Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Worst Christmas Show Ever Part 1.

Let what follows be a cautionary tale of expectations not met. Let it remind you that no matter how well prepared you may be, you will still sometimes be faced with terrible situations.

Several years ago a woman contacted me, let’s call her Gail, for a Christmas show for her company. Like most of you I have a short script describing my show in as glowing a way as I can present, and like most of you my script includes the answer to the first question they will ask.
“How much do you cost?”
I quoted Gail my price and, after a few short questions on her part, she booked me for the show. At this point I have a list of questions that I like to ask to get an idea of what I am to expect.
My first question in this situation is always “Is this holiday show or a Christmas show?”
Yes, it seems like a silly question, but in this day and age you can never be too sure so I find it best just to ask up front. Never in the years I have been doing holiday shows has anyone been offended by this question, and Gail was no different.”
“It’s a Christmas show.” She replied.
“And where will it be held?” I asked.
She replied with the name and the address of the facility. It was a local recreation center that specialized in children’s recreation and learning.
“What kind of room will the performance be in?”
Answer: “A cafetorium.” I remember this clearly. (For those who don’t know a cafetorium is a combination of a cafeteria and an auditorium. The acoustics in a cafetorium aren’t the best, but it’s better than a gymnasium. Remember that line, it becomes important in the second half of our story.)
Q: “How many children will there be? I just need a rough estimate.”
A: “Well right now we’re expecting about 30 children, but there may be more.”

Q: “Will there be a Santa Claus?”
A: “Yes.”
Q: “Will he be giving out presents?”
A: “Yes.”
Q: I know this sounds weird, but I ask it just to be safe. Is your Santa Claus called Santa Claus?” (Yes, a bizarre question but one I learned hard when I went to a Dutch reformed private grade school (I’m Irish by the way). They call Santa Claus “Sinterklaas” and he’s got this weird servent fellow named “Black Peter.” So just in case, I always ask..)
A: “Yes.”
Q: “Will there be music? Either recorded or a live performance?”
A: “We will be using a portable CD player to play Christmas favourites.”

This went on for a while. I have about fifteen questions I usually ask for a Christmas show and I always take notes while talking to a client just in case something funny is said and I need clarification.
After I ask my questions I give Gail a chance to ask any questions that may have popped up. There were none. So I start my speech. We all have them, it’s the little speal we say that tells them how we like to set up and where it’s best to perform etc. This speech had a few of the folling mentioned.

- I will not use the stage, it’ll be better if I was on floor level. (It’s the cafetorium thing. I’ve performed in them before and, like I said, the acoustics are just OK.)

- I need something behind me, a wall or even the stage. That way no one can sneak around behind me and distract the children or sneak a peek into my magic box.

- I will be using music so I would appreciate it if you could turn off your music while I am performing.

- As for Santa, it would be best if he either finished handing out gifts before I begin, or better yet he could come out after I’m done. Many other clients have had me introduce Santa at the end of my show and I’m quite good at it, so I would be willing to do that for you at no extra cost. (Don't you love it? It sounds like yoou are giving them a sweet deal for a couple of extra lines.)

- If there is food, again please serve it either before my show or after my show.

- Older family members are welcome to join the children and watch the show. It is a show for children but a lot of adults enjoy it as well. (Just for fun I have one (ONE) special joke I do for the parents. They always say you shouldn’t but I like to joke so it stays.)

(I want you to remember these points, because they become important in the second part.)
Gail agreed with everything I said and, since she had no other questions, I told her that I would call and confirm three to five days before the event but if she had any questions or concerns, or if there is a change in time or location, to feel free to call me.
With that, I had booked a Christmas show and everything leading up to the show was just hunky-dory.
And then, the day came ….

To be continued ………….


Blogger Billp said...

Does the second half of your story involve Carrie Fisher singing? Because when I hear "Worst Christmas Show Ever", I automatically think...


1:42 PM  
Blogger tga said...

I've remembered all of the points that will be relevant in the second part and am now eagerly anticipating the second part. Sadly, I have no actual comment to make right now that relates to your post. However, I feel the need (and I've tried to resist, believe me) to comment on BillP's comment; specifically on his new gimmick of signing off with the random collection of letters used for the word verification. Look at BillP's comment. Try to pronounce the word "mkcrfuq".
Bill, it seems particularly agressive to force a woman to do something of that nature when you could simply use your natural charm and she'll WANT to, instead of having to make her do it.
OK, you got me. I'm kidding. What gave it away? That bit about you having natural charm? Yeah, I thought that might be pushing it a bit.
Go ahead. Mkcrfuq.


10:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home