Q) What’s the difference between a buffalo and a bison?
A) You can’t wash your hands in a buffalo.
That joke sits in my top ten of ‘Dad’ jokes which become funnier with each telling. Well they do to me anyhow.
In order for that joke to stand a chance of working, it needs two things:
1) A passing appreciation of the spoken vernacular which can transform the word ‘basin’ into the word ‘bison’
2) To be said, and not written down.
I have spent this week voicing some interesting pieces. From another ‘JC soundalike’, (‘Cleese’ not ‘Christ’) to a simple piece for a finance company. I realised today that it was already March, and I’m 1/6 into another year of talking to myself in a padded room for money.
And I love it!
The world of voiceover is not for everyone. It can be lonely. It can be frustrating. It definitely isn’t going to present me with the dilemma of deciding which Learjet to take to work this week! But, it is rich, rewarding and the most satisfying vocation.
I count myself privileged to be a part of it.
To be the one who brings to life (often) carefully crafted words, created by (usually) excellent scriptwriters, is remarkable.
Breathing gist, essence and meaning into a paragraph of text is a significant responsibility. It’s also a real privilege. We are presented a page of words, sometimes with a short brief on style, and then we give it ‘sense’.
We wrestle with homophones and heteronyms. We put polysemes in context and handle homonyms. I wonder if I’ll ever have to deliver that famous line:
“Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo”
I count myself lucky – I could be stuck in an office, talking to myself, for money. But I’m not, and I’m grateful.
So, before I fire up the e-mail and look at this week’s verbal challenges, it’s time to cook the Sunday roast.
First step of course to any cooking – wash hands. Where’s that copy of National Geographic?
Have a GREAT week.