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Diary of a commentator

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

  1. Lose Remerswaal

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

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    I'm sorry you like Nantz more than most of the people here ;)

    but I thought the same thing. TELL ME WHO CAUGHT THAT BALL please!
     
  2. swiftaw

    swiftaw Member SoSH Member

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    Especially as the Bucs numbers were particular hard to read on TV last night, I kept wanting to know who caught it.
     
  3. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Copied from the World Cup qualifiers thread...FWIW, DAZN does have the rights to the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL qualifiers in Canada, and Agent Tim - who also commentates a bit himself - was actually hosting a RedZone-like program on yesterday's South American qualifiers. Of course, there was exactly one goal in the first half of all five games combined, so that must have felt more than a bit awkward.

    Meanwhile, out of the blue I just got asked by Agent Tim if I'd like to call the AC Milan vs. Juventus match on Saturday 28 October. Um, yes please? I'd thought that sort of soccer match was above my pay grade at this point, but I guess not...I really can't believe my luck at the moment.
     
  4. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Interesting article about DAZN's NFL launch in Canada, which doesn't seem to have gone that well...

    http://nationalpost.com/sports/foot...games-available-via-cable-satellite-providers

    ...although that said, DAZN has agreed deals with Shaw and SaskTel and is working on a deal with Rogers to make its NFL content available through their cable and/or satellite services. From my perspective, this means there should be at least a few more people watching me this Sunday, which is nice!
     
  5. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    20 minutes into my KHL game today, and you know what name is bloody difficult to say? "Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg". Honestly...AV-to-mo-bil-IST is the correct pronunciation, and I suck at saying that.
     
  6. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    AV-to-mo-bil-ist
    Ye-KAT-er-in-BURG

    I mean, really...how can you call a game when the shortest name you can use to refer to one of the teams is five syllables long?
     
  7. Lose Remerswaal

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

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    "AY looking sharp today . . . "
     
  8. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    That exact thought did actually occur to me, but you can't really make up a nickname for a team on the fly like that...how would you like it if I referred to the Boston Red Sox as "BRS"?

    Anyway, that game is thankfully over (finished 3-1 to Jokerit), and now I'm into full NFL pregame mode, having gone into an editing suite to script the introductory feature while moving the video back and forth as often as I wanted to get the timings exactly right - so much better to have that kind of control. The pregame is very heavy on the Cam Newton controversy from early this week, then halftime is the usual spread of stats, scores and late-game previews...but after that, during the second half we'll be going to nearly-live highlights from RedZone in pretty much every ad break, which will be really exciting. I'll get handed a shot list and then told to narrate everything on the fly; not quite Scott Hanson-esque, but very cool all the same. (Incidentally, the general consensus around the room is that we really can't understand why Bell Canada didn't choose to take Lions-Panthers as a live game on Canadian television; surely this is the best of today's early games, isn't it? Kevin Clark at The Ringer certainly thinks so...)
     
  9. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Back at the hotel at the end of my marathon day, sneaking a few peeks at the Sox game and RedZone as I type, and I can't say I'm wholly satisfied. I felt good going into the NFL broadcast - better than I had last week - but despite a strong, confident start, I felt I underperformed what I'm capable of. This was the first week in which I was able to stick around after the game and rewatch all of my segments; all the bits I'd scripted were delivered well, but I'm struggling to keep my voice correctly modulated and particularly not to rush through certain passages where I feel I have a lot of information to deliver. I need to write better, shorter notes that confuse me less and give me less to rush through. And I also need to try and watch as many of our prerecorded features as possible, to make sure I know what I'm handing off to segment by segment - e.g., what I thought was a standard NFL Network preview of the Cowboys-Packers game wound up being a first-person feature from Dak Prescott's perspective about the game, and so my segue into the feature sounded not quite right. I also had a bad moment of miscommunication with my production colleagues: at the start of halftime, I talked through one page of halftime scores from the early games across the league, and I thought (as per a pregame discussion with the control room) we would then go to a page showing the lineup of late and SNF/MNF games...but instead they cut straight to the Rams-Seahawks game preview, and I had to quickly backtrack in a way that made me look bad.

    I did get to narrate two RedZone highlights packages during stoppages in the fourth quarter - three TD passes from the Giants-Chargers game, and three INTs from Ben Roethlisberger - which were cut and aired very soon after the latest highlight in each package happened, and that seemed to work very well; it felt like a test run for something we might do much more often going forward, and I hope that is indeed the case. But it's more important that I try to improve my overall delivery, and to try and create the conditions that make it most likely that I can improve my delivery in the moment (e.g., write sharp, to-the-point notes I can more easily use).

    Anyway, as the saying goes...I'm on to Vienna.
     
