7 things that an event manager cant live without

This is the third post in series. Read the first two here (post 1, post 2). This series started as a rant on my previous profession. And then someone asked me to leave the rant and try and talk about other things true about the event management profession. Post 2 and this one are a result of that. This is also cross posted on Medium as a collection

1. Cigarettes. With or without hash. No no. Its illegal but I think I have seen some people using loaded cigarettes while they are running a show. Nothing like a cigarette to beat all the stress that piles up on your head while you are at it.

Actually, cigarettes are lot more than mere stress busters.

Cigarettes help you kill time. No one questions when you want to take a break for smoking. On the other hand, you say you want to go pee and you’d get frowns. You say you want to go eat, people would laugh at you. But no sir, when you have to go smoke, its like a national emergency and you’d be excused. And may be given a warm farewell for your smoke break.

Cigarettes are social. The entire concept of smoking and drifting towards an inevitable death is communal. You are bound by death when you smoke together. And thus more friendships are forged by sharing a 84 mm stick than by vows or promises or other such old school things. It brings strangers together. Its an ice-breaker where you dont have to struggle for a question to approach the stranger. All you need is a simple, “You’ve got a light?”

Cigarettes remove social barriers. I have seen richer than the richest and poorer than the poorest coming together to smoke. I have even seen them begging for a stick. If not for a stick, then for a matchbox. Like Bachchan said, religion divides people whereas alcohol brings them together, I reckon cigarettes bring people closer.

You may be the ugliest of frogs and you may want to date the most charming princess and you may not know how to approach the princess. No worries. Just hold a stick in your hands and ask for a light.

I know there is a beautiful love story waiting to be written that is started by innocuous sharing of a stick Someone just needs to write it. May be I would someday.

2. Red Bull. No this post is not sponsored by Red Bull. It would be nice, if it were. But unless there is a crate of Red Bull in sight, no event qualifies to be called an event. We need wings to be able to run an event. Even if you are used to the taste of Red Bull and rush that it gives you.

Thing with Red Bull is that its more psychological than anything else, in my opinion. I may not be tired, I may not need it. But like Pavlov’s dogs, moment I know that I am going to run an event, my mind, my body starts craving for a Red Bull.

Red Bull I think is more than that. Its a symbol of respect. You see there are hierarchies in the event agency. And these hierarchies are reinforced in subtle ways. Red Bull is one such method. Since its expensive, not everyone can afford one. Not everyone can claim the bill for a Red Bull. If cigarettes unite, Red Bull divides.

And, to re-iterate, no, this post is not sponsored by Red Bull. But it would be a good idea if they would.

3. Profanities. There is nothing that brings out emotions better than liberal use of profanities. “Dude, can you raise the hall lights” is not as effective as “Mother fucker! Why is the hall so dark? Is your wife fucking a monkey in there? Raise it up”. But then, this may be limited to just me.

Not just emotions. Profanities is also about urgency. If I need something done tomorrow, I would say, “please”. If I want something done now, I’d be officious and say, “Do it”. But if I want something done yesterday, I’d say, “Mofo!”. And everyone, every Tom, Dick and Harry (or Ramesh, Suresh and Pappu in Indian context) knows this.

You know, next time you are doing something stressful, try it. Create a control group. Use milder things like “please”, “can you” etc to talk to the control group. And to the subject group, use profanities. the cruder the better. As crude as a pirate may get. And then compare the results.

Btw, if you are a parent of my prospective bride or you are thinking about me in a romantic manner, I no longer work with an events company and thus I dont engage in use of these sick words.

But, if you are a prospective employer, hire me. I am dying to work again. Hopefully at an event company.

4. Alcohol. In any form, shape, size, colour, glass. Take your pick. The guy I reported into, he loved Whiskey and Red Bull. My DJ friend loves Vodka and Red Bull. My God (of events) wants cheapest whiskey made in India and just some water.

I on the other hand was content with Breezers, that too once in a while.

I have known people to consume anything and everything starting from Beer to Wine to Whiskey to Vodka.

I have seen all sorts of people, celebrities, actors, models, cricketers, dancers, singers, carpenters resorting to alcohol just before a show. Apparently it soothes their nerves.That is before the event. And when the show goes off well, they need something to celebrate. Something that simulates their calmed nerves. What do they do? Drink! And add cigarette to the concoction, we have a winner on our hands.

Trust me, the bitching sessions that happen after an event, after everyone of importance is drunk, after all the idle banter has happened, is like a gold mine. Secrets, skeletons, dead bodies come out tumbling in such sessions. Thanks to these sessions, I know which actress is sleeping her way to success, which producer is hands in glove with unions, which VP is screwing which trainee, which company is bribing which minister and how much, which dude is going to resign, which client would become more important in the next few years, why am I bald, why is the Earth round, why do people do what people do. If only I had the sense to carry a tape recorder while I was working, I would have been richer than Scrooge McDuck by now. Hell I could’ve even defected to US of A and become their informant and lived a lavish life in their witness protection program. Its actually my dream to be able to do that some day (to be able to inducted into WITSEC). Its on the top of my bucket list.

