23rd September 2022
Lloyd Greenaway tells us how he carved out a career in adventure filmmaking and content creation, and how accepting his stammer and showing it on screen hasn't always been easy.
My name is Lloyd and I've had a mild stammer since I was a child that is usually heightened through stress, excitement or anxiety. It's actually led me to where I am now, a travel and adventure filmmaker and content creator (or whatever the cool kids call it these days) and I create exploration content for tourism boards, which has taken me all over the world.
I had a somewhat difficult childhood. As we all know, some kids can be pretty mean at any sign of weakness and I became no exception to this. It forces you to either suck up the fact that you have a stammer or find ways to adapt. Through to my late teens I saw multiple speech therapists to learn techniques to cope.
...it became an obsession. Can I talk for more than 3 minutes on screen without so much as a slipped word? I thought.
As I began my career as a design engineer, I started stammering more. The job involved a lot of meetings and public speaking was unavoidable. It started to become more and more stressful, which led to more stammering, which I feel hindered my time there.
Something had to give, so I randomly started filming myself at home talking to my camera to help with my stammer and my public speaking skills. I also wanted to see if I could mask the fact that I even stammered at all. At first it was a nightmare — I was stopping and starting recordings, trying to make broken sentences into full sentences, then it became an obsession. Can I talk for more than 3 minutes on screen without so much as a slipped word? I thought. Can I supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
Becoming a content creator
Talking to a camera screen became easier and I decided to start making travel, exploration and adventure videos for myself, something I'm really passionate about. I was pleased with how they turned out so I put them online. The tourism board in Jamaica randomly found some of the videos and got in touch asking if I could create content for them, which was amazing. It snowballed from there with other tourism boards contacting me with similar requests. But all of this had been done at my own pace with the ability to do re-takes a million times to hide the stammer.
Off the back of the videos, I started to get enquiries about doing TV adventure filming and presenting work. But once talks would happen in person I couldn't hide the fact that I stammer and ultimately ended up being turned down for a few life-changing opportunities, I think because of my inability to speak fluidly. This was heartbreaking and I was told to maybe start filming my adventures for YouTube instead because that can be done at my own pace with a million re-takes.
I have made the audience aware that I stammer and that it's the reason I started creating content, yet showing my stammer is slightly difficult...
So, despite the huge knockback, I decided to do just that and try and bring some of my adventures to people through a YouTube channel I set up called 'Explore With Lloydi'. Last year, with the help of my wife I converted a transit van into a mini adventure wagon and took it on the open road, and in the channel I share with my subscribers all the incredible places I get to explore, from mountain peaks to hidden valleys; wild swimming in the darkest depths to remote camping and van life cooking. You can watch one of my videos below.
I've had a great response to it although you wouldn't ever know I had a stammer if you watch one of the videos. I have made the audience aware that I stammer and that it's the reason I started creating content, yet showing my stammer is slightly difficult due to the nature of the information being given in the videos. I think in the natural parts of the conversations where I'm talking about my experiences, etc, I could be persuaded to keep the stammer in. But I fear it would be a lot more difficult when passing on factual information and history lessons where I find I stammer more; usually I can't get the word I need to even come out and stop completely mid-sentence. I worry people will just switch off.
It still comes with its frustrations. It's a really scary road starting from scratch and putting yourself out there in the hope of crafting a new career after the setback I had. But I wanted to share my story and show you some of the videos I'm creating in the hope that maybe I could inspire someone else to follow in my footsteps. And at 34, I think I'm finally starting to learn to accept I have a stammer.
Watch more of Lloyd's videos and subscribe to his YouTube channel Explore With Lloydi. Read more stories from people who stammer at our Your Voice section.
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