Creased Comics creator Brad Neely thought it would be fun to provide an alternative voiceover to a popular movie. He finally decided on the first Harry Potter film. (An early candidate: The Patriot.) Neely, 27, an affable Austin toy-store employee, had been cracking friends up with his impression of the gravel-throated poet Stephen Jesse Bernstein, and so he let the voice dictate the persona, recording onto a four-track as he watched Harry’s adventures on his computer.
The result is the NYUFF entry WIZARD PEOPLE, dear readers (Anthology, March 13). The title tips us off that this is supposed to be an audiobook, ostensibly drawing from J.K. Rowling’s novel rather than its screen incarnation. As Neely explains, “The thought is that it’s like a book on tape [we’ve found], but we’re getting the idea that he’s not actually familiar with the book—and he’s just watching the movie for the first time.” Hence the misstated names (Val-Mart, Hardcastle McCormick, “Ronnie the Bear”), which maybe aren’t so funny at first, but kick in around the fifth or 50th time. The codger’s interpretations are expressed in fanciful imagery (“Their hatred curls about their temples like Caesar hats”), total cog-diss throwaways (“Another tequila sunrise,” at the beginning of a school day), and the downright gnomic (“Never pet cats you don’t know—no, never pet anything.”) Next up for Neely? Maybe Jaws. “I would do it like The Brothers Karamazov,” says Neely, “with the police guy, the sea captain, and the Richard Dreyfuss character as the brothers, and the shark as a father figure.”