Word Crimes or Blurred Lines?

Lisa Rice wrote this.

My college minor was Journalism. I remember paper after paper sent back to me covered with red pencil corrections. So much so that I was sure my professors had it out for me. All these years later, it’s occurred to me they did. They had it out for me to learn and develop outside my comfort zone. Their goal was to take any raw talent they saw and make it better. Those are the people that usually make a difference in our journey. Right?

In voiceover, I face grammar issues everyday. Voicing a well written script is a pleasure. The not so well written ones? I just hunker down and do the job. Sometimes that means searching for multiple places to take a breath within a fifty-plus word sentence or going back to my customer with a few suggestions on how the heavy laden piece of copy can be whittled down, rephrased, broken up or transmogrified. How many breaths did it take you to read that?

The scenario might have begun when a script that was originally meant for a reader-based audience failed to become viewer or listener-friendly. We don’t normally talk in a grammatically correct manner. Writing conversationally still requires the proper tense, pronouns and syntax but it needs finesse. Grammar lines get blurred.

Lin Parkin addressed this conundrum not long ago. Her article, Transforming Educational Text into Conversational Scripts arms audio/video script writers with suggestions such as using more contractions, simplifying sentences and actually reading through the script aloud. These hit the mark.

Decades ago, School House Rock familiarized pupils with adjectives, verbs, conjunctions and nouns. I’m certain those clever cartoons and songs came in handy for many test takers. Today’s audiences have a new teacher. Weird Al Yankovic chastises his grammar offending, texting-obsessed audience with another ingenious tune. Guilty? Hand raised here.

Rage Against Ratchet

Lisa Rice wrote this.

It takes courage to swim against the tide of societal norms. It takes love to protect what’s precious. Grammy award-winning songwriter, producer and father Carvin Haggins has decided to do both. Rage Against the Ratchet is his way of saying enough is enough when it comes to what’s playing on the radio.

“[T]he songs that I’m hearing are disrespectful,” he says. “They’re degrading. They’re—they’re just tearing our children down. It’s over-sexed—it’s just super lawless. And as a concerned parent, as a concerned creator, as a—as a concerned person just listening to the music, I feel like it—something has to be done to stop radio from what they’re doing right now.”

Companies pay millions to advertise their message via sound and video yet arguments are made that songs and music videos don’t influence decisions in a destructive manner. The banner of free speech and fear of censorship have usurped common-sense thinking. It’s one of those scratch my head kind of rationalizations.

Organizations such as The Media Literacy Project have been saying this for years. They insist that we can’t have it both ways. “We don’t like to admit it, but all of us are affected by advertising, news, movies, pop music, video games, and other forms of media. While fantasy can be pleasurable and entertaining, it can also be harmful. Movies, TV shows, and music videos sometimes inspire people to do things that are unwise, anti-social, or even dangerous. At other times, media can inspire our imagination.”

Mr. Carvins sees the correlation between hearing/seeing and doing. Especially for young children. When you have a moment, listen to what he has to say. Sounds like truth to me.

A Patriotic Recovery

Lisa Rice wrote this.

Most of the flubs I make while voicing projects are quickly cleaned up and deleted. Unfortunately, those performing live don’t have that luxury. Kudos to the young man below who shows us how to recover with class. Happy 4th!

Failing Up or Falling Flat?

Lisa Rice wrote this.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a failure. I miss the mark personally and professionally every day. The tyranny of the urgent hijacks my To Do list. Auditions I spend time carefully preparing and recording are passed over and sometimes not even listened to. Calls made to potential clients are met with icy responses. I’ve foolishly spent time looking at my smart phone and allowed precious memories to fly by. I catch myself worrying about what might happen instead of savoring the moment that is happening. I fail to let my anchor down.

Inevitably, setting high expectations means we might not meet them. Yet, how can we hope to succeed if we’re not willing to fail?

Failing is good. Failing is certain. Failing helps us see where we can improve. In fact, I discovered my voiceover niche this way. My voice, personality and season of life makes me better suited for some genres of voice over work than others. I’ve learned to turn projects down.

Success is sweet but failing up teaches us more. Falling flat, not so much.

Staying stuck in a rut, giving up or shying away from learning from our failures is a good way to fall flat. Failing up, however, offers at least three productive choices; assessing our strengths and weaknesses, changing directions or beginning again.

Assessing Strengths and Weaknesses

In freelance, we have the option of learning by trial and error or working with someone more experienced who can objectively administer constructive criticism and advice. Partnering with a voiceover coach has helped me in many ways. I’ve been encouraged in what I do best and put through my paces with what needs improvement. I feel like Stretch Armstrong afterwards but my performance is always better for it.

Changing Direction

What we think might work in the beginning sometimes needs to be changed. I wrote about this in an earlier blog entry. I thought my sky was falling but it was actually opening up.

There was a day when Instagram, Twitter, PayPal and Groupon were startups. Each came to a place where they had to pivot in order to survive. They found success by changing direction.

Beginning Again

Walking away from what we love can provide a fresh perspective. It can also be a game changer. Literally. Softball standout Abby Tincher found this to be true.

So, where are you on the road called Failure? Watching from the stands or struggling in the arena? Failing up or falling flat?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

Spring Has Sprung!

Lisa Rice wrote this.

Farewell, winter. Bye-bye blah. Buzzing bees, blooming buds and greener grass have emerged. Hopefully you’re delighting in the change of seasons as much as I enjoyed voicing the spot below. Happy Spring!

Spring is God’s way of saying, ‘One more time!’ ~ Robert Orben

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