Adventure Beasts and Audio Description Verbs.

I’m pleased to announce another addition to my audio description portfolio on Netflix. This time, it’s an animated adult comedy called Adventure Beasts.

I’ll paste the synopsis before I dive into what made this project especially fun to work on.

A brave zoologist, his spunky niece and anxious assistant explore the world while saving wild beasts in this adult animated educational-comedy series.

I’m credited as the editor of the audio description script, which means I had a hand in editing the first script as well as doing a bit of consulting work. For example, how does an audio description writer describe fast paced, comedic, action without ruining the mood of the scene?

This was an especially important challenge for me because, in a comedy, the words are more important than how much you describe, I feel. With something like a romance, I’d Taylor my audio description writing to use slower verbs and more adjectives, because it’s not about describing actions. It’s about describing emotional states. With a comedy, I’d use more verbs than adjectives because the punchy action is the important part. Sighted people see a flash of the joke, so audio description needs to convey that visual camera cut the same way.

For instance, instead of saying,

He falls comedically,

I’d use a verb to emphasize the action and keep the comedic tone. For example,

He splats on the ground.

Even though some may associate splats with cartoons, I think it can be used in live action comedic situations when describing something.

Another technique I’d use is to give facial expressions a bit more oomph while keeping the comedic tone. For example, if there’s a beat where a character is clearly baffled, I might say, depending on what their mouth is doing,

He shrugs his lips.

That’s clear and to the point. It keeps the flow of the scene while running alongside the joke and not getting in the way.

Netflix classifies this as an educational TV series for some reason. I wouldn’t call it educational, but I did learn how to keep a frog in my beard! I loved all the characters in this show as well as the jokes. I’m eager for my next audio description project.