A belated but massive thanks to all the companies who booked me to perform my magic show as part of their Christmas party entertainment.My heart often goes out to the poor individual who has to organise an office party entertainment! Its one hell of a job so I decided to put together a list of hints and tips to make it less excruciating -
No matter what party entertainment you book whether its a Magician or Comedian, keep in mind the most important thing is that your audience have to be able to see and hear them so ….
Raise them up
When booking the function room tell the hotel you will need a small stage. Most hotels supply them free of charge. They are are on wheels and fold out in seconds.
Avoid a triffid in the centre of the table
Ask the hotel to keep table centrepieces low and subtle .You’ve toiled over the seating arrangements and booking the right party entertainment so don’t spoil it with some sort of triffid monstrosity which blocks everybody’s view and prevents them talking to the person opposite them.
Make your guests feel a part of the show
Typically hotels will seat guests around the dance floor which is a big mistake if you are having live entertainment.Its like trying to perform to someone on the other side of a football field.Ask the hotel to start the seating about six to eight feet from the stage . It will make your guests feel apart of the show rather than they are watching something in the cinema !!The hotel staff will have to move a few tables before the band / dj kicks off but so what, thats what you are paying them for!
Can your guests hear ?
Ask the hotel do they have a reliable roving wireless Microphone. You or other members of management may want to say a few words. They also make raffles / competitions etc. a lot easier.
Tell your guests you have booked party entertainment for them.
After the meal finishes, often people drift off to the bar or want to go out for a cigarette. You can’t expect them to stick around if they don't know something is going to happen! So … ask the entertainer or hotel manager to announce it ten minutes before the performance. It gives your guests time to get another drink or visit the bathroom!
Have the speeches before the entertainment as long as they are not going to go forever. Ask the MD (or somebody with authority) to introduce the act. They will get everybody’s attention and focused on the fun thats about to ensue.
Let the entertainer know punctuality is expected!
I remember once hearing a bride on the phone asking a band manager how much they charged, after they gave her quote she immediately asked how much they charged if they were late! While said in a joking fashion the point was very clear – if they wanted the agreed fee - arrive at the agreed time! You just don't need the worry.
Tell the Comedian / Entertainer the company scandal
If there have been any dramatic or upsetting happenings in the company (eg.staff have been let go, a bereavement in the company) tell the entertainer , particularly comedians!
I stick to my script but I've seen some very good comedians who adlib cause unintentional embarrassment purely because they weren't made aware of what was going on in the company!
Get in there early
Last and most important, book your function room and entertainer early. For office Christmas parties I suggest picking up the phone in September to avoid disappointment! Hope all the above is some of use and thanks again to all those who booked me for Christmas 2012! Regards Jack