Down the Mousehole : Episode 003
“And I had to then go back and remove the prize from this poor person. I mean, it happens to the best of the best of them. Look at the Oscars…”
“It is a really important thing that we do to cut through all of that and just connect to somebody with our voice and get that message across.”
Katie Flamman is an award-winning voice artist, Katie is a Storyteller – she helps clients find the right words to tell their story, and her voice will bring that story to life!
With her own professionally equipped, ipDTL studio, she provides top-quality voiceovers with super-fast turnaround.
Katie is hugely versatile and her reputation across a range of different vocal genres is extensive, embracing Voice of God, corporate, explainer, commercial and character work
Katie was Voice of God for the Mixology Bar Awards 2017 & 2018 and received a One Voice Award 2018 for her work as “Outstanding Live Event Announcer.” Do listen to Katie in action below. Her voice is perfect to introduce or promote an event or show, either pre-recorded or live. Her background in TV News means she can handle live events with aplomb
Katie’s voice has been described as warm, motivational, fresh and confident – and her showreels speak for themselves.
The Mixology Bar Awards – for which as Voice of God, Katie received the One Voice Award 2018 for her work as ”Outstanding Live Event announcer”
Voice of God showreel
Verity Panter has the ability to audibly animate your words. Whether it’s inviting the listener to climb inside a warm, silky narrative or communicating important information with her crisp, clear received pronunciation; Verity delivers a high quality professional performance every time.
Verity is based in London and trained for many years with RADA coach and director Gary Lagden, and collaborated with Gareth Moulton from the Cutting Crew. With a vocal age of 20-30 years old Verity has a melodic, warm voice, which is clear, engaging and friendly. She is a team player, can take direction well and adapt under pressure. Fun but professional to work with, Verity gives every job her full attention to deliver confident and polished performances.
Baileys Woman’s Prize for Fiction
Announcer audio reel
There’s no place to hide – the Queen of Queensbury in York Hall
Peter Dickson (photo) is the UK’s most prolific voiceover artist. He has enjoyed a stellar career spanning almost 40 years.
His unique and powerful vocal delivery is the choice of global TV entertainment mogul Simon Cowell. His voice has featured on “Britain’s Got Talent” and “The X Factor” in the UK. In a national poll, he was voted as one of the top three iconic UK voices of the decade.
His voice has featured on over 30 major computer game titles including Fable I and II, Tin Tin, Blades of Time, Everybody’s Golf and Kinect Sports seasons I and II.
He has voiced thousands of TV and Radio commercials, anchored awards ceremonies for some of the world’s biggest brands, launched countless products, appeared in many BAFTA award winning TV and radio productions and he’s worked with most of the biggest producers and stars of UK entertainment.
He was the voice of the London 2012 Olympic Games and his voice features in “I Can’t Sing” – Harry Hill and Steve Brown’s new musical, at the London Palladium which is executive produced by Simon Cowell.
He has his own iphone app: “Peter Dickson’s Pocket Announcer” and his own website www.myruddyvoice.com where fans can get up close and personal. He also runs www.gravyforthebrain.com, a rapidly growing educational e learning platform.
From vocal work on radio and TV commercials, commentary for big international stadium events, blue chip corporates, multimedia games, animation and prime-time TV shows – Peter Dickson a.k.a “Voiceover Man” is at the top of everyone’s list.
A medley of video clips showing Peter Dickson in action
Promotional showreel audio link
Are you ready? Ready to rhumba? With apologies to Michael Buffer – voice artistic extraordinaire. Welcome back to Three Blind Mice from Radio.Events.
Welcome to Radio.Events and the Three Blind Mice podcast. Thanks for tuning in. We bring you what’s hip and happening behind the scenes at Meetings. Incentives, Conferences and Events. Three Blind Mice, the little pod with a cast of thousands from Radio.Events.
This is Episode 3 Part 2 of the great chat I had with three of the Event industry’s, Voice of God’s. Royalty vocalised darling. If you missed the last episode, be sure to catch that first before listening to Part Two right here for this interview – you’ll enjoy it. Let’s rejoin the warm mellifluous tones of the lovely, award winning Katie Flammen, the Queen of Queensbury herself, Verity Panter, and the king of voiceover, the extraordinary Peter Dickson, so tighten your belts, sit back and enjoy, as I chat to Katie Flamman.
