Last week, we took a look at the Hershey Audition Model and how it worked. Today, we’ll take a few minutes to go over how to prepare for an audition and hopefully give you a leg-up on your competition. First, we use the word competition because that’s really what an audition is. It’s a vocal
Last week, we took a look at the Hershey Audition Model and how it worked. Today, we’ll take a few minutes to go over how to prepare for an audition and hopefully give you a leg-up on your competition.
First, we use the word competition because that’s really what an audition is. It’s a vocal competition to see who comes out on top. Some may not feel right referring to another announcer as a competitor as we’re all in the same boat, but the audition is a competition.
When you receive the call or email that you’re going to have the chance to audition for a P. A. announcer position, you’re going to be excited. The first step after cheering and celebrating, is to begin preparing.
Knowledge of the organization
Do you know anything about the organization? That’s extremely important. Not only should you know the roster, but the coaches, the assistants and dive even further into who the owner is, championship history, playoff history and more. While it’s easy to fake it on the mic to sound like an announcer, there will be times you’ll need to recognized former players and understand who the fan-favorites are. You can lose a lot of credibility not knowing the organization.
Knowledge of the brand
You may know the players and coaches, but do you understand the team’s brand? How is the team being marketed? How are they perceived by the community? What programs do they offer to fans? What do they do to retain fans? Can you assist in any of these elements? Knowing the brand will help you when you talk to the organization. If you can help in some of those areas as a voice over for commercials, or emcee for external events, or as just a personality for a meet-the-team day, any way you can help further the brand will help your chances.
Oh boy, can’t stress this enough. It’s one thing to find the roster online. It’s another to reach out to people who know the team inside and out to get proper pronunciations or to find out what name they liked to be called. There have been times announcers have called their own players by the wrong name, or the player prefers a different pronunciation. Researching names with those knowledgeable can help you gain an insight others may not see. It may also prevent you from using a nickname during the audition that the player doesn’t like. Research should including where the players went to school, what other sports they play, numbers, and even stats. You don’t want to announce a player who doesn’t normally score as registering their 1,000th point or 50th goal on the season. This can help you add little flourishes to your audition by knowing some minor details.
Research also includes sponsors. Who sponsors the power plays? Are stolen bases sponsored? Are there any announcements that encourage a call-and-response? Know who the sponsors are from last season and if anything may have changed for the upcoming season. This helps if you have to ad lib.
Do you know who the opponents are? Do you know their history? Do you know why they’re a rival after five years while a team closer has had a game with you for the last 50 years but aren’t a rival? Not only should you do your due diligence with the home team, you should also do it for the visiting teams. People don’t always talk about the good, they’ll talk about the time the other team had a player score four touchdowns in a game, or had a triple-double in the first half, or any other notes. There will also be players from other teams that aren’t liked by the home team. Knowing this can help you.
Pulling the standings from the league website is a start. Going through the rosters to see which teams have former players is another. If you’re well-versed in that sport, that helps as well. Use websites that are informative to help you build your own knowledge base.
Some people who run auditions will intentionally put mistakes in the audition script to see who is paying attention and who has done their research. Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes it isn’t. If you see something that doesn’t look right, ask. If there are 20 people who are auditioning and only two ask about a glaring error ahead of time, this tells the interviewer that there are two people who took the time to prepare properly. Don’t wait until the day of, do it ahead of time.
Read the Script Out Loud, Three Times
They say if you repeat a word three times, it’s yours. Well, same thing goes for the script. Read through the entire script, silently in your head. Get an idea for how it’s going to sound. Read it all the way through from start to end. Once you’ve done that, go back and read the announcements out loud. You’ll find an easy flow. After your first time through, read the script again, but in “game” order. What that means is that if you have a block of announcements, read those announcements then allow time for other elements such as videos, player entry, game play, etc. Ad lib a few things in here that you might need to do.
Finally, read the script a third time to make sure you have everything down. When you get to the audition, you’ll be comfortable with the script and can give a great audition. As you get closer, read the script again, once or twice a day, every other day or so. You don’t need to memorize it, but be familiar with the content.
This goes along with the previous point. Make notes in your script to help you along your way. Note different things you may need to emphasize, pause or punch out. Practice saying the sponsor’s name with their promotion so it gives them the best recognition. Understand there may be a call-and-response (this goes along with research).
This can’t be stressed enough. If you can’t ad lib, you’re behind in the game. There will be times you’re given little information and need to announce it right away. The ability to ad lib is very important. Practice with common occurrences such as a car in the parking lot with its lights on, lost children, fan safety (please do not throw objects), etc. Then have people test you with different things that could happen. The concession stand is now offering 50% on certain concession items. The team store is having a flash sale. Rain begins falling, where should you go for safety? Keep fans calm in emergency situations.
Grab a newspaper and read the want-ads. Pick up a magazine and look at the advertisements. Find a business card and read off that. Those are all places that you can work on your ad lib ability.
You can also go to the mall, sit on a bench and then do a quick 30-second story about people you see. Ad lib what they’re doing and add some color to it. It’s a wonderful tool to have in your tool box and something all good announcers are able to do.
Don’t Over Do It
It’s possible to spend too much time on a script. Get out and get away from it, don’t let it consume you. Studies have shown that getting at least an hour of physical activity a day can help you on your studies. And if you’re studying your script, that counts!
Don’t ever forget that announcing is fun. The more fun you have, the more it comes out over the sound system. Have fun!