- Sep 27, 2016
Yeah, it's not like Redskins-Saints was one of the three best games in the NFL this year or anything. (Maybe Rams-49ers in Week 3 and Texans-Seahawks in Week 8...are there any other candidates?) As a Falcons fan, I'm pissed at the result - according to ESPN.com, the Redskins had a 99.6% win probability with five minutes left, and I started getting Super Bowl LI flashbacks after that - but I enjoyed the hell out of that game from start to finish, and I bet Buck and Aikman were happy to be in New Orleans and not Minnesota.So, um, I think I owe you an apology
FWIW, I didn't scout the guy who is replacing me next week, and I've had nothing like the career Pipp had with the Yankees at this point, so while your point here is taken more generally, I'm not sure it applies here.Wally Pipp continued his baseball career in Cincinnati after his days as a Yankee ended, so feel free to embrace the possibility that some talent you scouted (Pipp did scout Gehrig and brought him to the attention of the Yankees) will have a career greater than yours.
After this bit of introspection, before I left the studio last night I really did stop to ask myself what I might practically do along these lines. And as a tentative first step, I thought I'd text Conor McNamara - the BBC soccer commentator who presented my Milan-Juventus game a few weeks ago, and who I also chatted with on Sunday (he was in the studio to call a pair of Serie A games, including Juve's 3-2 loss at Sampdoria) - and ask if he wouldn't mind starting an email conversation along these lines. In the four minutes it took for me to walk back to my hotel after sending that text, he had already emailed me and offered to help, so I wrote him back before going to bed asking for some general advice and also a specific question about keeping one's vocal intensity levels consistent throughout a match. He responded this morning and couldn't have been more gracious, saying that when he first joined the BBC, it was a relief for him to discover that he wasn't the only person thinking the same sorts of things I've been thinking myself. The real revelation is that the BBC does employ a commentary coach of sorts who works with most of their top commentators and pundits; Conor has worked with him several times and says he's got a real ear for commentary and how to help make you better. This coach (who also moonlights as a commentator, presenter, producer and after-dinner speaker himself - I know both his name and his voice from BBC radio) does some work on a freelance basis, and Conor offered to introduce him to me; I'm wary of paying through the nose for any tuition, particularly given what I'm earning at the moment and the fact that so few people would likely notice any improvements I might make, but I've asked for that introduction all the same. Because *I* will notice and feel better about any improvements I make, and hopefully others eventually will as well, and maybe this might have the indirect advantage of being a good networking opportunity.One of the real problems I have as a solo commentator working in my current environment is that I get precious little feedback from other people, and I have to figure out all of this stuff myself. I mean, can you imagine an actor in a Broadway play getting no notes from his director and having to figure out what works by trial and error, night after night? Even the sparse feedback I've received from Agent Tim has been along the lines of "think about doing this" and "think about not doing that"; none of it has been along the lines of "here's a tip for how you might do this". I can tell myself that I need to stop mumbling, or stumbling over certain words at certain times, but what can I actually do to avoid those issues? The best thing I think I can do is keep listening to my broadcasts and trying to learn both positively and negatively from what I hear; e.g., I've gone back and listened to my calls of the two Higuain goals in the Milan-Juventus match hundreds of times by now, partly because I'm a self-centered egoist but also largely because by fixing those two calls in my head I hope to be able to repeat them - and more specifically, what made them good - on demand. But that doesn't really qualify as actual, you know, coaching. I wonder what other commentators do. (I certainly wonder what other commentators at DAZN do who aren't inclined to go back and listen to their broadcasts after the fact like I keep doing...could it just be that I'm a super-slow learner?)
I've only been doing this full time more or less since I started this thread - I worked a few soccer matches for ESPN International back in 1997, but after that my next professional commentary gig wasn't until August 2014 (when I started my CHL job in Vienna), and it wasn't until this August that I started getting regular gigs outside of the CHL stuff. I don't think what I'm doing at present is doable indefinitely at this pay rate and travel schedule, but I think I can give it at least a few years like this to wait and see what happens; I don't have a set deadline as such.Sorry if this is too personal, or if I missed it earlier, but I'm curious how long you've been doing this, especially how long you've been doing it fulltime. You mentioned in an early post that you were calling soccer matches more than 20 years ago, and you've intimated a few times that it's not currently as lucrative as you'd like. If your career stays at its current level (i.e., no major network promotions or pay raises), are you content to keep grinding, or have you set yourself a personal deadline for "making it big" before going into the insurance business with Dad, like Tom Brady?