  10. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I assume nobody really wants to hear the specifics of my travel-related odysseys, but this morning was certainly not a happy one for me. I had to drop off a suitcase with extra clothes at the apartments where I'll be staying from Thursday to Monday in Leeds, then drive my car from my hotel car park to a long-stay car park about 15 minutes' walk from the hotel, then I needed to walk back to the hotel, grab the rest of my luggage, check out of the hotel and scurry along to the train station (3-4 minutes from the hotel) to catch my train to Manchester Airport. To make a long story short, owing to the stupid one-way road systems in Leeds, a missed turn, the need to keep turning and climbing up to level 15 in the car park to find a spot, a pay point in the car park that couldn't read my credit card, and my train platform being much further away from the station entrance than I thought, I only made it to my train with a few minutes to spare. That would have sucked. Oh, and Manchester Airport is a dive; among other things, I should have known better than to buy anything from the "Mexican" establishment where they asked if I wanted "slaw" on my burrito.

    Anyway, I'm in Vienna now - made good time getting to my hotel, and I only wish the Vienna State Opera was showing an actual opera tonight instead of a ballet. Last year I went to two operas there (Massenet's Manon and Verdi's Macbeth), taking advantage of what is surely the best deal in world music: if you're willing to queue for a wee while and show up early enough, you can buy a standing room ticket for €3 (balcony) or €4 (rear stalls) which includes a real-time electronic libretto display in either English, German or the native language of the opera in question. For Manon, I was able to move forward after the intermission (i.e., after the Japanese tourists had left) and get a front-row standing seat - just behind people who had paid €150 for their tickets - and it was truly magical. If you're ever in Vienna and have an evening to spare, you really should partake of this offer even if only to tour the building itself and maybe stay for the first act.
     
  11. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I had a really productive day of prep today, both for tonight's CHL game (Malmo Redhawks vs. Kometa Brno) and for my KHL game coming up later in the week involving Barys Astana, a team I haven't commentated on yet. Now I've arrived at the studio...and I've realized that I left my folder full of prep sheets back at the hotel. It's too late to go back and get them, so I'm going to have to print out some spares in black-and-white - the lack of a color printer here at the office is infuriating - and that's a very bad thing. I use color a LOT on my prep sheets to help me instantly assess certain facts and figures, and now I'm going to have to go through each sheet and highlight a bunch of stuff.

    [FAKE EDIT: huh, having just typed that, it turns out that there is actually one color printer on the other side of the floor, and Producer Markus was able to print a few extra color sheets for me. Of course, the first time he sent the files to the printer - and walked around the floor with me to use his security pass on the printer to print them out - he managed to only send one of the four sheets I wanted, so we went back to his office to print them again, and this time he managed to print one of them in black-and-white. I told him not to bother with another one; that B&W one is a backup sheet anyway, so I'll just need to be careful not to mess up with the Brno lineup when it comes in.]
     
  12. blueguitar322

    blueguitar322 Member SoSH Member

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    I'm loving this thread; I've been following it since the beginning. Thanks for this glimpse into a part of sports most people usually never see.

    Here's my question for you: do you have to mentally adjust your expectations level when you call different tiers of talent? E.g. AC Milan vs Juve will probably feature much better soccer than many other games. Let's say you called that game and then the next day had to call a Segunda Division or English Championship (the weirdly-named second league, for those who don't watch soccer). Do you set a lower threshold for criticizing bad play? Set a lower bar for what causes you to raise your voice in excitement?

    I feel like if I was extremely well-versed in any given sport's top-tier (as you are in soccer), then it'd be hard for me to not over-criticize when announcing lower tiers. Hell, it'd be hard to get as excited about the game, period.
     
  13. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    That's a perfectly good question, although for me, I don't really think about the games I'm calling in those terms. I go into every one of my commentary matches assuming that someone, somewhere must think it's important, and whether it's been watched by three people or 30,000 people (maybe I'll hit 3 million people someday?), it has to resonate for them. Every goal in every game should be treated with excitement, and every moment of skill that is above and beyond the norm for the level of game I'm calling is worthy of extra emphasis. If anything, I might actually flip your question around and say that while I'll be harsh about bad play at any level, I'll be rather more harsh on Milan and Juventus if that game degenerates into a sloppy stalemate than I was when Montpellier and Caen or Vissel Kobe and Yokohama F-Marinos were scoreless in their respective second halves. I'll go into the Milan-Juve game with expectations that I don't have with lesser teams, and that colors my approach more than the reverse would be true.
     
