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Diary of a commentator

Discussion in 'Our Errors are Mistakes: The Media Forum' started by ConigliarosPotential, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    4,488
    So, this morning I got the call to make my TV commentary debut for DAZN tomorrow - I'm heading down to a London studio to call the Ligue 1 season opener between Montpellier and Caen. (That's French soccer, if you're not @Titans Bastard or another European football junkie.) I know at least one member - I'm looking at you, @InstaFace - who wanted to be kept informed about my commentary schedule, so I thought I'd start a thread here and maybe make some notes and tell some stories as I move forward. If this is a bad idea and nobody is interested, I'm sure this thread will die a quick death...but I'm told I may be in line to call NFL and NBA games, Italian and Spanish football matches, European basketball and/or possibly some ATP Tour tennis, in addition to separately starting my fourth year of commentating on the European Champions Hockey League (which begins in three weeks). So who knows, maybe this will be of interest to some of you.
     
  2. pedro1918

    pedro1918 Member SoSH Member

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    3,639
    That sounds awesome. Congratulations and good luck!
     
  3. snowmanny

    snowmanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    That is very very cool.
     
  4. johnmd20

    johnmd20 literally like ebola Lifetime Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Best of luck, sir!
     
  5. Detts

    Detts Member SoSH Member

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    4,074
    You are going to kill this. Relax and enjoy.
     
  6. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

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    This is great, I'd love to read more.
     
  7. Reverend

    Reverend for king and country Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    37,369
    Break a leg.

    Seriously--you're an Atlanta fan on a Boston board and weathered the football forum without going under and didn't even walk away. You got this.
     
  8. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I'm subscribing to this thread*










    *how does one subscribe to a thread?
     
  9. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    That's great. Can you tell us a bit more about the network? From what I found it's not available in the US, but is in Canada and Europe? From your planned schedule it sounds like they move around the announcers between everything they have, which should be pretty fun for you, if kind of stressful if you're not an expert on something they throw you on. Good luck!
     
  10. Reverend

    Reverend for king and country Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    37,369
    Private Youtube/Vimeo video for the SoSHers in your (OP poster's) life?

    If you can think of a better place to get notes, I'd like to hear it. :)
     
  11. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Right, so...

    I know quite a lot about football (soccer), but when I got the call yesterday morning, I only knew the basics about French football, and the only player on either Montpellier or Caen I'd ever heard of was Stephane Sessegnon, who had played for Sunderland and West Brom a few years ago in England. So I spent most of yesterday doing research, and by the time I went to bed after midnight last night, I had created the file full of facts and figures attached below - it was in Excel, but I've converted it to a PDF here - along with a separate Word file with other background material and potential items I might use to fill dead air. (I'm enough of a geek to somewhat enjoy making and color-coding worksheets like these in such a way that I can immediately find a fact to use in the heat of battle.) I also downloaded several French football podcasts to listen to during my journey by way of additional research and getting some French pronunciations into my head.

    The problem was that by the time I'd finished doing this, I was so amped up with adrenaline that I couldn't get to sleep - and then when I finally did get to sleep, I woke up less than four hours later, well before my alarm was due to ring. I was beginning to think I'd been set up to fail: foreign league, unfamiliar players, no sleep, seven-hour drive ahead. Luckily I didn't crash my car on the way down and did absorb some information from the aforementioned podcasts, and I arrived more than three hours before kickoff, so I had plenty of time to familiarize myself with the studio. This setup is rather weird insofar as my booth wasn't soundproofed or indeed surrounded by any walls or glass at all; instead, I and the commentators around me calling the other French matches this evening (who I could hear when the crowd in Montpellier was quiet) were effectively in cubicles. And instead of using a microphone attached to my headset, for the first time I used one of these old-style handheld mics that apparently are better at eliminating background noise and only picking up what you speak directly into them:
    upload_2017-8-5_22-26-44.jpeg
    The one thing I really wish I'd been able to do was script my introductory material to perfectly fit the running order. I wrote what I thought were a few good lines - "Hello and welcome to Night 2 of Ligue Un, Round 1" and "These two clubs are both craving the security of mid-table obscurity this season" - but they were in an opening paragraph which was about 10 seconds too long for the top of the broadcast before the lineups appeared on the screen, and I simply ran out of time to time-test what I'd written and also script some lines to accompany the pregame lineup graphics. If I were more familiar with French football and the teams in question, I could have winged it and done OK, but as it was I got a bit flustered, and also nobody told me there would be a minute's silence for the recently deceased Montpellier club president - I knew he'd died recently and had material prepared on him, but I hadn't introduced it in a timely fashion and wound up speaking over the first 10 seconds of the period of silence.

