Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Can Ventriloquism Be Recorded?

Jaysons Imagination,inc. ©Jaysons Imagination, Inc. 2014
Artist Title: Flying Coach to Coast.
©Jaysons Imagination, Inc. 2014
It is a line from my show Jay Johnson:The Two and Only.
Can Ventriloquism Be Recorded? 
It was a legitimate question asked by a reputable sound man on the set of SOAP.  A very efficient, audio professional, he was aware of acoustic anomalies. He had certainly not ruled out that possibility for why he was in the studio and not in the booth. He knew the physics of why a duck quack will not echo. He was here to solve the audio problem. 
I was clueless. It was the first time I had ever been on a sit com  studio stage,  I thought a quack did echo.
But it was also the first time anybody on a sit com studio stage had ever worked with ventriloquism, which was the one thing I did know about. 
The audio man seriously wanted to know:
Could ventriloquism be a sound anomaly?
Because with all the 1970's state of the art audio equipment ABC owns , there is a problem recording my voice. 
Actually not my voice, my speaking voice was recording fine. It was my ventriloqual voice. 
Specifically Bob's voice. My ventriloquated falsetto is not the an easy sound. It falls higher than my voice so it is difficult to equalize. During my first week, I become aware that the sound of Bob's voice was not recording properly.  The note I got from the sound booth was "We can't understand Bob." Since I am the newest recruit to network television I don't know what they are talking about.  
I tried to sort it out in my mind.  Actors struggle with parts all the time. I must find a better way to deliver my performance.  They can't understand Bob's diction? Is it not loud enough, too high of a register?  I kept trying different timing and different inflections. I hoped this might help the sound guru's hear it more clearly.  Nothing was working. The sound anomaly was still there,
During the first taping, in front of a live audience, the stage manager watched the boom guy move the microphone from me to Bob when Bob spoke a line and back to me when I spoke.  Obviously, Bob's voice was always off mic.  Anomaly discredited as fiction.  Next on to the qualities of a quack. 

I get to act that story in full stage during "The Two and Only". It is even more fun to tell it live. 

Once again the drawing illustrating this blog post has nothing to do with it's content.  That is very unusual in this personalized Internet of everything. Google can actually scan the words in this post in milliseconds.  With the same speed Google can place an advertisement to the side of the page that conforms to some algorithmic interpretation of what this post was about. 
The drawing above is one of my sketches chosen at random. Random is a computer's best friend and it's worst enemy.
I drew the Ghost of "Flying Coach to Coast"  while in flight flying home from the last trip I made. 
As you were,

Before anyone goes crazy I think the Myth Busters proved that ducks do echo. 

1 comment:

P. Grecian said...

Ha! I've heard that, in the early days of television, Paul Winchell had the same thing happen to him! I never had that happen, but I did have a technician try to fit Louie with a clip mic.

I let him do it, but told him not to bother hooking it up.