Puppet Rockin’ in the Queen City Day 4
November 3, 2014 – We neared the end of the production, with all but one of the televisions spots recorded. It was time to re-record my puppet character’s dialog in the recording studio. Although I was using a microphone on the shoots, the audio recorded was for reference, a “scratch-track” in you will. I was happy to spend some time in the studio at Cincinnati State College. This is the dialog that will be heard in TV spots.
It had been many years since I was behind a microphone in a recording studio. Long before puppetry was my creative focus, I was the producer and host of a radio program called “Doctor 13’s Audio Lab” on WAIF-FM in Cincinnati. The funny thing was, as soon as I put on the headphones and stepped behind the mic, I was read for my puppet’s voices to rock! Sort of like riding a bike I guess.
Now some of you may wonder, do I need the puppets on my hands to be in character? NOPE! These characters are very much a part of my imagination and can be called upon at my will. Cyril did make the bus trip to the studio with me, but only to make certain that I behaved myself.
I do plan to bring the Wump Mucket Puppets into a recording studio one day, to record all of my original tunes that are heard in our puppet shows. That should be fun!
Here’s a peek inside the studio as I record the dialog for Cyril and Coleman:
I have often told people that I consider my puppetry “live action cartoons”, and feel that their are a number of similarities in the two art forms. Let’s see… Funny looking characters? Yup. Exaggerated voices? Got ’em. Silly songs? We sing many. Overall zaniness? With some to spare! Need I go on? These thoughts go back to my childhood in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when I was soaking in as much Saturday morning TV as my young brain could handle. I was interested in three things back then: Puppets, cartoons, comics. I remember asking my mother how cartoons are made. She explained that a cartoon was a series of drawings that were filmed, and when projected very fast created the illusion that the cartoon character was moving. I made a few flip-books and became discouraged that an animation studio was out of the financial means of a imaginative seven year-old boy. By that time I had a good idea how to put on a puppet show for my family. I could do almost everything with a puppet that a cartoon character could do, and perform live! It was probably around this time in my life that my future was set. A creative spark had started a fire inside me, my life would eventually lead to puppetry.
During the session I recorded all of the puppet’s dialog within several takes. Getting into “voice” wasn’t the trouble. It was my fumbling a couple words that needed to be fixed. For some reason “mayor” was sounding like “mEyer”. No trouble, it’s all digital now! All fixed. I am sure that great voice actors have some great out takes and friendly pranks in their careers. Being the playful guy I am, I hid beneath the music stand while the folks behind the glass window attended to something. I then brought Cyril up to the mic to announce, “Burke stepped out. I’ll be doing all the work now!”. This got a few laughs from the control room, which was what I was going for.
Silly voices. Puppets. Fun. Our recording session was done. The Wump Mucket Puppets ROCKED the mic!