Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
Send GK Your Question »
February 28, 2011 |
I listen to your radio show on the weekends and especially love hearing the sound effects guy make all those weird sounds. Have you ever had a Sound Effects Woman? If you ever did, I would like to know more about her.
Thank you very much,
The women I know have much too much dignity to sit around making popping, squeaking, squishing, squorting, farting, mooing, oinking sounds, Gene, and that's why you don't find them in this particular field. Women have the small motor skills necessary to do clip-clops with coconut shells or footsteps with shoes in a gravel box or other mechanical effects, but in the radio drama business, we require a sound-effects person to do many many vocal effects. You cannot do a believable champagne-cork pop, for example, using props ---- it must be done vocally. Likewise, the mating call of a mature badger ---- you can buy a device that you blow into and make that call, but it lacks emotional resonance: only a vocal effect will do. And the women I know would feel it is beneath them to do a mating badger cry. Of course the women I know tend to be educated, sensitive, literate, well-informed ----- the typical public-radio-listening type ----- and I'm sure there are ill-bred, crude, peasant women out there who can do the job, but would they be willing to relocate to St. Paul, Minnesota, and fly on scheduled airlines to such places as New York, Chicago, and San Diego? I doubt it.
This is a long answer to your question, but make no mistake, Gene: we would love to have a sound-effects woman. Fred and Tom are getting older. Both are great with horns, explosions, firearms, animal cries, appliances, etc., but less great when it comes to more emotional effects, such as crying, sighing, whimpering, shuddering, and righteous indignation. Whenever I write a sketch and I put in "(LONG TREMULOUS SIGH OF FRUSTRATION)" our sfx guys are stymied. The women I've known in my life could do long tremulous sighs without thinking about it.