Beware of RATCHET MELAS
As some of you know, I had a gig to host yesterday. A lot of people asked me how it went so I decided to just blog about it and write about it once rather than over and over. I have to say it was a complete waste of time. I'm usually not one to go public about stuff like this, but for anyone trying to get into the Desi entertainment industry, these are some things to look out for.
Basically I was told to be there by 11. Being a girl, I take forever to get ready so I woke up at 9:30am, curled my hair and did my makeup and left the house by 11:15. Normally I would leave by like 10:45 but this is a desi mela, there was no way it was going to start before 12. I get there and no one knows what's going on. The organizer thought it would be a great idea to plan everything out by herself and ended up not giving anyone directions until the last minute. While touching up my makeup I met someone who I've known through work for a few years. Anyways, she was a judge for the dance competition and we were both told days before the event that there would be rooms for us to get ready in, but when we got there the rooms had no lights or mirrors, so she had to get ready in the bathroom. Lesson 1: Always make arrangements for guests at your event. Whether it's something as simple as getting a couple of lamps and mirrors, do it. It makes a difference.
When I got back to the stage my co-host (or the woman I would be taking turns to MC with codename: pagal aunty )took it upon herself to tell me she would be hosting until 3 or 4. It was 1:30 and the event had FINALLY started, but if I'm told I need to do my job at a specific time I'm going to follow it. Specially if this woman comes in at 12:45 and expects to take my slot, thinking of me as an amateur, but whatever. I decided not to care as this would give me some time to hang out with my friends who were performing/ modeling and have a look at some of the stalls. Even though I had to leave by 6 I made arrangements to stay later because of how things were going.
When I got back to the stage I go up to my co host to let her know that I'm back and say " Hey It's 3:30 so I'm here whenever you're ready", then I get the bitch stare and she says " Oh well I'm good right now I can take care of it for another couple of hours". Excuse me, since when am I your backup? But once again I leave and some random ladies who I had met earlier asked me why I'm not on stage. I explained the situation and one of the ladies decides to go ask my "co-host" what time I'll be on stage. She also gets yelled at and pagal aunty says "Oh, well I don't care. Until the organizer tells me to I refuse to give up the mic". Well the organizer came, yelled at her multiple times for screwing a bunch of things up, and told her to pass it on to me. When I asked her to fill me in she goes " Hold on ill tell you", waving her old fat wrinkly hand in my face. Uhm who are you again? I didn't even know this aunty's name and she's waving her hand in my face like a diva. Apparently if she didn't announce the next few acts I would get too confused. (last time I checked I've been doing this for at least 5 years). Lesson 2: People are EXTREMELY fame hungry, whether they know what they're doing or not. Sometimes you have to fight for it.
I finally get on stage and everything is a COMPLETE mess. All of the performances were pushed back like 3 hours and even the organizer didn't have a set schedule. Lesson 3: MAKE A SCHEDULE. Even if it's a little off by the time the show starts, you can make changes, but have a schedule to follow. Don't just list random events and over-book performances.
Before I knew it I had made enemies, all of the dance teachers almost attacked me demanding to go next. I probably said "I'm sorry it's not up to me, I'm just following what the organizer is telling me. If she tells me to introduce you guys next, that's the only way I can do it. I'm just doing what I'm told" at least a hundred times. Lesson 4: DON'T SHOOT THE MC. Hosts/MCs are not in charge. We're just announcing whatever we're told. I'd suggest to anyone who will be on stage, find a secluded place with easy access to the stage.
THEN, pagal aunty came back, asking over and over if I needed any help. No, I've barely been on stage for 90 minutes. I've dealt with worse. I don't need another person breathing down my neck while I'm trying to do my job. This woman then tells me she's supposed to take care of another segment according to the organizer. I obviously wasn't going to take her word for it, and found out that the organizer never said such a thing. Lesson 5: Trust no one besides the light/sound people and the organizers.
Anyways, once it was time to announce that segment, I handed her the mic. Once again she decided to bitch at me to fill her in. Excuse me when I asked you to fill me in, you didn't. I'm not wasting my breath. You can ask the organizer. Fed up with everyone, specially her, I decided the sooner I got off stage the better, for my own sanity. If people want some fame at Ratchet Mela 2013 or something similarly bootleg to that, go ahead. As far as I'm concerned I don't want to be associated with that sort of organization. Mind you, I wasn't even getting paid, but I had committed to my station. I had to be there. Lesson 6: You need to have thick skin. Don't get offended when someone tries to take advantage of you or "shine brighter". You can do better. Don't settle for these unprofessional events like I did. Hint: If there are grammar errors on every piece of promotional material, don't do it. Overall, it was a good experience to know how to manage things backstage and during what could possibly be the worst case scenario for an MC, but I would never do it again.
A couple of other things I noticed : Models, bring some of your own makeup. Chances are if you've never heard of the makeup artist they might mess up your face, forcing you to fix it. Also, always make backup arrangements for yourself. Have a couple of water bottles and granola bars or something in your purse. Bring essentials like flats, hairspray, extra clothes, cash, makeup etc. And most importantly no matter what kind of situation you're in, smile as much as possible. It always leaves a great impression. Hope you guys learned from my terrible experience yesterday! :P
PS: thank you to Prachi, Surya and all of my girls who were modeling for attempting to keep me sane!