    The good news is that once the match got underway, I found my voice and from there I think everything went very well. I think I did a good job in calling the game's only goal, the only disallowed goal and the one other he-should-have-scored moment, and I think my pacing was good as well in knowing when to describe the action vs. analyzing the game as a whole vs. dropping in informational tidbits. (I'll maybe talk about that process more in a future post.) The bad news is that I don't think I'll have access to my own copy of the broadcast any time soon unless I get some VPN software that allows me to pretend I live in Canada, subscribe to DAZN and access its On Demand service myself - I think that's the best way for you guys to follow me as well, if you're really interested - but I knew that was coming and recorded some of my broadcast myself in the form of a video of the monitor I took using my smartphone. Some people hate listening to themselves, but I always want to go back and here what I've done well and what I've done badly so I can learn from it going forward.

    Anyway, I don't know if this is all *way* too much for you guys to want to read, but it sounds as though some of you might appreciate the meta aspects of this. I'm pretty sure I'll write less next time, anyway!
     

    Attached Files:

  12. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    That's actually really interesting, to me at least. Congrats on getting the first one done, I'm sure it will get more comfortable and natural from here.
     
  13. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Yep, that's about the size of it. It seems to be styling itself as the "Netflix of Sports" for cord-cutters, with the goal of acquiring the rights to enough sports in the countries where it's operating to make such a venture financially viable. I highly doubt that approach will ever be viable with regard to "home country" sports - a lineup of NFL, NBA, Premier League, La Liga and Ligue 1 as shown here (on the website of the company that actually pays me here in the UK) can work in Canada, but you're not going to get even an Amazon or Netflix to buy rights to a major American sport in America, to the Premier League in the UK, and so on.

    Anyway, to answer your latter question: I won't ever be employed commentating on something that I don't know well enough to feel comfortable calling. I'm enough of a sports nut that I follow just about everything - I know something about many sports and a lot about quite a few sports, but I don't know *everything* about any one sport. That means I can fake it until I make it: I can do well enough on a Ligue 1 broadcast to sound like I know what I'm talking about until my knowledge base eventually picks up to where I need to be. I've called live games or done demo tapes in soccer, baseball, ice hockey, NFL, college football, NBA, European basketball, tennis, handball and snooker, and I could easily call at least five or six other sports if given the chance. If I have to try and master a new sport or a new league in 48 hours, then yes, it can get a bit stressful. :) But my dream job as a kid was always to be Al Michaels or Dick Enberg or Pat Summerall or Jim Nantz - an all-rounder rather than a one-sport specialist - so I can hardly bypass the chance to do something like this, even if I'll probably get paid somewhere between 100 and 1,000 times less than the likes of Michaels and Nantz will this year.
     
  14. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Oh, and many, many thanks for all of the kind things you've written in this thread so far. They were particularly appreciated late last night as I had my nose to the grindstone!

    I think you just click on "Watch Thread" at the top right of the page, don't you?
     
  15. Dick Pole Upside

    Dick Pole Upside Member SoSH Member

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    4,208
    Congrats, CP. Sounds very challenging, but for a self-described sports nut, I'm really happy for you. It sounds really fun, so make it so!
     
  16. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    So...upon returning home, I tried using VPN to get a DAZN account, which worked fine right up to the point at which I tried to pay for a subscription: I need a Canadian credit card. There isn't anyone here who lives in Canada or otherwise has a Canadian credit card who might be willing to help facilitate or share a subscription, is there? (It does seem like quite a good deal to me - $20/month or $150/year for the full NFL GamePass experience including RedZone along with the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, Spanish/Italian/French soccer, KHL hockey and Guinness Pro14 rugby, among other things, *and* there's a one-month free trial.) If so, please do PM me.

