World Airshow News                   


Lousy Narrators & Unprepared Performers:


It Never Fails


The show is over, the crowd has started home, and you’re packing up the equipment when a “performer” comes over to the announcer’s station:


After a few moments of small talk, the “performer” gets to his point; he has come over to complain about your narration of his act.  Seems you didn’t get his name right, missed his hometown, and did not mention that his “Bug Smasher 2000” has a special, custom built, left-handed doohickey to control the airflow around the tail wheel.  To make matters worst, he had “told” you all this stuff last year when he flew his first show at the “Possum Trot Airshow and Pig Picking.”


He’s trying “to build a reputation” and YOU screwed it all up!  


Never mind that he was flying over an 800-foot hard deck and you worked your butt off trying to keep the crowd interested in that little speck buzzing around overhead;


Never mind that he allowed the “on crowd wind” to blow him across the deadline and you made him look like the “greatest of professionals” as he broke off his routine and returned to the aerobatic box;


Never mind that you had to ask him, at the briefing, for a sequence and bio information and only got a crudely, hastily drawn sequence on the back of a crumpled, mustard stained napkin;


The guy is just starting out, flying for free, so you shuffle your feet, look at the ground and mutter an apology.   But, in the back of your mind, you are thinking:


“Look, you totally unprofessional airshow wantabe.  You may be the “hot stick” back at your home ‘drone of “Mud Flats International,” and all your friends and employees may think (at least to your face) that you are Sierra Hotel, but in reality you are just one more airplane driver with a highly developed since of self worth.


"Yes, you have some raw talent, and yes you have been able to teach yourself aerobatics without killing anybody but you ain’t no Sean D. Tucker (add other professional performers as necessary).  You are all brass and ego, and you assume that because you think you are the hottest thing since Chuck Yeager, I am supposed to “know” all about you, your history, your flying ability, your routine, your airplane, etc., etc. 


"Do you know that I just spent three weeks working with the act that flew before you!  Three weeks of reviewing web sites, reading material, sending emails and making phone calls to learn the who, the what and the when of what this act was trying to present to the paying customers. 


"You waltz in, expecting, assuming, making no effort to help me help you and then have the gall to come up here and criticize my efforts to make up for your short comings!


"Why you %$#@$*^!”


No, I don’t say those things; but maybe I should.  Maybe if more of us who are trying to make this industry a real business would speak up, we could move forward and leave this type of boorish, amateurish behavior behind.


Yes, we need new performers and we must make an effort to provide those starting out in this business the opportunity to gain the experience necessary to become the next generation of performers.


But this is a two way street.  The new performers must also make an effort to bring to the table the tools necessary for an effective presentation of their act.


Professionalism is much more then learning “stick and rudder” skills.  It’s the sum of the total package a performer brings to a show: the attitude, the hardware, the skill set, AND the supporting documentation necessary to effectively present themselves.


Yet, it never fails, that there are those who are so fixated in the mirror that they can never understand that it is this total package that makes or breaks their airSHOW career.  




Side Bar:


Yeah, but….


From the performer’s Point of View:


What about the announcer who loses your information packet (guilty) or, much worst, does not read the material or will not announce the act as you have requested?   What do I do about those kinds of situations?


Simple, Raise Hell!  Raise hell with the announcer and, more importantly, raise hell with the show’s sponsor/producer. 


For the airshow performer, it is of the utmost importance that YOU maintain artistic control of how your act is presented.   After all, your airshow career will raise or fall on how the spectators perceive your act and the narration is a major part of that perception.  While you, the performer, are on stage, the announcer is ancillary to your act; you are the Star, not the announcer.  (Why do you think so many acts bring their own announcer?)


Yes, just as there are un-professional performers out there, there are un-professional announcers.  If, after making an honest effort to provide the show’s narrator with the needed material, the announcer does not do you justice or “edits” your narration to fit his preference, complain, loud, long and bitterly.  If there is no change in methodology and/or cooperation, make every effort to have the announcer replaced.


That’s right; get him fired!  People, this is a business, and in business, if you don’t do your job, you lose your job.   Works for performers; works for narrators!