My name is Tacye, and I have had the pleasure of being an Audio Describer at Sky for 21 years. I have worked on many genres during this time and really enjoy the eclectic mix of material I have been assigned to AD.
Some might say I have a unique and creative mindset, and this allows me to connect with some of the stranger and off-kilter programmes. And I firmly believe this quality also lends itself aptly to one of my main areas of ‘speciality’ – namely, animation.
The animated film I would like to talk about today is ‘Extinct’.
Set initially in 1835, on an undiscovered volcanic island in the Galapagos, this beautifully realised film features a pair of time travelling Flummels siblings called Op and Ed.
Flummels are adorably cute, small, ring-donut shaped, fury animals, that bear the facial appearance of a rabbit! They have a hole in their middle, are bipedal, and so walk upright.
We discover the siblings are considered outsiders by the rest of the Flummel community, due to Op’s many, over-excitable schemes that invariably go wrong. Indeed, her latest antics involving Wally the Whale and a tidal wave, not only causes them to be excluded from the upcoming Flower Festival, but they find themselves banished to desolation rock.
Ebullient Op, of course, has a scheme for them to gain favour with the others. This leads to them finding a mysteriously glowing Time Flower on the far side of the island’s mountain (the Forbidden Zone) that magically draws them in and ejects them into a house in modern day Shanghai.
There they meet with a cute white dog named Clarance, who reveals that in the future – Flummel’s are extinct!
What follows are action packed, fun-filled adventures, where the sibling, with the help of four ‘Extinctables’ must try to save the Flummel species from extinction.
I had such fun describing this. The plot was entertaining, script well written and the characters engaging. The humour could be enjoyed on various levels and so would appeal to adults as well as children. The actors voicing the characters were brilliantly cast.
As this is a children’s film, I utilise a different approach to the language and sentence structure than I would for an adult audience. Of course, clarity is always a must when Audio Describing, and in the instance of a younger audience that means I must create a script that fully realises the visuals with age-appropriate vocabulary in mind, but without underestimating them.
The process of Audio Description commences with my watching the film, researching, and taking notes along the way. Scripting animation can take quite a long time as the creators tend to let their imagination run riot! Sometimes that means I have to find an inventive way to describe things that don’t exist!
Not only does that make for an interesting experience, but it can be quite challenging at times, especially with having to describe something within a limited time frame. It is a challenge I happily accept!
Then, I go into the recording studio to voice my script. I do tend to re-write some of the cues as I record, for creating a script is an organic process that keeps on evolving. Vocally, I approach whatever I am voicing sympathetically, making sure my tone compliments the feel of the programme without being intrusive.
I hope you enjoy the film as much as I have.
A Sky Original movie 'Extinct' available now on Sky Cinema
Audio Description by Tacye Lynette