Flubbing and Stuttering

There’a a country singer/song writer by the name of Mel Tillus who reached the peek of his comercial fame the 1970s and 80s. I may be giving away my age by knowing who he is. Not to mention betraying my Heavy Metal music loyalty.

Other than country music, it was well-known that he’s a man who speaks with a stutter. And the amazing thing about that was, when he sang, the stutter disapeared.

I work, part-time at a local radio station. There’s a guy there who also speaks with a stutter. Most of the time you wouldn’t even notice it. It seems to come out more when he’s stressed or pissed-off or when he’s laughing and finds something very funny. And since we’re friends and I sometimes am the source of something very funny or the reason he’s pissed-off, I do see the stuttering come out. But the the guy is a genius in the production studio. He voices comercials, promos and liners. A man who stutters, voicing stuff that airs on the radio? Yes. When the microphone is turned on, the stutter disappears and he comes off Casey Kasem smooth. Like Mel Tillus and singing, an open mic for this guy and the stutter’s gone.

I am not challenged by that very real speech-language malady. But you would never know it by listening to the Grace and the Author podcast. I’m the co-host of that along with my best friend, Grace. Each podcast of not scripted. The two of us are having a conversation. True- we do have a topic and we stick to that topic. But the conversation has an organic quality, mostly because it is a real conversation. And going back and listening to those recordings, I hear that I flub-up and stutter quite a bit.

Now stay with me as I mention something else on the internet that has my voice recording.

As part of the promotion of my Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price book series, I make a recording of me narrating the first chapter of the each book and post them on my Sound Cloud page as sort of a tease to get people to buy the books. I’ve already recorded the first chapter of Torch. When that book comes out- which should be soon -I’ll post the first chapter narration of that on my spund cloud page as well. But for now, when you listen to the recordings of the first chapter of Beckman’s Folly and The Family Eternal: Part One, there is a noticable lack of stuttering or anything in the way of flubbed-up talking.

So what’s the real me? The guy who sometimes speaks fluent flubbed-up when trying to keep up with Grace’s witty banter on the Grace and the Author podcast? Or the more professional sound of me narrating those scripted first chapters- where this is zero flubbing or stuttering?

Before I answer that, allow me to say a little about people who create audio entertainment. As an author of a couple books, it’s been my good forture to make the aqauntance of some people who create world-class audio content. One of those people is Eric Busby of Eric Busby Presents. He’s most well-known for the Byron Chronicles continuing audio drama. My little Vampire gal, Hadley Price was a guest character in three Byron Chronicles episodes. I and Eric wrote the scripts. I also had a bit voice part in one of them. Eric is a great writer and producer and has some amazingly talented voice actors on his team. The unmistakable voice of David Alt as Byron. And voice actor Natalie Van Sistine did a great job as Hadley. And through that, I’ve gotten an apreciation of professional sound mixers, producers and professional voice actors. They make it all look easy.

It isn’t.

I found that out when I did the narration of those first chapters. Yes, I do have some experience with radio announcing and production. But I soon found out that I am not an actor. Any attemps just came of really stupid. And more than that, I found out that it was nearly impossible for me to record something that is several pages long without making a mistake- ruining the take of the whole thing. Try it sometime. I imagine any of those talented voice actors associated with Eric Busby Presents productions could do that. But not me.

So how is that there’s no mistakes (no major ones anyway) and no stuttering or flubbing in the narration of those first chapters that I recorded? Mel Tillus had singing. My buddy at the radio station had a mic switch in the on position. Me? I cheated a little. And I used technology to do it.

I diced the copy into pieces that are only two or three paragraphs long. I record those pieces. It may take more than one try on each piece. But if I make a mistake, I only blew that three paragraph section- not the whole thing. Then I digitally edit all those pieces together and it sort of sounds like I’m semi-professional.

So that’s my trick on that on. I cheated. It sounds like I read the whole without mistakes. The truth is, most of those pieces were done in one take. But man, there were a few that were stubborn. So I just kept doing take after take until I got it right.

In short, I edited out the stuttering and flubbing. But I can be a flubbing and stuttering kind of guy. And you get the full unedited version of that in the Grace and the Author podcast.

So what’s the real me? I’m both guys. Just don’t take away my audio editing software.

Check out the band new episode of Grace and the Author podcast. We’re still new at this. It’s our second episode. Give us a listen. Email us at: graceandtheauthor@gmail.com


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