Show Tips: Why You Should Always Have a “Plan B”

talent network show tips
By David Sedelmeier
Owner/Operator of talent network, inc.
Offering 30 years of insight and knowledge

For this week’s Show Tips, we sit down with talent network owner David Sedelmeier after his return from working on-site at a major convention in Las Vegas. Read on for some tips on handling entertainment on a large-scale, and why it’s always good to plan for Plan B:

So you just got back from Vegas…What were you there for?

I was working for a conference, where we had a really funny comedian named Tom Cotter coming to perform there. Tom got his fame from “America’s Got Talent;” he was the runner-up last year, he lost to a dog act, which he actually makes fun of in his act, and which was really pertinent to the audience because it was made up of veterinarians…

What I hear is that the event didn’t go down as smoothly as everyone would have liked…that something happened with Tom’s flight?

Yes, his flight…The show was on Sunday and Tom was scheduled to come in at 11:00am. Anytime someone is going to come in that early, that really gives us great comfort because it’s always worrisome when they make their arrival time so close to show. We occasionally have some acts arrive a day in advance, but when it’s a Sunday show like this was, it’s more of a challenge because a lot of these guys are working Friday’s and Saturday’s.

With Tom arriving at 11:00am, we’re thinking, “wow, this is great,” but I get a phone call at 6:15am my time, and he says that his plane had gotten delayed. He had purposely taken a southern route with his flight …

Because of the weather?

Yeah…the event took place in February, so he chose a route he thought it would be less prone to weather problems. The other routes he could have flown were through Chicago and somewhere else up north, which were being hit with snow and ice. Ironically, those other flights he could have taken through all made it. His flight was delayed, and kept getting more and more delayed, and the next thing we knew, it was about 2:00pm Vegas time. The show was at 7:00pm, 6:30pm were doors…

So what was Plan B?

Well, there are not a lot of big Plan B’s when you have a marquee name. You need something to put on that stage because this crowd is going to show up regardless. We had talked to his manager and we talked to Tom and they asked if there was any way to push the time. For this type of show, there wasn’t. It was a convention, there was no dinner, and the advertising was all out there, so there was no way to market a time-change or anything. So we started thinking, and believe me, this kind of stuff really gets your neurons firing, even though you’re in Vegas and haven’t slept much. We started calling a bunch of contacts we had…We spoke with a friend of ours, that runs Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club, and he actually had another headline comedian that was in town and doing a photo shoot – she’s a really great female act, so we put her on-hold. And then we had Mark Eddie in LA and I called him and thought we would have him come in to either buy time or help supplement this other act. So we had to pull the trigger on that and I hadn’t yet told the buyer, just because there wasn’t a lot that they could have done…

You hadn’t said anything to the buyer yet?

Not yet. Because one, they are in the middle of all of these meetings and meeting with clients. And two, there was really not a lot that we could tell them and our job is to make sure that the show is going to happen. It’s not that I didn’t want to make them privy to it, but until I had a solution, and a better resolution as to what would happen with Tom, I didn’t want to worry them yet.

So we made the call to bring in Mark, and we did that on our own and would have paid those costs on our own if the buyer didn’t agree. When we called Mark, he said “I literally have to walk out the door right now if you make this decision…” so I thought, it’s better to have him here just in case. So Mark flew in, arrived about 4:30pm.

While this is happening, Tom is meant to be landing at 4:00pm, then 5:00pm, and then we were started to think this plane may not even make it for the show. Keeping in mind, Tom got to the airport at 3:30am east coast time, so he could make a 6:30am flight that never left. So he was really quite a trooper. But long story short, he ends up texting us that his plane is finally taking off, and he landed in Vegas at about 5:30pm, so we knew we had him.

And then he had to do a show!

Then he had to do a show. We had a car pick him up and he was able to run to his room before he came down to the greenroom, where Mark Eddie was, who had just done the warm up/sound check. Mark had actually just worked with Tom about a month and a half earlier in San Francisco and they had gotten along really well and complemented each other, so at this point, I consulted the buyer, and the client was really happy that we made that overture and they were comfortable with the fact that we brought Mark in. So Mark did an opening set, which really kind of set the tone for Tom, and then he just knocked it out of the park.

Then that almost worked for the better – with Mark coming in and opening?

I always prefer to have an opener. But with these big shows, it’s not always affordable in the budget. These headline comedians, they can handle not having an opening act, but it does enhance the show.

With this show, yes, it really played out well for us. But at the same time, it gives you an idea of why there should always be some sort of an idea of Plan B. Fortunately, because Tom came in so early, once he started having these hiccups, he had given himself enough time to off-set them. If he had prepared for a 3:00pm arrival, which a lot of these guys do, he would have never made that show. In today’s uncertain air travel, it is important to schedule the artist arrival with as much leeway as possible.

What are your thoughts on having a “Plan B” ? Would you rather go with the flow or always have an alternative plan in place? Let us know what you think and stay tuned for the next Show Tips! As always, let us know of any questions/ideas you may have!

Utilizing our 30 years in the industry, covering shows and events across the world, “Show Tips” is our way of sharing what we’ve learned – and continue to learn – with every event we do. We divulge our behind-the-scenes experiences of working and producing live shows – so you know how to create the best show possible. Let us be your sounding board for your next event! Have questions? Concerns? We are always on-hand – just call and/or email and let us know how we can help. You can also read more about the artists and events in our area on talent network news.

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