  14. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Meanwhile, my CHL game tonight was a true shambles. The lineups were late in arriving with me, and when they arrived I knew something was amiss, because every player on the Kometa Brno roster seemed to be dressing for the game - six full lines' worth of players. That was eventually fixed, but the lineups for both teams kept changing, with a player being removed from the Brno lineup and another added to the Malmo lineup (after I'd already crossed him off my sheet) less than 10 minutes before I went on the air. Worse, even though this game would decide the winner and second-place finisher in CHL Group B, both coaches decided to treat this almost as a practice match: Malmo rested six of their front-line starters, and Brno rested 11 of theirs, including every one of their top five scorers in the domestic Czech league this season. A total of 10 players who I hadn't researched at all - I mean, AT ALL - dressed tonight, and I had to squeeze their names and numbers between the names and numbers on my sheet. (If I had access to my own color printer, like I do in Leeds for my KHL games, this would have been less of a problem...) And even more stupidly, several Brno players swapped numbers before the game - e.g., the #42 Michal Barinka wore #18, which meant the usual #18 Lukas Vagner wore #11 - and several Malmo youngsters wore jerseys with the numbers of other resting players (and no surnames on them). I was frantically typing up new notes for my intro until less than 30 seconds before I went on the air, which is made worse by the fact that the pinkie finger on my left hand is suffering from an infection, and it hurts like hell to type properly.

    The stadium was also mostly empty (although there was a fairly big group of traveling Brno fans that chanted and sang and clapped and pounded their feet for the whole game)...and just to top everything off, maybe 10-15 times throughout the first two periods of the game, the satellite feed spluttered to a halt and went completely blank for maybe 4-8 seconds at a time. The phrase that kept going through my head early in the game was "survive and advance": just get through this, be as professional as you can, and live to fight another day. The game was mostly a dud as well, finishing 3-0 to Malmo, although I will actually be quite interested to listen to the tape of the game, as I think this is the sort of game from which you can learn a lot. I have a sneaky suspicion that I'm going to like how I sound on the recording; I think the more reserved vocal style I used may actually play rather well.
     
  15. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I've listened to enough of tonight's game now to believe that my suspicion was correct: counter-intuitively, I think trying to be less excited about games in the future may actually be good for reining in my worst tendencies. I do like the sound of my voice on tonight's tape.

    One of my own favorite calls ever was of a Chris Drury goal for BU in a Beanpot Final back in the late 1990s. My call of the goal itself was very polished and professional, but there was a sequence just before the goal in which both teams had great chances to score in quick succession, and I blurted out: "It's just going end-to-end and there's no end in sight to this excitement at the Fleet Center!" I love the near poetry of that line - different uses of "end", the rhyming of "sight" and "excite" - and how it just came out of me naturally, completely unforced and unplanned. But I still cringe slightly when I hear it or remember it, because my voice jumped up about 12 octaves on the first "end" in "end-to-end": I was way too excited in the moment, mainly because I was in a huge arena with a big crowd and a great atmosphere in a meaningful game and hadn't yet calibrated what I was feeling to what was actually happening on the ice. (In fact, I think my call of the actual goal was so good because it was scored by Drury and not by a Harvard player: that fact alone brought me back from the edge of near-orgasm to where I ideally wanted to be.) You will never, ever hear Joe Buck or Al Michaels get overexcited in the second quarter of an NFL game. Sometimes their touchdown calls can sound slightly too dead for my liking, but they do know how to rein themselves in and make sure they save their highest intensity for the end-game moments which really do matter the most. And I get why so many people love Gus Johnson - and I do tend to err on the side of being overly enthusiastic like him - but ultimately, he's just not as professional-sounding as the true greats of the profession. I certainly never want to sound bored about any game I'm calling, let alone a scoring play in said game, but I never want to sound out of control like Johnson can at peak Johnson-ness, where there's really no way for him to get crazier. I think a worthwhile target for me on the enthusiasm-o-meter would be between Buck/Michaels and Mike Emrick...maybe two-thirds of the way toward Emrick.
     
  16. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Here's your exercise today if you want to match my commentary experience: slam your pinkie finger in a door really hard, and then try to call a game for two-and-a-half hours. That's what my infected finger feels like; I even went to a pharmacy in Austria and bought a couple of creams from a chemist there, but despite gobbling down painkillers and reapplying creams all day, I'm still in a pretty bad way. It didn't affect my commentary, I don't think, but my game was a dud - 3-0 to Zurich over Klagenfurt, although at least neither team used any unexpected players - and I found myself getting a bit temperamental with my novice cutter, who somehow managed to exclude a goal from the highlights feed of the first of two games I've had to do this evening.

    Speaking of highlights, I was told by Agent Tim that DAZN has requested that I call the highlights from four soccer games on Saturday: Urawa Reds v Vissel Kobe, Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla, Leeds United v Reading, and Getafe v Real Madrid. How eclectic is that quartet? The problems are that a) I'm really going to need that time on Saturday afternoon (after my morning KHL game) to prep for the next day's KHL game and NFL presenting duties - looking like Tampa Bay-Arizona as things stand - and b) they're not offering me any money to do so. They view highlights voiceovers as part of the fee they pay me for my work on a given day...which would be fine if they're talking about revoicing highlights for a game I've already called, but to prepare for and then voiceover four games like this out of the blue, you're talking about 2-3 hours' worth of work in total. And that added to everything else really risks turning me into a zombie by the end of Sunday night. I quite like the idea of getting to call Real Madrid and even Leeds United highlights as-live (i.e., doing fake commentary as though I was in charge of the full broadcast), but I don't like the way this is looking. Thankfully, both Tim and another guy who was being asked to perform similar tasks on Saturday night - albeit only two games instead of four - think this request is pretty ludicrous, and Tim has already pushed back on DAZN's request, so we'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be talking about this more with Tim in the car from Manchester Airport back to Leeds tomorrow.

