PS Cast: Filler & Funny Voices

This week I talk in some funny voices, and say “um” a lot. (Editor’s note: There are a few blatant lies in this episode, see if you can spot them.) Filler and Funny Voices

Transcript below:

That’s right folks it’s the Paul Spooner Podcast!

So! Funny voices! What’s with that?

I know, personally, I can do a lot of different voices, but they tend to all have these orthogonal sets, but I end up in corners instead of exploring the whole space.

Like, you can have a nasal voice. You can have a nasal voice where you’re speaking very much in your nose and then… but see I’m also doing, I’m also doing the “s” thing. I shouldn’t have to do the “s” thing, I can just speak in my nose normally. Why don’t I just speak in my nose normally? I don’t know. And I think it’s because it has this, mmm, archetype! There’s an archetype associated with the nasal voice. It’s the “nasal voice” archetype.

And that doesn’t happen in reality! I mean, some people have nasally voices for other reasons… or maybe it does! I don’t know. Hmmmm, huuuuhhh, haaaaa, mmmmm… Strange.

So then there’s also the really deep voice. And if you’re speaking in a really deep voice, you wanna speak really slowly. Because… I don’t know. Why do you speak slowly? Maybe you could speak in a deep voice, and also have…

Maybe you could speak in a deep voice and also have the “s” thing… and the nasal thing… And now I’m… now it’s a very strange noise. Ahn, it’s like a… I don’t know if I can do this. <clears throat>

I don’t know if I can do that. Like, why can’t I speak low like this, and also in a nasal voice? Nasal low voice! Maybe it has to do with the frequencies? Of your vocal chords? And the way it, your nasal cavity affects (Editor’s note: or is it “effects”? mmmm?) those frequencies? I don’t know!

I don’t know enough about this topic to speak with any authority but I’m gonna talk about it anyway because that’s what I do!

So, there’s other things you can do. You can speak with your cheeks. You can kinda speak with your cheeks like this! And then that’s… but now my voice is going all up and down! I don’t know why my voice is all going all up and down! But I’m speaking with my cheeks, and now my voice is going up and down. See that? Why is my voice going up and down when I speak with my cheeks?

That’s strange…

I should be able to just… I should be able to just speak with my cheeks normally. Why don’t I just do that? Well, now I’m doing it, but I could… I could be doing it normally, all of the time. But I’ve got this archetype in my mind of a high-low voice speaking flabby cheek person!

It’s not an axis on which I use my facial apparatus to perform speech. It’s a whole archetype. There’s a whole archetype associated with the flabby cheek thing! Really, really interesting I think! And I would assume that professional voice actors can very easily control all these axies independently, where where they, they just control the flabby-cheek-ness, and the nasal-y-ness, and the deep-throated-ness, and the pitch, and the pitch variation, and the sibilance, and all sorts of other things I would assume, to get these different funny voices. But I find myself sticking with these familiar one or two or three kind of voices that I use.

And of course there’s my normal speaking voice. Which is not this speaking voice. I don’t normally speak like this! I’m speaking in an exaggerated manner, in a more emphatic manner! Right now I’m delivering lines. I’m not speaking normally. If I were at the table talking with my family, I wouldn’t be speaking like this. But I do speak like this for the podcast because I feel like it’s appropriate somehow? I could just talk normally, and this is kinda how I talk normally, and usually I have some pauses, where I’m thinking about what I’m going to say. But, I guess I feel like this isn’t enough for…

And see now I’m putting these interjections in. “For” and “but” and you’ll notice (I try to edit them out, but) you’ll notice that I put a lot of “like”s and “if then” and “therefore” and “but”, these interjections. And I think it’s part of the convention of speech where we produce (and now I’m trying not to do it) where we produce these filler words in order to let the other person know that we’re not done talking, but we’re thinking.

So (Aah, See there I go, I did it again. “soooooo”, you draw these words out while you’re thinking about what you’re going to say neeeeext and I don’t have anything to say so I’m gonna say “ummmm” and) some people have a very narrow range of filler sounds that they stick to… Just like I have a narrow range of funny voices that I resort to. I’m certain that, with practice, I would have a better control over the range and orthoganality of the different axies of control on my voice. Just like, with practice, people can train themselves to use different words to fill in the conversation. And people say “don’t use filler” but there is a useful communicative purpose for filler sounds. Saying “um” and “like” and “totally” “Like, totally, there was like this…” You can fill in your words, and the use for that is, as I’ve said, that you’re telling the other person that you still have something to say.

Of course, it’s completely irrelevant in a recording like this! Where I’m speaking to you, you’re a captive audience. (Well, you’re not captive obviously, you can turn it off whenever you want. But you are (and see there I’m “but”)… ) However I can edit out the pauses, I can stop and think about what I’ll say, so there’s no reason for me to try to fill in the… the spaces in my conversation. (There! I did! I said “the…” and then I said “the spaces”) But I do! Maybe out of habit? Maybe just because I’m trying to speak in a semi-candid way? And by being candid I’m speaking as if I’m speaking to someone? To a non present party. Probably a mixture of both. Or some other things? Insecurities about people are going to interrupt me or I’m going to loose my train of thought.

And maybe it does help to keep the train of thought going. Maybe it does encourage the mind to continue cognating, this production of filler noises, of filler words.

I don’t know!

So, there you go! That was a short discussion. Funny voices and filler words. Maybe that’ll be the topic! That’ll be the title! “Funny Voices and Filler Words”

I’ve been Paul Spooner, I am Paul Spooner, I hope to continue to be Paul Spooner Aaaaaand, I don’t know why I’m saying my name so often.

Probably because that’s how I end the podcast, how I have ended it in the past.

And now, I’m gonna… You know what? I’m not gonna edit out all the filler words! I’m just gonna leave this, I’m gonna edit out some of the spaces, but I’m gonna leave all the filler words in! (Editor’s note: I started editing this episode before listening to the whole thing. As a result, I edited out quite a few filler words. This is one of those blatant lies I mentioned… Sorry.) You can hear how it sounds when I don’t edit a podcast. And, uh, and that will make it longer! So you can listen to more stuff! It’ll be perfect!

Um, here I go, I’m backing into my parking spot again! This is really why I’m ending it, because I’m home and I’m done talking to you guys, I’m gonna go talk to my family! Because I like them better than I like you! Uhh, here’s a little song [even more marginal than normal musical outro] There you go. No editing. That’s a… that’s just a song I sang.

Woah, really glad that these side view mirrors fold in on this car. It’s pretty cool. It’s a pretty handy feature… In Japan… Where you got giant structural columns right next to your parking spot… because you’re at the bottom of a fifteen story building.

Okay! That’s enough rambling!


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