Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I wonder if I'll get in trouble for this?

Lately, my accuracy has been a bit of a dog's breakfast. I'm pleased to say that today was a marked improvement, but the past week has definitely been problematic for someone with a ginormous perfectionist bug up their arse about Always Being Right. Hem-hem.

So. In order to maintain a fair level of accuracy, there are so many variables to keep on top of. It's like the circus performer with the long sticks standing vertically, pointing up into the air. And on top of each stick is a spinning plate. Each stick must be somehow adjusted to keep its plate spinning. Failure to maintain equilibrium results in tumbling crockery and being told This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things.

There are a few variables that are linked to equipment. These include the condition of the computer and whether it is prone to crashing, the quality of the cables connecting the microphone to the computer, the quality of the audio feed, and so on. But 'tis a poor workman who blames his tools, they say. Well, smug bastards say it, at any rate. And there are other variables not related to equipment that need attending to, including tone of voice, pitch, posture, preparation and a few other things I will sum up as 'etc'.

And when all else fails, you can still bugger it all up by trying to be Smart. This happened the other day, when I thought to myself, "Oho, a story involving people with bows and arrows. But I bet that if I say there are 'archers' this particular featured location, it will come out as 'arches,' and this will shit me no end. So I will say two words that are highly unlikely to be misrecognised - 'archery' and 'enthusiasts'."

It is true that editing is a great way not to shoot yourself in the foot by substituting tricky words with easy ones. But did it work? Well, yes and... no. Although not necessarily untrue, it might have been a bit of a stretch to expect the deaf and hard of hearing viewers watching at the time to accept the idea of Sherwood Forest being full of "archers and physicists."

It was at that point I gave up entirely. The moral of the story is that sometimes you don't have to state the obvious. People can see the archers on the screen perfectly well. Maybe you only need to say "fog" instead of "mist and fog." Stick to the details that are the most relevant and only go for broke respeaking verbatim if you are having a good day, otherwise it will all come out a garbled mess.

But still... Robin Hood and his merry band of scientists does sound kind of cool. Robbing the rich to maintain research funding, holding out hope that King Richard will return from the Crusades with the reward of tenure for loyal subjects, and forever battling nasty Prince John and his departmental budget cuts and ominous talk of "streamlining". Yoiks! And away!

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