HMB tournaments are gradually returning to our lives. Together with the battles that we missed so much, we have the opportunity to both support the fighters at the lists and watch the online broadcast of the tournament again. And what is one of the most important components of the broadcast from the scene? Of course the work of a commentator!
We asked Gavin Stewart to tell us about how a commentator can maintain cheerfulness and energy throughout the tournament, especially such an event as the HMB World Championship Battle of the Nations.
“Doing high-energy commentary for one fight is something many of us can do, but doing it from 9.00 to 21.00 plus interviews? That’s not so easy, especially if the event is spread over a few days, like Battle of the Nations. But the way to do it successfully in each fight is to live by my motto: do it as if it were the last HMB fight ever.
First and foremost, a fighter has not trained all year for some commentator to say “No, he should have done that” or “I wouldn’t have done that” – it’s highly disrespectful and frankly unprofessional, but so is a lack of energy. A commentator is the bridge between the fighter and the audience watching the stream, and with that comes responsibility towards the fighter and the audience; and energy is at the heart of it.
I made the mistake of underestimating how difficult it would be, as I discovered at BotN 2016, where I did commentary alone for five days with only raw egg to soothe my sore throat. But mistakes were made partly because I was alone; I did not have a colleague with me to keep up the energy, and this can make a real difference in some situations more than others.
Although you are always focused on your job, anything can happen that distracts you. In Botn 2018, before the day started I received a message that a friend had died, and it just hit me so hard. How did I get through it? Callum Walker. Callum was amazing to work with and is such a hard worker, and he got me through my difficulties on a professional and personal level – he highlighted a crucial way to keep motivated and not lose focus: a great colleague.
But in smaller HMB events you don’t always have a colleague, and it’s at these times you have to remember why you are a commentator: for the fighters. If fighters are having the best fight of their lives but your commentary is tired, has a lack of energy and is even absent, you’ve just ruined it for them. I find HMB thrilling, so I never get bored of fights and that keeps up my energy, but when my voice is tired and I’m having trouble coming up with interesting content after a day of commentary, I motivate myself in one effective way: by doing the commentary as if it were the last fight I would ever be a commentator on”.
Thanks to the work of commentators who put their soul, love and a lot of energy into their work, we are even more imbued with love for HMB, respect for those who enter the lists and everyone who makes great efforts to make the tournament and the broadcast itself take place.
We hope that very soon we will all gather again at the lists of tournaments around the world or sincerely support our teams from home, listening to our favorite commentators.