We’re going to have a little fun. A few years ago, in a previous blog, I asked a group of British friends from the SimonG Blogring to record themselves reading a paragraph I provided. Those voice files were given to me without identification, and it was my mission to match the voices to the people. My performance was far short of spectacular, but it was terrific fun for me, and apparently for those who participated, too.
Recently, two of my friends, whose professional mercenary aliases are Omally and Mort, approached me about possibly repeating the exercise with a twist. Instead of just UK voices, we’d include everyone. Then we would post it as a quiz so that everyone could enter their guesses and join in the fun.
It’s taken me a while to find the time to figure out the particulars, but while I’ve got the blog and the ability to do it, I’d like to proceed!
Want in on the fun? Here’s what to do.
First, make a recording of yourself reading the following paragraph. I think that this time, we’ll use the first paragraph of “The Red Badge of Courage,” by Stephen Crane, an American war novel first published in 1895.
The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting. As the landscape changed from brown to green, the army awakened, and began to tremble with eagerness at the noise of rumors. It cast its eyes upon the roads, which were growing from long troughs of liquid mud to proper thoroughfares. A river, amber-tinted in the shadow of its banks, purled at the army’s feet; and at night, when the stream had become of a sorrowful blackness, one could see across it the red, eyelike gleam of hostile camp-fires set in the low brows of distant hills.
Just read the paragraph in your normal speaking voice. Please don’t use any affectations or ersatz accents other than your normal vocal inflections — don’t read it as Kermit the Frog or a Dalek or a minion unless you are one in real life. Please just be yourself.
You can send me the recording in any form at all, but a simple 128Kbps MP3 file will be just fine. Do try to use the best recording equipment and environment you can easily access. The microphones in many laptops are up to the task, as are the mics in some webcams. Some smartphones will allow audio recording, too. Get help from a technically adept friend if this seems intimidating. It’ll be fun, and I promise no one will laugh at you — if they do, I’ll ban them with extreme prejudice.
Name your recording with your first and last name (i.e. scott_johnson.mp3 or john_doe.aiff), and e-mail it to upload.Voices2.firstname.lastname@example.org. Then leave a comment here letting me know your name, city (and county if in the UK), and country, and that you’ve sent me an audio file.
When we put up the quiz, the questions will look something like this:
Who’s that voice?
- Scott Johnson, New Bern, NC, USA
- Neil Stevens, Tadley, UK
- David Windsor, New Haw, UK
- Ed Lang, Troy, VA, USA
I don’t get to play this time, because I’ll know all the answers … but I will throw my voice into the mix for you to guess at!
Please help me publicize this. Pass it around among your friends and contacts. Let’s make a real game of it!