Monthly Archives: May 2017

“Take this Speech Class,” they said…

Well, I really should write something here. It has been quite a while. I have been busy though – which is true, and also the excuse I am going with for having nothing of interest to write about for the last month and a half. I have tried – I have a file on my hard drive with five or six uninteresting false starts on blog posts – uninteresting being the key word.

Anyway, most of you probably know that I am in two online classes right now. That thing I said I wouldn’t do because that would be super crazy with the intensity of the workload for online classes and, you know, a family that likes to see the front of my head (AKA my face) sometimes. Well, one of those classes is a speech class, so now I am extra tired to boot. That’s because we (me and my lovely (and supportive!) assistant, Joel) were up past 11:00 last night trying to film my second speech for speech class. Oh, and 11:00 is late for us these days, okay? We’re old. And we like to try to wake up before the kids do so we can get in a morning Bible study before Morning-Mom starts thrashing about in response to the first sign of non-calmness. Mornings are hard. Anyway, here’s how it went down.

The assignment was a 4-6 minute informative speech. Since I chose to do my speech as a how-to on giving a relaxation massage, setup meant Joel hauling my massage table up from the basement and setting it up for me while I dealt (futilely) with hair, wardrobe, and makeup. After propping the computer on top of the purple plastic Halloween bucket that won’t leave my living room, to get a decent angle on my “set,” I nervously took my first go at it, and it went alright. I made it all the way through with my dignity intact. I mean, I had practiced it numerous times, so it seems fair that I would be able to make it all the way through on the first take.

So, after one complete filming in which the webcam wasn’t actually recording, and a subsequent false start because the webcam could only endure 14 seconds of my on-screen persona before freezing up in horror and dismay, we had to revisit our filming strategy, settling on clipping my phone with Joel’s phone clip to the top of the computer screen. This ultimately necessitated the indecorous Scotch-taping of my phone into the phone clip because the two are not compatible with one another. (I don’t know why we didn’t just film it on Joel’s phone, so don’t ask.) However, it turned out, unsurprisingly, that the phone’s incompatibility with the phone clip, and my webcam’s incompatibility with webcam-ing are nothing compared to my incompatibility with successful speechmaking.

It was only a 4-6 minute speech, but oh the irony, discussing the importance of comfort in a massage while my patient languished to his 1000 degree metabolism between the flannel sheets on my massage table for at least twelve entire recordings. Twelve takes (roughly speaking) to rediscover what I already knew, that some people are just not meant to be on camera. It is, and long has been, my deepest desire not to ever see my side profile. Yet, on camera last night, this was devastatingly and repeatedly unavoidable.

Twelve takes, and I could still barely make it through my introduction and conclusion. Twelve takes, and I did it all. False starts, stutters, and long awkward pauses that might have been less awkward if my facial expressions hadn’t been sending out postcards from La-la Land where brains don’t need to store intelligible speech patterns. Twelve takes, and in every one, right down to the very last take, I forgot my place, spoke with a lisp, made strange facial expressions, and unnatural body movements. Twelve takes, and in every one I flailed and fidgeted and spoke in my tenor voice with bizarre vocal inflections. Peculiar smiles; making eye contact with the screen, but not quite the camera; and trying to pretend I am comfortable with a speech topic that I actually am quite comfortable with… *Sigh*

Imagine my utter, genuine delight to discover that YouTube (the required medium for these speech assignments) has an option to publish videos so that they are only accessible to someone who has the link to access them. Now the path of destruction of my on-screen episodes is limited only to my professor and the poor souls with the luck and bad timing to end up in a speech class with me. You all get to partake in the written, adventure-recap version, to which I believe (and hope) I am much better suited.

A face for radio and a voice for 12-point Times New Roman meets the poise of a three-year-old eating Jello.

 

Hey, let’s give that awkward girl a video camera. It’ll be fun.