Day of Show: Backstage Strategy
So, now we get to, what everybody is kind of more used to seeing, the actual show and we're going to start off with the actual showtime, and then, move on to the post show. Now, the the first stage of this is we think we've got our team together, we've got our clothes there, we've done all the hard work of creating the atmosphere in the venue, and all the issues, but we really need a strategy of how backstage is going to work. We spoke a little bit about staggering times for people to show up like, for instance, you'd want the makeup and hair teams there before the models, because the models have no reason to wait around for the hair and makeup to set up. So, little things like that you want to build into your strategy, so that, A, you're respecting people's time, but it works kind of like a well-oiled machine, you have things coming in at different times. So, let's talk a little bit about these points right here, starting with the first one. These are sort of the teams that you need t...
o have in place or the particular bodies you need to have in place. The management, you need someone to be overseeing the event itself, and then, you definitely want someone who is going to be at the big picture, and you really don't want it to be you, because you have enough on your mind, because at this point your main concern should be like seeing, making sure that what goes out on the stage is going out the way you want it to go out and really just being that last set of eyes. Like, if you can have this luxury, it's not always possible, sometimes we have to do double duty, but the ultimate goal is for you to have the luxury of just scanning a model before she goes on the runway. That should ultimately be your job, of course, reality demands that sometimes that's not possible, and you're going to have to do a little bit more, and put out fires, and things like that. But that's why you want a real great management team who is thinking about the big picture, because once you're backstage, that is your world for the evening so, at least for the length of the show, so you need to immerse yourself in that world, and focus on that world, and not worry about what's happening anywhere else. For the creative team you want to make sure that they are handled appropriately and that they have directives. These are things that happened in the pre-production, like when you're planning all this, and collaborating with the hair and makeup, but make sure that they have everything they need to execute your vision that you agreed on, and reinforce it, too, like make sure, like you had a quick model change and her hair is, she has short hair, and you have all these long haired girls with buns, right. So, let the hair and makeup know what are we going to do with it. Are we going to slick it back? Are we going to have her be odd man out and spike it up? You know, like what can we do? And always look at any kind of thing we initially might see as a problem, as an opportunity to like throw something into the mix, but always keep your creative team informed, because if you have a change or anything goes awry, and then you see it come to you, and then, you want to go back to your makeup or hair team and change things, that is not going to make for happy campers. You have a question?
So, do you have the models, the garments designated for the specific model well ahead of the show?
Okay. Now, that's a great question, because we didn't touch on that in the pre-show, but apart of the casting. Once you've selected your models, you're going to, really it depends on the clothing you do to be honest with you. If they're a basic size, like if you're doing athletic wear and it has a little stretch, and they're size six, and it's a size six, then you don't really have to worry too much if you've got that right size, but if you're doing evening gowns, and especially, I find strapless, strapless dresses for some reason, everyone's body is different, so you want to schedule fittings so that you can figure out what from your collection looks good on that girl. And remember that this may or may not result in an expense, because remember, models are not always going to go to a fitting for free. That's one more thing in their day they need to do, and agencies will often charge for fittings. It'll be a lower rate than their normal rate for a show, but there's a range of rates for models. So, what they're doing it, and there's extra, if, for instance, they're wearing lingerie or swimsuits. Models will get paid more for that if their bodies are in, ready for lingerie, and for swimwear. And every agency is different, but you want to look into that. And then, there's also issues around transportation, parking. One of the things that if we get models to volunteer, like if we go to an agency, and say, would you volunteer for the show, if we're doing it for charity or whatever it is, but one of the main things is parking, especially if it's hard to park in the area. So, you want to work out a deal with the garage or with the venue to make sure that at least your models are completely taken care of, because it may cause you a little expense, but nowhere near the expense of hiring that person full time. I'm paying for all out parking, so that's, again, something that's showtime, but that you want to think about in advance, and add to that menu of things were talking about with prep. Okay, so the importance of creatives, and keeping not only them on track, but not throwing any wrenches into it. Try not to surprise your creative team, it's just not good, you just never know what's going to happen. And then, the next stage is the liaison. Now, this is someone who is living in both worlds. Ideally, it would be the assistant to that over arching manager. And this is the liaison between front of house and back of house, because if you need anything front of house, you should not be running out there nor should anyone on your team. You should have that one person. This is the person I would probably designate a headset to. You should not wear a headset if your designer, that's one more, you don't need those extra voices in your head, and you don't need to hear about the problems, because then you will try to put them out and that will distract you from the job at hand. So, have someone designated, who can be that liaison, who's communicating from backstage to, for instance, the sound, or the lighting, or the music, and who also has eyes up in front. Nowadays, with technology, you can find ways to see what's