    I do find it pretty insane that I have to beg, borrow and steal to access my own work like this, but that does seem to be an occupational hazard. I know that in the past I've paid for one-day and one-week subscriptions to the Champions Hockey League for exactly the same purpose (or to watch other games in the competition that would help me prepare for my next assignments), but at least in those situations I did it to get faster access to videos that I could eventually get for free. Maybe it's because there aren't too many other commentators as keen on self-improvement as I am?
     
  17. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    So, with many thanks to a co-conspirator who can remain anonymous if he chooses to, I've now been able to access DAZN and watch my commentary. The last time I commentated on a soccer match, it was for ESPN International in 1997...and I was doing color commentary, on a Mexican 2nd division match. (Mike Hill, who some of you may remember, was doing the play-by-play with me; I guess I was the very definition of a replacement-level color man.) So for what was effectively my first match, I'm pretty pleased with the results - I wasn't perfect, but I think I can build on this.

    FWIW, here's a five-minute clip which includes what were probably three of the four most interesting moments in the entire match - you can start at the 2:00 mark if you want to skip some of the scene-setting stuff:



    Comments and suggestions for improvement are always welcome!
     
  18. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Sounded like a pro! Very good job with some difficult names. And knowing what the finger pointing was about shows good research
     
  19. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Thanks, Lose.

    On the subject of difficult names, I do have a question about which I'd appreciate everyone's feedback. I often come across European names that I know are pronounced differently in English - and particularly in North America - than they are in a player's home country. Just to give example, I've commentated many times on the brother of NHL player Viktor Stålberg: that surname in North America is almost always pronounced "STALL-berg", whereas in Sweden the "å" is more of an "OH" sound, so it should somewhere between "STOHL-berg" and "STOH-al-berg". Do you think a commentator's job is to pronounce a player's name correctly as the player and his family would pronounce it, or should you go with what has become the accepted and familiar pronunciation in the English-speaking world? (I suppose a related question would be to ask whether you would pronounce the first word in "Paris St. Germain" as "PAR-is" or "PAR-ee"...it's a tricky one.)
     
  20. Cuzittt

    Cuzittt Bouncing with Anger Dope

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    Players names should be pronounced as close as one can to how the player themselves would pronounce it. It is, afterall, their name.

    When it comes to cities, countries, and other things of that nature... I would generally go with the English speaking world. That being said... Paris St. Germain in an interesting counterpoint... I would almost certainly say PAR-ee in this case to avoid the back-to-back s sounds.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using SoSH mobile app
     
  21. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    I would aim for how the player says the name, I've heard Bruins announcers say they talked to the player and this is how he says his name for some of the more interesting ones when they first play for the team. I would go with accepted pronunciation for the audience in the case of countries, cities, etc. You wouldn't call the German national team the Deutchsland Nationalmannschaft during the game, right?
     
  22. timlinin8th

    timlinin8th Member SoSH Member

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    This reminds me of the 2011 NHL Awards when some Real Housewives bimbos were put on the spot to announce Martin St. Louis as the winner of the Lady Byng. The anglicized version of his name was jarring considering the sport.
     
  23. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    That's just ignorance - everyone in hockey knows that he should be called "SAN lou-EE". But take a player like Bobby Nystrom, of NY Islanders fame: the "y" in Swedish makes more of an "oo" sound, so he's really "NOO-strom" and not "NYE-strom". If I went to Long Island and talked about the famous Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal scored by Bobby "NOO-strom", most hockey fans would think I'm a complete idiot.

    I don't get to work with a color commentator often, but last year I did call 10-12 games with John Tripp, a Canadian with German heritage who briefly played for the Kings and Rangers and then moved to Germany (and became a citizen who eventually played in the Olympics for Germany). Really nice guy, but he wasn't great with pronunciations. He would mention Viktor and Sebastian "STALL-berg", and I'd know he was wrong...do you correct him on the air? Of course not, although I did stick to the correct pronunciation as I knew it even though it meant we were both saying the same name differently. And don't get me started about trying to pronounce the team in southern Sweden from the city of Växjö; I know from consulting online guides and also now having been there in January that Växjö rhymes with the last two syllables of "Quebecois", but everyone in our studio (not just John) has pronounced it in their own different ways, and I don't really want to make an ass of myself by insisting upon the truth as I understand it. I reckon that many American play-by-play guys we think of as idiots sound idiotic in no small measure because they are trained - or told - to take a lowest common denominator approach and agree with the famous athlete sitting next to them nearly all of the time, even when they know better.

