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Live Announcing At A Major Convention:
Awesome Privilege With A Gifted Team
June 2, 2014

By Dan Hurst
Voice Talent

Recently I had the privilege of providing the Live Announce for the huge Melaleuca Sales Convention in Salt Lake City.

It was my sixth year for that convention. There is nothing quite like the energy of an annual corporate convention!

When the convention is a large, fast-paced, high-energy production, a live announcer is a better way to go than relying on pre-recorded introductions and announcements.

Far too many things change at the last minute.

MONTHS OF PLANNING

It takes a lot of work to make a convention program work. To put on a production like this recent job takes a minimum of six months of planning on various levels.

The client, the agency and the producer spend an incredible amount of time pursuing the right strategy and options. The creative team begins to put together a plan to accomplish the clientís vision. That may take months of "back and forth.Ē

 Finally, after the dreaming, planning, strategizing and innumerable creative concepts, the clientís vision comes into focus, and the next phase of work begins.

BACKSTAGE BUSTLES

Spending time backstage at a large convention is mind-boggling. It takes hundreds of people to put such a production together, and then to pull it off live.

In just a few days a complex stage design of multiple levels, ramps, entrances and exits are built. Miles and miles of cable, trusses, lighting, curtains, screens, and speaker arrays are assembled to specifications that would make an architectís head spin.

A full TV production studio is built behind the stage. The entire arena is turned into a recording studio.

A maze of curtains creates offices, green rooms, the make-up room - all full of office furniture, living room furniture, computer desks, printing facilities and TV monitors in every room to keep up with what is going on.

Then, of course, there is the ever-popular catering area where workers take their meals and breaks.

THE CURTAIN RISES ...

Once the convention production starts it is full-speed ahead. There is no turning back. Everything has been planned to the second and must be coordinated between the stage presenters and crew, the live video crew, the audio crew, the light crew, the power points crew, the teleprompter crew, and Iím sure Iím leaving out a few departments.

Snap decisions are made on the fly, timings adjusted in real time, and all communicated in a unique language of itís own over a headset network that covers the entire arena.

The people that make this all work are incredibly, intimidatingly good. Even gifted.

And once the production is over, everything has to be disassembled and moved to the next job, which in and of itself will be very different and equally complex.

AN AWESOME PRIVILEGE

The immensity of this last weekís production served as a great reminder to me of how voice overs fit into the whole process whether it be for live productions or recorded commercials, narrations, eLearning, etc.

We voice talents who own and mostly operate out of our own studios often miss out on how complex and intense the entire production process can be. Even a simple 30-second TV commercial involves so many people, all doing their job; all coordinating and giving their best efforts; all communicating and bringing the vision to life.

Itís an awesome privilege to a small part of that process.
--------------------
ABOUT DAN
Dan (Daniel Eduardo) Hurst is an experienced bilingual (English and Spanish) voice talent operating out of the Kansas City area. His business now extends internationally, with clients including Maserati, Boehringer Ingelheim, British Petroleum, Kimberly-Clark, McDonalds, Volkswagen, Telemundo International, Shell, Hallmark, TransCanada, Walmart and many more. When heís not working, he spends his time cheering for losing sports teams and getting kicked off of golf courses.


Email: danhurst@danhurst.com
Web: www.DanHurst.com


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Comments (4)
Rich Kelly
6/4/2014 at 11:53 AM
I enjoyed your post, Dan, and congratulations on your impressive gig!

I'm in tune with the details you shared. I was fortunate to be the VOG for the fou- day 120th Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference and Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Phila, PA this past October. The room was over 25,000 sq ft and the arched ceiling must have been at least 50' high. I was on a small stage perpendicular to the 3,000-plus attendees seated in front of me, and the main stage was about 50 feet to my right. I sat between the production director and the lighting guy with the audio engineer next to him. It was a massive production that required two tractor trailers to transport all of the equipment.

I had the pleasure of introducing our AG Eric Holder, FBI chief James Comey, Phila Mayor Michael Nutter, Phila Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, and another 70 or so luminaries. As you know, it's one and done - no second takes!
Earl Thomas
6/3/2014 at 5:48 PM
Dan, do you have tips on how to land a live event announce gig?
Scott Larson
6/2/2014 at 5:16 PM
Having worked with Dan for many years on many different projects, his delivery of the behind the scenes narrative is awesomely true. As a post production guru, the time and effort it takes to create a product even in my small little radio world is on the same levels as this massive project. I can't even imagine how tough it is to listen to 4 different voices in your cans barking out changes, script additions and subtractions on the fly and then being able to decipher this information and speak to the masses in the golden tones he possesses. An honor to have worked for and with him. Thanks for the insight, Dan
Justin Hibbard
6/2/2014 at 5:03 PM
Great post, Dan! I, too, am very lucky to serve as the VOG ("Voice of God") for Variety's annual series of live Summits here in Los Angeles every year. Such a fantastic opportunity to get out of the booth and work shoulder to shoulder with such fun, creative, talented people. And what a thrill to get near instant feedback from attendees! Enjoy!
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