We knew we weren’t supposed to be in the sound room so late, but we were desperate. We were trying to wrap up the voice-over work on the pilot for our cartoon, Welcome to Inglewood. The deadline for the festivals we were submitting to was the next day. Tensions were high. “No, man. That’s still not it,” my friend Carey sighed after another disastrous take. Both of us had been unable to nail the voice of a character named Fat Wanda and we were just over it. He had tried it several ways, and I had tried it. It was just a one line joke, but we needed it to really pop or the entire scene would crumble.
I was about to attempt another take when the door was suddenly flung open. We both spun around in our seats and saw a tiny, skinny, elf-like woman scowling at us. “All right, you two. You’re not supposed to be in here after five.” She kicked at our pile of candy wrappers and soda cans. We had been in the room for hours. “I’m over your shenanigans, okay? What the hell are you doing in here anyway?” I looked at Carey and he shrugged his shoulders. “We’re doing voice-overs for a cartoon about Inglewood.” The woman scoffed. “Sounds like rocket science, all right. What’s taking so damn long?” Carey held up the script page for her to see. “Neither one of us can get the right voice for this heavy-set black woman.” The skinny elf-woman grabbed the page, looked at the highlighted line, turned to the microphone and delievered the line in a deep, sassy voice that shocked us. Then she turned and slammed the door behind her as she left. We both turned to each other with WTF expressions. The take was perfect, the deadline was met, and a great character was born despite our so-called shenanigans. // Eric Lawson
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