In my mind, Live Announcing at Events, otherwise know as being the "Voice of God" is a bit of hybrid of a role...
What is Live Announcing "Voice of God"?
When you go to an event such as an awards ceremony, you'll often see a live host, on stage to present the awards and create the energy and flow of the event. They're the focal point. The "voice of god" (VOG) is not on stage but their voice is part of the event and everywhere - adding authority and a sense of occasion and excitement and is also a way to guide the crowd in varying degrees of subtlety and with different sorts of information.
On TV, it's a concept we have become really familiar with now, with
The X Factor's Peter Dickson, probably the best known VOG ever!
But live events have been in this game for a long time.
Live or Pre-recorded?
The VOG can be recorded in advance and mixed with video content for announcements such as a list of nominees. I have recorded a number of these for Corporate events and they lend a sense of occasion, add audio texture to the event (especially in my case if the live host is a man), provide a chance for the live host to gather their thoughts and contribute to the flow of the event.
Advantages of the Pre-rec are that the event organiser has exactly what they need, including tricky name pronunciations, in the can and they can use it as they wish!
But the pre-rec VOGs lack the spark and reaction to the atmosphere that a Live VOG can provide. You can flex your style, the timing, the volume, the content of the script to suit what's required by the Director of the event and the vibe in the room.
The AIM Independent Music Awards
This week I was delighted to be the Live Announcer VOG at a major music industry awards event. The AIM awards celebrate Independent music - the labels and the creators.
My role was to introduce the event, provide guidance as to who had won the awards and announce musicians / bands - rousing the crowd to applaud, get involved and make sure they were where they should be. All in a style that worked with the AIM Awards brand and fitting with the timing of the live event, the onstage hosts and the technical team's VTs.
Live VOG, as I said, is a bit of a hybrid VO job for me.. I have theatre training as well as many years of live radio broadcasting (both sides of the mic) and my VO work. VOG is a role that combines ALL of these skills. You need to understand the roles of the DSM, the Producer, the cues, the format -which are all theatre based.
My radio work helps me be live and in the moment - I'm broadcasting to the room. it's a presence of mind thing.. the one chance. Radio.
And yes, it's Voiceover too. It's quickly getting to grips with the mic and kit you have in front of you and getting the tone, pace and style exactly what is needed and maintaining it for many hours. Using VO warm up techniques to keep the voice strong and reliable and knowing how to protect your voice so it won't let you down on the night - or in the studio the next day, come to that.
Top Tips for Live VOG success
All events vary, but keep these points in mind and it'll give you a strong start...
1. Be early for the booking
2. Establish with the director the pace, tone and style required
3. Establish how you will be cued
4. Take control of your space - is the mic in the right place? Do you have enough light?
5. Have your reassuring kit of parts with you.. for me it's water, a selection of pens, glasses cleaners and apples
6. Who is your trusted focus? Establish the one person you will take your cues from and have that conversation with them.
7. Warm up before rehearsal
8. During rehearsal make sure you give the full performance for level and then let them know you need to pull back to keep your voice fresh if that's OK with them.
9. Double check any pronunciations you are not sure of.
10. Step in to your power - I like a little "power stance" before hand (I wonder if the team noticed this week!!) and, yes, I do actually take a little physical step into "my power"
11. Assume that mic is ALWAYS live
Enjoy it! It's a wonderful role to play!
Clare is an established VOG announcer with a style that can be cool and exciting to warm and inviting - for a variety of events!
Drop Clare an email to enquire about adding a VOG to your next event
Voice over talent and broadcaster, speaking out.