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Sweet silence - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today... — LiveJournal
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
Sweet silence
If I had a nickel for every time someone told me I had a voice for radio, I’d have about twelve bucks by now. Mine’s a deep voice, resonant with the slightest bit of gravel to lend it character. There is a hefty authority to it, too, practiced from years of posturing on the telephone. It’s only when I hear myself on voicemail or a videotape that I cringe with embarrassment because, to me, I sound like Richard Simmons sweating out an oldie.

I’ve resisted the microphone for years, but Gretchen, who organizes the hundreds of vocals and narrations for our networks, needed someone to play a translator for Osama bin Laden in an upcoming documentary for one of our digital networks that’s partnered with a newspaper which only prints all the news that’s fit. She asked if I would do it, and in a moment of puffed confidence, I agreed.

I studied the copy. There were unpronounceable names and places, words culled from his many videos when he was at the top of the charts, and my brow furrowed. How could I possibly read bin Laden’s whispered bombast without my tongue tripping over the dialogue? His voice is thin, mumbled, forcing the listener to lean in to hear his words. It always seemed an affection to me, the same as Michael Jackson, or Jackie O.

When I arrived at the studio, my palms were sweating, the Xeroxed copy already weathered and damp in my hands. The director seemed a patient woman, or at least I prayed she was. She handed me new pages explaining that someone had already done bin Laden. I looked at the new copy. It was for the voice of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the chief leiutenant of al-Queda, and a fews lines from bin Laden’s cook.


A cook? I wasn’t even going to be the star! I wanted to diva stomp out of there, but it was really more from fear than insult. I stepped into the small booth, walled in gray textured fabric. I slid on the headphones, and for a moment, that silence lent serenity and calm. I felt cocooned, and I wanted to curl up and spend the night.

The director’s voice boomed through the headphones, shaking me out of my happy place, and I started to tremble. She asked me to read the first paragraph. I breezed through the alliteration of Sudanese society, but jumbled the Salafists. I finished Ayman after only eighteen takes. I couldn't tell if there were rolling eyes on the other side of the thick glass as the director asked me again and again for another read. The cook's lines were mercifully few, and the director asked if I could change the register of my voice to something in a higher range. I was acting.

The session was over. The director thanked me, said I had a great voice. I wanted to go back into that studio, though. I didn’t want to read anymore. I just missed the booth, the peace of having all of the noise of the whole world blocked out with nothing more than my heartbeat to keep me company.


14 comments or Leave a comment
notoriousbrb From: notoriousbrb Date: May 7th, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Next you'll be playing Captain Hook! I can see it now. Did you have to sound sinister at all?
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: May 8th, 2005 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
No. I had to sound matter of fact as I was reading, "They raped our women..."
notoriousbrb From: notoriousbrb Date: May 8th, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know the feeling. Exactly.
creactivity From: creactivity Date: May 7th, 2005 06:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I used to love the voice-over booth at the CD-ROM company I worked for. It was so damn QUIET in there, even with ME talking.

And holy hell. The way you describe your voice + the way you write has me awake and drooling and wanting to hear it right now.

It appears I'm once again in love with a gay man.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: May 8th, 2005 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
What is it with beautiful women and gay men?

Lucky us!
(Deleted comment)
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: May 8th, 2005 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't even know. I have to find out, and I'll let you know. I'm excited, too, even though I'm certain Ayman will sound like Charles Nelson Reilly.
tedwords From: tedwords Date: May 7th, 2005 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like the start of a new career. Translator to the stars. But how's your Yushenko? Or maybe, his cook?
From: umkinda Date: May 7th, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you're finally reaching your true star potential.

That sounds like Scientology, doesn't it...
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: May 8th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
First I have to get clear.
ubermunkey From: ubermunkey Date: May 7th, 2005 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice, god I envy you that. Sounds like an adventure and a half.

I've been told, bout 10 bucks worth that I have a voice for radio too... One day I'd like to hear your voice. Sounds kind of sexy...

be well
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: May 8th, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
We'll talk.
ubermunkey From: ubermunkey Date: May 8th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

mickster From: mickster Date: May 8th, 2005 07:55 am (UTC) (Link)


So maybe you'll stop being so critical of the TALENT now, huh?

guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: May 8th, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: HA!!

"Talent." Hahahahahaha!

DId you get drunk last night and throw wedding cake at the bride?
14 comments or Leave a comment