This one’s a brain scratcher!

Apologies, I haven’t written in the longest time or should I say you’re welcome since you were spared from my crazy rant for a few extra days. Thankfully being a Professional Blabbermouth has kept me busy!

Now feast yourself on some savage incidents that transpired in the recent days 🙂

(Disclaimer: Written by memory so may be paraphrased at places)

Client: “Hey Aditi, they like your voice for this, I’ll share the script with you, could you do a scratch ASAP? Then we’re good to go.”

Me: “That’s awesome but I can’t right now, I’m out. Will be back much later. I’ll send it tomorrow.”

Client (Frantically): “Just record from anywhere ya, it’s a scratch. I need it right away!”

Me: “Aaa… Okay… Umm, okay..let me figure something”

At this point I’m out with friends so I excuse myself to go record… somewhere… And what better place than the washroom, right! Guess what? I ran into another artist recording a scratch as well! Can you believe it? No? That’s because I didn’t! It’s a funny thought though. Here’s how it actually went.

The washroom was luckily empty at this point. I wasn’t sure if someone was in one of the loos, I stood outside near the washbasin and started recording.

Me: “Okay… Here I go. Voice Recorder on. (Generic Script) This is ‘brand’ and we care about…” At that very moment a girl comes out of the loo. I’m startled but I smile awkwardly and act like I was on a call. She’s staring and it’s getting more uncomfortable. She then gestures me to move away from the washbasin so she can use it. Things get even more awkward while I’m waiting for her to leave so she doesn’t think I’m completely mental.

Me (trying again): This is… (The corner of my eye on the door) Blah Blah and we care about our…” The music at this place gets way too loud but I somehow finish recording.

No points for guessing, the project never landed in my jholi 😦

In the past 2 years I’ve lost count of how many scratch recordings I’ve done in a rush like this. My phone voice recorder is filled with random scratch recording files. And when they’re approving or disapproving based on a phone recording it’s a mystery! Especially in case of the latter, I’m left wondering, “What more could I have done?”

Client: “Aditi, what you sent me right now sounds nothing like the work on your website!”

Me (Speechless): “Ummmm, what? ”

Client: “I know it’s a phone recording but still.”

Me (Me is baffled): “Yes, exactly; it’s a phone recording!”

Client: “I loved that Budweiser voice over. Can you do it like that and send a scratch again?”

Me (Brain is about to fuse): “But how can I recreate that over my phone yaar? Can I make a phone recording sound anything like a Voice Over that was recorded in a fully equipped studio, mixed on a beautiful music track with precision by a very talented sound engineer, put together with a brilliantly shot film, not to mention the impeccable voice direction from the director of the film! Please just put me in the studio and give me all the tools I need, I can definitely give you an output worthy of comparison.”

I guess that was a pretty good case I made for myself. I got into the studio and the recording was approved in one go!

On rare occasions the ghost of a scratch can haunt you even after the final recording.

Client: “Hey, they want to do another take. I’ll share the new reference now.”

Me: “I thought they’d approved the earlier recording.. Why didn’t they share this new reference before? Also I’m not in the studio right now.”

Client: “Achha okay.. Do one thing, record on your phone from anywhere. I’ll get that approved.”

Me (In my head): “Sure why not! The client will be super understanding of that fact that a phone recording is not the best way to judge my capability and that I sound the way I sound because of many factors apart from my voice itself!!! And what about my state of mind? The complete lack of..

Client: “Aditi?”

Me (Coming back to the real world): “Alright.” :/

Please allow me to bring in a food analogy. Lets say you’re a chef. You’ve got these amazing ingredients and a fab recipe (read: your voice and the talent in how you use it with other skills). You’re told to cook something with just 1 vessel with random ingredients you absolutely don’t want, flying in your dish (read: random disturbance getting in your recording).

Without the proper tools and space to create the dish you’d be lost, wouldn’t you? I know this probably seems like I’m dumbing it all down to explain such an obvious thing. I wish it was, but it sadly isn’t as obvious to many who can’t fully comprehend the technicalities of the whole process.

Client (to a senior artist): “Sir, I love your voice. I have a small text, I need a sample to get a feel of your voice. You can record on your phone and send it on whatsapp.”

Artist: No! Respectfully sir, I don’t record samples on the phone! I will come to any studio and audition. My voice needs the support of a good microphone and sound system. I don’t want a phone recording to be the only impression of my voice for the client! I’d rather record a proper audition in the studio, if you’ll allow me.

#Hugeroundofapplause

I’d like to end this blog with a hilarious account. I’m glad I published the blog a bit late so I could include this gem.

So many times the scratch I record is not so much for approval but for the producers to present their film to their client. I don’t encourage that but sometimes they seem so helpless in the face of their client’s demands that I have to give in. Recently I had to record 6 scratches for films I was going to record for, later. Having never done this before, I was obviously a bit irked by the whole double mehnat. The hilarious part however, ensued when we were at the studio for the final recording.

Producer: “Aditi, the client has approved the scratch recording so please stick to that tone.”

Me: “Really?! The phone recordings that I did in a hurry? I can do so much better than that.”

Producer: “Okay. Try not to go very far from original. I want to avoid any re-recordings later on.”

Original? I never thought that one day I’d have to compete with a phone recording of my own voice. I was thinking about the state of mind I was in when I recorded those? How do I recreate that now! In the interest of all parties, I’d want to avoid any re-recordings as well! I did manage to do a decent job in the end but did it live up to my scratch recording? I really don’t know. Alas, such is the life of an artist (phew)

What are your thoughts about this whole scratch business? Considering it’s a popular demand these days, how do you handle it as an artist or even as a producer/director?

And had I not been recording so many scratches, I’d have published this blogpost sooner 😛

Cheers!

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