I realize the headline may be a tad bit dramatic but I think it embodies the point of my blog post this week. To recap, a couple of weeks ago the famous film producer/director, Michael Bay, was contracted to engage in a “scripted” conversation at the Consumer Electronic Show about a new product Samsung is releasing called, the Samsung Curve. As he was about to begin the discussion with the Samsung executive his teleprompter went out. He immediately became frustrated and walked off the stage.
You can check out the whole incident in this YouTube clip below:
It’s very easy for the media and viewers to criticize Bay for not being able to “wing it”. I absolutely refuse to believe that Bay should accept criticism for this incident. Who is the Consumer Electronic Show Event Leader? Who is the program manager who booked Michael Bay and was responsible for his transportation, his lodging, his contract, his hospitality needs and for the program itself?
A.V. equipment never works. Let me repeat that with emphasis, A.V. EQUIPMENT NEVER WORKS! This isn’t a new concept in the world of event planning. Everyone should be very aware that as soon as the program is set to begin the A.V. equipment will fail. As I’ve said in previous blog posts, mistakes are part of this industry. They can’t be avoided. However, how the mistake is corrected is far more important than the mistake itself.
The Event Leader or the program manager for the Consumer Electronic Show should have had a contingency plan. There should have been numerous conversations about Michael Bay’s scripted conversation if the teleprompter went down. I’m going to imagine given Michael Bay’s notoriety that his speech was a major component to this wildly popular event. If that’s the case, why weren’t there cue cards written up to be safe? Why didn’t someone talk to Mr. Bay about his level of comfort with the speech? Why did it appear as if nobody thought the A.V. equipment would fail?
As an example, if it looks like it might rain in the morning when leaving for work consider grabbing an umbrella. It more than likely won’t rain a drop all day. However, if you leave the house without an umbrella it will surely pour buckets of rain all day. It might just be worth the extra work to carry an umbrella around throughout the day.
Event Leaders must be accountable. The buck stops with the person in charge. While it’s easy for event leaders to blame the caterer, the A.V. tech, the delivery man, the stagehand or the décor company, the reality is that when you are the manager of a program or event, it’s your fault. You must accept responsibility that perhaps you chose the wrong caterer. Perhaps you didn’t follow up enough times. Perhaps your expectations were not clear enough. The Event Leader accepts responsibility for ALL event elements.
I would type more but my laptop just froze . . . I should have known.
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