    Incidentally, I have a peculiar affinity with this subject, insofar as at least 95% of all people trying to pronounce my surname get one of the vowel sounds wrong unless I correct them. I never correct them unless they have to say my name on air, but I certainly sympathize with foreign sportsmen in particular who come to America and just politely accept the linguistic indignities regularly heaped upon them. I bet Mr. Nystrom now calls himself the wrong name all the time...and I've had some interesting discussion with my kids about this aspect of their identity.
     
  24. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Meanwhile, I've got my next two assignments: Troyes vs. Nantes (Ligue 1) on the evening of 19 August, and then Vissel Kobe vs. Yokohama (J-League) the following morning at 10:30 a.m. UK time. Anyone here know *anything* about Japanese soccer?
     
  25. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    I'm pretty sure the ball is still round, but don't quote me on that.
     
  26. Reverend

    Reverend for king and country Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Have you checked in with @Titans Bastard?
     
  27. SydneySox

    SydneySox A dash of cool to add the heat SoSH Member

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    I know a bit about the J-League because the A-League constantly play them in the Asian CL.

    But, like, not enough to help you sound like you know what you're doing.

    So yeah that doesn't help.
     
  28. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Hey, did you know Lukas Podolski now plays for Vissel Kobe? So there will be at least one player on the pitch on whom I can offer some of my own views and expertise, which is nice. Oh, and I'd forgotten that Claudio Ranieri is now the Nantes manager, so that will certainly be good a talking point in my first game next weekend (albeit one I shouldn't overplay).

    One of the great aspects of knowing I have regular commentary work forthcoming in a specific sport is that every match in that sport I watch is now a potential learning opportunity. When I was younger and had just moved to the UK, I watched almost every football match and highlights program I could find because it was so new and interesting to me (and most of the commentators were really good); more recently, that joy has faded somewhat, and I've struggled to watch "Match of the Day" and the like unless the results that weekend went favorably from my perspective. But now, it's all much more interesting and helpful: e.g., watching Steve Wilson call Chelsea v Burnley on "Match of the Day" last night helped me realize that I should try to be more of a color commentator in analyzing post-goal highlights than I did in the Montpellier-Caen clip I posted above. Even listening to the short introductions to each match is helpful in giving me ideas for my own intros, and just letting match commentary wash over me will help me via osmosis as I subconsciously track the stuff I like and dislike. Hopefully I can absorb these lessons into my own commentary style relatively quickly!
     
  29. Dummy Hoy

    Dummy Hoy Angry Pissbum SoSH Member

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    5,764
    This is really cool. Congrats and hope you continue to make the best of this opportunity.
     
  30. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I made the huge mistake of discovering this thread just before I was about to go to bed last night. Suffice it to say that my application has already been submitted, and that I didn't get much sleep at all. I'm sure I'm a longshot, but what's the worst that can happen?

    Believe it or not, the hockey season is already upon me: following my trip to London this weekend, I'm off to Vienna a week from today to start commentating on the new Champions Hockey League season. I'll be interested to discover how quickly I transition back from soccer to hockey, as the sports are similar enough in flow and concept that mistakes in terminology (e.g., "goaltender" vs. "goalkeeper") seem like they might be easy to make. I'll probably need to detox myself from soccer by watching some of my CHL commentary videos from last year, this highlight reel being a particularly good candidate:

     
  31. Koufax

    Koufax Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    US hockey in winter, Scottish golf in the summer? Sounds like a plan. Best of luck with that, Darren.
     
  32. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Two Ligue 1 matches called, two dull 1-0 wins - this time for Nantes and Claudio Ranieri. Nantes had a player harshly sent off in the first half, at which point Ranieri went with two defensive banks of four and a lone striker (Emiliano Sala). Troyes wasn't clever enough to break them down, apart from one good headed chance their captain Benjamin Nivet put wide, and in the 82nd minute Sala snatched the surprise winner, hooking a ball just inside the right-hand post of Troyes' African goalkeeper Samassa. I think I analyzed the goal well - it was the sort of shot which looks good, sneaking inside the post, but it seemed to me that Samassa got a really poor read on the ball and never pushed off to his right at all, which made the finish look better than it was.