And like I said earlier as well, if you are a prospective bride, no I dont booze. And if you are a prospective employer, a Cranberry Breezer please.

5. Run Order. This is a sheet of paper that has the order of events printed on it. If you see this sheet, you’d know what you are supposed to do. If you follow this sheet, your job is reduced to that of a puppet master, with every action for every puppet written on it. Its that important!

And yet more often than not, this is what everyone ignores and this is what separates a good event manager from bad.

Apart from being able to run a smooth and flawless event, if you have the sheet of paper in your hand, you can be officious and yell on people. I mean you can anyway yell on people if you are an event manager but then the run order makes it official. Like a 2RsPeople referee can yell on a million dollar footballer, you can yell on a client, on a movie star, on an item dancer, on the hotel manager, on the audience, on everyone in that room.

But if you dont have this sheet of paper in your hand, you lose it. The right to yell on people. After all, the written word is like a thing cast in stone. Everyone can see it. And even if you disagree with it, you can NOT change it.

And once the event is over, the sheet is still useful. For starters, you can flag this sheet of paper in a client’s eye if something goes wrong and he wont get offended. You can use this to roll a joint. You can use this sheet to take clandestine notes while you are gossiping with the client. You can even use it to break ice with that unsuspecting cute woman who you may spot at a club and you know that she is the one that you have been waiting all your life for.

And so on and so forth.

Bottomline, a run order is a sacrosanct document that you better keep handy at all times. Before, during and after the event. I in fact carry an old event run order in my bag even now. You never know when I get to meet the one I have been wanting to be with.

6. Mobile Phone. Not just to make frantic phone calls while you are panicking but to play brick breaker (if its a Blackberry) or WhatsApp with that item dancer that is performing at your event (if its an iPhone). No, a real event managers do not use an Android phone. If you are an event manager and you are reading this and you use an Android phone, your will hit a glass ceiling very soon. Even if its a top-end phone by Samsung or Google. Two words. Glass. Ceiling.

This means you’d spend the rest of your life packing and unpacking boxes and fighting with customs all over the world. This means that you’d not be able to party after an event because you are supposed to work on the dismantle. This also means that the date with that item dancer that you have been dreaming of since the first time you invited her to perform, that will not happen. Unless you switch to an iPhone.

I use an iPhone and yes, I have had the pleasure of having coffee with couple of these women. On different occasions.

Like all previous things, if you are a prospective bride or a prospective employer, you know the disclaimer already.

7. Facebook! This is a surprisingly recent phenomena. I am not hoked on FB, as it is lovingly called. Yet.

But I do see people posting their pictures when at airports or with celebrities. I see people checking in at those fancy hotels where we get to work. I see people tagging each other when they are partying. I see attempts, often failed ones, to add those items dancers and celebrities as "friends". I see people posting pictures from the events that they are working on. I see them posting pictures of impressive setups and other things. I see them trying to solicit work.

So far I have failed to understand the reasons and benefits of all these things. Of course its a marketing tool. But if I am marketing myself, do I also want to show that picture that I clicked at PatPong where I am mobbed by ten strippers entertainers? Do I want to feel miserable about all the cars that a young singer is buying. And when I compare those cars to my ten year old Santro, at least I get severe bouts of depression. And this is just the car. There is so much more to get depressed about on Facebook. Better stay away. No?

But then, thats me. A bald, old, ex-event manager. The younger flock, they flock the Facebook as if their lives depend on it. I have seen people using it while they are running a show, while they are partying, white they are on the potty, while they are eating, while they are walking, while they are sleeping, while they are working and while they are spending time on Facebook. Inception anyone? Facebook inside facebook! Wow that's an app idea!

Anyway, while we are talking about FB, here is a small advert. Begin Advert. I do use facebook and I made a page for the book that I am writing - The Nidhi Kapoor Story. I have close to 100 likes on that page and I would love it if I could get some more. Please help. Please like. I promise that I'd do something special for the first 500 people that like the page. The numbers are going up real fast. And you still have a chance. Go there and like! End Advert.

Guess this is it for the time being. What about you? Are you an event manager? Do you agree to these seven? What can you not live without?

And while you are at it, you may want to read the entire collection on Medium!

2 comments:

Jabda! | Pradeep Daniel said...

I would add one more thing - The event manager's flunkie. His/Her Man Friday!

Depending on where on the pecking order your are, you need that guy. The guy carrying double-sided tape before an event, and brown tape after. The guy who can do your job just as well as you but doesn't schmooze as well with the item dancer. Most likely, dare I say it, the guy whose English speaking abilitiles/confidence levels aren't as close to yours.

The guy who puts up with your tantrums and hissy-fits. The guy who is normally thinking two-steps ahead of you but every now and then gives you something to scream your face off about. Obviously with colourful unparliamentary language.

How can you think of doing any event without that guy?

If you don't such a guy and you are an event manager, there's a good chance you're that guy!

s4ur4bh said...

Mr. Daniel! Spot on sir.

Will add to the list and the ebook, as and when I get to it.

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?