The Emcee plays a key role in an Aerial Drone Competition event by adding enthusiasm and energy, as well as a high level of engagement and understanding, for all event participants. During an Aerial Drone Competition, the Emcee provides the play-by-play of the match, engaging the audience with effective color commentary regarding the action on the field. The Emcee also introduces the participating teams and provides informative program knowledge between matches, helping develop interest in the event and maintaining an upbeat atmosphere. At events where multiple Emcees are present, it is crucial that these two individuals coordinate their actions. The following guidelines will help you prepare for your role as an event Emcee.
- Be a team player. Your team includes the Queuers, Referees, TM (Tournament Manager) Operator, and the Event Partner. When everyone works well together, matches run on time and everyone enjoys their experience.
- Play an important role in controlling the pace of the matches. Work closely with the Head Referee to help keep the matches on time. If matches are running behind schedule, shorten team introductions and commentary to help get back on schedule. If the matches are on or ahead of schedule, you may add more information to team introductions and make general announcements to engage the audience.
- Be flexible. Situations may arise that require you to adjust your commentary.
- Support queuing, as needed, by announcing names and numbers of teams that have not arrived for matches.
- Support the Event Partner by sharing announcements with the participants, as time allows.
- Support the teams and Referees by reminding teams of basic guidelines and counting down to the end of the match. Engaging the audience in the match countdown adds to the excitement of the event.
- Be enthusiastic! Smile and share your excitement, which adds to everyone’s enjoyment of the event!
Because the Emcee is a highly visible event role, it is important that you take a professional, positive approach to preparing for and performing your duties. The emcee has the power to set the tone and cadence of the matches, and the Event Partner relies on you to help keep the event running on schedule. Please carefully review the following details to support your valuable efforts and ensure success.
Dress Code – Wear comfortable team-neutral clothing that is appropriate for a school event, closed toe shoes, and a volunteer t-shirt, if one is provided.
Emcees are responsible for adhering to the highest standards of sportsmanship and serving as a positive role model for the participants. Modeling good sportsmanship includes announcing the game in a non-partisan manner, not suggesting game strategies to the teams, and fostering a positive, collaborative event environment.
Training Prior to the Event
- Prepare for the event by reading the game materials, including the appropriate Competition Manual, to understand basic game play strategy. Familiarize yourself with the current game and all the different ways to score. Be aware of game-specific terms and get comfortable using this terminology while announcing. Your understanding of the game will help the audience become more engaged in the robot matches. Find materials for the current games at the Aerial Drone Competition Website.
- Get the Audience Perspective (Optional). If possible, visit an Aerial Drone Competition prior to the one you will support and listen to the Emcee. This will help you develop a better understanding of how an Emcee adds value to an event by sharing helpful information in a positive and enthusiastic way.
Day of Event – Prior to Your Emcee Shift
- Meet with event volunteers and establish where everyone will be positioned during the matches. Emcees must be able to see the match timer on the field or audience display without obstructing the view of spectators, participants (or camera operator if video is being used), and Referees.
- Coordinate hand signals with both the TM Operator and the Head Referee so that you will always be ready to take the queue from the Head Referee to start a match, potentially end Autonomous early, make the correct Autonomous winner call, or begin the Driver Control Period of a match. The Head Referee makes the call for these actions, and you need to be ready to act on the Head Referee's instructions. Mistakes in these transitions should be avoided.
- Check with the Head Referee for additional updates or details related to the game or the matches. Confirm the Event Partner and Referee’s rules regarding starting matches on time and waiting for teams.
- Test the microphone to make sure it is working properly. Emcees should feel comfortable using the mic during the event. Make sure extra batteries are available when replacements are needed for wireless microphones, and that you know where they are located.
- Obtain a copy of the event schedule and the announcer sheet from the M Operator or Event Partner.
- Obtain general announcements that the Event Partner would like you to deliver during the event and between matches. These announcements might include recognition of sponsors, REC Foundation and Aerial Drone Competition program announcements, safety reminders, scheduled event breaks, and times for lunch, alliance selection, etc.
During the Event – Begin Matches
- Check the field display monitors before each match to see if the match is ahead of, on, or behind schedule. Make necessary adjustments to stay on or slightly ahead of schedule. For example, if the match is starting late, consider delaying the introduction of teams to after the start of the match. This does not increase the delay, and teams can still be introduced as the match progresses.
- Make sure that everyone is ready to start the match. Poll all teams before starting a match and ask each team to give you a “thumbs-up” signal when they are ready to compete. Also ask for a thumbs-up from both the Head Referee and the TM Operator. Once everyone has given the thumbs up, use an audible countdown of “3-2-1-Go!” to start a match.
