NBC Announcer Test. Radio Central New York (NBC) in the 1940s used this as a test for prospective radio talent. They judged the performance on clarity, enunciation, diction, tonality and expressiveness.
I found a voice over professional on YouTube reading it. It’s encouraging for us mere “voice mortals” to see a pro also struggle a little with this:
I’ve started using this to screen agents and found it to be a pretty effective tool. I have candidates call a message-taking-only voice mail box and record their reading.
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.
Notes: “quay” is pronounced “KEE”
Advanced Option 1: Complete the whole reading in a single breath without sounding rushed or unclear.
Advanced Option 2: Add one line at a time and restart from the top, like this:
One hen, Two ducks
One hen, Two ducks, Three squawking geese
For a history or the test and other variations, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Announcer%27s_test