The Thrilling Story Behind My Screen Name: 1987-present
A story I tell people in my real life when they ask why "whisper" is my handle for my email and everything else you can imagine.
- •When I was a little kid, my brothers and I had our own radio station. Admittedly, it was not real and was just me hitting record on a tape deck. Ryan and Evan would be yelpy goofs and every once in a while I'd flip it to whatever was playing on the radio, doing the outros after. I got to name the station because I was the oldest. WSPR was born.My initials, for those keeping score.
- •The original logo for WSPR was pretty simple.Don't have any of those old notebooks, but that was about it.
- •We had actual programming, such as "The Gay(e) Marvin Show," probably created after overhearing a 20/20 about Marvin Gaye's non-hilarious murder and starring me. The show was primarily an excuse for us to giggle about the inherent comedy in the word "gay" for five minutes.
- •Tragedy strikes the comedic band of brothers at WSPR when our dad takes the tape deck that served as our lone console to the beach and returns it to us filled with sand.As a consolation that next Christmas, my dad buys me a sweet dual cassette deck. I'm 11 years old and it's around this time that I decide to distance myself from Ryan & Evan (9 and 6, respectively). I begin to experiment with phasing, exploiting a glitch I discovered in the deck that failed to override the sound from one tape when another started to play. I've never done drugs, but because of the positively psychedelic sound collages I was creating, I still refer to 1989-90 as my "drug period."
- •Puberty begins and the coordination that once made me a great infielder and passable basketball player leaves me overnight.I'm a gangly mess, looking unfed and with zero romantic opportunities.
- •I retreat into music initially, and the WSPR Top 20 Countdowns are born in 1991.I became obsessed with Billboard Magazine's dizzying myriad of charts, and spent most of my junior high experience creating one countdown after another.
- •This only lasted until December of 1992. The countdown ballooned to a Top 40 and because of the constant sound of paper turning over, was becoming hard to conceal during class.Classmates would make me create copies of my lists, and it would be these copies that would prove to be my undoing. After being discovered by Mr. Bilko, the science teacher, with a notebook full of songs to request on MTV and my (actual) local radio station, songs that may or may not have been considered for the WSPR Top 40, you'd think the time in detention would have afforded me further time with my playlists, but alas, popularity (and my newfound love of movies) killed the countdown.
- •This was the 1991-1992 WSPR logo, clearly modeled after the awesome MTV Exclusive logo that would always make whatever music video they premiered that much more special.
- •Once I got into movies, that became my primary focus. The family got a videocamera in 1994, so therefore every book I read - for school or otherwise - became my next film project. I assembled an all-friend cast for an ambitious detective film based on a story I had read in a Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. But again, tragedy struck.In the early morning hours of the first (and only) day of shooting, December 16, 1994, our local mall burned down. I shouldn't say it that way, but the fact remains that a large section of our 70's-era mall was destroyed under mysterious circumstances that were never adequately explained. The cause of the fire remains quite controversial in my hometown, some people adamant that it was all an insurance scam. All I know is I lost a record store in the blaze and our film was never made.
- •Instead, we made a documentary about the mall fire, titled "One Merry Christmas: The Day The Mall Caught Fire."Here is WSPR's newly-created film division's first screen credit, over a shot of my Aunt Patti as she watches the Murphy's section of the Logan Valley Mall burn down. The camera work is largely awful, as it was quite cold, and in my haste to get to the scene, I wasn't wearing a coat.
- •More planned releases that never got off the ground were nonetheless given one-sheets and a dream team of behind-the-scenes talent.
- •Being one of the first people to have internet in my town (look it up, it's true), choosing an email handle wasn't hard. I could have "whisper" to myself, with no extra numbers or special characters necessary.
- •All that remains of the record label, an ad for a soundtrack to another unmade film, this one an original called "Security Blackout," which was to have quite the train fight.I imagine I had just seen the remake of Narrow Margin on TV and thought they could have gone further.
- •Moving into the second half of the '90s, this is the Whisper logo as it appears to this day, from a mock-up poster I designed for a documentary.
- •Here and there, I make the occasional short, and I use a simple font to show off the company logo, despite having a grand design I've wanted to do since the early years of my filmmaking.
- •Whenever I have to initial anything, which as an adult is a lot, I do it this way every time. Some people assume I'm pretentiously making my middle initial small, but really it's a way to keep the spirit of my childhood radio station alive. I need only to add that W up top and we're back on the air again.