I made that up. However, it should be a thing!
It stands for Be Kind to MC’s.
That, of course, stands for master of ceremonies.
It can be compared to the ringmaster of a circus introducing the various acts and shepherding the evening’s events to a successful conclusion.
If you belong to any community group or charity of any kind and have ever used an emcee — this blog is for you!
It is one of the most thankless jobs in the entertainment business.
And it is both those things: entertainment and business.
If you have ever had a host for your gathering and it has gone smoothly and been on time and been entertaining, that’s because your MC did a lot of research, advance work and put in hours of effort.
Take for example American Idol. Sure, you need talented contestants and engaging judges and good musicians, but truly the person who pulls it all together and keeps it on time, keeps the energy up, reassures the singers and sets the tone is Ryan Seacrest.
Same for the host of any show.
If they make it look effortless, it is because they have put in a lot of work beforehand.
Most people don’t enjoy speaking in public. That’s why its among the biggest fears people have.
It makes you vulnerable. People will judge you. You are responsible. There's a lot of pressure.
I don’t know why organizations never think it's worthy of pay.
It is surprisingly rare that there is pay attached. Sometimes, not even a thank-you.
No company or group would expect the band to play for free. The photographers are paid. The vendors are paid. (Unless, of course, it's an event to which you are donating your time and talent.)
I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve been asked to do the job with the promise of a free meal.
This is not payment unless you can box up the meal and let me go back home and eat it in front of the TV with my cat. Sitting with strangers making small talk while eating rubber chicken is not my idea of a good time.
People think it's an easy job.
It is not.
People figure anyone can do it.
From the time I am asked to be a host, I start worrying.
I start reading up on the group to see who they are and what they do. I check names and pronunciations. I reach out for bios on those who will be speaking or entertaining. Then you try to come up with some entertaining yet brief introductions.
Trust me when I say when you get your script in order, the organizer will start throwing last-minute additions or changes at you. You will be changing the script throughout the night and you need to keep calm and keep it flowing.
The MC also tries to keep things on time, which is next to impossible with endless speeches and prize draws.
The last event I did, I swear it was like a free-for-all. People would just come up to the microphone and declare a variety of things.
“I’d like to make a presentation.”
“I would like to explain the lottery draw.”
“Can I just tell a quick story?”
While I wanted to bop them all on the head and send them back to their seats, it was not my place to do so and thus everyone and their dog was up at the mic making a statement.
By the end, I was so frustrated, I just sat down and ordered a drink.
I watched as the sound person was bombarded by requests and performers handing him, at the last minute, their music on CD, iPod, flashdrive, vinyl … whatever. How is anyone expected to handle all that and pay attention to volume and the sound mix?
All of these folks — volunteer or not — are doing a job.
Please consider they are concentrating and “in the zone” before you approach.
It's like being one of those plate twirlers who used to be on the Ed Sullivan Show (dated reference). You have a dozen things spinning in the air at once trying to keep them from crashing down around you.
A good host is worth his/her weight in gold.
The easier they make it look, the better they are at it.
Please appreciate and pay accordingly.