Hi! It’s me! The creator!
Lots of interesting things to talk about in the Lilyverse, even though the story itself hasn’t advanced significantly in a couple of months. There will be forward movement soon, but after the holiday season, poor girl needs a break.
When I first started Lily, I had always had in mind that she was going to be a vtuber. However, there were a lot of technical hurdles I had to overcome before that was possible. I did some experiments with live streaming, and it turned out that my poor mac mini just wasn’t up to the task. Running OBS, 3tene, morphvox, and a couple of other needed apps was making it lag unacceptably. Plus, since I don’t have a LeapMotion controller and 3tene on the MacOS isn’t really all that capable, I was only able to do facial expressions and the face tracking for mouth movements just wasn’t working right. These challenges were difficult, and expensive, to overcome.
Plus there are other, more intangible challenges to overcome as well. I’m a mid 40s guy with a voice for silent films. Getting her voice right was a real challenge, and I went through like four different (and in some cases, expensive) pieces of software until I settled upon something that was even halfways acceptable. Plus, being the aforementioned mid 40s guy, playing the part of a 16 year old girl, especially as I have no acting experience and it is very far outside my comfort zone, is very difficult.
There’s a third, even more intangible challenge as well, and that’s that I’m, well, a mid 40s guy playing a sixteen year old girl. While I know my motivations (which are to create a good character and maybe make some money) putting such a thing out to a wider audience is inviting some, well, unsavory criticisms. Plus, I haven’t quite figured out her target audience, and YouTube is going to make me choose. Is she targeted towards kids? Teens? Adults? All of the above? I think all of the above, but an argument could be made that she’s a kid’s character, and if I choose wrong YouTube could have some choice words for me. i may need to make sure she speaks in a veiled way about adult stuff just to keep that ambiguity out.
So I have solved the technical problems acceptably. I will post an unlisted video on this post showing the results of what I’ve so far accomplished. I ended up spending about $2500 for a new computer with some insane specs, including a Ryzen 9 5900 12 core CPU, 32G of RAM (and I actually use a significant chunk of that!), and a Radeon 5600 XT with 12G of video RAM. It scores about 20,000 on the cinemark benchmarks, and seems to have plenty of horsepower to do what I needed. I found a technology stack that works adequately, even though there’s still a little audio lag, it’s acceptable. The video seems to freeze every now and then, and I have no idea why.
The intangible problems I’m still working on. I am not yet comfortable doing her voice. I naturally talk fast and clipped. I have to slow my voice way down, to the point where it feels like I’m speaking to children and being condescending, before it starts to sound believable. The hand gestures come somewhat naturally, I think I can put myself into that headspace well enough. And, of course, being a mid 40s male, I have to be true to the character and imbue her with a kind of innocence that also doesn’t come naturally. But her character is fleshed out enough that I know what she would or wouldn’t say, so I guess that’s something, right?
I would honestly like a voice software that can figure out what I’m saying it and how I’m saying, but can turn it into an entirely different voice – not having any qualities of my voice at all, but keeping the personality behind it. But such software doesn’t seem to exist. Yet.
Without further ado… meet Lily.
I am rather proud of how that turned out, actually.
This weekend I’ll be producing a real, live video.
I am not an actor in any formal (or up to now, even informal) way, so for not being an actor, this is turning out much better than I had hoped.
Let me be clear: this is a business venture, and Lily exists to make money. Some folks might think I have some ulterior motive, but there isn’t one. She has turned out to be a pretty good role model for children and teens, and I welcome that (if that’s all she ends up being, well, at least I’ve done something good with my life), but she is a character and I, as uncomfortable as it makes me to say, am an actor. It’s just that technology has advanced to the degree where I can act in ways that haven’t been possible in the past. If you want to understand my motivations, I just gave them to you. I know that my actual identity can be determined with some difficulty, but I would be content if the money rolls in (as unlikely as that will be) and no fan of Lily (that doesn’t know me personally) knows who I am, ever. Lily stands on her own, and that will continue until it’s impossible. I wish I could hire an actual young woman to play her (and maybe I will have to if she ever goes live action) but I don’t trust anyone with her character right now except for myself. So I, a mid 40s guy, am playing a sixteen year old girl, and hopefully with some degree of authenticity. That’s just how it works sometimes.
Thanks for reading!