Cherrybomb: The Band That Never Was

Estimated reading time: 1 minutes —


Some people don’t see a connection between truth and fiction. I get that. But the truth is, the only reality a fictional character’s got going for herself is integrity.

I got the idea of putting together a virtual band a couple of years ago. A cross between the Archies and Gorillaz. I enlisted a couple of avatars from my friend Mick Brady, set up a scene and shot some test video. It looked great. It felt good.

I wrote a song, recorded a basic track and found a female vocalist to sing Botgirl’s part. We cut a demo and it sounded pretty good. It felt really bad. There was something about putting a singing voice into Botgirl’s mouth that felt wrong. I’m not sure why.

I put speaking voices in her mouth all the time with no problem. But there was something about feigning an ability to sing that was jarring. Not in a “shake up one’s sensibilities through art” way, but in the sense of feeling shamefully inauthentic.

I’m still puzzled by the reaction. But that’s okay. It’s the mystery of life. Fictional life.

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9 Responses to “Cherrybomb: The Band That Never Was”

  1. Vaneeesa Blaylock
    2012/06/01 at 17:48 #

    hahaha, that’s why we love you Botgirl! Your integrity! Not one of those autotuned pop stars lip syncing their way thru performance after performance! :)

  2. Vaneeesa Blaylock
    2012/06/01 at 17:49 #

    still… it would be kind of great to have just one “Reunion of the band that never was” performance or video… :+]

  3. botgirlq
    2012/06/01 at 19:03 #

    I love autotune! In this case, it was about integrity to the character rather than anything that would have been represented to an audience. I can’t make a rational argument against doing it, but there was (and still is) a sense of wrongness about it. Now that I think about it a bit more, it could just be that it was the wrong singer to fit the character rather than the singing itself.

  4. Vaneeesa Blaylock
    2012/06/01 at 19:51 #

    that makes a lot of sense. I love going to author talks and hearing them describe the process of writing…

    I had planned to have Character-X do Thing-Y around page 100, but when I got there the character simply refused to do it.

    I think even within a single human cranium “characters” can take on lives of their own… in a virtual world we have that same sort of identity instantiation, PLUS that identity now interacts within a matrix of unique identities “piloted” by other crania.

    So even if your avatar starts as “just you,” it will have its own, unique experiences after a while… and a given “overlay” might feel wrong… or be “refused by the character.”

    haha, perhaps the ability to say “Fuck That!” is one test of an identity becoming self-aware or “real”

  5. Vaneeesa Blaylock
    2012/06/08 at 03:05 #

    I just listened to your VWBPE ’11 keynote address and I think you actually talk a lot about this idea of “integrity to the identity”

    People DO make a lot of assumptions about you based on your typist. Maybe more than they make about a typist based on knowing their parents. I think we assume an avatar is lockstep with a typist, yet we don’t assume a typist is lockstep with their parents.

    I do think, as you said in the VWBPE talk, that Novelist and Character are a pretty fruitful metaphor. That if you’re true to / honest with an avatar, they do become at least semi-independent beings. Of course there’s a pretty good chance that avatar and typist share a lot of ideology, but there is an individual persona that knows what the “right voice” or anything else, for “me” is… or isn’t…

  6. botgirlq
    2012/06/08 at 03:54 #

    I wonder whether the ability to “hear” the point of view of a character is related to being able to see things from the view of other people.

  7. Vaneeesa Blaylock
    2012/06/08 at 04:37 #

    Probably yes… although I think that “being” an avatar identity might be a little easier than understanding someone else’s POV or being a character in your novel.

    I think they are all similar… but as an avatar, you wear shape, skin, hair, etc, – that’s pretty immersive – and then peeps walk up and interact with you – so the avatar / virtual space does, I think, make this experience kind of rich. And even if you try to make an avatar that is isomorphic with a typist… pretty quickly the avatar is having their own, unique experiences that the typist wouldn’t have otherwise had…

  8. botgirlq
    2012/06/08 at 04:40 #

    Good point. Identity is certainly socially constructed. So when you present in different form, or even in a similar without the old identity baggage, a new feedback loop is created.


  1. Cherrybomb: The Band That Never Was | Soci... - 2013/10/06

    […] Some people don’t see a connection between truth and fiction. I get that. But the truth is, the only reality a fictional character’s got going for herself is integrity. I got the…  […]

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