Screams, Pain, and Misery (Humans) VO
WHO IS BATTLEBARDS?
Built off of the tremendously successful Realmsound Project, BattleBards (www.battlebards.com) is the premier provider of the best tabletop gaming audio. Through the careful selection of audio projects, talent, and tracks, the BattleBards catalog has become the gold standard for a growing market in tabletop gaming music, soundscapes, sound effects, and voiceovers.
In this Gig, we will Buyout one submission in full and offer licensing to promising auditions for listing on the BattleBards platform. Licensed tracks will be offered for non-commercial sale as well as included within the popular streaming subscription service, earning the artist royalties in both revenue models. We count over 200 professional composers, sound designers, and voice talent as contributors and it’s our mission to open up the tabletop gaming world as a fun and lucrative pursuit for artists the world over.
The most asked for audio asset collected from data spanning well over a year, we are auditioning for the sounds of the terrified, injured, suffering, and dying. It may be a bit macabre, but heroes do need to hear the sounds of desperate villagers and dying villains.
This audition requires at least 40 separate pieces out of the possible list posted here. See List of Categories.
We’re going to be asking for a spectrum of ‘screams’ which can include of grunts, groans, growls, gurgling, wails, shouts, roars, and all manner of other vocalizations which can include some limited speech. So, clear your throats and get ready for some fear and pain! This isn’t meant to be a “Disney-esque” sound collection, but rather, terrifying, blood curdling, realistic, gritty, and terrible. Some of the required tracks should be gut-wrenching, hard to hear.
Probably the biggest challenge artists will face here is to make these vocalizations genuine. Campy, corny, or cliché screams is not what we’re looking for, sorry no Wilhelm screams here. The more ‘graphic’ your tracks (pain, fear) in your work, the better! Do not fade in or fade out; natural, organic starts and ends.
Please submit just one track containing all SFX and make sure the name of each scream type in order as they appear on your track using “Note to Client” so we know how to evaluate each piece.
Individual track lengths:
Some scream categories have suggested track lengths.
Only include the persons’ vocalizations. There should never be any sort of presence from the what’s causing the pain (weapons, spells, etc), other creatures, environmental facets (fire, water, etc) or other effects associated with the sound (heads exploding, ribs breaking, etc). VOICE ONLY -- VOICE ONLY -- VOICE ONLY.
The Role of Sound Design:
Just because we’re focusing on the voices doesn’t mean that some editing and sound design does not have a place. There’s a good deal of room to add a great level of detail to voices through sound design. For example, on the “Run Run!” scream, hearing a person shout Run as they quickly approach the listener would ideally include a realistic, organic fade that’s due to the change in distance. Even a strike to the head would ideally show how the person’s head moves from the front to the side and thus, impacts the tone of the sound.
It’s been said a lot but needs to be clear, do not include any fades in or outs unless they are an organic part of the scream such as from distance or angle of projection.
Finding sources of inspiration for this Gig is extremely challenging given the wide range of sounds that can be made. Here are some clips to consider:
What a surprise right? Braveheart has some crazy good screaming. Unfortunately, the links from YouTube only have muffled sounds, don’t know why so if you have the movie, that’d be a better source.
Another one that should be no surprise, lots of great battle screams here
Game of Thrones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBy0QRetPNc
The Last Kingdom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as7x0SybpFc
Solid area of all kinds of screams
Predator 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59NUNp8Qm7s
Here we have a couple of good examples of ranged, piercing, and slashing hits
Robin Hood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmfPtEWejs8
Good mix of weapon hits of varying types and intensities
The screams can be hard to hear but there are some good mortal wounds screams here
Please note that there will be no tolerance for stolen work, so make sure that submitted auditions are original compositions and that you have 100% rights to use and sell any samples or loops you embed.
Why ask artists to select screams from a wider list?
We received great feedback from artists saying that allowing them to choose tracks to audition for was a positive experience. This also helps to ensure that the catalog provides a marketable variety of tracks.
Can I include words as part of the vocalizations?
