Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A New Appreciation for News Anchors

So who knew reading from a teleprompter for six hours could be so exhausting?!?

Living in a place with few foreigners works to your advantage sometimes. Besides the teaching gig (which I whole-hearted believe and admit takes more than just an ability to speak a language!) I landed, and followed by the English textbook editing job I picked up, I was recently asked by the publishers of the textbooks to do some recording. The instructional material package will include a student textbook, teacher's edition book, CD with listening exercises and a DVD with listening/watching opportunities (which I think is great because it is so much easier to learn to pronounce words and to understand a foreign language when you can see the speaker's mouth). I originally understood that I was just going to be doing voice recording, but it was actually about 5 hours of video and just 1 hour of voice-only.

They had me set up for a six-hour session at a local recording studio, and I really didn't think it sounded like that big of a deal. But WOW! Standing perfectly still for hours reading off a teleprompter under intensely bright (and hot) lights with a half-inch thick layer of "camera make-up" on and trying to avoid making funny faces as my eyes grew tired or scratching the itch behind my left ear was amazingly exhausting! Thank goodness for the frequent wardrobe changes or else I really would have died standing in one spot so long!

And then there is the part where it was vitally important that I pronounce each word precisely correct and clearly. And have I mentioned that my southern accent really starts making a re-appearance when I start getting tired. They saved the "pronunciation practice" section as one of the last things we recorded . . . it might be safe to assume that there will be a certain portion of the next generation of Brasilian English-speakers with a southern drawl. My sincerest apologies y'all.

But holy cow, I have a brand new appreciation for all people who spend their days on camera: news anchors, reporters, even TV/movie actors and actresses. (Maybe they're not as overpaid as I've always thought!) Meanwhile, it turns out that this great-paying recording stuff is actually just paying what it is worth. By the time I pay for the massages I'm needing to recover from yesterday's session . . .

There are still a few sessions left to go for me, so I'm hoping I toughen up a little for the next round. And I really hope we finish up the recording before my belly grows much more!


AcesHigh said...

thats great. You will soon be making lots of money and Eric will be able to stay home while you sweat to pay the bills! :)

I love the 21st century and women´s independence ;) j/k

Emily, what do you guys consider NEUTRAL accent? Is it the accent of ANY place in the country or is an accent only seen on TV?

In brazilian TV, specially news shows of course, the neutral accent is quite different from any real accent. Its really "neutral"... haha... its not from São Paulo nor Rio... nor from Curitiba nor from Minas... maybe the closest would be from Rio, but with so many Rio accent stuff cut from it, that it really is not from Rio anymore.

Emily said...

Aceshigh, you've discovered Eric's ultimate dream! ;) hehehe

The neutral accent question is a tough one for me. I used to hear people say that the "TV" people all speak like Midwesterners. But after living there for a year, I don't think that's it at all. I would classify it more as a West Coast (California) accent, but others would probably disagree with me on that too.

I can say the South certainly isn't neutral, nor is the Northeast/New England though!

I think so much regional dialect gets removed from the "on-camera" professionals that it probably is more like Brasil - it's an accent that only occurs on TV!

Anyone else have thoughts on it?

AcesHigh said...

i always thought that New Yorkers had the "neutral accent". But then I learned that was not true.

Justin said...

Haha, New Yorkers definitely do not have a neutral accent. In my opinion, folks from urban areas of Indiana and rural areas of California probably have the "most neutral" accents I've heard.

On a related note, my college Portuguese professor was a carioca, so of course I thought that's what all Brazilians spoke like. Boy was I wrong!