Behind The Quest Inn – Making Episode 32: Back To The Inn

Welcome to the ongoing series of behind-the-scenes posts for our little endeavour that is The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe.

/MAKING BACK TO THE INN

Session: 06

Title: Back to the Inn

Recorded: 7pm, 12th February 2019

Location: Kathleen-Syme Library Recording Studio

Guests: Reeni Inosha, Lukas Quinn and Brendan Wan

Back to the Inn was the ninth episode recorded in the season, and the first of two episodes recorded that evening.

Having so many guests at once always creates a bit of a party vibe in the studio and this session with Reeni Inosha, Lukas Quinn and Brendan Wan was certainly no exception. This team did such a great job that I may still be considering a spin-off series starring their characters Lauren Anderson, Enri Canard and Escape Room.

Except we killed Escape Room… ah well, guess it’ll have to be a prequel.

ep32_group
Indiana Kiely, Tom Fahey, Reeni Inosha, Lukas Quinn, Brendan Wan and Beau Windon

The concept for this episode was a bit of a no-brainer. What would happen to the Quest Inn once the crew was taken away? Well, it would of course be re-staffed with people that can do a much better job. And what would the new crew look like? As is the trope, they’d certainly be somewhat familiar to anyone who knows the original Quest Inn crew.

With regard to our guest’s performances, as always, they had free rein of how to realise each character and I think they created a solid dynamic, not only between themselves, but also in playing off the original Quest Inn crew. This episode also gave me so many opportunities to accentuate the performances with a few fun (if not terribly violent) sound effects.

The narrator’s introduction for this one features an extended recap of the story so far. For me, infodumps can very quickly dip into the realms of tedium under the weight of their own bloatedness, and it’s always a bit of a challenge to strike the balance between useful recap and entertaining performance. As the narrator, I feel I’m yet to hit the mark with this.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

//EDITING:

Upon reviewing this episode, I’m happy to say that I did a much better job of mixing the themes during the opening narration than what we ended up with in the last episode – yay for me – and I’m also happy with the transition from the pirate theme that takes us into the opening scene.

In terms of transitions (there’s more than a few in this one), I’m quite happy with how this episode turned out. It took a little work to get the Quest Inn crew from the beach to the door of the Quest Inn, and then to transition to a scene inside the building, and finally bring the two together – but a little tweaking of audio effects was all it took to get the end result, and I think it makes sense when you listen to it.

As I mentioned before, we had a bit of a party vibe going on in the studio with all our performers eager to play their parts. This, however, brought its own challenges. Managing four performances can be tricky enough – especially with improv. Speaking purely from a spectator’s point of view, it seems that the give and take that each performer must negotiate gets more complex when you add more players to the mix. Unless there is a strong understanding of who is leading, I imagine that improvising a story where everyone gets to contribute in a meaningful way can become quite difficult.

With this in mind, editing six voices that are all pulling in a different direction when they start to get a little rowdy also becomes a challenge. There was a good amount of getting in there and playing with volume levels for individual voice parts, just so everyone could be heard. It gets a bit messy in places, but I think the through-line of this story holds together (barely) and it helps a lot that every voice had a recognisable quality of its own.

That said, it’s the chaotic moments that I feel are some of the strongest moments of this episode. Sure, there was some decent world-building and backstory going on, but none of this compares to the opportunity of adding to the violence with sound effects in the form of punches and explosions.

Revisiting this episode was fun and I think it’s on point to say that improv is like roulette. It’s pretty risky and you probably won’t survive the ordeal, but if you do, you’ll look like a genius and everyone will adore you for it (this is not an endorsement – DO NOT try roulette at home).

IMAG0471
Beau manages to hold the attention of everyone in the room with one of his patented power-poses 

And last of all, with regard to the closing narrator spiel, I feel the energy I brought to it was an attempt to make amends for the drag of the intro. Oh well, it’s all a learning experience.

What do you think, of Back to the Inn? Is it a fun ride? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments!

Till next time.

Listen to the full episode here.


If you enjoy reading these reflective pieces (or listening to the podcast itself) and want to help us out, please consider supporting us on Patreon.

Behind The Quest Inn – Making Episode 31: Pirate Shippin’

Welcome to the ongoing series of behind-the-scenes posts for our little endeavour that is The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe.

/MAKING PIRATE SHIPPIN’

Session: 04

Title: Pirate Shippin’

Recorded: 1pm, 25th January 2019

Location: Library at the Dock Recording Studio

Guest: Derek Wilson

Road Trippin’ was the sixth episode recorded in the season, and the last of two episodes recorded that day.

