech tools was graphic design. So I've been a graphic designer now formaybe twenty five years. Long Time, and we started back in the daywhere we actually had to cut and draw and do things with our hands,and then the computers came on. So we've been with the computers and illustratorand programs like that since they've been around, and because of that we've always hadto think of things in our mind and start with the blank piece ofpaper. There weren't programs like Canva, where most of the parts you couldneed to make something that passes are readily available. So basically, if youusing CANVA, in my mind you're you're more of an assembler than a graphicdesigner. You're assembling existing parts. If you want, they'll give you atemplate to start with. Graphic artists start with nothing except a burning desire andimage in their mind that they have to get out into the world. Andmost graphic designers are very particular about things like contrast, the illusion of movement, proportion, line weight distances, things like symmetry, of course, andafter when you do it year after year, you it's intuitive. It's also intuitiveto spot bad art when you see something just been clumsily assembled. Soagain, I've never lost any any work to somebody that uses Canva, forexample, because they just they it's not set up for a person who thinkoriginally. Like when I designed something, corporate logo or something, I literallysit with the client and I let them talk for a while and I listenand I try to get in their head. Nine Times out of ten I nailat the first try. It's but well, you know, the coredesign and then we might tweak the font, maybe your something's try something out,but yeah, and it's all original. Just comes from conversation that sparks anidea in my mind and normally I haven't done in about an hour afterI leave and then I sit on it for about a week and pretended likehey, yeah, I got it, you know, I finally took mea while, but no, it's a...

...flash of genius. It comes outreally quick and then I bill for longer amount of time. That's just theway it works. But I wouldn't get paid what I get paid to dothis work if I was simply assembling parts that already existed. My clients couldhave done that themselves, and a lot of them do do that themselves.They come for me for the things that make their business or their brand original, and that's a blast. It's not a blast to do that work fulltime, because then it takes all the fun out of it. You feellike you're just become a commodity. And of course you need the flexibility togo be free and feed your mind with new things to remain creative so thatwhen you're asked to do a new creative project, you have that new foundcreativity each day. So yeah, if you're a voice actor, because somehowyou found this episode because it's in the key words or in the transcription.Yeah, man, don't worry about don't worry about it, Dude. Justget or do that debt. Just adapt. Like I don't think you fear thetechnology. I think you just fear change. It's going to be competition, but the AI is not who you should worry about. What you shouldworry about is the entire industry being pushed into your closets at home, becausenow everybody in their uncle can compete with you. So don't worry about themachines, worry about the new humans. There are a lot of great newvoices I've heard coming up. But I'm not talking about myself because I don'tI don't rate myself. I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. ButI hear in a lot of new voices coming up on podcast I listen toabout the voice acting industry. And if you're an established voice actor, newactors are who should be concerned with. And if you're out there with thefacade like helping them and then charging them, you know, exorbitant amounts of moneyto produce a demo, that's not going to work. That's not reallyhelping them. Passive, aggressive much. Yeah, so my suggestion was,I mean, I don't know, don't copy me, but like you couldliterally create a second fictional character and go dabble into the AI world, makeyourself an AI voice and see if you can generate some recurring income so youcan just go sit on the beach. You know, you might not makea fortune, but you'll make enough to cover your expenses and like, livea normal life, mental illness or not. Man, I realize I can talka long time about nothing. Sometimes that's cool and you can listen tome talk about nothing for a long time. I'm proud of you for that.All right, so you probably hearing this on Friday if you're up toit. If you're up on it, this is this will be there Fridaymorning for you. I hope you have a hell of a weekend. AndI got to talk to a couple people on social media real quick. SoI want to interview two people in particular on my twitter account before I shutthose down for the holidays or until the holidays or whatever. Sometimes I liketo check in out Christmas and see if the world's falling apart or see ifthere's general sense of joy and good tithings anyway. So I'm going to jumpoff for a little bit, off of twitter and facebook, after find acouch. I got to use market place to find a counter quick but yeah, the next several days a plan on...

...setting those down tipporarily. You know, I'm not deleting them. It's not a big deal. I just wantto let you know. If I don't apply or respond through social media's becauseI'm not really there, you'll have to email me, John at Emo Dojoe, or you can just call and leave a message old school style. Thatis four hundred five, four, four oh three thirty three hundred. Youcan also send the text to them, number right on, right at all. And now back to the wall.

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