How many gigs can you have in a day?

In a professional talent’s life, it’s inevitable to get double, or sometimes even triple-booked in one day. I had my first just this weekend. I have hosted not one, but TWO wedding receptions. It was awesome. I knew it was going to be a challenge physically and mentally but when I finally got home, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Gig 1: Mr. & Mrs. Jed and Nori Labastida

Jed and NoriIt was a slow morning at Legend Villas. I was asked to be there by 10am. I got caught in traffic and was afraid to have my first late entrance for a gig (as a professional, I never want to be late). So to set everyone’s expectations, I communicated with the coordinator that I am running late. I knew they can’t do anything about it but at least I want to set their expectations if ever I arrive late, though I don’t want that to happen. When I finally got out of the jam, it was a breeze from Magallanes to Mandaluyong. When I got to The Legend Villas, my first venue, I was surprised that I made it before the guests. Apparently, they all started a bit late and got into some traffic situation themselves. So I was totally safe. So the program went on…Jed and Nori, the couple had invited relatives from Masbate which made the afternoon special sharing it with relatives that made a worthwhile trip to celebrate this wonderful day.

It was a small crowd, an intimate, loving one. You can easily feel the closeness of their guests with the bride and groom. Every moment that passed by meant the world to Jed and Nori. There was nothing less of that reception. What it lacked in numbers were filled with happiness for the bride and groom. Jed and Nori was made for each other from the start. You can see it all over. This wedding may have been due for a long time but in their hearts, you can tell that they’ve always been married to each other.

To Jed and Nori, congratulations. When we met when I helped you with your wedding reception program, I felt this deep appreciation that giving you my insights weren’t just that. When I realized what it meant to you guys, it meant more to me.



No one really knows where they’re headed when preparing for a wedding. Wedding planners might have an idea, but they know it from the outside. I-myself may be used to a program but the real emotions you get during your own wedding is just magical. . .

Gig #2: Mr.&Mrs. Paolo and Kim Mendoza

The earlier crowd was intimate. I was not quite ready with what came next. When I met the Kim and Paolo, I forgot that they mentioned they were expecting about 400 guests. It did not register then in my head how big that was until I saw the venue myself at Enderun College tent.

From the garden wedding that happened with the sunset effect, I knew I was in for a good fight. It’s like a boxing match finding out your opponent is 5 feet taller than you. When the guests started pouring in, I can barely see faces from halfway onto the reception venue.

Addressing a wedding crowd is challenging. You are faced with people coming from different personalities, culture, expectations, level of society and intellect. I was like Eminem getting ready for battle on his move 8 Mile. So when it was time to hit the stage, I knew I had to kick it into high gear. I kept my energy up as I was running on reserved energy (c/o a can of Monster Energy Drink), while wondering how long I can keep this up. It was a fairly tough crowd. For one, I’m pretty sure people all the way at the back can barely see or hear me so I’m guessing they didn’t bother to listen. I threw everything I got, questions, jokes, I was almost at a point where I was going to threaten them just to react (hehe kidding). Luckily, God was at my side and I got their attention before dinner was announced.

Enderun

I was always sure I can get the crowd once I worked the games, and that I did. It was really hard to see the reaction of each of 400 guests but I get some smiles and laughter every now and then. That was enough to motivate me and move forward. The show must go on.

Moving along, I was surprised how I eventually warmed up to the crowd and breezed through the program. I closed the program with good enough applause working like tips on a subway busker but I would not gauge my performance because of that. I knew 400 guests won’t easily listen but even so, I know I brought the house down. At the very least, the bride and groom enjoyed it. Client’s satisfaction is most important.

When I host, I always say… all weddings are the same. It has a ceremony, a reception, the entourage, traditions, speeches. What makes it special to each newlyweds are their stories and the people they share it with. No matter how big or small a wedding is, the people who make you happy are all in one place, that’s all that should matter. At the end of the day, it’s just going to be the bride and groom in their own little world.

Congrats to Jed & Nori and Paolo and Kim. Your love stories trancends you both. Keep each other as husband and wife as you have done since early in you relationships.

All productions have had booboos. If I haven’t repeatedly talked about the chaos in directing an event, well…there’s not much more I ccan say, it’s the reality of it. Speaking of booboos, I ran into mine last night. It’s nothing majorly embarassing but it’s definitely a story for the books.

In my years of hosting, I’m used to getting calls from random people at random times in the day (and wee hours), and sometimes with random requests. I would just qualify it normally with the price, length and the concept. Anything that violates my principles as a person and a professional, I would likely turn down.
So the story goes…

I was contacted by an event director who I’ve worked with before. She got me once as a host to my biggest crowd ever (1000 or more at Araneta Colesium) and have tested my hosting chops then, she’d also call me in sometimes for a voice-over job and most times I wouldn’t be able to do it to balance my day job with hosting which at the moment is still a weekend thing. Normally she’d ask me if I were free on the date to book me and gove me details later. Having to jug my weekday meetings and gig on the weekend, I totally forgot to ask the full details on her booking: when, where, what and how. So I shot a text asap and got the date, time and venue. After which I remembered to ask the attire. She said to come in business casual when I knew the venue was a big hotel. So I thought, maybe it’s a laid-back gig. So I assumed I’ll ne hosting guests at the hotel or something. Then I asked the titel of the show. It was for a major consumer children’s milk brand add guests were doctors, midwives and nurses. So I thought, what the heck…

IMG_0171The next day, I thought I’d dress up nice anyway since I had meetings that day. If I overdress, then I wouldn’t mind standing out because I will be on stage. So I suited up in the most casual way.
When I got called in at 3pm, I checked out the venue. It was big, it was cool and was not short of amazing. The director was busy with last minute rehearsals of the lights and sounds production so I patiently situated myself near the techbooth and waived to the team to let them know I’ve arrived. A few minutes after, one of the team approached me with a thick stack of stapled bond paper. I smiled back and read through it. It showed a lot of “AOB” and long speaking lines. While I tried to figure out which one my part was, I saw somewhere towards the half of the script saying “introduce host – Mr. Piolo Pascual”… And right on queue, someone handed me the mic…a wired one.

My brain hanged like pentium 4 on Windows 8. I wasn’t the host afterall.

So to cut the long story short, my lesson learned is to always ask questions when you are not sure. Never assume anything. As a professional Emcee, you have to be assertive. Even if you already are sure, it doesn’t hurt to reiterate.