A great voice over warm up!

While checking out the Voice-Overs Forum I came across a very cool warm up idea posted by one of the members (I won’t say who because I’m not sure about privacy issues — better safe than sorry.)

It’s the NBC announcer test. The test originated at Radio Central New York (NBC) in the 1940s as a reading test given to prospective radio talent. The prospect would read the script for clarity, enunciation, diction, tonality and expressiveness. It had to be performed perfectly — no stumbles or stammers. Plus, it was to be read with feeling and meaning!

It’s good to start off slowly to get the enunciation down. Later you can read it fast for articulation. And here it is…

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese
Four Limerick oysters
Five corpulent porpoises
Six pairs of Don Alverzo’s tweezers
Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array
Eight brass monkeys from the ancient, sacred crypts of Egypt
Nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic, old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth
Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who haul stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery, all at the same time.

Looks easy… but this is how it should be read (hold on to your hats):

One hen

One hen
Two ducks

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese
Four limerick oysters

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese
Four limerick oysters
Five corpulent porpoises

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese
Four limerick oysters
Five corpulent porpoises
Six pairs of Don Alvarso’s tweezers

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese
Four limerick oysters
Five corpulent porpoises
Six pairs of Don Alvarso’s tweezers
Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese
Four limerick oysters
Five corpulent porpoises
Six pairs of Don Alvarso’s tweezers
Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array
Eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese
Four limerick oysters
Five corpulent porpoises
Six pairs of Don Alvarso’s tweezers
Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array
Eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt
Nine apathetic sympathetic diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity toward procrastination and sloth

One hen
Two ducks
Three squawking geese
Four limerick oysters
Five corpulent porpoises
Six pairs of Don Alvarso’s tweezers
Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array
Eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt
Nine apathetic sympathetic diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity toward procrastination and sloth
Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who haul stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery, all at the same time!

And for an added challenge, can you read from “One hen” to “Ten lyrical…time” all in one breath? 😯

12 Comments

  1. Peter and Anne,

    Thanks for “tweeting” about this! 😀

    PS:
    I finally could get through the whole thing in one breath. I have no idea if anyone can understand what I said, though! 😉 Guess I need to work on increasing my lung capacity :cry:. Has anyone been able to get through the whole thing in one breath AND still have it be clear and understandable?

    -David

  2. Hey there,

    I was just checking out your webpage, and I think it’s really great. Would you like to be a guest blogger for us sometime?

    Please check out our blog: suchavoice.blogspot.com

    And our company, of course, is Such A Voice. In case you haven’t heard of us, we are a voice-over training and demo production company. We are trying to give more free information on our blog for all those involved in voice-overs.

    Looking forward to hearing back from you!

    Best wishes,

    Catherine Marshall
    PR and Social Media Marketing Director
    Such A Voice

  3. Catherine Marshall,

    Thank you for the invite! 😀

    I’d be honored to write for Such A Voice (I already subscribe to your RSS feed). I’ll send you an e-mail directly so we can talk about it more.

    Again, thank you very much!
    -David

  4. I have my first Voice over Audition next week. Small job, but I am very excited.. after 5 tries.. I did the reading above in ONE breath! ALMOST DIED!!!!!!!!!! but I (understandably) did it! lol!

  5. Teisha,

    Sorry for the late reply!

    I finally could read through it in one breath as well… although I doubt my pronunciation was even close to being clear. 😉

    How’d the audition go?

    Best wishes,
    -David

  6. This was also called the TMT (Tibetan Mind Trick), and it has variations:

    1. One hen.
    2. Two ducks.
    3. Three squawking geese.
    4. Four limerick oysters.
    5. Five corpulent porpoises.
    6. Six pairs of Revlon tweezers.
    7. Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array.
    8. Eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt.
    9. Nine apathetic sympathetic diabetic old men on roller skates
    with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth.
    10. Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who
    stalk around the corner of a cove all at the very same time.

  7. Question: As the word “quay” is actually pronounced KEE (as is the word “cay,” as in Cat Cay Island), was this put into the sequence as a “gotcha” to test the reader’s knowledge, or did the author of the test just get it wrong? Should future users of the test replace “quay” with a real KWA word such as “quark” (rhymes with “ark”)?

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