My First LIVE ANNOUNCE Gig!
(This took place in early May 2011).
Tonight, I voiced my very first live announce gig. It was for a national awards show for a high school organization, with 15,000 screaming high school students in attendance. I didn't get to see the script until my 5 pm call time, just 3 hours before showtime... and I didn't get to see the nominee names until I read them off the page during the show. The hardest name was "Saravanapavanantham." That's the last name. I'm not making that up.
Most voice over people have a broadcast or radio background, so they're accustomed to ad libbing and talking on the fly. I don't have that background at all. I worked as a writer/in marketing in the financial industry all my working life before coming into voice over.
So, six years ago, when I met the woman who would later become my mentor when I was first getting started in vo, I was in sheer awe of her ability. A script would come in via fax, and she would grab it, run into her booth, flawlessly read it, sound great doing it, and then just come back to our conversation as if we weren't even interrupted. I recall being in NYC with her, eating lunch in a studio, and she practically hadn't finished chewing when she went into the booth to read a script she was hurriedly handed. On the other hand, when I was beginning in voice over, I had these weird rituals of brushing my teeth before each session, spraying God knows what in my mouth to keep it lubricated and stop mouth noise, and would drink apple cider religiously during my sessions. If I didn't do those things, I was so nervous I wouldn't sound right. (By the way, I haven't performed those rituals in ages. Ha!)
Whenever the genre of live announce was mentioned, I would squirm and wiggle and practically become ill. Hell, I can barely spit out a sentence NOW without stuttering. I recall auditioning for the MTV Video Music Awards a few times. I would let my mind wander about what would happen if I actually landed the gig... and I decided I would just have to decline it if I ever did land it. Just thinking about voicing something that was heard by thousands, live, would make me sick to my stomach because I "knew" I'd never be flawless at it.
When the opportunity came along to voice tonight's show, I spent some time thinking about it before I accepted. Actually, I think when I accepted, I even recommended someone else because I made excuses as to why I might not be right for the job. But, after I thought about it, this time around, the idea of live announce actually made me a little giddy, and I knew the time was right for me to try it out.
This morning, I woke up and felt a tad nervous (you know, kinda like when you voiced your first gig? Like that. That generally doesn't happen to me anymore, but it did this morning), and I posted that on Facebook. My friends were so wonderful and showed me they had confidence in me. I was really overwhelmed by the gestures of support. Their words meant a lot.
The show itself was crazy fast. Hectic. Loud with thumping music (which for me, is very helpful to set the "mood" and got me pumped up). Excited and screaming kids. Flat out cold reads... and such an adrenaline rush; so much fun. For these kids, this night was a really big deal. They'd worked hard to earn these awards. They were so happy to win, and there were actually many tears shed too. It was our job (I had a male counterpart) to ensure their night was special.
After the show, as I was walking out of the convention center tonight, it occurred to me, I did it. I did something I thought I'd NEVER do, EVER. I did it and didn't get sick, or pass out, or make a fool of myself. Matter of fact, I realized I have become what I always admired in others: calm, even-keeled, able to make changes on the fly, my feathers didn't get ruffled... I got the job done. I did something tonight most people could never fathom doing.
Here's what I figured out: You can accomplish ANYTHING you want. Things you might think are impossible... but they're not. Nothing is impossible. It might be a challenge, and you might have to work at it, but you CAN do it. Don't let negative thoughts or words permeate your mind. You are unstoppable. Make it happen.