Prepared For Emotional Surprises

Part of the process in making a great performance at a private event is for the performer to get to know more about who s/he is performing for. And this process can bring us lot’s of surprises.

Recently, when booking an act, the standard “get to know you” questionnaire went out. ¬†Simple questions like “Who are your archrivals?”, “Are there any inside jokes?”, “Who is the most liked person?”, “Have there been any notorious or funny incidents that have happened this year?”.¬†Pretty standard. We do this no matter what type of group.

Recently, after sending out the questionnaire, I had a phone call from the person in charge. I had booked a mindreader for their event. They had not had a good year. A great bunch of people, that got caught up in rivalries turning ugly, unexplained resignations and other situations that affected everyone. Other than assuring them that this will be a very positive, upbeat show, I was left with the feeling that not only did they need a positive, laugh filled evening, they needed to feel like people DO care about them.

Shouldn’t that be the case for every event? We never know what circumstances people are in. Sometimes, glaring, blatant negative circumstances come to us.

As I was finishing this article, one of my friends shared a true life event that had just happened with him. (we’ll call him “”C”.)

“C” was outside, busking (street magic) at a well traveled corner downtown. A woman with three kids came up to watch the magic. The woman was obviously high. As her children watched the magician, she sat down and fell fast asleep. “C” couldn’t get her awake. The police came, they could not awaken her. As she was ambulanced to the hospital, the children were taken away by the police.

How did this affect him? With deep hurt for those children, and a mom in need. More importantly, doing what he could, for those precious few minutes before the children were taken away, to show them someone DOES care.

We may focus on the fun. Making people laugh. But always, without giving it a second thought, projecting to anyone and everyone we entertain, that there are caring people in this world. You just never know where a person’s heart is in that moment we have to entertain them..

(Ray Smerlin is an entertainment strategist from Louisville Kentucky. He offers entertainment solutions and consultations at He also spends time with the performers he works with, discussing many aspects of being in front of an audience.)

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