    Anyway, tonight I got to work in a isolated booth, separated by glass from my colleagues and with plenty of space (as well as a microphone attached to my headphones so that I didn't have to hold anything). The bad thing about this, though, is that the monitor in the booth was at a much lower height, which isn't good in that I normally like to tape my research notes to the bottom of the monitor and let them dangle down. So for the first half I felt somewhat at sea insofar as the notes I wanted to rely upon felt in a foreign place to me. Still, by the second half everything got better, and I'm looking forward to immediately applying my lessons learned to another match tomorrow morning (the Japanese match between Vissel Kobe and Yokohama F-Marinos). I exchanged emails with the host of a J-League podcast I'd discovered this week and got some nice tips from him, so hopefully I've done enough to sound competent. (And hopefully the Airbnb I've booked tonight - right on Feltham High Street - isn't too noisy!)
     
  33. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    One notable thing I forgot about yesterday's match was that there was a minute's silence before kickoff that caught me by surprise. Unlike last week, I quickly introduced it and shut up in time to observe it myself, but I had a decision to make: guess why it was taking place, or just shut up and carry on with a general comment about it being impeccably observed. I decided to guess that it was being held to respect the victims of the Barcelona terrorist attack, which seemed the most likely reason, but I really hope I wasn't wrong!
     
  34. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'm glad I'm not getting paid by the goal! Vissel Kobe nil, Yokohama F-Marinos nil this morning, and that after I had a cold shower and shave at my hot-water-less Airbnb. At least the latter helped keep me awake for the former (and my host refunded my money without me asking); Lukas Podolski, supposedly the star of the show for Vissel, was anonymous apart from when he was barracking his teammates and insulting opponents. Very little quality on display, and the only moment of real interest was a tackle inches outside of the area in the 90th minute where it looked like the referee was pointing to the penalty spot, I screamed "Penalty!", and then the Yokohama players started complaining because a free kick had been awarded inches outside the area. Not my fault, I don't think. The temperature was in the mid-80s and humidity was above 80% even for the evening kickoff - I summed up the game by saying, "Plenty of heat, not enough light."
     
  35. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    I was really confused by the F-Marinos name, so I looked up the wikipedia page about the team. It seems like J-League team names are just a complete grab-bag of random foreign words slammed together. Vissel Kobe is from a combo of the words Victory and Vessel. Because Kobe is a port city. the F-Marinos are a combo of two team names that merged, Marinos being Spanish for Sailors, and the F comes from Flugels which is an incorrect plural for wings in German because that team used to be owned by Nippon Air. It seems like the name are a lot more interesting than the games.
     
  36. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Yeah, the J-League has some awesomely weird club names - Shimizu S-Pulse and Nagoya Grampus Eight (Arsene Wenger's old club, very surprisingly relegated to J2 at the end of last season) are my favorites, with the very Spanish-sounding middle name of Hokkaido Considole Sapporo an honorable mention. Re: your last point, I think I was rather unlucky with my match today - but that's football/soccer for you.

    By the way, last night I was in a booth that had been used for snooker commentary from the China Championship earlier in the day - I'm a big fan of snooker, a *far* superior cue sport to pool and billiards in my opinion which is still quite popular in the UK and a huge growth sport in China. I was curious to find out who commentating on it, but my studio coordinator just said "some old guy" was doing it. So I was pleasantly surprised upon reporting for work this morning to discover that the old guy in question was Clive Everton, for many years the voice of snooker on the BBC (and my favorite commentator on the sport). He's very old and has definitely lost his fastball, but it was still a treat to introduce myself to him and briefly chat with him at the end of the mid-session interval of his match...very odd to think he's slumming it with me on DAZN now.
     