Somewhere down the line in the writing room, we decided that the Quest Inn crew would make their way onto a pirate ship. I believe it started with the idea of having a guest play a parrot that would leave the ship to get some milk and return to find that the Quest Inn crew had taken over.

Well, that changed a little bit. Instead of a talking parrot, it became a talking pastry and the rest is history.

Being the second episode performed on that record-breaking hot day (after Jailhouse Blues), we pushed on to get through the session. Considering the weather, it was no surprise that we lost a guest for this one, but we were saved in a last-minute decision by Derek to graciously give up his time for an extra hour to stick around and fill in (you did great – thanks man!).

It was an inspired move by the cast to begin the scene in the cargo hold and go from there to explore the ship. Though the episode was restricted to one location, this little trick conveyed a nice sense of space for the characters to exist.

The reveal of Captain Cannoli Cannoli from behind his spinning chair was another fun creative choice by the cast, and the character arc and backstory created for a talking piece of pasta is as crazy as it sounds (and as good as you’ll hear anywhere else).

About two thirds of the way through, I think the heat starts to affect everyone as the energy dips a little, but everyone pulls it right back up for the finale. An excellent effort by all, considering this one was pulled together a little more on-the-fly than usual.

IMAG0408
A rare shot of a Mog in his natural surroundings (Hi Indy!)

 

//EDITING:

This was a pretty simple episode to put together. Luckily for me, someone on Freesound.org shared some ambient recordings of their creaking boat hull at sea, which was the perfect bit of audio to loop on this one. The original sample was about fifteen minutes long, so I only had to loop it about three times. One unforeseen issue, however, was that whatever was used to record the ambience wasn’t shielded against mobile signals, so every now and again there’d be a little digital doot-de-doot-de-doot-doot sound, that I might have missed if I were less careful. I guess the lesson there is, if you’re using other people’s samples, always review the whole track before using it. It wasn’t difficult to cut out the offending sounds, even if it was still a little tedious.

Another challenge was finding the right audio for the ducks. What I found and ended up using was what could only have been a super-cute display of ducks in a park somewhere – the only problem was that those super-cute ducks were on water, where Captain Cannoli Cannoli’s were not. I tried to edit around some of the bigger splashes, but I know there’s still water in there – I hope I got away with a few splashes under the sounds of the creaking and the lapping waves outside.

IMAG0406
The cast battled on through the heat – it was definitely shorts weather that day

Upon reviewing this episode, I found my opening narrative (and included musical cues) to be a little stilted. For some reason I made the decision to make space for said cues, but it doesn’t quite work.

I’m really happy with the way the cast ended this episode, but again, the edit lets it down. Indy’s final yell is supposed to echo off into the distance, but I think I cut the tail of the effect too early.

The pirate theme that plays at the end was fun to write and put together, even if the frenetic thigh-slap percussion resulted in a few more bruises than anticipated. Ah, the things we do for art. The chords and melody are based around the show’s main theme, so it didn’t take long to work this into a sea shanty-style track.

Well, this one isn’t perfect, but it does have some really good energy and enough silly one-liners to push it over the line for me to consider it an entertaining and worthwhile trip.

What about your thoughts? How does Pirate Shippin’ fare in your humble opinion? I’d love to know what you think, so feel free to share your thoughts and feels in the comments!

Till next time.

Listen to the full episode here.


If you enjoy reading these reflective pieces (or listening to the podcast itself) and want to help us out, please consider supporting us on Patreon.

Behind The Quest Inn – Making Episode 30: Road Trippin’

Welcome to the ongoing series of behind-the-scenes posts for our little endeavour that is The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe.

/MAKING ROAD TRIPPIN’

Session: 03

Title: Road Trippin’

Recorded: 2pm, 21st December 2018

Location: Library at the Dock Recording Studio

Guest: Hill Hügel

Road Trippin’ was the fifth episode recorded in the season, and the last of three episodes recorded that day.

Special guest Hill Hügel really brought some magic to this one. All I knew about his character prior to this session was that he’d play a hitchhiker that the Quest Inn crew would pick up on their escape from Rika-Shore prison – everything else (backstory, voice, Blobbzzo’s attempts to absorb everyone) came from Hill – thanks man!

IMAG0290
Hill Hügel, Indiana Kiely, Tom Fahey and Beau Windon

This is not the first instance where we recorded three episodes in one session – many episodes from season one were done this way. That said, it can be a bit of a marathon doing it like this as managing time becomes more pressing, and more effort is necessary to maintain performance levels over the three-hour period.

I don’t believe this episode suffered from any elements of fatigue that can sometimes creep in. In fact, the energy levels were so good on this one that we Hill stuck around a little longer to record some additional content for Checking Out: Behind The Quest Inn (CO:BTQI).