    (By the way, if you're wondering why DAZN can't clip the live commentary from these games out as highlights and not need someone like me to get involved...that makes two of us.)
     
  17. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    My day started more than 17 hours ago now, and I only just finished working for the night. I woke up at 5 a.m. with my sore finger absolutely throbbing with pain; all I could do was try to soak it in a glass of water by the bed while I first tossed and turned and then gave up and watched the ninth inning of Indians-Yankees on MLB At Bat. (Yuck.) I struggled through my shower and breakfast and made my way to the airport; on my way through security, suddenly I realized my finger was oozing blood and pus. I'll spare you further gory details, but the upshot is that the pressure has finally been relieved and I can now use my pinkie again and type without any significant pain. Whew.

    Agent Tim picked me up at Manchester Airport, and we had a good chat on the way through to Leeds. We went back and forth with DAZN about the four aforementioned highlights, and after a derisory sum was offered for my services, Tim stepped in and said he'd do the highlights for me, which is probably for the best. I did offer to do one of them, just to get a taste of what this might be like going forward, and so I'll be doing Athletic Bilbao vs. Sevilla, mainly because I called Sevilla's game a few weeks ago and won't need to do any research on them. (I had my choice of games but settled on the easy option, rather than the more intriguing Real Madrid and Leeds assignments.) I did learn why games that have already been commentated upon in English require re-commentating in English for the highlights: editors at DAZN Germany cut the Spanish highlights, DAZN Japan does the Italian games and DAZN Canada (in the UK) does the French games so as not to repeat each other's work thrice over. Which makes sense, to a point...anyway, I should have plenty of time to do that after my lunchtime KHL game on Saturday.

    Meanwhile, my third attempt to do a day's voiceover work in Leeds suffered similar-yet-different technical difficulties yet again. The purpose-built voiceover booth isn't yet up and running, so I'm the equivalent of a square peg being hammered into a round hole. I spare both you and myself all the details of that particular episode; suffice it to say that the good news is that I still get paid for the work I produced today.

    The better news is that I've been given access to a special proxy connection to DAZN's servers, so that I can start reviewing my own work again - only at the office, but that's much better than the complete lack of access I've had recently, particularly given all the time I will be spending in the office going forward. (I have this access on my own laptop as well, which is convenient.) Also, I have a co-commentator for my KHL game tomorrow (SKA St. Petersburg, now 20-1 after their surprise loss to Sochi the other day, against Salavat Yulaev Ufa): a Canadian who briefly played for the Edmonton Oilers before moving to the UK and playing for many years in Sheffield. I have no idea how good he is, or whether he knows anything about the KHL, but hopefully we can connect tomorrow before the game and iron out any potential kinks. It's always nice to have a second pair of eyes!
     
  18. BrazilianSoxFan

    BrazilianSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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  19. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Things have been looking up here in Leeds over the past two days. Yesterday I called the SKA St. Petersburg vs. Salavat Yulaev Ufa match with a new co-commentator, Ron, who played 10 games with the Edmonton Oilers back in 1987/88 - with Gretzky/Messier/Kurri/Tikkanen et al. - before moving to the UK and having a long career with the Sheffield Steelers. (He had five assists in those 10 games for Edmonton - as a defenseman - but never played in the NHL again, which seems pretty weird to me...I guess it was almost impossible not to average half-a-point per game on that team!) He was a really nice guy, but perhaps not yet the most refined commentator; I did chat with him for quite a long time before the game, and then after the game we watched bits of the match replay and bounced ideas off each other about how he could improve, which is really encouraging to see in a commentator. SKA had just lost their first game of the year after starting with a 20-game winning streak, and our game was 2-2 in the third period before SKA got two goals to win 4-2, so that was good fun. I did stay up too late last night, doing prep work but also distracted by the appearance on my TV of GoldenEye - and you can be pretty sure I'm going to reference the "Pierce Brosnan drives a tank through St. Petersburg" scene when I call SKA again tomorrow afternoon against Ak Bars Kazan - best team in the Eastern Conference against the best team in the Western Conference - along side co-commentator Paul.