  37. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    So, I'm on to Vienna. Flying over tomorrow for my first of two consecutive four-day stints in the studio, calling these games in the group stage of the Champions Hockey League:

    Thurs: Frölunda Gothenburg (SWE) - ZSC Lions Zürich (SUI)
    Fri: Red Bull Salzburg (AUT) - Tappara Tampere (FIN)
    Sat: Stavanger Oilers (NOR) - Malmö Redhawks (SWE)
    Sun: Grizzlys Wolfsburg (GER) - Tappara Tampere (FIN)

    By the weekend, the temperature in Vienna is hit 90 degrees - perfect hockey weather. Still, it's going to be fun: the first match is between last year's CHL champions and the big Swiss club at which Auston Matthews played his 2015-16 season, which is an excellent opening assignment. I may also have to buy NHL 18, as for the first time the CHL will be playable in this year's edition (pretty cool to someone who has been involved with the competition from the beginning):

    http://www.championshockeyleague.co...-league-newly-playable-in-ea-sports-nhl-tm-18
     
  38. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Just about to start commentating on my first hockey game of the new season...and I've discovered that this year, all of the CHL games are streaming for free via the CHL website (geoblocking restrictions notwithstanding). So if anyone wants to watch me call Frölunda Gothenburg vs. ZSC Lions Zürich in a few minutes, you should be able to do so here:

    http://www.championshockeyleague.co...t-stats=team-statistics&tab_event=live-stream
     
  39. Koufax

    Koufax Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    4,213
    Hmm, that logo of the Frolunda Indians might not be politically correct.
    [​IMG]
     
  40. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Yeah, I try not to refer to Frölunda as "the Indians", for reasons that are obvious as soon as you look at that logo.

    Good first period just in the books - 1-0 to Zurich.
     
  41. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Hang on, after leaving Troyes, did you fly to Kobe Japan, and then back to Vienna? Or call the game remotely?

    Just trying to understand how grueling the travel can be for non-celebrity commentators.
     
  42. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    What a game - certainly made up for the soccer clunkers I had the past few weeks. Both teams scored twice in the second period (going a combined 3-for-3 on the power play), and Zurich was still leading 3-2 with four minutes left in the third. Then Frölunda scored their third PPG of the night to tie the game up at 3-3. With 2:17 to go, Zurich clearly tripped up a Frölunda defender deep in the Frölunda zone - no penalty called, and the other ZSC player nearby had the puck all alone in front and scored. 4-3 Zurich, and Frölunda pulled their goalie with for an extra attacker...and scored with 14 seconds left to send us into overtime. And 49 seconds into 3-on-3 overtime, Ryan Lasch - who had assisted on all four of Frölunda's goals to that point - pounced on a rebound to score the winner. Probably my favorite Group Stage game I've ever commentated on, and I think I did it justice; felt like I was in midseason form, I think as much because I was back on familiar territory after calling matches in unfamiliar leagues.

    Ryan Lasch is an interesting story - a California native, he's only 5'7'' but has scored everywhere he's been. He led the Finnish league in scoring back in 2011-12, then spent the next season with four different clubs (two in the AHL, one in the ECHL and Växjö in Sweden) before returning to Växjö for 2013-14. Then he left for TPS Turku in Finland before moving to Frölunda after 2/3 of a season; in 2015-16 he was the CHL MVP and had 51 points in 51 SHL games as Frölunda did the CHL/SHL double, but then he moved to SC Bern in Switzerland last season, where he scored the playoff goal that won Bern the Swiss title. And now he's back in Gothenburg with Frölunda. You'd think a guy with that much talent could stay in the same place for more than a year at a time! (Nice guy, too - I spent some time with him at the back end of the 2015-16 season, and I think it's fair to say it's not a personality issue.)
     
  43. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    No, I call most of my games remotely - I called both of the soccer matches last weekend (at Troyes and at Kobe) out of a studio in southwest London. I mean, taking the train down from Scotland one day and back up the next, then cramming in two more days of prep before flying to Vienna isn't easy, but it's not like I'm spanning the globe in the proverbial Jim McKay sense.
     
  44. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I've gone back and listened to some of the tape from last night, and while I still think I did pretty well, I do have a habit of speaking rather too rapidly and sounding slightly manic when it comes to ice hockey. I'll need to work on that today and try not to cram so many words into too little space. Which is slightly weird insofar as soccer commentary is much more languid; if anything I must have been overcompensating as I moved back to hockey.

