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Live Announcing? 'I'd Squirm'
& Decline. But Tonight I Did It ...

By Caryn Clark
Voice Actor

Note: This took place in early May 2011 ...

Tonight I voiced my very first live announce gig.

It was for a national awards show for a high school organization, with 15,000 screaming high school students in attendance.

I didn't get to see the script until my 5 p.m. call time, just three hours before showtime - and I didn't get to see the nominee names until I read them off the page during the show.

The hardest name was Saravanapavanantham. That's the last name. I'm not making that up!


Most voice over people have a broadcast or radio background, so they're accustomed to ad libbing and talking on the fly.

I don't have that background at all. I worked as a writer in marketing in the financial industry all my working life before coming into voice over.

So, six years ago, when I was getting started in voice over and met the woman who would later become my mentor, I was in sheer awe of her ability.


A script would come in via fax, and she would grab it, run into her booth, flawlessly read it, sound great doing it, and then just come back to our conversation as if we weren't even interrupted.
I recall being in NYC with her, eating lunch in a studio, and she practically hadn't finished chewing when she went into the booth to read a script she was hurriedly handed.
By contrast, when I was beginning in voice over, I had the weird rituals of brushing my teeth before each session, spraying God knows what in my mouth to keep it lubricated and stop mouth noise, and I would drink apple cider religiously during my sessions.
If I didn't do those things, I was so nervous I wouldn't sound right.
(By the way, I haven't performed those rituals in ages. Ha!)

Whenever the genre of live announce was mentioned, I would squirm and wiggle and practically become ill.
Hell, I can barely spit out a sentence NOW without stuttering.
I recall auditioning for the MTV Video Music Awards a few times. I would let my mind wander about what would happen if I actually landed the gig ... and I decided I would just have to decline if I ever did land it.
Just thinking about voicing something that was heard by thousands, live, would make me sick to my stomach because I "knew" I'd never be flawless at it.

When the opportunity came to voice tonight's show, I spent some time thinking about it before I accepted.
Actually, I think when I accepted, I even recommended someone else because I made excuses as to why I might not be right for the job.
But after I thought about it, this time around, the idea of live announce actually made me a little giddy, and I knew the time was right for me to try it out.

This morning I woke up feeling a tad nervous - you know, kinda like when you voiced your first gig? Like that.
That generally doesn't happen to me anymore, but it did this morning, and I posted that on Facebook.
My online friends were so wonderful and had confidence in me. I was really overwhelmed by the gestures of support. Their words meant a lot.

The show itself was crazy fast.
Hectic. Loud with thumping music - which for me is very helpful to set the "mood" and got me pumped up.
Excited and screaming kids.
Flat out cold reads and such an adrenaline rush; so much fun.
For these kids, this night was a really big deal. They'd worked hard to earn the awards. They were so happy to win, and there were many tears shed.
It was our job (I had a male counterpart) to ensure their night was special.

After the show, as I was walking out of the convention center, it occurred to me that I DID IT! I did something I thought I'd NEVER do, EVER.
I did it and didn't get sick or pass out, or make a fool of myself.
Matter of fact, I realized I have become what I always admired in others: calm, even-keeled, able to make changes on the fly. My feathers didn't get ruffled. I got the job done.
I did something tonight that most people could never fathom doing.

Here's what I figured out: You can accomplish ANYTHING you want. Things you might think are impossible - but they're not.
Nothing is impossible. It might be a challenge, and you might have to work at it, but you CAN do it.
Don't let negative thoughts or words permeate your mind. You are unstoppable. Make it happen.
Caryn Clark is a professional female voice-over actress with an ISDN-equipped studio that enables her to record worldwide. She has been heard on network television, The Disney Channel, VH-1, Nickelodeon, and other television and radio stations, as well as websites around the world. Commercials include: Rooms To Go Disney furniture, Hannah Montana products, Cabbage Patch Kids, Neopets, VH-1's Rock of Love, Charter Cable,, and many others. Her work appears in media including television and radio commercials, promos, video games, web and corporate presentation narrations, and telephone messaging.

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Comments (6)
Maxine Dunn
8/2/2011 at 9:19 PM
Dear Caryn,

WAY TO GO! I'm so proud of you and so inspired by you! I appreciate you sharing this great experience very much. It was obviously a big leap forward in your career and on your life path.

It's such a huge step in our professional evolution to conquer something that we thought we couldn't. Or to decide to embrace something with a feeling of power, instead of feeling intimidated.

Your article really illustrates that overcoming our hesitancy and subsequently realizing that we're actually very capable of all sorts of things we thought we weren't, is such an empowering, beautiful feeling.

Thank you so much for this inspirational article and KUDOS girlfriend! :) Your article here couldn’t have come at a better time.

8/1/2011 at 4:10 PM
Congrats Caryn! Thanks for sharing!
Johnny George
8/1/2011 at 11:53 AM
Congrats Caryn! One down, many to go. Didn't ya just LOVE the adrenalin rush? It feels overwhelming at the time, but wonderful when you've accomplished it.

Way to go PRO!

Dan Friedman
8/1/2011 at 9:42 AM
Nothing beats the energy and excitement of a live gig. Before ever doing my first VO in a studio (or even realizing VO was an actual career), I announced live bands on stages in front of 20,000-30,000 people. The first time I was asked was really out of necessity, since the station deejay wasn't there to do it. After that, I jumped at every opportunity. FUN!

Dan Friedman
Ron Chandler
8/1/2011 at 8:19 AM
New to voice over. That was inspiring. Hope I can become that person some day.
Amy Taylor
8/1/2011 at 7:59 AM
Kudos to you, Caryn! I'm so happy for you. Thanks for writing this uplifting article. We can accomplish anything with a positive attitude! And now you can add "live announce" to your bag of tricks!

Amy Taylor
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