Katie, we’re talking voice of God’s real life moments and the such light, but there’s also an enormous amount of stuff that can go on with the voice artist around an event. It’s not just the live stuff. I don’t just mean the preparation and planning, the annotating scripts, checking pronunciations, talking to stakeholders and guests, the briefings from the event producer, the show caller, the dress rehearsals, taking the temperature of the room, but things like promo videos for the web, maybe a voice narration to last year’s event or social media ‘video quickies’. They obviously create the awareness, excitement and buzz. Katie, I guess there are pros and cons and a raft of considerations to be made around each of these points.
Yes, it is. It’s quite interesting because we’ve been talking a lot about the actual live event where the person is there on the night getting that live experience, whether it’s a charity gala or a dinner or whatever it might be, but quite a lot of events don’t want to pay for a person to be there and handle it and deal with all the nonsense that may or may not happen. They take that risk upon themselves, but they will employ a voice of God to do prerecorded announcements. So I’ve done a lot of these. I’ve had quite a lot of clients in America who were looking for a sophisticated voice and seems like a British voice completely ticks those boxes for them, so I’ve done quite a lot of Voice of God work for award ceremonies in particular for real estate companies where they’re announcing the best kitchen for up to $1,000,000 and all this kind of thing and the best real estate planning and all kinds of things like that and you literally pre-record it. So you record the welcome to the stage, ladies and gentlemen, and you record the thank you and goodnight, and you also record all of the different categories and you record the names of the people who are nominated for the category and then the person on the stage who is actually there at the event will then open the envelope and say, and the winner is. So. It works quite effectively for people. Particularly if your client is in Europe or in America or further afield. As quite a lot of my clients are. They don’t want to pay to fly me out there, but they’re quite happy to have me record all of the individual elements and then send it to them in advance and of course that does give you an advantage, if there are tricky names or difficult things, you can have a go and they’ll send it back and say, ‘no, that’s not right’, but ideally you’ll have the conversation with them or they’ll send you a recording of exactly how to say all of the names or the locations or the products or whatever it might be so that then everything is absolutely perfect when it is played out on the night, but the one thing that they do lose with that is if something goes wrong, they may not have the Voice of God to be able to send everybody to the fire exits or whatever it might be.
Katie’s absolutely right. I think it’s important that the Voice of God is live for that very reason. That events often don’t go to plan and speakers change. People get delayed on flights and can’t get there. The substitutions, things get swapped around and if you have a live voice over that’s much, much easier to deal with those eventualities. Of course, like Katie, I also offer a prerecorded options, so I’ll produce a package of files and send those to the client in the way that Katie is described as for some events, that’s perfectly okay, but for the really big kind of high profile, expensive events, a lot of which I do in London, they prefer you to be there and that’s always best at because as I said earlier, you can judge the mood of the room. You can adapt your presentation style to be in tune with how the crowd is feeling on that particular night and and you only get that if you’re there live.
It suddenly crossed my mind that here was Peter Dickson, Voice of God and voice talent extraordinaire, always in demand. Jumping from recording studio to conference venue to award ceremony to television studio and judging by his almost total monopoly of our sitting room televisions, and I wondered, how does he handle all the TV shows and rehearsals? He must be exhausted.
I’m flattered that you think I do that. I’m, I’m, I’m actually not there. The vast majority of my broadcast work now, it didn’t used to be the case of course, but with digital technology and play out system being much more user friendly and quicker and easier to manipulate audio and video. Broadcasters now by and large, ask me to prerecord my contributions to most of the programs that I contribute to. So I do all that from my studio here at home, which is great. I don’t have to go anywhere. I can sort of, in my command bunker here. I can be working on X Factor one moment and I can be recording for a big event in, in Australia or Dubai or wherever it might be the next minute. So I’m very grateful for whoever invented digital recording that we can now do this. You know, we can be literally Time Lords, you know, we can fly from Dubai to New York and work in London. Then next minute be in Scotland or wherever, wherever we need to be. We can do that at the touch of a button which is in know it’s, it’s, it’s incredible. It means that my work day and my workflow is now much more efficient.