That sounds incredibly difficult, about 10 seconds per scene, non-stop? Did you do the highlights alone or was there a color guy to play off of?Just had a truly manic halftime highlights package to narrate - because we're doing a late afternoon game, we had lots of early games to recap, and so I had to narrate a five-minute segment consisting of 29 different highlight scenes. And that was only the middle of a sequence started with first-half highlights and stats of my game (Niners-Titans), and then followed by all of the Week 15 scores and a transition out to a preview of El Clasico next Saturday (Real Madrid-Barcelona). I felt really solid about it, though...very happy with how things have been going so far, not counting the timing glitch at the end of pregame.
Thankfully, I wasn't doing the Clasico preview - all I had to do was say, "Before we get back to San Francisco and the second half of our NFL game, let’s switch gears from FOOTBALL to FUTBOL: this Saturday is El Clasico, Real Madrid against Barcelona, and let’s take a fan’s eye view of Spain’s biggest soccer game." And then we had a two-minute canned preview that took us to the end of halftime, although after that feature and a 30-second promo, we decided to squeeze in a look at the current AFC playoff standings as a way of leading us into the start of live coverage of the second half.That sounds incredibly difficult, about 10 seconds per scene, non-stop? Did you do the highlights alone or was there a color guy to play off of?
The Classico preview must've felt like a breather.
I'd always wondered if announcers did that! This thread really is a goldmine. There were definitely some long pauses of dead air during, say, Patriots games in 2007, where I suspected the announcers were muted and sitting there cackling at the absurdity of it all. I guess most of you are actually human.And when the fourth (shorthanded) goal went in, I called the goal and then literally started laughing off-mic, so crazy had the game become.
I'd think the fun part of that tomorrow will be monitoring the Patriots game and seeing who takes which players out of the game based on the respective scores. "Oh look, the Patriots are now up 21-0, and it seems Big Ben has suddenly been pulled, and the stadium is now running a lucky-fan lottery for who gets to come down to the sideline and go in at QB for Pittsburgh..."One other note: my NFL assignment on Sunday is Steelers-Browns. We could have taken Chargers-Raiders or Titans-Jaguars, but they are both late games and we simply couldn't get a big enough crew late on New Year's Eve to make those games manageable; in the end, I'm pretty happy to have a game with playoff implications, interesting storylines (e.g., Harrison to New England) and the 0-16 likelihood for Cleveland. I also have to narrate both of our pregame features, as our normal voiceover specialist - who is based in Canada - is out of action with the flu. I can only hope my own voice remains fighting fit by Sunday evening!
Baseball is obviously one of my favorite sports - I wouldn't have made it to this website if it wasn't - and I called a few Beanpot baseball games on radio from Fenway back in the day, plus I've been meaning to prepare a proper MLB demo tape at some point. So I can absolutely do this job. But you could have given me a million guesses as to where my professional baseball commentary debut would take place, and I still can't imagine I would have gotten around to guessing "Jakarta, Indonesia". I'll definitely keep everyone posted about this one!Hi Darren
Could you commentate on baseball and softball?
I’m arranging a team to go to Jakarta for the Asian Games in late August.
Why thank you - your check is in the mail. I really enjoyed writing A Golfer's Education, but more than that, I really enjoyed experiencing everything in it. (I've also written a novel called Do You Want Total War? about a history-obsessed high school kid that can be found and bought on Amazon, FWIW, if anyone is interested.)I thought I'd give your book a plug here. I read "A Golfer's Education" over the holidays, and found it very entertaining. It's only a good read for a golfer, I suppose, but your thoughts on the game and on the golf courses you have played were terrific. As one who has organized my share of golf trips and taken heaps of criticism for overdoing the travel between courses, I very much enjoyed your description of the blow-out tour of Scotland. And the Prologue, describing how you presented a year in St. Andrews as a scholarly endeavor, is priceless.