    To be fair, this was my first time having to switch between sports fairly rapidly, and that itself is a learning experience. I remember interviewing Verne Lundquist when I was interning at Golf Digest - this was back in the mid-90s, and IIRC he was calling NBA games for TNT at the time. I watched him call an NBA game in the Central time zone on a Wednesday night, and then the next afternoon he was out in one of the towers at Pebble Beach calling the first round of the AT&T Pro-Am, which struck me as quite a turnaround. (In fact, he told me that this was the closest he'd ever come to being late for an assignment - I think he got to his tower at the 16th hole with barely 15 minutes to spare. He was an absolute delight to speak to, btw.) What I didn't consider or ask him about at the time was the mental gymnastics that must be required in shifting tonally from basketball to golf commentary - about all those two assignments have in common is the headset and the microphone, and I certainly have a new respect for commentators who can shift quickly and seamlessly between sports.
     
  45. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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  46. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I've just come out of one of the weirdest production meetings I've ever attended, the subject of which was how to respond to coaches dropping F-bombs while miked up during the power breaks. We don't go to commercial in our CHL commentaries during the breaks which are there for host broadcasters in each country to pay their bills, and the coaches of both teams are miked up and usually audible during each break - sometimes speaking in English, particularly on teams with many North American imports, and sometimes in their native language. In major American sports, of course, there's usually a delay of some sort before any coach audio is aired, but that's definitely not the case here, and ZSC Zurich coach Hans Wallson was particularly fruity in his use of Anglo-Saxon last night. The coaches are reminded that they're being miked before each game and are asked not to swear if they can help it, but the interesting point to come out of today's meeting was that many Europeans don't regard English swear words as being particularly rude - which I can sort of get, if I think about how I would be less embarrassed to use a German swear word than an English one myself. (Also, in my experience hockey locker rooms and practices are about as sweary as environments get anyway.)

    The answer, of course, is that we should apologize to anyone who has been offended and maybe crack the odd lighthearted joke about the constant repetition of swearing if appropriate. But this certainly isn't an environment in which sanctimonious commentators might thrive.
     
  47. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Just followup one of those outbursts with your own HELL YEAHS and it will just flow.
     
  48. nattysez

    nattysez Member SoSH Member

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    This is an absolutely fantastic thread. Thanks for sharing so much information in such detail.

    How viable do you think remotely calling games is becoming? How far are we from a team deciding that it could save a lot of money by having its announcers call games from TV? NESN could've saved itself a lot of trouble this year if Eck and DOB called road games from a TV monitor.
     
  49. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    No swearing tonight, as it happened - Red Bull Salzburg scored first on home ice, and then were blown away by six Tappara Tampere goals (3 in the 1st, 2 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd). Final score, 6-1, so I got to dig deep into my filler material - I'd even come up with a quiz for the listeners tonight that I got to use, and it took everything in my power not to introduce it as a segment sponsored by Aflac.

    I'm not going to ask you guys about the Champions Hockey League, but here's a separate quiz question for you (with multiple correct answers potentially available): in addition to my live commentary work, I do voiceovers for highlights packages after each game, and there is a new Slovakian club in the CHL for the first time this year called Banska Bystrica. I had no idea how to pronounce "Bystrica" before today; if you were in my shoes, and you don't necessarily trust any of your office colleagues (whether English or German speaking) to help you out, how would you go about trying to find the correct pronunciation?
     
  50. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    That's an interesting question. I think remotely calling games is viable for networks on a budget, with niche audiences that don't necessarily expect top-notch production quality for whatever reason - that reason normally being that the event is taking place in a foreign country. But I think NESN would get in trouble if they didn't have announcers in every ballpark: for one thing, baseball is tough because you can't see the arc of a baseball in the air above the edge of the screen, and a lot of guesswork is involved in figuring out even the obvious differences between a popup and a homer. Also, with a slower sport like baseball, I think you would lose a lot by not having someone in the stadium to spot stuff happening in the crowd, to quickly pick up on defensive shifts, etc. If I ever get the chance to call baseball remotely - and I hope to someday - I would probably come armed with sabermetric nuggets to fill dead air, but that's not yet a mainstream option in America.

    I suppose that's quite a technical answer (and rather specific to baseball); a non-technical answer is that as long as rights fees remain in the stratosphere, it seems silly not to send commentators onsite when you've already spent that much money in the first place, particularly if there are other competitors out there who would be willing to spend more money to do an obviously better job. And you can do a better job commentating onsite than you can "off tube", to say nothing of the advantages you get from being around and getting to interview players and coaches.
     
    #50 ConigliarosPotential, Aug 25, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017

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