Yes, in fact, this might be an incredible way for your audition to stand out, HOWEVER, you must make sure that any spoken word you include is fantasy friendly, meaning, it either references something fantasy related or at least doesn’t infringe on it. For example, instead of a pained “OH GOD!”, you should use “OH GODS!” as often in fantasy, there are many deities. In addition, avoid being overly specific which will limit the use of your track. For example, for the “Run Run!” category, avoid anything even close to “Orcs are attacking, Run!” since that will ruin the marketability for the piece as it specifically mentions orcs. In that way, the track cannot be used for any other situation that does not feature orcs. Alternatively, you can use unintelligible/obfuscated words. I’d be happy to help you with the fantasy vernacular if you want.
Will my audition be judged based on the screams I choose?
No, make sure you select the screams you feel you can best create and have the most fun doing it. Ideally, we’d love to see some auditions for advanced screams which require some great acting but it’s not a hard requirement.
Can I submit more than one of the same screams (i.e. Set on Fire – Immolated)?
Yes, in fact, since some of the screams are relatively simple and can allow for multiple versions easily, submitting more than one of a kind is encouraged, however, it’s critical that each version is distinct. If versions of the same scream are not distinct enough, one or more may be rejected. The number of maximum renditions is included in the scream description.
Can I submit more than 40 screams for consideration?
Yes, however, please note that you will not be given any special consideration for the Buyout by offering more than 40 tracks. However, including more than 40 will allow you to submit a greater list of tracks on the BattleBards platform for licensing should an offer be extended without needing to go through the Open Audition process. In this way, we will purchase 40 tracks and offer a license to the rest. Given the ability to create multiple versions of the same audio request, this Gig represents a great way to quickly grow your portfolio. Moreover, submitting more than 40 can help reduce rework, allowing the teams to select those tracks that pass and reject those that don’t.
If you have any questions, please shoot us over a message through Audio Catch, we’ll try to answer all of it, don’t be shy. We can’t wait to hear how you bring this scene to life! Good luck!!!
LIST OF CATEGORIES
The following is the name of each scream type, a brief description, and specific variations along with the maximum number of each.
--- Attack: Bludgeoning Hit ---
Description: The person is struck by a heavy bludgeoning object such as a war hammer, shield, or boulder. Sounds in this category should in some way feature the blunt force of the impact, typically done through forced expression of air from the lungs upon impact. From “Oof” for a light blow to a gurgled mess of sudden exhalation combined with copious amount of blood for the most devastating of bludgeoning blows.
• Light Blunt Hit (Max 3): Struck by a relatively light force, that knocks the wind out of you
• Moderate Blunt Hit (Max 3): Struck by a moderate force, a typical attack by a war hammer meant to kill
• Heavy Blunt Hit (Max 3): Struck by a great force, a finishing blow that crushes a chest
--- Attack: Punch/Kick Hit ---
Description: The person is struck by a punch or kick. Sounds in this category would sound ‘less messy’ then “Attack: Bludgeoning Hit” since we’re not breaking bones or rupturing organs. Sounds will also depend on the location of where the person is struck.
• Gab to the Head (Max 3): Struck by a relatively light punch to the head
• Kick to the Head (Max 3): Struck by a moderate force, either a kick to the head or a strong punch
• Combo Hits to the Head (Max 3): A martial artist is executing a combination of hits to the head, with a minimum number of hits being 4
• Series of Hits (Max 3): A martial artist is executing a combination of hits but to various parts of the body. Hits to the head, kicks to the stomach, roundhouse kicks, etc. We’re going for a thematic series of impacts
--- Attack: Slashing Hit ---
Description: The person is struck by a large slicing blade, a sword, axe, or beast’s claw. The pain is localized and searing as the attack cuts through flesh. Sounds will typically range from the biting to stinging expression of pain to extended agonizing scream from severed digits and limbs. Of the Attack: Hit variety, these sounds tend to be extended and commonly, cuts do not kill as quickly as blunt force trauma or piercing attacks. In the most extreme cases such as lost limbs, simply the horror of seeing a leg displaced added to the pain provides a unique tenor to the scream.