- Refer to the drones by their numbers, alliance colors, or team names. Look at the announcer sheets for team name, organization, and location. Mix these facts into the day to add variety to your commentary.
- Refrain from giving directions to the teams about what action they should take next. For example, do not tell a team to come to the corner and move an object into a scoring position.
- Report factual information. Feel free to describe sounds that you may hear that may not be audible to spectators seated more than a few feet from the field. Avoid comments that could imply a Referee should make a judgment call they have chosen not to make (pinning or trapping are good examples).
- Describe the action as it occurs. Try not to predict what a team is going to do.
- Coordinate your activities if you are sharing duties with another Emcee. The audience will appreciate it if transitions and announcements flow smoothly between the Emcees.
- Fill in the down time between matches with information that is of interest to the audience and will support the event, such as reminders about the event schedule, venue policies, and announcements provided by the Event Partner or event staff. Emphasize crowd control issues if opportunities exist. Please also share helpful information about REC Foundation programs, as families have students of all ages with them.
- Share something positive at the closing of each match. Congratulate the teams for a valiant effort. Avoid making negative comments about the teams or drones even if something went very wrong during a match. For example, if both drones in an alliance stop working and they are unable to score any points, put a positive spin on it by reminding them that they can still make up for lost time by scoring more points in future matches, and can still work their way up the rankings.
- Develop and share the background story of the event. Refer to the overall rankings when you can, and follow the trends of individual teams. For example, “Take a look at Team 217A. They have really upped their game this afternoon. If they win this match, they will have locked up the number one seed!”
- Avoid being repetitive. Try to find ways to use a variety of phrases, as opposed to relying on the same ones over and over again.
- Get the full attention of the audience for awards presentations. If possible, provide proper introductions of the judges who will be making presentations (where applicable). Understand the role you play in the production value that the Event Partner is striving to reach at the event.
- You are the voice of the event! The event participants will consider anything that you say as “official” information. Never make any comments, including references to the match score, Referee’s rulings, or technical issues, unless you are absolutely certain that the information is accurate.
- Share your enthusiasm and excitement! If you are having fun, everyone involved will, too.
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the event! Rest your voice and save your energy when time permits. Arrange for another volunteer to serve as Emcee when you need to take a break from your duties. Pro tip: have a few throat lozenges in your pocket.
Most Important: Have fun and the event participants will, too!
Sample Play-by-Play Announcing
|Period of the Game
|Sample Play by Play Announcing
|Prior to the Match
|“Ladies and gentlemen, we have match 21 coming up next on Field #2. All teams should be in place because we are going to start on time.”
|10 seconds before the Match
|“For match 21 we have team 2424D the (insert team name) and team 2426B the (insert team name). Teams, thumbs up if you are ready to start. Referee, thumbs up if you are ready to start, and scoring table, thumbs up if you are ready to start. Ok, I have thumbs up from everyone and here we go. 3-2-1-Go!” If you need to save some time, you can do the full team introductions during the match.
|Start of Match
|“Teamwork Match 21 has started and the drones are flying all over the field. 7100A has already cleared their one chamber on the way to scoring those balls.”
|45 seconds left
|“We have 30 seconds left. The Eclipse has begun.”
|“We are coming down to the end and the drones are deciding where to land. Team 134G is attempting to land on the bullseye but the clock is running out. 3-2-1, and match 21 has come to an end. Folks, let’s hear it for these incredible drones. They put on a great show!”
|After the Match Has Ended
|“Competitors, please do not retrieve your drones until the Referees tell you to do so. While the referees are counting up the points, the teams for Match 22 should be getting ready on Field #1.”
|Announcement of Match Scores
|“Folks, we have the score for our previous match, match 20, 142 points. Time to move back to Field #1.”
|“It looks like the teams for the next match, Match 22, are almost ready. As they make final preparations, teams are reminded that they are only allowed to have 3 team members next to the field. All other team members should take a seat in the stands.”
|Repeat loop, remembering to mix it up a little. Engage the audience and work with the other volunteers to make the event an enjoyable experience for all participants. Random Facts to Announce:The names of the various scoring zones of the field, The number of scoring objects on the field, Event details about Autonomous Flight Skills Challenge, alliance selection, and awards ceremony, The REC Foundation Scholarship Program is available to students participating in the VEX Robotics Competition, offering nearly 400 scholarships valued at nearly $4.5 million. Visit www.roboticseducation.org/scholarships for more information.The REC Foundation is active on social media. To keep up with the latest news and events, visit www.roboticseducation.org/media for details.
Thank you for sharing your time, talents, and enthusiasm to make an exciting event possible for all competition participants!