If you are planning to spend time and money organising an event, either for your clients or for your internal staff, the answer to the above question is quite simple. The answer is YES. You do need a Showcaller.
The true value of a Showcaller can be misunderstood.
If you find yourself thinking; why should we spend extra money, hiring a Showcaller, when one of the in-house Producers can easily do the same job? Or, the Producer has organised everything so far, they know what’s going on, it makes sense to use them… right?
Wrong! In fact, completely wrong!
The Producer is responsible for pulling the entire event together before the event goes on-site. Once on-site, they oversee everything. Their head is crammed with the intricate detail of everything. Their role is crucial, but very different to that of a Showcaller.
A Showcaller, will arrive either on your rehearsal or on-site build day and their only focus is the delivery of your event. Give them a copy of your final event agenda and from there they can pull together a Run of Show (ROS) that will ensure everything happens exactly as planned.
With the aid of your pre-arranged Rehearsal Agenda, the Showcaller will manage the technical side of your rehearsals, working with your Producer. Managing all the technical crew and working towards their only goal. Delivering a perfect event for you.
The real art of Showcalling is one that develops over time and comes with constant experience of different shows and events and the situations that arise within them.
A good Showcaller develops a sixth sense. The art of pre-empting what people will say, when they will say it and what that means they want to do next.
Their role can be technical. So, an event with complex technical elements, needs a technical expert to manage them and time all the cues perfectly.
The fact that they arrived at a time that can feel a bit last minute, having little or no previous knowledge of your event, is a massive bonus.
They walk in fresh. Their head is clear and not crammed with information. They don’t need to know all the intricacies of the management of everything that has gone on beforehand. In fact, they prefer to know nothing about it!
What you want is their focus. 100% attention on your event.
There can often be challenges running a live or virtual event that only an experienced person can deal with quickly. Presenters overrunning, technical challenges, last minute changes in the agenda, or downloading and playing a new video when the presentation has already started.
Although it happens rarely equipment can fail. Quick action needs to be taken so the show can continue. A virtual event where a caller drops due to their internet connection, rejigging the running order to cover this, jumping ahead and then going back when the connection is restored. Knowing the right moment to speak to a live presenter in their earpiece to ask them to speak for another 5 minutes to cover someone’s late arrival.
All these things need managing on the fly. They need someone calm and completely unflappable to handle this. Someone with 100% focus.
So this person, who walked into the room only a few hours earlier, having just met the crew who are already pushed to the limit, running an event that might be complicated. They need the strength of personality and the confidence to be able to lead the crew and manage the client and their expectations to a successful conclusion.
The Showcaller’s role, once properly understood, is worth its weight in gold.