    As for today, I was on my own for Barys Astana vs. Kunlun Red Star, a real see-saw game that went to a wild 3-on-3 overtime period before Astana won 4-3 late on. During each intermission I went back and listened to my calls of the goals in the periods which has just ended, and I knew my voice wasn't quite a peak form - I think talking so much with Ron yesterday may have taken something out of my voice! - but it was great to have access to my live game on-demand in the moment. Then, after that game was done I did my first as-live highlights commentary on Athletic Bilbao vs. Sevilla, which finished 1-0 to Bilbao in a bit of an upset. It was actually easier than I thought it might be: having printed off the teams and put one or two webpages with background information at my fingertips, I watched each individual incident in turn, wrote down the names and numbers of who did what, and then went back to call each incident knowing exactly what was going to happen. It's actually great practice for my soccer commentary, being able to think through what I might want to say before saying it (and having multiple takes to get it right if desired)...and now having spoken with Agent Tim here after the match - he's presenting the Atletico Madrid-Barcelona game tonight - it does seem as though a little bit of money will be set aside on a per game basis for people doing highlights like this in the future. So I'll definitely be putting my hand up for those duties going forward!

    One last tidbit: I've just been chatting with John, a Liverpudlian who is calling the Atletico-Barcelona match - he's the other guy tapped to do highlights tonight, and he intervened on my behalf with Tim (saying that I shouldn't be asked to do four highlights in one day). Really gregarious guy, lovely to talk to; he's a Bears fan, so we were talking about Glennon and Trubisky and fake punts and great two-point conversion plays, and I immediately dialed up the highlights on DAZN for us to watch as well, which was fun. He does loads of soccer - he just drove up from Liverpool, having called the Liverpool-Man Utd match for LFCTV, and does world feed broadcasts on behalf of IMG for the Champions League, the Dutch League, the Japanese League, etc.; I flipped on the end of the Getafe-Real Madrid match, and it was interesting how quickly he picked up on the fact that the commentators weren't from DAZN but rather young guys doing world feed commentary for La Liga out of Spain (one of of the easiest giveaways was the fact that the commentators referred to "La Liga Santander", rather than just "La Liga"). Anyway, the one particularly interesting revelation for me is that John's day job - in between his many football match commentaries - is that he works in media relations for the Icons Series of golf matches, featuring famous sportsmen from different sports playing Ryder Cup-style events with one another. They have a marquee event lined up for next September in New York which will feature the likes of Peyton Manning, Michael Jordan, Steph Curry and others, with Jack Nicklaus and Rory McIlroy serving as team captains...which in and of itself sounds great, but when John had mentioned this within DAZN, the head of DAZN Canada expressed a definite interest in getting involved on the broadcasting side of things, and I've now expressed a definite interest with John to get involved as a commentator if that should come to pass. It's bloody hard to get into golf commentary, but that could possibly be an initial way in for me.
     
    #219 ConigliarosPotential, Oct 14, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  20. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    What a brilliant day I've had today in Leeds so far. I got in early to look at the features we've planned for the Tampa Bay-Arizona game, and actually contributed an idea for a graphic that we're going to use in the broadcast. (We're using some Hard Knocks-centered footage of Jameis Winston, and to come out of that feature I suggested we put Winston's career passing stats - games played, interceptions, completion percentage and yards/attempt - alongside the stats of the other NFC South quarterbacks by way of comparison.) I'm feeling really good ahead of our NFL game tonight, now with the Falcons-Dolphins on one screen and RedZone on another screen in my commentary booth.

    Meanwhile, my KHL game today was really excellent - SKA St. Petersburg, best in the Western Conference at 21 wins and 1 loss, against Ak Bars Kazan, top of the Eastern Conference by 3 points over Avangard Omsk. So a potential Gagarin Cup Finals preview, and it was close throughout: 0-0 after one, 1-1 after two (two late goals in the second period), 2-2 after three...and then after Ilya Kovalchuk committed a penalty early during the 3-on-3 overtime, Kazan scored a 4-on-3 power play goal to win 3-2. Paul, my co-commentator, was solid and we had a good rapport, and I was even able to step back and watch some of the action while he was talking and then add a few color commentary points of my own. This is exactly the sort of game I live for: a close game between two good teams in tense environment where it feels like the game really matters to some extent. It's why I wanted to be a commentator when I grew up.

    I also had a chat with Producer Ben this afternoon, before the KHL game. It's interesting that he's been so busy with soccer - I think he said he's doing seven gallery games (i.e., with a presenter and directed from a control room in Leeds) in seven days and barely has the time he wants to spend with his young staff and help coach them up in their production duties. Anyway, two interesting things to come out of our conversation:

    1) It's likely that I'm going to be asked to present an NFL game on Christmas Eve, meaning I'll get back home on Christmas morning at either at 12:30 a.m. or (more likely) 4:00 a.m. At least I won't be required on Christmas Day itself, but still...WIFE ALERT! WIFE ALERT!

    2) Ben is going on a six-day trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow in late November - we're lining up filler interviews with Datsyuk and Kovalchuk et al. of St. Petersburg, and also time with Mike Keenan of Kunlun Red Star when he's playing on the road in Moscow. It may be possible for me to come along and conduct the interviews, and also maybe to call a few games live from the arenas in Russia while I'm there...that's far from a sure thing, but that would be an AWESOME trip if we can make that work and there's budget for it.
     
