Sitting in a bar watching an event being set up for a ‘Top Secret’ event and it’s most dedicated fans. This isn’t my event, I am for once just able to watch the exclusive ‘behind the scenes footage’ as I came along as company for a work colleague. I would never usually feel compelled to write about my day job, especially since this is not even one of my own, but this is too perfect an opportunity to pass by. Especially as I have front row seats from an outside perspective for a change. It may seem glamorous and fun in pictures, but that’s exactly what pictures are for; To create a false illusion that there are no before and after scenes of bitching, bossiness and stressful deadlines.
Keeping to theme of course, we left the house at 5.30am to head down to the warehouse two hours south of where we live. We arrive but surprise fucking surprise no bosses yet. We’re half an hour preschedule so decide to grab a coffee and just take 5. On the dot my colleague ventures to the warehouse office to collect the keys for the supposedly already loaded van. Except the van hasn’t arrived and we are due to be up North by midday. This is an anticipated journey of four hours and they have a rigging team especially for the times stated. So really it would make sense that we were ready to go straight away, turns out not to be the case at all. In most instances this happens. It seems to be an industry in which lack of communication is a great skill mastered by 99% of event staff.
Four hours of playing snakes and ladders on the motorways and we reach our destination. Obviously getting into the loading bay is like fighting to get back stage at a festival with no wristband. Total bent penis of a security jobs worth. Eventually he lets us past and we are greeted by two rigging guys who are, to put it politely, pissed off. Pissed off because they were meant to have finished at the time we turned up. Understandable but if I had control of the major motorway hold ups I would have ensured this wasn’t a possibility. Oh, and again a sign of the lack of communication.
Not always the case, but in this instance definitely appropriate is the bitch boss. The one who is young, throws around authority, walks around like she’s in a pageant show and pouts more than a rubber duck. Got it? Walking on eggshells around her as she demands this be done, why isn’t that as she ordered? The thing here is you have to plaster a smile on and nod politely and act like you empathise with her annoyance that nothing is going right and it’s your fault. It’s only because you’re getting paid a rather good amount of cash that you would even tolerate this airhead. She parades up, introduces herself and states exactly what she wants. Then you have to deal with her eyes boring into you every second until you leave the job. It’s uncomfortable and really fucking irritating. Just feel like putting her in one the empty boxes and sello-taping it up until the end of the shift before “finding” her and asking why she was playing hide and seek.
Now it’s showtime! The guests arrive, everything is in place, the staff have had a wee wee and are looking fabulous and smiley. Perfect. Cameras go off snapping away with everyone looking like the job is an absolute blast but over exaggerating with the smiles and posing. It’s part of the job description. Clients love the cheese and how good their event is. Staff tend to humour the situation, we all do this job and we all know that a good photo means more likes on Facebook and potentially more work. Ok, and because it sends out a message to everyone we know that our job is so much fun and aren’t you all jealous of where I checked in and who I am working with celeb wise. I mean, doesn’t this make you want a job in events?
Nearing the end of the event, the camera crew pack up, the celebs disappear and the guests leave. Back to real time. In which the cow bag shakes your hand, tells you thanks and off she scuttles leaving you to pack away and offering zero help. God forbid she breaks a nail or a hair extension falls out. By now it’s late evening, you’ve been on the road since 5.30am and you’re pretty exhausted. All you want is the hotel you have been booked into and to shower and sleep.
Don’t get me wrong, some jobs are lovely, you can turn up, have a wonderful Event Manager, have a fun shift and go home thinking what a great gig. Some of my agents I couldn’t say enough good words about they look after me, are personal and always recognise your efforts. Unfortunately in most cases the true story is you end up working with a compete self involved, narcissist and arrogant tosser who runs the show. Backstage it is not like the smiley images that pop up on websites, Facebook and the Internet. As I said not all but most involve a lot of stressful and physical legwork before and after.
Considering a career in events? It’s a rewarding industry in certain respects, a great way to build up portfolios and gain contacts, meet great people and travel but it’s not for the soft hearted. Sometimes you have to take shit and keep your mouth shut. This is difficult. Be prepared to work 14-18 hours a day or even more if you are lucky enough to get an event that needs setting up within a tight deadline. Being away from home for weeks on end and unforeseen circumstances which usually pop up to cause and conflict a huge problem. It’s pressured, especially when you work with dolly’s who have no idea how to even run their own event.
Copyright © 2013 The Bella Effect