RK Sympathy is an organization that endeavors to bring about awareness of mental illnesses. Our primary method is through a program called UTAU, a free voice synthesizer that allows anyone to create their own electronic singers. What we do at RK Sympathy is create voices for use within the program. We design an avatar to go along with a voice, and then designate a mental illness to each avatar.
Our method of spreading awareness of mental illness can be summed up by three objectives: DOWNLOAD, CREATE, and SHARE.
Downloading our voicebanks is the first step.
We have both free and paid versions of each voice. The free version includes a single pitch of the basic voice. This is the intended natural voice range of a Sympathyloid. On the other hand, our purchasable voicebanks consists of 3 pitches of the basic voice, increasing the overall range of the Sympathyloid. The paid version also includes 3 variant voicebanks, called appends. Appends are voicebanks infused with a specific emotion. They are derived from three temperaments: Soft, Serious, and Powerful. Each Sympathyloid receives a Japanese and English voicebank by default, but we will also provide a variety of other languages: Russian, Greek, French, German, Polish, Dutch, and Swedish.
A percentage of the profits from each paid voicebank will be donated to an organization related to each voicebank’s specific mental illness.
Creating something with our Sympathyloids is the next step.
You aren’t restricted to only using our voicebanks to create something. In fact, we encourage you to express yourself in whatever way you can! RK Sympathy creates a story and a personality for each voicebank, as an example of someone with a particular illness. All you have to do, is get creative! You're not limited to this example, but it might be a good foundation to build off of if you're having difficulties getting started.
If you wish to express yourself through UTAU, but find yourself wondering how to start, don’t worry! Tutorials on how to use the UTAU program as well as on how to utilize specific types of voicebanks are included within the voicebank’s folder.
When working with music, we encourage producers to create songs related to the subject of mental health, whether it be about someone's experiences or just knowledge of mental illness! We aren't limiting you to mental illnesses either - you can also expand into related themes such as therapy and other forms of support!
Sharing is the final step.
It’s time to spread your work! We’re always looking forward to seeing all the wonderful things everyone created! It's your turn to show the world what we're doing together!
Now, how does our process actually affect our audience? Music, along with other types of media, have a much more profound effect on people than traditional methods of education.
By creating a form of media centered around a person’s experiences with mental illness, we have provided a way for people to relate more easily to the information we present, and thus develop sympathy, if not empathy towards others. It is through this that we aspire to reach a wide audience and spread as much awareness as we can.
We hope you'll support us while we continue to make the world a little more aware!
Since its creation, RK Sympathy has been funded personally by our Head Staff. Because of this, the production of voicebanks and other content has been moving quite slowly. After a long period of being forced to put voicebanks and projects on hold due to low funds, we decided to ask for help from the public.
Donations from this Kickstarter will go primarily towards the production of our FREE JP voicebanks, as well as a few FULL JP prototypes. A small portion of the proceeds will go towards operational costs and emergency provisions. The remainder will go towards our stretch goals.
Our minimum funding goal was decided by calculating the costs of the FREE JP voicebanks we have yet to complete. The cost of producing a FREE JP voicebank is $73, and the cost of producing a FULL JP voicebank jumps to $167. This does not include the cost of renting time at a recording studio for any of our voicers that are unable to record by themselves; nor does it include the cost of producing a demo for a FULL JP bank. Our goal might seem pretty lofty, but please keep in mind that it factors in our donors’ rewards as well as emergency provisions, just in case something doesn’t turn out as planned. Ideally, we’d like to begin producing more of our FULL JPs so we can get started on more content!
We hope you'll help us reach this goal and support us along the way!
If we manage to exceed our original goal, we have many plans in mind for the extra funding! With your help, we'll also be able to start on the following!
$9,000 Stretch Goal: Expanding Voicebanks
FREE JPs are only a part of the high quality voicebanks we want to produce for everyone. If we reach this goal, we'll be able to start expanding into our FULL JP voicebanks. This means 3-pitches for the main bank, allowing it to sound much more realistic. In addition, Appends! We'll be integrating these Append voicebanks into the main voicebank in order to allow easy access to soft, serious (more enunciated), and powerful syllables.
$10,000 Stretch Goal: Informational Videos
When we get to this goal, RK Sympathy will be able to start producing informational videos. These videos will feature Sympathyloids and voicers speaking about certain stigmatized subjects. In addition, to help viewers feel less uncomfortable going over subjects they don't understand, we'll make sure to include cute visuals!
$13,000 Stretch Goal: Expanding Media
Reaching this stretch goal means reaching into other forms of media. More specifically, our side project, State of Presence, will be back in action! We'll be able to produce a demo featuring a select few of our Sympathyloids. This visual novel incorporates multiple interactive storylines that all come together to reveal the daily lives that those with certain mental illnesses face.
$15,000 Stretch Goal: Charity Events
At this goal, we'll have some of our voicers group together in order to host charity events! The events themselves and the charities being sponsored will vary, but we'll be raising money for mental health with each one.
Risks and Challenges
When working with something as complex as UTAU, there will inevitably be some risks and challenges involved.
Since we are working with a mix of new and experienced voicers, there is always the possibility that a voicebank doesn't quite meet expectations, either with pronunciation, or in overall quality. To fix pronunciation issues, we schedule more practices with our voicers. We have many experienced voice actors on our team, and practicing with them helps our inexperienced voicers improve for future recordings. To improve quality, we would simply redo the voicebank entirely. Yes, it would take extra time and money to go through the process from the beginning, but we are committed to delivering the best quality voicebanks to the community.
Another issue we may come across would be someone's recording equipment breaking or not working well. This may cause delays and issues in the voicebanks. We would either help replace their equipment or get them set up at a recording studio near them. While this may cost more money, this will help us give you the best quality voicebanks that we can provide.
We are an organization whose main objective is creating voices and music to raise awareness of mental illnesses in the world. Our plan is to contact as many producers and organizations as we can before releasing a full voicebank so that we have at least one official demo song created as well as an organization to which we can donate the proceeds from that voicebank.
Finding producers and organizations that are willing to work with us will demand a lot of time and effort. Nevertheless, no matter how long it takes, we are willing to work together with everyone to create wonderful music as well as contribute to as many organizations as possible in order to support our cause.