How you know your flights will be full

I've been on flights where they ask for volunteers to get off once they've already boarded, and I've even done so, myself, in earlier years. But this was the first time that I went to check in (online), a day in advance, and got asked even before the final check-in. Delta asked me to bid how much it would take to not fly, from $200 to $500, with lowest bids "winning", (or losing, depending on perspective).

(tap, tap) ... Is this thing still on?

I'm flying out on Wednesday to spend a week in New Mexico with my daughter and her husband.

Wunderground offers ten-day forecasts, which I take with a grain of salt, since it's very hard to accurately predict weather even a few days out. Still, they've been consistently showing a snowstorm here that morning, ever since the 17th appeared on the ten-day horizon. The amount of snow has fluctuated wildly, with as much as a foot predicted at one point, but it hasn't gone away completely at any point. It's ironic that, a few months ago, my concern was the snow in New Mexico in February, (especially as the plan had called for camping at one point), but their weather has cleared up considerably in the last two weeks or so, at least at the lower altitudes.

Altitude. That's the other concern. Lack of oxygen was enough to prompt Cat Lady to beg off of this trip; it'll be our first time apart in the almost six years we've been together. As soon as I land in Albuquerque, at 5,300', I'll immediately be going to take a cable/ski-lift vehicle up to the top of Mt. Sandia, at 10,300'. (I had to schedule an eight-hour layover between flights there, so I figured I'd leave the airport and make the best of it.) So I've been ramping up my daily exercise for the past two months, and I also decided to try using some leftover Theravent nose filters to reduce oxygen flow for the next few days, in an attempt to pre-acclimate my lungs.

Dipping my toe into the green screen pool

Just about a month ago, a client hired me for a rush job, including some video work, and then changed their mind a few days later. Thankfully, they then agreed to reimburse me for time and materials, which included a "green screen" cloth for some chroma key scenes that we had planned.

I hadn't even unpackaged the cloth until I decided to learn some more about chroma key today. Lesson One: If your face is well lit, it's going to cast shadows on the green screen, and that's bad. I guess ideally, one needs a second set of lights just on the green screen itself. {sigh} Lesson Two: Creases from recently-packaged cloth are also bad. Lesson Three: Do not iron "cheap" green screen cloth to remove said creases; it melts immediately!! (Thankfully I didn't need the entire piece.)

I also learned more about my Logitech HD Webcam C525 today, which also hasn't seen much use. (Hey, I've been focusing on audio, not video.) Even though it allows me to use my Samson C01U Pro USB Studio Condenser Microphone, the software included with the webcam does some sort of processing that really distorts the audio, making it pointless to use the better mic. Plus it kept complaining that it couldn't hear the mic, even though it could. Oh, and video and audio fall noticeably out of synch. Maybe different software might make a difference? Not sure. At least I was able to hide my silly kitty-litter-jug microphone mount and pop filter. Another annoyance was that the webcam (software?) kept auto-correcting color, changing my skin tone to match my purple shirt; you'll see all this below.

Still, I'm going to try to not stress over these points. Considering that my target audience for this short is video creators, these problems may possibly work in my favor, i.e., I'm looking to help them, not really compete with them.

Here's one scene of the raw video:

Just how fast can I talk?

The main reason why I'm typically asked to talk quickly is to fit the constraints of an existing video that can't be modified.

Update: Also see this post, with a more comprehensive video.

117 words in 40 seconds = 174 wpm
I didn't get this particular voiceover gig, but this was one of the rare potential clients who granted me permission to use the submitted audition for my own marketing. :-)

134 words in 38 seconds = 212 wpm
This example is boilerplate legalese, which would typically be processed further to remove all breathing and other pauses, words shortened and volume reduced, to yield mumble-ese. :-)

86 words in 22 seconds = 235 wpm
The portion from 0:04 to 0:26 is a tad insane, but the client insisted that he said the same things in Dutch; in fact, we had to trim about ten words that I just plain couldn't fit. :-)

Application to a smart-*ss potential client

Do you have at least Prosumer level mic and a quiet room? Give details of your gear.

My recording equipment is a Samson C01U Pro USB Studio Condenser Microphone, with a pop filter, of course.

Yes, my area is treated for sound conditioning.

When can you start? When can you deliver?

I've already started!!  I'm just waiting for you to approve the work; LOL!!

But seriously, folks... I can get this started and finished today, 'cuz obviously tomorrow, everyone's GOING TO GRANDMAS!!

What will you use for post?

Audacity for post-editing, Dropbox for posting your deliverables, and TUMS to post down the PUMPKIN PIE!

If we want to stop a zombie apocalypse or just robots on this post in general, who is the current US president?

Do you REALLY think that Barack Obama can stop the ZOMBIES with his current non-intervention policies? :-)  How could we get any BOOTS on the ground when they don't even have any FEET!?

Can you avoid monotony by intuitively emphasizing the right words and make the explainer compelling with just your voice? Please provide a link to an example of such:

Well, DUH!!!  Otherwise my middle name would be BORING!  Here are a few quick samples:

"Explainer" videos / commercials:

Please let me know what questions you have.  I'm looking forward to working with you SOON!

(SERIOUSLY, we have to make this happen TODAY!  Click that "Hire Me!" button NOW and stop wasting time with all of these other applicants!)


You still here!?  Click it NOW!!