The Faulty Technician

An audience of senior year students filled the club’s auditorium. My job as emcee was call out the finalists, bring them to the stage and then announce 3rd, 2nd and then the winner. The event was highly charged and exciting as the students came from a performing arts high school.

Check Before

When I’m on stage I am responsible. The audience is watching me. I always remind myself that each job I do is an audition for the next job (you never know who is watching.) On this night I went through the whole script with the organiser and then got a teacher to help me with the pronunciation of some surnames. I never let anyone else write their phonetics for me – from experience I know to write my own phonetics. Memory will work.

The Technician

I went up to the control box at the back of the room and met the technician. I wanted to go over a few things. He was agitated at me asking ‘dumb’ questions. I would prefer to look dumb to technician than appear dumb in front of seven hundred people at the event. I asked to go over the slides with him so I knew the timing and projection of the finalist’s names onto the screen. He got more agitated. But I persisted. He kept telling me not to undermine his ability. I found this odd as most technician are pretty good.

The Disaster

All went pretty well. Then halfway through the night he brought up the names of the all the winners to the screen. The night of anticipation was ruined as, for some reason, he showed the final slide. Every person in the audience was robbed of the joy of anticipation. I wanted to destroy that technician on my microphone but instead I just asked for that slide to be taken down but it stayed up for about fifteen seconds.

Expect the Unexpected

I tried to salvage the wreck he created. I joked with the audience that somehow a test slide got in the mix. Then apologised and left a question for the audience: “I wonder if that was the real slide or the test slide? Were they really the winners or not?” At least it left a bit of anticipation in the room.

The Aftermath

The technician was a full time employee at that club but he didn’t last much longer as he had stepped on too many toes. Sometimes with all the planning in the world, the unexpected happens. The teachers, the school and the students worked very hard to make it a memorable night. Even though I checked everything to make sure the night flowed there were obstacles. On the spot thinking can help save the day by brining things back to a positive…sometimes…