It’s such a good point. Peter’s making because we all have our own studios at home and with the magic of Wifi and technology, we can connect with clients literally all over the world and either live or as Peter says, prerecorded and then you just send it off. It’s incredible that there is. There is a lot to be said for being in the same room as your director, but actually there’s also a lot to be said for the efficiency of working from home and being able to have the flexibility that that entails. My clients in Europe and the States and further afield. They love it. You just have to sometimes get up in the middle of the night to do your work.
Part of the skill though, I think is also, don’t you think? I mean, let’s just take X factor as an example, although it’s not a Voice of God job as it’s broadcast, let’s call that an in-show narration job, but I record that on a Friday afternoon in my studio here in the silence of my booth, but I consider it part of my job because a lot of people do think that I’m there live and so I have to imagine in my head if you will, that baying crowd and the loud music and the applause and the flashing lights. I have all those images, both audible and visual images in my head when I read those lines so that when those are played out on the night, my delivery matches the energy of that show, whatever particular show I’m doing, so I know from watching the show, obviously as an audience member, how it sounds so I know that my delivery has to match that and that’s part of the Voice of God skill. Be it prerecorded or live that you have to really approach it from the point of view of the audience and be part of that world and sound like your there live. Even if you’re prerecording a package to be sent across the world, you have to kind of get as much information as you can about the event. I always ask, how many people are going to be there all day from the same company or are they from different companies? Is the managing director going to be there? Is there going to be a dinner will be alcohol served? Is it going to be just people seated in an auditorium without any food or wine, and again, that informs, how we as Voices of God approach our work. We have to sound like we’re there live even if we are just simply prerecording.
Visualizing your audience in prepping for an event whether to be there in person or prerecording your lines is such an important point. As an avid audiobook listener, I sometimes here reads where the reader just isn’t connecting with me. At other times, it’s like they’re inside my earphones, right inside my head. It can be a very intimate connection. And it can clearly apply to all forms of spoken communication.
Guys, making that connection with your audience, whether it’s as a Voice of God or as a voiceover, presumably is absolutely key?
Completely. I think it’s necessary in all aspects of voiceover.
I’m going to agree with you actually because I think that it is key to all aspects of voiceover as Verity says, whether it’s commercial, corporate, Voice of God or audio books, whatever you’re doing. That as the voice artist on the project. It’s your responsibility to convey the meaning of someone else’s thoughts and words. So it’s my job to understand my purpose in the project and to connect with it in such a way that there is a real emotional connection that I’m totally focused on the words I’m saying. That’s why, you know, I often hear people reading whether it’s commercial scripts or audiobooks, I can hear all the words and they’re all in the right order, but I, I know in my heart of hearts that person is thinking about what they’re having for dinner that night or the worrying whether they’ve left the iron on at home. You can hear it. There’s just no connection to the copy. So that’s really what I would say is that we have to be connected, fully 100 percent engaged and focused.
I couldn’t agree more. I think connection is absolutely the main thing that voiceovers do. Most of the time you really don’t see us. All you do is hear what we say and that’s a very intimate experience. Like you were saying, Randle, with audiobooks, but whatever we’re doing, whether it’s a commercial or a company’s annual message, even if it’s an announcement on an airline, you have to connect with people because otherwise it’s just noise and we spend a lot of time on our screens these days and I think that voice overs have a real job. I mean it’s not a kind of higher calling or anything like that but it, but it is a really important thing that we do to cut through all of that and just connect to somebody with our voice and get that message across.
How often do we and client brands write or speak words just to fill the white space, the silence, or just because there’s a Powerpoint in front of us. We make the mistake that unless it’s full of words we’ve fallen short. We have to visualize our audience right down to one individual and craft the right words to communicate the core sentiment, observe their impact, look for the yawn or the furtive glance towards their mobile, modify, practice, and then bring those words to life. Articulate or present those words in a way that resonates, that makes that special connection. We have to think Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, J K Rowling, delivering the right words in the right hands and spoken by the right lips. Words have power, so why do we all too often forget that?