happening up front. A lot of designers will put a camera up front so that you can see the show, and it's not so much sitting back and enjoying the show, but it's more a matter of, I want to know, okay, she's, what's going on out there, making sure everything is running smoothly. So, you want that one person and it should be that single voice. If you need something up front, that's the go-to person, just assign that person. And again, we're always talking on these list, ideal situations, but keep in mind, that you could, this is all scalable. You can always bring things down, combine positions. Be very stealth about it and have fun with it. I did my first fashion show when I was 14 years old and it was very cocky. I was just starting fashion school, and at the High School of Fashion Industries in New York City, it was like a really great place, and I got together a bunch of friends, and we thought, we're designer's now, let's put on a show. And from that very first show we just learned so much , and yet, it was totally scaled-down. We didn't have the luxury of all this. We were all playing every role, but if you know the roles, then you know you have two roles. So, it's kind of important to separate them, so you don't just say, oh, that's just my job, that includes everything, because I think all of us, who produce things and stuff, we'll learn everything, and assume every position just because we can do it, but you want to know that you are doing more than one job at any given time, if that's what you're taking on. The feeder, for me one of the most vital roles in the fashion show. Now, this is the person who controls the exits of the models. They call them exits or entrances, when the model leaves backstage and goes out onto the runway, and this is the prompt and the flow. This person could be combined with that liaison, in terms of speaking to the front of house or watching it on a monitor, whatever logistics allow, but also, this person maybe just kind of askew right there at the entrance to the runway. You want to make sure they're not visible from the audience, but that they can see. They can basically see a girl coming or be able to time, because if they, you want to cue, that feeder wants a cue of like when to send out the next girl. So, whatever that is for you, you want to have that person control the feed, so there's not too many girls out at the same time, but also so that they can not have too few girls at the same time, and also, you can let the model know, because this also happens with inexperienced models, they tend to speed up and walk too fast. So, whatever you've agreed with the model in advance, like that the look is on the runway. The walk, it's this pace, it's relaxed, or if you want, sort of, really, really quick walk, whatever it is, you're going to be able to, that person's going to be able to talk directly to the model. They'll be able to say, you went really fast last time, I just need you to slow down a little bit, and that little voice in that models ear is enough rather than freaking out at the model. So, you know that person is kind of, you definitely want a calm person for that role. The runner, you may have more than this, it's like when you physically need things, and just can't talk, you need that person who can, if front of house is talking to back of house, who can actually make the physical connection, and this can be an intern, this is like catch all, this is that person who is good at everything. It's like we need this, we need to find that person in the audience, we need to bring someone back stage, whatever it is, so they know enough that they know everybody you're talking about and they're like the perfect assistant for running back and forth. And, then, we mentioned earlier the dressers and the whole assembly line that happens backstage. The dressers are apart of that. You want to give them, not only that collaborative moment where they're talking with the designer or the assistant designer to know what they're doing, but you also want to think about telling them things like sequence of how that model should get dressed because, for instance, if a model puts on her jewelry, and then, tries to push her arm through a sleeve with a bracelet, that can cause a big problem. It could ruin the garment, it could get stuck, it could, just any number things. So, you want to, dressers aren't always super experienced, they may be just starting out in fashion or just doing this on a lark. A great resource for dressers is fashion schools, because they already have a love of fashion, and this is their way to get a little experience backstage, get a feel for it, and they know what you're talking about. And I have to say I'm really proud of our students at the school of fashion design, because they have such good training, in terms of their sewing, and all this kind of skills that all of them show up to, and, it's funny, we've never told them to do this, they show up with like they're little sewing kit, a scissor, like anything they might need, a designer might need in their purse, just like or their knapsack, and we've had designers, like famous designers, come into Boston, and respond to that, like oh no, that button was loose, and they didn't, they took the initiative to not to do it, because that I think would be an over reach, but to ask the designer or the person, can I sew this back on? and just like, do you need needle and thread? No, I have it ready. That's beautiful, that's an incredible point to be at, but you want to cultivate that. So, for instance, if you are working with a local school, know that and say, we'd love, we know your guys know how to sew, so anything can happen backstage, so have them bring a little kit and think about what you'd have in your kit. and give them sort of a scaled-down version of the basics that he should have, and it'll make them feel also, even if they don't end up doing anything with it, it's empowering. It feels like I'm empowered to do that, I'm not just an extra body. Okay, so this is for the backstage strategy, and now, this is just a shot of a backstage in a big fashion show. This is large-scale, this is very luxurious by most standards. Sometimes, we have a tiny little area for a backstage, but you want to also make sure you're set up with things like light. We take that for granted, and even the kind of light that you want, because it could be fluorescent lighting, and you want to make sure that the lighting looks good under the light, I mean that the makeup looks good under the light on the runway.