CO:BTQI is a three-episode miniseries that we created as a lead-up to season two. Presented like a collection of fly-on-the-wall documentary segments where the cast and me play versions of ourselves, the series features interviews, meetings and phone calls that reveal the personal and professional struggles that went on behind-the-scenes in the hiatus between seasons.

This little project served as a way for the four of us to get back into the swing of making episodes before we dove into the new season. Most of the material in CO:BTQI was recorded in a single session and it’s documented evidence of my first proper improv performance (Yay?). The sketches are pretty rough – but the segment with Hill in episode two is pretty great.

CheckingOut_BehindTheQuestInn

 

//EDITING:

In terms of production, this was one of the more complex episodes. With no less than five distinct locations (Chase’s anus, forest, car, petrol station, shipping port), I found this to be a very involved process.

Of course, what it sounds like inside Chase’s anus was established in the previous episode, so it was simple to apply those effects to the beginning of this one and go from there.

The interesting challenge, however, was creating the transitions. For example, every time the crew stopped the car and got out, I had to consider what that would sound like. Of course, we all know what opening a car door sounds like, but how does that affect the general ambience? What outside sounds are introduced as soon as you open that door? A little careful cross-fading between effects helped sell this idea.
Another creative choice was to put some gentle phasing on Blobbzzo’s voice to make it sound blobby and a bit wobbly. I feel that combining this with subtle squishing sounds really helped to sell his non-solid form.

Just listening back to this now, I’m quite fond of all the performances in this episode, but one moment I’m particularly proud of is Beau’s performance when Chase is locked in the boot of the car. Despite the added banging affects and such, if it wasn’t for his enthusiasm, this whole segment would not work nearly as well as it does. My only regret with this scene is that I didn’t add some transition music to indicate a passing of time while everyone is singing. As it stands, it feels like the trip only took the length of the song – which I guess is kind of funny, but it isn’t quite as epic and road-trippy as it could’ve been.

IMAG0282

Additionally, the closing narrator monologue features a little blob call-back gag. I think it works in terms of audio, but the timing is off as it doesn’t transition that well into the following piece of dialogue that I chose to record separately (for some unjustifiable reason).

And last of all, there was one more task I added to my workload for this episode, which was to put together a second musical theme and use it (like the Lawless theme) to signal that we were onto a new chapter in this little arc. I didn’t end up using it here, but it does turn up in the next episode – so I’ll talk more about it then.

What do you think, is Road Trippin’ a good one? We want to know your thoughts and feels, so let us know in the comments!

Till next time.

Listen to the full episode here.


If you enjoy reading these reflective pieces (or listening to the podcast itself) and want to help us out, please consider supporting us on Patreon.

Featured Album: Geedis (2019) by Trav Nash

65181131_2285324975050544_4133148450298527744_n.jpg

Trav Nash is a man of many talents. When he’s not drawing character art for The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe or creating nostalgic trips in video game format, you can hear him on his weekly podcast Tales From the Mind Boat (TFTMB).

Over the 170-or-so episodes produced to far, TFTMB has evolved from its humble beginnings as a storytelling podcast for a comedian and his friends into something quite different. Now, the show is more personal and journal-like as Trav shares moments from his day-to-day life in an effort to make sense of his world.

To accompany Trav’s thoughts and stories, the show has a strong musical identity with its evocative theme by the amazing Tim Whitt. This, combined with the additional ambient music created by Trav himself, adds to the overall tone of the project as he explores themes of depression, anxiety, and a sense of disconnectedness that seems so common in many of us these days. The complete package makes for an engaging half-hour of content that I look forward with every coming week.

No stranger to making lo-fi beats and ambient tunes, Trav has produced music under the moniker of Pierre Vanderbee for a number of years now, so it’s no surprise that when he pulls together the isolated music from TFTMB into a collection such as GEEDIS, it’s a competently-delivered and compelling experience.

For me, these tracks sit somewhere in my playlist between Autechre, Boards of Canada, Brian Eno and the less frenetic sounds of Aphex Twin.

As individual tracks, each song delivers a slightly different flavour. Rimdelda, for example, touches on something that wouldn’t be out of place on one of the more mature offerings from Nine Inch Nails or Gary Numan. As a collection, the sounds on GEEDIS take me on a satisfying journey and I recommend taking the time to sit down with the lights out and take a listen.

Speaking as someone who also suffers from anxiety, it’s calming sounds like what you will find on GEEDIS that can help keep the whirlpool of negative thoughts away.

Listen to GEEDIS.

Discover Pierre Vanderbee.