• Light Slash Hit (Max 3): Struck by a relatively light force, meant to wound
• Moderate Slash Hit (Max 3): Struck by a moderate force, a typical attack with a sword
• Heavy Slash Hit (Max 3): Struck by a great force, a finishing blow that slices off a limb or cuts through torso
--- Attack: Piercing Hit ---
Description: The person is struck by a large thrusting weapon, a spear, lance, or pick. Sounds here may tend towards a combination of “Oof” (as in Bludgeoning) and “Aaah” (as if Slashing). Unlike the other Attack: Hit screams, they are likely also the messiest sounding, as an object is being driving inside someone, cutting through flesh, organs, and bone. With the most severe versions of these strikes, the person is likely to spit, cough, vomit blood given the massive amount of internal hemorrhage.
• Light Pierce Hit (Max 3): Struck by a relatively light force, meant to wound
• Moderate Pierce Hit (Max 3): Struck by a moderate force, a typical attack with a spear
• Heavy Pierce Hit (Max 3): Struck by a great force, a finishing blow that utterly impales the opponent the whole way through
--- Attack: Ranged Hit ---
Description: The person is struck by a projectile such as an arrow, bolt, javelin, or bullet. Sounds typically range from an exclamation of localized pain to quick and violent grunt. Given the velocity of the projectile, impacts are sudden, sharp, and localized.
• Light Ranged Hit (Max 3): Struck by a glancing hit
• Moderate Ranged Hit (Max 3): Struck solidly but not enough to kill, think a classic arrow to the shoulder
• Heavy Ranged Hit (Max 3): Struck by a mortal blow resulting in an almost instant death or the projectile is massive, a ballista bolt, a giant’s thrown spear, etc.
--- Set on Fire ---
Description: The person is struck by some form of fire attack, a fire spell, torch, or lava. Among the most agonizing ways to die. These sounds can range from 5 to 20 seconds but in each case, there should not be any fade ins or outs, meaning, the victim is burned at the very beginning and either puts the fire out or dies (in the most severe case).
• Minor Burns (Max 3): Fire burns a relatively small area, hand, foot, shoulder
• Major Burns (Max 3): Fire chars a significant portion of the body, entire limb or torso
• Immolated (Max 2): The person is completely consumed in flames, writhing in agony until dead
--- Frozen ---
Description: The person is struck by some form of fast acting cold attack, a cold spell, liquid nitrogen, or the vacuum of space. Cold burns may sound similar to fire burns so finding a way to illustrate the cold aspect is key. For the most intense forms, pain may be terrible at first, but as the body freezes, vocalizations may subside. These sounds can range from 5 to 20 seconds but in each case, there should not be any fade ins or outs, meaning, the victim is burned at the very beginning and either continues living or dies (in the most severe case).
• Minor Freeze (Max 3): Cold freezes a relatively small area, hand, foot, shoulder
• Major Burns (Max 3): Cold freezes a significant portion of the body, entire limb or torso
• Frozen Solid (Max 2): The person is completely frozen stiff
--- Electrified ---
Description: The person is exposed to some form of high voltage causing some range of convulsion. These sounds can range from 5 to 20 seconds but in each case, there should not be any fade ins or outs, meaning, the victim is exposed to electricity at the very beginning and either continues living or dies (in the most severe case).
• Moderate Electrocution (Max 3): The person is exposed to violent but non-lethal current, perhaps a power outlet or taser
• Lethal Electrocution, Quick (Max 2): The person is exposed to extremely high voltage suddenly, creating only several seconds of violent convulsion before dying. An example may include touching a down power line.
• Lethal Electrocution, Extended (Max 2): The person is exposed to extremely high voltage over an agonizing period of time. Examples may include dropping a toaster in a bathtub or death via electric chair.
--- Battle Cries ---
Description: The person is in the mist of battle lust.
• Charging into Battle (Max 3): The cry before flying head long into the fight
• Intimidating Cry (Max 3): Perhaps before or after a strike, the warrior lets loose an intimidating scream
• Rallying Scream (Max 3): In an attempt to get one’s self or others overcome with battle lust.
• Adrenaline Cry (Max 3): Already in the mist of combat, the warrior bellows a yell of satisfied glee as they are overcome with adrenaline.
• Challenging Roar (Max 3): A call to the enemy, daring them to attack you.
--- Extended Physical Pain ---
Description: Unlike the pain specified as part of attacks, these should be longer, spanning from 10 to 20 seconds.