I think it’s time to lighten the tone. Working in live events invariably means loads of stories, the oh dear moments and the biggest buzzes. I wanted my guests’ stories and given that they look as though they’ve received more than their fair share of milestone birthday cards, I jest, of course, I threw them the gauntlet.
Well, of course you’re absolutely right. These events are live and most of the time I work with very professional crews and teams, but occasionally you’ll work for a event producer who maybe isn’t so seasoned as some of the others that I worked with. And I do recall working for an event several years ago now, when I was actually not just the voice of God, but I was the ‘live onstage host’. At one point, unbeknownst to me, the event organizer had changed the order of something but had hand written it in such a way that on my script that I couldn’t read it. I ended up misreading it and giving the award to the group or person I can’t remember which, because I’ve tried to blot it out of my memory to the wrong person. Who, who immediately jumped up. And then there was a huge cheer. And then I looked down at the event organizer who was, who was on the table in front of me. And she was like shaking her head and screaming at me from the floor. And I had to stop the event. And she came over to the podium and whispered in my ear, ‘no it’s not that one, it’s this one.’ And I had to then go back and remove the prize from this poor person. I mean, it happens to the best of the best of them. Look at the Oscars for goodness sake, when they awarded the best film to the wrong people. It happens. These things happen. It’s how you get out of it. That’s the important thing. So you have to kind of, again, as I think it was Verity said, when she’s in a live boxing event and things go wrong, you’ve got to think on your feet and that’s why we get paid. We get paid to smooth over these cracks that sometimes appear. So that’s one of the worst experiences I ever had. I also incidentally introduced the wrong volleyball team onto the field of play at the London Olympic Games. I don’t think I got away with that one.
Given your career to date, what’s been your biggest buzz around live events?
My biggest buzz? Oh, I think we’ve just mentioned it, I think the Olympic Games is the biggest sporting event bar none on the planet, and to be involved in that, in my own small way. I mean it was a lovely event. It was voted by the viewing public as being the best event of the Olympic Games because beach volleyball is just such a fun thing. And uh, it’s an open air event. It, there’s a great party atmosphere, there’s music, there’s dancing girls, you know, it’s just a fun sport and it almost seemed at several points where we were having so much fun and that just happened to be an Olympic event taking place at the background. It was that much fun. So that, that was a real career highlight for me.
I have to say, having been lucky enough to go to a few of the Olympic Games in London and I went to a volleyball day. Mmm, cracking! I mean it really was. It was just, it was a sort of holiday atmosphere amongst the crowd. Everybody was up for fun and everybody wanted the teams to do brilliantly well. And it was almost like, ‘well, we don’t really want this match to end’. And I think the music and the commentary that that went with it just took it to a whole new level. I thought it was the best beach volleyball I’d ever been to and I’ve been to a few.
Well, I’ll let you into a little secret. Before the event…. I was lucky enough to be asked to do it and before the event happened, I think it was about in March of 2012, so it was in July of 2012 that the Olympics took place, in March I was thinking, well anytime now I’m going to get out, you know, the postman is going to bring me a big folder of rules and regulations and how to announce it and all the names of the teams and all phonetically spelt out and I think this is going to arrive any minute now. I’m going to have at least two months of prep so it’s going to be fantastic. The days and weeks and months went by and literally the week before the Olympic Games, I had had no briefing, nothing. I’d had my Access All Areas pass that came and that was fine and I was given my joining instructions. There was nothing. I had no idea about volleyball at all. I’ve not even seen a volleyball game, so I had to go to do a bit of immediate rather urgent research and thank God for Youtube. I went onto Youtube. I did some research. My wife thought that this was all very amusing. So there I was hours and hours watching it. I was on Wikipedia trying to find out what the rules were. Luckily volleyball isn’t a very complicated game to understand? But there are certainly a few little bits and pieces that you need to know.
That was a real squeaky botty moment, wasn’t it?
