Editor’s and producer’s nightmare. A reader with mouth noise. Clicks. Smacks. Spit. Snorts. Sticky mouth. Sounds a normal person wouldn’t even notice, but shove a 3K Sennheiser mic practically up a reader’s nose, and suddenly there is a symphony of extra unattractive noises that need to be dealt with in infamous “post.” That’s why the Hall of Famers (the Bricks, the Campbells, the Landors and well, yes, the Rudnickis) of this business are a joy; they naturally sound pristine; no smackers in this group; no triage clean-up crew required.

Best mouth noise story? Hands down winner.

Scene: At our Beeman Studio, years ago.

Cast: Me, producing. Reader, a wildly talented newcomer narrator with minimal mic experience and even less horse sense.

I am sitting there, after lunch, and she’s reading. As I listen, I realize she’s making a lot more mouth noise than usual. By this, I mean each word she says is full of noises; sticky, smacky, poppy sounds that would take an editor 3 years to clean up in post.

So, I punch in and ask her nicely to take a drink of water and swish her mouth out. She does so. She continues to read. The symphony persists. I am truly puzzled. She sounded quite clear before lunch. I punch in again and gently (velvet glove director, you know) and ask her what she had for lunch. She reported chicken noodle soup form Jerry’s deli. No matzo ball. Hmm. Certainly not the source.

I suggest she rinse and repeat swishing with water and give it another go. She does. She starts reading again. This time it’s WORSE. I punch in again, and ask her to come out of the booth and drink some hot tea and lemon and see if that will help.

At which point she says:

Okay. Let me have one last bite of this cheesecake and I’ll come out and drink tea

Long pause.

Now, you have to know that from the console at which I spin my magic, I cannot fully see the interior of the booth; therefore, I was not aware that every time I told her to take a sip of water, she was, yes, obediently taking a sip of water, but also taking a big bite of Jerry’s deli CHEESECAKE which she had brought back from lunch and was clandestinely munching in the booth.

This has now become officially known as THE CHEESECAKE STORY in the urban lore of Skyboat’s annals.

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