• Sharp Pain, Stoic (Max 3): Although trained to experience pain, the pain is almost unbearable as the solider struggles to contain his/her cries. Shuttering, whimpering, occasionally gasping. Think about a solider that has had his fingers crushed.
• Sharp Pain, Typical (Max 3): As above but just an average citizen with no war experience is horribly wounded.
• Dull Pain (Max 3): Like that inflicted by a disease ravaging the body, this is the terrible sound you’d expect to hear in a hospital filled with the dying or someone bleeding out on the battlefield.
• Internal Consuming Pain (Max 3): Like that inflicted by a terrible poison that tears the body apart from the inside or a horrible transformation that breaks and reforms skin and bone.
--- Extended Mental Pain ---
Description: Unlike various types of physical pain, these are all psychological but no less intense, spanning from 10 to 20 seconds. The pain is acute, with the cause of the pain having just occurred
• Mind Ruptured (Max 2): Like enduring an ever-growing intense ear-piercing scream in your mind that you can’t run from
• Angry Loss (Max 2): A mixture of both rage and sorrow, such as yelling at a soldier who just killed one of your loved ones.
• Sobbing (Max 2): Grief at the loss of a friend or loved one
• Extreme Loss (Max 2): The loss of a child in your arms, just complete and total overwhelming grief. Utter meltdown.
• Insanity (Max 2): Having seen something that mortals weren’t meant to see or driven insane by impossible events, the mind slips into abject insanity
--- Panic ---
Description: Fear for one’s life or threat of bodily harm
• Attacker Suddenly Appears (Max 2): Attacker appears from around a corner
• Attacker Approaches (Max 2): Attacker slowly makes their way to the person, about to land the killing blow
• Attack Just Missed (Max 2): Attacker attempted to kill the person and just barely getting away, they run for their lives
--- Run Run! ---
Description: The classic sense of panic that occurs in public with those who are fleeing an object of threat desperately warns others as they attempt to run themselves. Unlike most other entries here, this one will likely have many more words than any other.
• Run by Warning (Max 2): The person barely gets out a warning while sprinting at full speed
• Causal Warning (Max 2): The person stops for a couple of seconds to warn the listener to run from some unknown threat
• Concerned Warning (Max 2): The person stops in front of the listener, begging and pleading for them to run from some unknown threat
--- Otherworldly Terror ---
Description: This isn’t just fear, it’s abject and total heart pumping, blood freezing, breath stopping terror. Track length can be all over the place, just do what you think is best.
• Atrocity (Max 2): The person sees a terrible atrocity take place just before them
• Supernatural (Max 2): The person sees a horrible ghost or spirit that comes for their soul
• Surprise (Max 2): A jump scare, like seeing a demon jump out in front of you
--- Frustration ---
Description: A challenge or situation has worn on this person to the breaking point.
• Quick Task (Max 2): The person keeps failing on a relatively simple task such as trying to pick a lock that won’t budge, attack an opponent who keeps dodging out of the way, etc.
• Extended Task (Max 2): The person has failed at a task that required a significant amount of investment (building a fire, fixing a wagon wheel, etc.)
• Breaking Point (Max 2): The person has simply hit a breaking point with a major aspect of this life (a family business that has gone bankrupt, a difficult relationship that ends in rage, etc.)
--- Other Deaths ---
Description: A variety of awful ways to go.
• Quick Drowning (Max 2): The person is underwater and runs out of air, gurgling in a terrible way until the end.
• Extended Drowning (Max 2): As above but just hard to hear as the person struggles for several seconds, his/her lungs aching, straining to push out the water pouring in.
• Short Fall (Max 2): The person fell from a height of a two-story window, surviving the fall but hurt, maybe a small broken bone or less. Do not follow the sounds of the person at the bottom, keep the reference of the listener at the window.
• Medium Fall (Max 2): The person fell from a height of a four-story window, surviving the fall but in terrible pain. Do not follow the sounds of the person at the bottom, keep the reference of the listener at the window.
• Huge Fall (Max 2): The person fell from the top of a ten-story window, dying upon impact. Do not follow the sounds of the person at the bottom, keep the reference of the listener at the window, so, we should just hear a trailing scream.
• Smoke Inhalation (Max 2): The person is in a smoke-filled room, choking for an extended period of time until finally dying. This should be at least 30 seconds.
