James: "Okay Ayesha, now you have to stand here and look stupid for 6.5 seconds." Did I hit him? No, because we were actually working on the Escaflowne-Marmalade Boy parody that we showed on the April Fool's meeting of CJAS. (You remember, "Escaflown-eh?") I was still a little daunted by the prospect of staring straight into a camera and looking stupid for God-knows-how-long. Adam sensed my nervousness about looking stupid and helpfully said, "You can do it. You have been doing it for 20 years now." Yes, I did hit him. (Yeah, with a squash racquet.)
Anyway, our April Fool's parodies are a great tradition among members of CJAS. It all starts as a general idea in someone's (read as, Greg's) warped little mind. For this year, the concept was to have Kei and Suzu go to Isaac to have fate changed. Greg, the host of our live events, begins by raiding the mountains of anime piled in F1 and starts watching. (Well, he does that anyway.) Notes are made of scenes that have potential for being included. Then the tapes are returned to F1 (most of them) and the scenes are copied onto a single tape in a long string. Order is given to the clips and a story begins to form. (Can you hear a difference between the words "Rune", "Room", and "Ruin"? I thought so. Patty can't. Now Kong is asking how this relates to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. What?!?) Anyway, with about 16 minutes of footage and an idea for the story, Greg gets the rest of the scripting/dubbing team together to spend a few "creative" nights writing a semi-coherent script to the random cuts. (I think that the script for this past "fandub" was a tad less coherent than the others have been.)
Anyway, so... Scripting night arrives. Enter the scriptwriters to THCC [Townhouse Community Center -Ed.]! (And then see them disperse to watch The Simpsons, play cards, or do problem sets at the tables in the back. D'oh!) Those are some of the most fun nights of the year. Imagine a bunch of E-board members stuck in the same room for 6 hours at a time, several nights in a row, watching the same sequence of silent anime clips again and again and again, trying to fit words to the movements of the characters' mouths. We just sit around and throw out random suggestions, in the hopes that someone thinks that they are even a little bit amusing. For some reason, the weirdest and most unforeseen suggestions get used. Like Princess Millerna speaking only straight out of Dr. Suess. I (ASA) actually went to Uris Library at 11:00 PM with Patrick to pick up as many books of Dr. Suess as I could get my hands on. While checking them out, I heard comments like, "Grad level books -- they look so tough" and "CS 614?" Back at THCC, we all sat down, each picked up one Suess book and read aloud random parts that we thought might be useable.
We still had a few random scenes with which we weren't satisfied. The later it got, the lower our standards dropped, however, so in the end, we just used whatever fit. Which would explain the really random dinner scene where everyone is drinking Ovaltine and Allen Shezar is quoting from various and sundry commercials ("Image is nothing. Thirst is everything").
With the script in place (or mostly in place), we started recording the voices. This involved seating everyone around a microphone, running the silent anime, and hoping that no one cracks up when Alex starts to sing, "I'm Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean." We did have to redo a couple of shots where everyone just could not help laughing, like when Lawrence (Van) said with such heart-felt conviction: "Ignore her. All women are fools." As mentioned before, we had only one mic for the lot of us, so with scenes involving lots of people, we designate a special "mic-guy" (Greg), whose sole purpose was to hold the mic and to move it in front of the appropriate person at the appropriate time. This could get crazy sometimes, so we learned to duck to avoid breaking our noses as the mic was swung from person to person. Of course, this entire time, those not directly involved with the dubbing were still doing problem sets, playing cards, working out katas, etc.
Once this neared completion, it became time to record the introduction to the parody. For this, we tried to live-act the intro of MB. (This is when James told Ayesha to look stupid and I got hit for implying that it was a natural condition.) We couldn't do a whole lot, since we were limited to recording in well-lit areas with a power source handy. Earlier, James had watched both intros to MB and had written the different sequences. We simply picked the most viable ones at random and acted them out. We pushed two tables and a sofa together to make a car, with garbage cans on their sides for wheels, and we picked people at random to play the different characters. Our Michael Grant ended up being a dark-haired Russian with a beard. Oh well. At least Yuu was blonde (and Miki was stupid). (Without a squash racquet at hand, Ayesha resorts to using her fists).
Then there was the ending song. Wow. One of us conned someone ["conned", eh? -Eddie] to run back to F1 and print out the romanji lyrics to "Mystic Eyes", and we spent a couple of minutes getting used to rolling those alien words off of our tongues to get a feel for it. Then we all gathered around the mic and began... croaking. Well, you heard it, didn't you? Could you call it anything else? Thought not.
By the time the recording was finished, it was the day before the debut of the parody. So Greg spent the entire day editing the voices and adding background music to the scenes. The credits (blames) were added to the end of the parody, too. And then, come April Fool's night, all of us involved hid our faces and groaned as the tape began to roll...