Voithover

I’m in a Facebook group about using Audacity for Voiceover work. Someone in the group who has a self-proclaimed “prominent lisp” was using “DeEsser” and “DeClicker” plugins to reduce it. She posted some edited vs unedited examples.
 
I’m surprised the tech cleaned it up as much as it did. Were it me, I’d fix it at the source, rather than in post. Which is to say, if I were the person on the purchasing end of the transaction, hire someone who doesn’t have a lisp.
A lisp. Voiceover work. Huh. Well I guess the heart wants what it wants. Teens with thick glasses who want to be fighter pilots. Thick-fingered trolls (like myself) who want to be guitarists.
But – let’s assume I have a lisp, but for whatever unfathomable reason, I also yearn to do Voiceover work. I’d either get speech therapy, or my teeth fixed (I have no clue of the causes in the poster’s case). I’ve known a couple people (from my elementary school) who had a prominent lisp, and they fixed it. But I also had a niece with a lisp (as a toddler), and I suggested (because of experience with the previously-mentioned people) that it could be improved with speech therapy – and my bro-in-law angrily contended that there was nothing wrong. So I shrugged it off, and as an adult, she still has a lisp, which seems from my uneducated perspective to be unnecessary.
 
This all makes me wonder about accents, affectations, hearing, etcetera. I don’t know much Spanish. But when I do speak Spanish, I try to speak it with a Mexican accent (as I hear it). I try not to sound like a big dumb gringo (my appearance as such is more than sufficient). I’ve had Mexican immigrants (a bank teller, in one case), jump to the conclusion that my mother tongue was Español. What is it about me that I’m able to do that, while my co-worker a few cubicles away (born in Ukraine) speaks with such a thick, wet (literally) accent that he’s difficult for us to understand (or stay dry)? If I can spit “day-tah-base” just like him, why can’t he say “database” just like me?
 
And here’s my theory: Some people who have emigrated here, have somehow come to the conclusion that if they talk a LOT like us (native US English speakers – worse yet, Minnesotans), that we will feel mocked.
You know, how Hollywood so often uses a Southern accent for a dumb character, even though there’s no reason to conclude that regional diction has any correlation to intelligence. So when a Yankee such as myself takes on a Southern accent in order to “sound dumb,” we’re mocking. Ergo, although when I’m in the South I can talk like the locals in order to reduce their struggle to understand what I’m saying, I’m keenly aware of the possibility that I’m also hurting someone’s feelings – so I’m cautious about it.
 
A related theory: Though I’m sure, depending on the causes, some speech characteristics that one might want to fix, could be fixed, but might there be a subconscious resistance? If I was from Boston, but wanted to excel in VO work, or in broadcasting, and I started pronouncing Rs properly, would my family and friends think I think I’m bettah [sic] than them? (Insert your favorite clip from Goodwill Hunting here.) Might I struggle to overcome my own psychological resistance to changing my speech? Does a particular speech pathology, however undesirable for voiceover work, be so ingrained in a person’s identity that it’s more difficult to fix than it might otherwise be?
And I wonder what the overlap is between adults with a speech impediment AND who also do VO work.
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Relative Irrelevance Of The First Family

Let me start out by stating that I didn’t vote for DJT, I’ve disliked the guy as long as I can remember, and I believe the People of the United States have done our nation an enormous disservice by allowing ourselves to be fooled by an unfit, unqualified, unwise, but very persuasive candidate.

That said, I’ve been seeing a lot of Tweets and Facebook posts similar to this, lately…

IrrelevantComparisonWeakensTheArgument.png

The security of the First Family provided by the Secret Service is not relevant to Food Stamps or any other budget subject matter about which one may argue, for or against. They’re not related at all.

The First Lady might be a wonderful person, or she may be horrible. I don’t know, and I don’t care. And it’s not really relevant to whether protection is deserved, or how expensive it is. Same for her son, Barron. It’s not his fault that his father was elected President.

Protection of the President, and the First Family, wherever they go, wherever they live, has been the law of the land for a long time.

New York City is expensive. If we had elected anybody else who lives in New York City, it would be similarly expensive to protect that home.

The First Kid is a school-aged kid. His parents have made a decision to keep him in the school he’s been attending, rather than to uproot him and move him to some school in or near Washington D.C.. So what? That’s up to his parents, and nobody else.

Go ahead. Pick your favorite President of all time. Now think about this hypothetical scenario: Your favorite President gets elected. The Secret Service provides security to your favorite President’s First Family. Would you think it’s OK to say that your favorite President needs to move the First Family someplace which is cheaper to protect? I mean, does that not sound ludicrous?

Again, DJT was not my choice. I’m embarrassed and ashamed and acutely irritated that he’s the POTUS. The fact, however, is that his is the POTUS, and that is the end of the discussion as to whether his family gets protected, or how much that costs. Costs which are irrelevant to arguments about welfare, education, infrastructure, tax reform, bank regulation, military, whatever.

You can surely make an argument for Food Stamps – and so can I. That argument is not made stronger by making comparisons to an unrelated law and the costs for it. Rather, these failures to stick to the point make the arguments far weaker.

Wag The Dog Reboot

I’m batting about an idea for a screenplay. I’d like to do a reboot of Wag The Dog, sort of.

In this pre-apocalyptic story, there’s an international consortium/conspiracy of power brokers. Kabal… Illuminati… Knights Templar… something like that. These extremely influential yet extremely secretive men are concerned about the financial impact of several world problems, including

  • Climate Change
  • ISIS
  • Bashar al-Assad
  • Inability to diplomatically convince certain countries that pursuit of nuclear weapon capability is a bad idea, including
    • Iran
    • North Korea

If only we could kill a few birds with one stone.

The problem with convincing North Korea that Nuclear Weapons are bad is partly that not enough people are still alive who have seen the devastation. WWII was too long ago. Perhaps a current example would set their thinking straight.

The problem with selling fossil fuels (the main source of profit for these guys) is the global push-back against carbon emissions, which cause climate change, which is increasingly difficult to believably deny. But a little nuclear winter could correct that, perhaps.

And if the international community really cared about the Syrian people, Bashar al-Assad would simply never have gotten this far… so these profit-driven evil men could write off (aka sacrifice) the entire country and turn it into one big mirror. Which would further help stave off planetary warming, right?

But of course, the publically-known world leaders don’t want to be on the hook, blamed for reckless war-mongering. So what we need is a patsy. Some ego-maniacal reality-TV personality who is believably dumb enough to be, of all things, a Climate Change Denier. Better yet if he’s thin-skinned and hot-tempered. Someone who could be tricked into taking the blame for starting a nuclear confrontation.

Alas, I could never sell such a screenplay. Too difficult for the audience to suspend disbelief far enough to make it pay off at the box office.