  21. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Me and my big mouth, talking about what a perfect day it was right before the Falcons go all SB LI and cough up a big second-half lead to AFC East opposition. That said, I'm really, really pleased with my performance on NFL presenting duty - both before the game but especially at halftime, when I really nailed the most difficult thing I’ve had to do yet: a lengthy segment in which without interruption I had to talk through a montage of first half highlights, say something intelligent about the first-half statistics, narrate highlights of *15* consecutive plays cut from the RedZone Channel (the shot list of which I finished copying less than a minute before we went live at halftime), talk through all of the first-half scores, and introduce a preview of tonight’s game between the Broncos and Giants. Even better, I’ve now managed to record it - I'll try and post it in such a way that I can share it with you guys tomorrow. Not much of a game between Tampa Bay and Arizona (although the Bucs just this second returned a fumble for a touchdown and we might have life in the game yet), but that really was something at halftime.
     
  22. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Here's a link to that halftime segment I presented last night:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_NErsSPyhOWeVV6SS1aTk9ZcGc

    Bear in mind that I hadn't seen the montage of first-half highlights at the beginning of the clip before it started, *and* I hadn't seen more than 3-4 of the 15 RedZone highlights - most of this is pure improvisation. For the latter, here's exactly what I was looking at on my computer as I went through each clip one at a time:

    --Saints: Stafford fumble, recovered for TD by Kenny Vaccaro
    --Packers: Aaron Rodgers injury – Vikings’ Anthony Barr
    --Lions: Golden Tate 45y TD (7-7)
    --Browns:
    Pick six by Kevin Hogan to Jonathan Joseph
    --Pats: Brady to Gronk 33y TD
    --Dolphins: Jay Cutler 11y TD to Kenny Stills
    --Bears: Adrian Amos pick-six of Jay Flacco
    --Jets: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins trying to pull the Jets back to within 3 pts, fumbles the ball over the pylon and out for a touchback
    --Falcons: Matt Ryan late pick by Reshad Jones
    --Ravens: Michael Campanaro 77y punt return for TD
    o 2pt conversion: Nick Boyle pass from Flacco
    --Redskins: Kirk Cousins TD run
    --Niners: Aldrick Robinson 45y TD pass from
    --Niners: Beathard 4th and 20, intercepted by Kendall Fuller
    --Bears: Jordan Howard 53y run for the Bears in overtime to set up the Connor Barth winning FG
    --Saints: Cameron Jordan INT in the Lions end zone for a TD

    Jumping around from game to game like that...I'm really, really pleased by how this came out!
     
  23. Lose Remerswaal

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

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    You've got a great voice. That was a fun listen
     
  24. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    2,772
    Yeah, very smooth. Two questions:

    - I notice that there were a couple hesitations and verbal hiccups, for lack of a better term, right at the start of the first game (Bucs-Cardinals), but then you got into a rhythm. Was that due to something in production / behind the scenes, or just you getting in the right frame of mind?
    - Why nothing on the decisive play of OT for Bears-Ravens? Was it still unfolding but you had to do the highlights with what you had?
    - I wonder if the phrasing of "the saints still drop a 50-burger on the lions" will convey to a non-US audience...
     
  25. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    You mean, e.g., like the pause between "What happened to the offensive..." and "...line for Arizona"? That was me trying to get in a rhythm and struggling to read my notes; I had actually prepared some pregame filler material about the bad Arizona O-line and only decided at the last moment to use it during halftime. The nature of these teasers coming into the start of halftime is that I'm given a montage of highlights from the game that I've never seen before and just need to say something semi-intelligent about the game to transition to the stat graphics (and then transition from those to the highlight clips, etc.); I'm beginning to get a better sense of how much time I have to fill and therefore how much material I need to use, and everything is feeling more natural - not least because I'm trusting myself more and feeling as though I need to read scripted comments less - but I'm not quite there yet.
    That was an editorial decision by our guy cutting the highlights - the long run *was* the decisive moment of the OT (in setting up the kick), and we already had loads of highlights from that game in the package, so I guess adding the field goal would have been overkill.
    I don't see why it wouldn't - I first remember hearing Rich Eisen use "forty-burger" and "fifty-burger" on the Sunday evening NFL Network highlight shows a while back, and while it was a weird turn of phrase, it's not like I needed any help to figure it out myself. You're right, though, that more generally I do need to be careful about cross-cultural differences when assessing my audience and deciding what to say and how to say it.
     
  26. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Incidentally, on the second page of scores, right at the end when you hear me pause at the start of the Chargers-Raiders score before saying "Derek Carr"...that's because I had "David Carr" in my head and needed a second to just make sure in my mind that "Derek" was correct. :)
     
  27. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    In other news, Agent Tim tells me today that FIBA has reviewed my tapes and pronounced me fit for purpose as a basketball commentator. This starts with the Basketball Champions League, the second-tier European club competition that it runs, on which I might serve as a spare voice to help fill any gaps they have have in their normal commentary lineup. I can't say that I'm desperate for work in the BCL, given all of my KHL and NFL commitments and the soccer I'm doing as well, but basketball is certainly a sport for which there are more commentary jobs available back in the US than most, and as such I do want to build up a decent basketball portfolio in due course.