Wouldn’t you have thought that you would have had some preparation time? But luckily you know, it all went very well and I actually got to the point where I was so relaxed doing this job and we had so many foreign visitors in the arena. This was a purpose built, you know, 70,000 persons arena on Horse Guards Parade and we had thousands and thousands of foreign guests viewing this. And I thought for a bit of fun I’d start making up a ridiculously outlandish historical facts in inverted commas, to tell them about. So I used to say things like, ‘ladies and gentleman on this very arena, on this sacred sand you see in front of you…. this was where King Henry the eighth held his fantastic jousting tournaments. And this arena used to echo to the thunder of hooves in the 13th century.’ And I just made up stuff. And, and of course they all, everybody loved it. And I had lots of things like that. I just made it up as I went along. At one point I said, ‘ladies and gentleman, as you know, No. 10, Downing Street is just over there, literally 100 yards from where we’re sitting. And I’ve had a note from the British prime minister. It was David Cameron at the time. And I said, Mr Cameron has passed me a note and he said that he has a meeting with the Japanese prime minister in the morning and he’s asked us all if we could possibly just keep the noise down as he wants an early night and of cause the adverse event happened and the crowd went wild and the next day, he sent an email to Seb Coe asking if I could not do that again. So I did!
Classic Mr Dickson, if ever there was a man with a twinkle in his eye.
I agree with Peter that I think I would dread announcing the wrong results. Especially if it was live on television or something like that. And I read out the wrong scores. I think that would be my biggest fear. But the buzz I get is just literally every time standing in the ring, I find it really empowering actually standing there. And uh, you know, talking to the crowd and almost basically controlling the crowd to a certain extent. And the fact that I feel really calm and really controlled and really confident about it without faking it. And it makes me really excited.
I was the Voice of God at a charity ball this year and I was there early, preparing everything. It was my job to give a lot of the announcements to get the crowds into the right place at the right time for the dinner and then the fundraising part of the evening and about 30 minutes before people were due to arrive, the ice sculpture arrived. The theme of the ball was ‘Under the Sea’ and it was absolutely beautiful in this marquee. And they ordered an ice sculpture in the shape of a shark and it arrived and it was put on a plinth and they plugged it in and it blew all the electrics in the whole marquee and people came out of the kitchen and said, ‘oh, all our ovens have gone off’. The band had arrived to do their sound check. And that was particularly stressful because then it was my job to try and keep… the people had started to arrive and I had to try and keep them outside while the band were doing the sound check inside. Once we’d finally arranged and got things sorted, but that was quite stressful. And then it was the, oh my goodness, the event’s already going to be running behind, but we just about pulled it back and we’re able to control people, get them into the right place and do all the safety announcements and charity fundraising that we needed to do so it worked out in the end, but, but those are the moments when you have to really think on your feet and hope that luck is with you.
Early preparation, rehearsals – if you’re lucky, thinking on your feet and hoping that luck is with you. That sounds like the event professionals every day to me. And it also seemed a good place to pause before we return in Episode 4 for the final part of this podcast on the Voices of Gods. In that episode, we’ll get to hear about ‘Cirque du Celebrity’ and how it’s not everything that it’s cracked up to be. And how Peter Dickson, escapologist and voiceover extraordinaire closely avoided an untimely demise.
Do check out the episode links and notes on our website at www.Radio.Events. And please, please, please, please tell 5 event industry friends and colleagues about Three Blind Mice. Please help me raise awareness and get everyone involved. Feedback to me or make your own suggestions through our Voicepipe. If you want to know more about Katie, Verity or Peter, or how to get in touch with them, do check out our website at Radio.Events. Anyway, that’s more than enough of me for one episode. Thank you for listening and take care out there. Until next time.
Three Blind Mice is edited and mixed by Sam Williams at RightRoyalAudio.com. Right Royal Audio – be heard loud and clear.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Three Blind Mice here on Radio.Events. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please share it with your friends. Do head over to iTunes, give us a rating and leave a review and don’t forget you can send us a voice message directly through our Voicepipe at Radio.Events. Until next time, play safe.
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