LIST OF SCREAMS - ADVANCED
--- This Can’t Be… ---
Description: Severe mental pain such as the above, however, the critical difference here is that the person has just discovered the terrible scene, or it has unfolded before them. What’s critical here is the initial shock as the mind attempts to process the loss, then the feeling of grief. Follow Snape’s discovery of Lily’s death here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqyf-kJWwIg (2:36 to 2:49 and 3:31 to 3:37). These are likely to range from 10 perhaps even up to 30 seconds depending.
• Surprise + Rage (Max 2): The person has stumbled upon the death of a loved one. Once the tragedy registers, an overwhelming, all-consuming pure bright powerful rage erupts.
• Surprise + Rage & Grief (Max 2): Same as above, but rage and grief erupts in equal measure. Between sobs, bouts of rage should be mixed.
• Surprise + Grief (Max 2): Same as above but there’s no rage, just intense grief.
• Surprise + Absolute Agony (Max 2): Folks, this should be really hard to hear. Denial, pleading to wake up, desperate prayer, the person is in complete disarray, unwilling or unable to accept the death of the other, collapsing into a heap.
--- Crying, Extended ---
Description: Various incarnations of crying and sobbing. These should be extended, providing a full and clear insight in the depths of different types of grief. Ideally, these would be 30 seconds to a minute long.
• Lonely (Max 2): Somewhat less intense as to the magnitude of the vocalizations, this is an expression of depression, a low boil of emotion finally coming to the surface.
• Gnawing Grief (Max 2): The person has been dealing with a major issue for a long time, such as remembering the loss of a close family member that occurred sometime ago. Unlike the crying in “Extended Mental Pain”, this is less acute, having clawed at the person for years.
• Unbearable Loss (Max 2): A mix of anger and grief, the person is finding a hard time going through life in this state.
--- Dying ---
Description: This person is just about to die, breathing their last. Track length can be all over the place here, just do what you think is best here. These need to be graphic folks and in some cases, very hard to from someone to hear. The death of Sarah in the game “Last of Us” for example is one point of inspiration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DidjobKweCs (1:16 to 1:42).
• Accepting Death (Max 2): Whether having accomplished their mission or gratefully dying with honor, the warrior gracefully accepts death.
• Gentle Death (Max 2): Numbing has already set in and the person just slips into death
• Painful Death (Max 2): A soldier’s death, he or she struggles against the injuries for a short time but then gives way to oblivion
• Agonizing Death (Max 2): An absolute awful way to go, the person likely passes out from the extreme pain before dying
• Terrified Death (Max 2): Fear grips the person, unwilling to yield to death until it inevitably happens. Maybe the person fears the afterlife?
• Unwilling Death (Max 2): The poor person just refuses to die, summoning every bit of strength to stubbornly resist until the body just can’t hang on anymore. This should be really tough to hear.
--- Torture ---
Description: This person is under torture, enduring an awful experience meant to inflict the maximum amount of pain possible. We want to go seriously medieval here everyone, pulling fingernails, hot pokers, stretching on the rack, and so on. Ideally, these would be 30 seconds to a minute long.
• On the Rack (Max 1): The person is being stretched on the rack. Waves of pain shoot every time the person is stretched, punctuated by grunting and moaning in-between each stretch, enduring the terrible pain. Unlike other forms of torture, the sounds of pain mix in grunting and struggling as the person tries to fight against the pressure.
• Series of Intense Pain (Max 1): The person is being exposed to hot irons or coals on their feet, fingernails pulled, painful stabs, etc. Unlike the torture method above, there’s only pain in the screams. Each wave is intense, sharp, and overwhelming
• Waterboarding (Max 1): Whether water is being poured on their heads or they are being frequently dunked in a body of water, the person is being brought to the edge of drowning over and over again
• Dragged to be Tortured then Tortured (Max 1): This maybe the most advanced of all options and the longest. The person is being led to be tortured or executed, screaming, begging, praying, crying as they are dragged to their grizzly end. Remember, we’re looking for something difficult to hear. A good example of exactly this is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nz3aKhlLBE
• Strangulation (Max 1): The person is hung but their neck did not break or they are being garroted until dead