It pays to be nice. It pays to be considerate. It pays to be personable and approachable. Even if you have to work with people who don’t possess these character traits, usually if one person is kind or considerate or personable… things get done a lot quicker.
Before we get into this, it is essential that you understand the role of each person so that you don’t request for something that is not part of their job description.
Once you’ve got that down, the key is to remember their names as soon as possible and be conscious of how you can help to make their job easier. (Remember they’ve had a long day and are probably just as stressed out as you are).
1). Sound Engineer’s Assistant
I say get close to the sound engineer’s assistant and not the main dude/dudette because his assistant will usually be the run around person who’ll be directly involved with your equipment, microphone etc. Depending on the kind of event, you’ll usually have the sound engineer manning the sound board and doing all your EQ’s. His assistants are just as important and can get more stuff done for you even if the sound engineer of course has the final say.
Owning your own visual content after a show is a major bonus. Befriend the camera guys and tell them about your set so they know what would be the best angles to capture you during your performance. Depending on the gig and the event, even if you don’t get the full performance video directly from the videographer, they can usually put in a good word to get you some footage.
3). Stage Manager
The stage manager’s role differs depending on the gig but they are their team are generally in charge of ensuring that you arrive backstage in good time prior to performance and all the logistics that are involved with your performance, your set and your visual representation. They would be in charge of moving instruments, making sure the band members have enough space and are comfortable on stage. They are in charge of the production of the show and work closely with the rest of the production team. Get them on your side and you’ll have a lot less to stress about when it’s your turn to kill your performance. Who doesn’t want something less to worry about?!
4). “The Lighting Guy”
If it’s possible and if you have specific lighting requests, you should’ve already met this guy before the day of the gig. Make them understand what you need for your performance, the mood you are trying to create and the various transitions you might need within or in between songs. Lighting guys love it when artists can communicate what they want so be as create as possible and still let them do their the way they feel is best.
This goes without saying that when after a show, your fans and supporters would love to see how your performance went even if it isn’t a video. Pictures speaks volumes and the best pictures are taken by not just someone who is skilled at the craft but also understands their subject. Have a chat with them if possible so that after the performance, you’re not begging for pictures. Your rapport beforehand will make them more receptive to showing you what they were able to come up with.
6). Video Projection Coordinator
If you’ve got visuals for your set, make sure you have this info beforehand – that a video coordinator is actually available and that there is a screen to project stuff on. Meet him prior to the show or send along your material with a description of what goes with what song etc. You want to make sure this person understands what you’re trying to achieve with your entire performance so that everything is in sync and all goes according to plan.
7). The MC
Do they know your name? Can they pronounce it? Maybe you should write it down phonetically. lol. I say this because I’ve been in several situations where my name is mispronounced and it’s a little embarrassing. Does he/she have a little bio on you that they can use as a way to introduce you to the audience? Get to know them backstage, be interested in them genuinely. It helps them form a positive opinion about you by themselves and therefore introduce you from the heart.
8). The DJ
The DJ is a good friend to have for so many reasons. This goes beyond you performing while he/she plays your backtrack. You definitely need to make sure you’ve soundchecked with them with your track – that goes without saying. But my point is beyond this. How many of you have been in situations where the DJ is playing music before and after your perform? It’s essential that they know when you’re starting (if there’s no MC) and more importantly when you are finished. There is nothing more annoying than when the DJ cuts off your set right after you finish your performance without allowing for the audience you applause. It really grinds my gears. It pays to have a conversation prior to the show so that they get to know you and what you’re about. It helps.
9). Houseband Leader/Music Director
Don’t get bogged down by soundcheck and rehearsing with a band you haven’t worked with before that you forget to make sure the band leader understands what you’re trying to achieve with your music. Be open about how the band sounds on your songs, what changes need to be made and what they are doing well. They will respect you for being upfront and honest. If they are professional, they will make sure everything is done to make you comfortable.
Be mindful that this article is not about making friends just for the purpose of having a good experience with your performance. In general, being kind and personable takes you to places that a negative attitude can’t. Always remember that a show is put together by a team. You’re not the only important person in the group. You’re part of the piece. By acknowledging that it takes several pieces to put on a great show, you will come to find that you have a better experience, you’re more relaxed and more confident that everyone has your best interest at heart – as much as you have theirs. Always see it as an opportunity to makes everyone’s job around you as easy as possible.