When I hand a client a detailed show book (a document with every lighting, audio, video, and special effects cue along with speech text down to the second) for the first time, the initial reaction is “What do we need all of that for? It will just confuse our executives.” Actually, it will confuse most executives, however, it also will make certain that everyone around them knows exactly what is supposed to happen and when and who is supposed to do it. This is invaluable for making executives appear not to be confused. It comes in extremely handy when you are in the throws of set-up for a complex, 9:00 a.m., general session — usually at two in the morning the day of because you can’t get in the hall until all the sand from the previous evening’s South Sea Islands Limbo Marathon extravaganza is shoveled away. At such a time, all the people there need to be sure that you know exactly what you are doing and what they are supposed to do. Otherwise, they are apt to become extremely cranky.
Another good reason is that because set-up and show time are so tight, that after power goes out for an hour or you have to send back to the warehouse for a different truss configuration to fit over the palm trees, the scheduled 7:00 a.m. executive rehearsal will never take place. At 9:00 a.m., it is either going to be a wing and prayer, or a wing, and a prayer, and a detailed show book to get you through the morning. Take your pick.
In the meantime, while you are pondering the situation, let us know how you feel about detailed show books. Is there a better way? Have you got a sure fire way to make sure things go as planned? Or, more likely, have you got a funny story about when things didn’t go as planned, and you wished you hadn’t let that client talk you out of the detailed show book? Let us hear from you.