Word Crimes or Blurred Lines?

Lisa Rice wrote this.

My college minor was Journalism. I remember paper after paper sent back to me covered with red pencil corrections. So much so that I was sure my professors had it out for me. All these years later, it’s occurred to me they did. They had it out for me to learn and develop outside my comfort zone. Their goal was to take any raw talent they spied and develop it into something better. Those are the people that usually make a difference in our journey. Right?

In voiceover, I face grammar issues everyday. Voicing a well written script is a pleasure. The not so well written ones? I just hunker down and do the job. Sometimes that means searching for multiple places to take a breath within a fifty-plus word sentence or going back to my customer with a few suggestions on how the heavy laden piece of copy can be whittled down, rephrased, broken up or transmogrified. How many breaths did it take you to read that?

The scenario might have begun when a script that was originally meant for a reader-based audience failed to become viewer or listener-friendly. We don’t normally talk in a grammatically correct manner. Writing conversationally still requires the proper tense, pronouns and syntax but it needs finesse. Grammar lines get blurred.

Lin Parkin addressed this conundrum not long ago. Her article, Transforming Educational Text into Conversational Scripts arms audio/video script writers with suggestions such as using more contractions, simplifying sentences and actually reading through the script aloud. These hit the mark.

Decades ago, School House Rock familiarized pupils with adjectives, verbs, conjunctions and nouns. I’m certain those clever cartoons and songs came in handy for many test takers. Today’s audiences have a new teacher. Weird Al Yankovic chastises his grammar offending, texting-obsessed audience with another ingenious tune. Guilty? Hand raised here.

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