In the 1960’s, Dad’s business was electronics repair and he worked out of the shop in the basement. The business failed due to rapid advancements in technology and Dad couldn’t afford to stay current. While the failure made for any number of difficult moments in family dynamics, it was not without its perks. Since some people didn’t pick up or pay for the repairs, Dad claimed the goods. For instance, we were among the first households on our block to have colour TV. We had more than two or three different record players, the kind that were in a portable suitcase.
Dad also subscribed to Popular Electronics and in his ample free time he built several of the projects published in the magazine. The best of that lot was the close-circuit Jack-o-lantern he rigged up one Halloween.
One time he repaired a reel-to-reel tape recorder. In order to test it, he brought it up to the kitchen and recorded our voices. What a hoot! I LOVED the sound of my voice on tape and I have ever since. I suppose it’s the novelty of the experience. You hear something that should sound familiar, yet it does not.
People have commented favourably on the sound of my voice over the years and I was hired for a couple of voice-over gigs. That was fun. I’d like to find more voice work, perhaps recording books or educational material for the CNIB or other disability support agencies.
I am somewhat surprised to hear that people are uncomfortable about the sound of their recorded voice. As you can imagine, I cannot relate to this. I understand it completely, of course. Just as I understand that people find it unbearable to watch themselves on video. That too is something that is foreign to me. That’s because, I suppose, I’ve rarely been recorded on video. During my theatre days I was hired to act in a TV ad for a London car dealership. I didn’t mind what I saw. I wasn’t great, but I wasn’t horrible.
The first time I was filmed was when I was in grade 7. The local TV station recorded our school’s string orchestra for a multi-school Christmas special. I played viola. I was very excited to be part of the production and even more so when the time came to watch the program on TV.
“It’s on!” I hollered and the family gathered to watch.
The TV host introduced the numbers. I could barely contain my impatience. I thought something along the lines of “Yeah, yeah, very nice Mr. Announcer. Move along, let’s get to the part where we see ME!”
Finally we reached the point in the program where our school performed. I may or may not have squealed.
A wide shot. Was that me?
A close shot of the conductor. That was Mrs. Evers, the music teacher who encouraged me to take music lessons.
Yet another view, this time the woodwinds. Ugh, boring!
Another wide shot from the same camera as before. I was still not in the image!
Another view of Mrs. Evers, the percussion, the stupid woodwinds AGAIN! What about the viola player? The song was almost over and I did not get any camera time!
I was very close to tears and pouting the way only a disappointed ego can. I took some comfort in the fact that my family was equally discouraged.
It was almost over: the final few bars of music. I was about to let the tears flow when Dad shouted, “There you are!”
On the very last note the very last camera shot was a tight closeup trained on the viola player as she drew her bow over the strings.
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