    (I do marvel at the opportunities I'm getting across so many different sports at the moment. Hockey play-by-play and NFL pregame/halftime/postgame presenting duties require wildly different skills and ranges of knowledge, and soccer is a completely different kettle of fish as well; I would like to think that my ability to learn quickly and cope pretty well with everything that's being thrown at me will be rewarded a bit better in due course, but for now I'm certainly happy to just get a chance to do everything I'm getting to do!)
     
  28. Lose Remerswaal

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

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    29,429
    I can't wait for the European Bassmasters tournament!
     
  29. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    2,772
    I just want to see him go back to the well on women's tennis. He could probably head over to TennisForum.com (the SoSH of women's tennis) and get his pre-match notes / filler / prep done for him by hundreds of grateful fans.
     
  30. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    2,739
    Ah, but I was already planning to crowd-source facts about the Patriots from you guys that I can use in the context of the SNF preview we'll be running at halftime of our game this Sunday. I've got the Falcons covered, of course...any insightful facts you would recommend for a 30-to-60-second slot?
     
  31. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Oh and my KHL voiceover duties next Tuesday in Leeds seem to have fallen through, but Agent Tim has filled the gap by getting me a soccer booking as the commentator on my first "gallery game" - one in which someone else will be presenting the game, I'll have a color commentator to assist me, etc. The good news: Barcelona is involved. The bad news: it's the first leg of a Copa del Rey tie against Murcia of the third tier in Spanish football, so I doubt Barca will be fielding a full-strength team. Still, the pay rate is higher for these games, and cracking that barrier means more such games might be forthcoming going forward. And hey, it's Barcelona!
     
  32. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

    Messages:
    2,772
    I'd talk Patriots to you ad nauseam, but the right answer is to start a thread on BBTL and ask the people who actually know their shiitake to give their 30-second summaries and interesting facts, with a threat that you might use some of it on-air. Particularly if it flatters the Falcons.

    At the very least, you best come prepared with your jokes when they zoom in on Luis Suarez idly grinding his teeth on the bench, or Messi looking like he just rolled out of bed and has no idea where he is.

    Also... Mercia? The coconut's tropical!
     
  33. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    While my wife has been working this week, I took my kids on an overnight trip to Dundee and St. Andrews during their half-term break this week - just got back this afternoon. Nice to get a few days off, although I went straight back into prep mode tonight, preparing for my two KHL matches on Monday and Wednesday. Current schedule is:

    --Sunday: NFL, Rams vs. Cardinals (from Twickenham)
    --Monday: KHL, CSKA Moscow vs. SKA St. Petersburg (two of the three best teams in the Western Conference)
    --Tuesday: Copa del Rey, Murcia vs. Barcelona (now no longer a gallery game, which lowers my fee...not sure if I'll have a co-commentator at this point)
    --Wednesday: KHL, Jokerit vs. Barys Astana (the other best team in the Western Conference against a fairly good Eastern Conference team)

    Milan vs. Juventus is now likely to be a gallery game next Saturday, and Agent Tim asked me today if I'd be willing and/or interested to present that game rather than commentate on it. Interesting...presenting a game like that probably involves notably less work than getting all the names and player facts down - you have to cover all of your bases - but commentating is where my heart really lies. My dream growing up was to help people experience and enjoy their sports more in the moment, and commentary certainly gets closer to that than presenting. But I've left it with Tim that if he can't line up a presenter (apparently all three of the normal presenters are busy, mainly because it's a 5 p.m. start on a Saturday), I would fill in if required.

    By the by, I just caught a highlight of Olivier Giroud's marvelous goal vs. Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League today, and the commentary feed on the clip I heard was on Fox Sports 2 - does anyone know who that was doing that commentary? (Out of professional courtesy, I won't say everything I was thinking while listening to that clip, but it did have me thinking about emigrating back to America...)
     
  34. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Just a quick check-in ahead of my NFL game today - I've got Rams-Cardinals in London, so two Arizona games in a row for me. I enjoyed being home with my family for nearly a full week, and the four of us had our first skiing lessons at the dry ski slope south of Edinburgh yesterday...so I'm sore in muscles I didn't even know I had just now. Maybe not the best preparation for a four-day road trip!

    I'm staying in a much cheaper, much less convenient hotel about 10-12 minutes' walk from the office this time. I bumped into Big Boss Scott on my way back into my luxury apartment (and on his way out) during my stay last week, and although we had a nice wee chat at the time, I fear that in retrospect this chance encounter may have triggered a memo or two. Sigh...

