After The Big Show

Sound systemIt was a late afternoon and I was setting up for a family show at a high school. As I made a trip through the gym dropping off my second load of equipment I realized I had an answer to a question I had been pondering. Earlier that week a mentor had asked, “If there was one task that you could eliminate from your show that would make it better, what would that be?” As sweat seeped from my brow, I thought “ROADIE”; I need somebody to setup and breakdown my equipment.

The process of mentally setting up for a show is taxing on me. I need to make sure I have all connections, sound equipment, balloons, and props. After the show, I have to make sure that I do not leave anything behind. Working by myself, I break into a sweat, get out of breath, and this is before the show evens starts. This alone is one reason to have a roadie on staff.

Yet, not having to breakdown the show is even more important to me. Here are some reasons why I have hired somebody to breakdown my show.

  1. Meet the Audience – Making myself accessible for audience members to give praise, have a picture taken, sign an autograph, or allow the audience to meet me, a professional entertainer.
  2. Talk with the client after the show and allow the client to hear the audience shower me with compliments. This can only happen if I make myself available standing next to the client, not packing up equipment.
  3. Backroom sales – It is hard to sell merchandise when you are busy putting away the sound system. I have not had the opportunity to do this, but colleagues who have done it claim they can make good money on backroom sales.
  4. Wind down time – After a show, I am pumped. This time allows me to transform from entertainer, back into husband, father, everyday person.
  5. Security – I do not have to worry about iPod, Smartphone or equipment magically growing feet and walking away. I have an extra set of eyes to help secure the area.
  6. Confidant – Every audience is different, and sometimes I have to ask somebody, “Do you think this gag or joke will work in this crowd?” I have someone I can trust to get a second opinion. Even if it is a sound check, I have input that can only help the show.
  7. Give the illusion of being professional – I have seen David Copperfield do a store bought trick on national TV and people marvel over its presentation. Was the trick done differently than 100 other magicians? No. It was the national TV grandeur that made the illusion look spectacular.
  8. Makes my job easier – I will be honest, it feels good knowing that I do not have to trek out in the rain, get my car, and make several trips back and forth. I have the someone to do it for me. Yay for me!

2 thoughts on “After The Big Show”

  1. Great article. I would be intrigued to know how much you pay this roadie, which I suppose is factored into now much you charge for the show itself.

  2. Hi Carrie

    I play him a flat fee for the day, plus I make sure I put some gas in the vehicle since he’s doing the driving. Yes, he is my Chauffeur too. In my rider a make sure water, food, and accommodation are ample for two people. The prices is not added into my show, but taken out of the original price. Paying the extra money, is like treating yourself to a spa day. I get to the gig, stressed free from not driving, don’t have two worry about setup/breakdown, and it make my life easier. With the extra time I have, I can use that to network with the client and secure more work. At the end of the day, it’s really a win-win for everyone.

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