    On top of that, I had a tough time this week forcing myself to prepare for Tuesday's Barcelona-Real Murcia cup tie in the Copa del Rey. For one, the Murcia players don't appear to have squad numbers - I don't think I'll have any idea who will be wearing which number until an hour before kickoff tomorrow night. Which...isn't ideal. Also, in researching how Barcelona tends to approach its matches at this stage of the Copa del Rey, I'm almost certain that a) none of their stars will play, and that it's entirely possible that b) some of their B team players might be called up to the senior squad. The nature of that match - has-beens and (mostly) never-will-bes for Murcia, and struggling second-teamers for Barca - is somewhat depressing, really. But I think I'm just about ready; I'll need to do some more research on the day of the game, but I have much more filler material prepared than I usually do, on the basis that if needs be I can just talk about Barcelona's season and even the political situation in Catalonia at length.

    Also, my KHL commentary colleague Aaron Murphy is actually in the building today, calling Ak Bars Kazan vs. Metallurg Magnitogorsk - so I finally got to meet him a few minutes ago, during the second intermission of his game. Seems like a perfectly nice guy.
     
  35. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    We sure know how to pick 'em on DAZN, don't we? I will say that when you're presenting a blowout, as we had with the Rams and Cardinals today, it makes it a lot easier to focus on the other games, particularly the RedZone highlights: in addition to the 10 halftime scenes I had to narrate, I was given 19 different scenes in three different packages to narrate during the second half as well, and that was easier than it might have been in large part because I was watching much more RedZone and much less of the actual Rams-Cards game during the second half.

    I also got some plaudits for my work in the pregame show. When we got to the final taped segment in the pregame show (a Todd Gurley meeting with Marshall Faulk), I was told that we were right on schedule, and that I'd have maybe 30 seconds to fill before the start of the game. Toward the end of that segment, the control room suggested I'd have nearer 60 seconds to fill. But as I spoke to Gurley's stats and then moved on to some other filler I'd prepared previously, I became aware that I had much more time to fill than that. Luckily I had done my homework and could reference, e.g., the fact that today's game was only the fourth-ever game between the "Arizona Cardinals" and the "Los Angeles Rams" (both have St. Louis roots, of course, and for a while Arizona was called the "Phoenix Cardinals"). And I had literally just finished saying "let's get you across to our Fox commentary team of Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber and Kristina Pink" when Rosen spoke his first words at the start of the game - couldn't have been timed any better. And FWIW, we don't have an exact clock winding down to tell us when the play-by-play man will begin like that; I just managed to time it perfectly, largely by blind luck but also at least partly because I've watched enough NFL broadcasts in my life to have a feel for when the commentary is about to start. So that was nice.
     
  36. Koufax

    Koufax Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    3,711
    Congratulations on a job well done. Now just don't let that charm carry over to the game that's about to start.
     
  37. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Gee, thanks. :) I'm fully aware that the Falcons were 3-0 before I started presenting NFL games for DAZN and are now 0-3 since. Maybe it's better for my work, in a way, as the increasing unlikelihood of a Falcons NFC Championship repeat makes it easier for me to just concentrate on each game as it comes without worrying about the NFC playoff implications. Of course, it's now probably more likely that a Falcons game or two might get on to our schedule, as they become a less interesting proposition for Bell Canada (with them having first pick of the Sunday games, ahead of DAZN); I wouldn't be at all surprised to see us picking the Falcons-Jets game this week. We'll see.
     
  38. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Meanwhile, I'm feeling a little congested this week, and I wasn't at tip-top form for my KHL game today - in which Ilya Kovalchuk had a hat-trick, and SKA St. Petersburg defeated CSKA Moscow 5-2 in a game that was 1-0 SKA after two periods. I battled through it well enough (with the help of Paul, my co-commentator), but this week has felt like a battle. My hotel pillows are too hard, my room is too noisy, my bathroom literally feels like it's made of plastic...at least the breakfast buffet was good, but I'm just a little bit down at present. I still don't know my KHL schedule for next week, either, and therefore haven't been able to book my CHL flights to Vienna - which isn't good. Hopefully that gets resolved tomorrow.

    In truth, I'm most worried about the Barcelona match tomorrow night. I should have a co-commentator, but I don't know who it will be - our pool of co-commentators seems to include the likes of Matt Elliott, Chris Kirkland, Lee Hendrie and Gerry Taggart, all familiar names to fans of Premier League football around a decade ago, so I'm expecting to be paired with one of them but don't yet know who or what to expect. I've never called a soccer game with an analyst alongside me, and I wish my first such experience was on an easier game. I exchanged emails with DAZN's contact at Opta, the statisticians, and got a few facts about the match tomorrow, but I've had it confirmed that Real Murcia's starters normally line up with numbers 1-11 on their backs regardless of who is playing, so I really have no way to try and learn their numbers before the squad details become available. I hate saying that I really just want to get past a Barcelona game in one piece, rather than actively looking forward to it, but that's where I am just now. Hopefully I can get a good night's sleep tonight.
     

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