The content of this post is something that we see too many times in corporate America. Why hire a game show company when we can do it ourselves? Hopefully after reading this post, you’ll see exactly why.
One of the hardest parts about writing this post is not sounding slightly bitter about past experiences where clients have decided to not use GSA and do it themselves. I apologize in advance if this post offends anyone in any way. In the end, we know that it’s the client’s final decision to use GSA or not use GSA. My goal for this post is to shed some light on why Game Show America recommends that you avoid doing a game show on your own.
While the reasons for not using GSA vary, the most common reason is because of the budget. Going back to my previous two posts - this reason could be avoided with creative planning. The next reason is actually twofold because it concerns the host. Sometimes our clients decide not to bring in GSA because they feel that spending money on something we can do ourselves doesn’t make sense - besides, they have seen game shows on TV and our Powerpoint guy can make something up quickly and Bob from Marketing is a funny guy, so we’re all set. Sometimes, GSA still gets contracted to bring in the technical aspects of the game show, but because Joe in Human Resources has watched the Game Show Network all week, he feels he’s qualified to host the game show.
Part of our job when we are called for game shows is to save the client from themselves. Does all this sound harsh? Probably…but sometimes being blunt is what’s required to ensure that your event is successful. In the end, our clients have thanked us for making them see the light.
Meeting planners - you know this phrase to be true, because you do it all the time. Clients who try to plan everything themselves oftentimes get into a bind because they don’t plan meetings for a living - and hence a few bad choices can make the entire event a bad experience. When GSA works with meeting planners, we encourage them do DISCOURAGE having the clients “do it themselves” in any capacity. When we talk directly with clients, we give them the same message.
Sure, the client may have a good Powerpoint person - but it takes a lot more than Powerpoint to make a game show work. I’m sure Bob from Marketing and Joe in Human Resources are great people, but they’re not game show hosts. To ensure a successful event, we always encourage meeting planners and our clients to let a professional company handle the game show.
Two examples that I have used in the past:
1) I could watch Bob and Joe do their jobs on TV for a week. I fairly certain it would be insulting to them if I told them that I don’t need them anymore because I’ve seen their jobs on TV it looks EASY to do their jobs.
2) I have watched the Medical Channel now for over a month and seen over 60 heart surgeries. Does that qualify me to be a heart surgeon?
Why would a game show host and/or full production be any different?
Below is from a whitepaper that I email to client who are considering hosting a show themselves.
The Benefits of a Professional Game Show Host
The host of your game show is one of the most important aspects of the show. In fact, the host has an immense responsibility, as he/she can make or break the show.
Quite a few people are comfortable speaking in public and can be characters when delivering messages to their employees and/or clients. Being a game show host relies on these qualities, but there are some other important factors to consider.
A professional game show host has had extensive experience in public speaking experience, improvisational comedy, acting, and interpersonal communication. He/She has also had the experience of hosting many different types of game shows containing a wide variety of content.
Perhaps the most important trait a professional host brings to the table is his/her rapport with the technical side of the show. While the host is the personality that brings the game show to life, it’s the technicians that make the physical show work. The relationship between a host and technician that have worked together on numerous shows is priceless and comes from years of working with each other to produce a professional, polished game show.
The host truly needs to know all of the technical aspects of the game show before going out on stage and interacting with people. The results are far more impressive when a professional host seems to “know” things about the contestants and can ad lib about people and situations, creating a light and comfortable atmosphere on stage.
Is it possible to teach someone how to host a game show? Absolutely. However, what can’t be taught in the short amount of time are all the technical aspects of the game that the host needs to know and all of the possible “what if” scenarios. It is our job to ensure a professional production for our clients. We strive to minimize and/or eliminate all technical errors for every performance by having A+ technical staff on site. However, the odds of something going askew increase greatly when working with an outside party – even if the person has a good rapport with the group and great presentation skills. Because the technician and outside host haven’t built that rapport yet, there’s always an “unknown aspect” that creeps into the equation.
The key to a successful game show is to have a synergy between the production end and the performance end. Timing, ad libs, game play, game flow, transitions, all of the game rules, and the knowledge to handle “what if” situations, are essential qualities and generally are acquired with years of experience in hosting game shows.
The most important aspect of a having a professional game show host is peace of mind. We want you to be comfortable with the knowledge that your game show will be first class from beginning to end. A professional game show host brings years of game show hosting experience to the production. With an A+ technical staff and the host’s knowledge of the entire game show process, it will ensure peace of mind for everyone involved.
Simply put, there is much more to hosting that meets the eye. The reason it looks easy on television is that these hosts have years of training (just like a heart surgeon) and they are masters of their craft.
Here’s an example:
I got called in less than an hour before a show for corporate client in Las Vegas (about 2,500 in the audience). They had TWO people lined up to host the show - both internal people - both very outgoing and personable. Behind the scenes and as presenters, these were two great people and incredible speakers. However…they didn’t do well at all with the game show in rehearsals. The show director made a last minute decision to have me host the show. We were already doing the technical part of the show - but I literally had less than 30 minutes to put on a suit and get to the stage for the game show. The end result is that I completely WOWED the audience - and had absolutely no rehearsal time. In fact, they gave me a nice bonus check for “bailing them out” as they put it.
I completely respect the intentions of a company when they want someone internal to host, but I also want them to have the best show possible - and peace of mind knowing that there is someone on stage who has done this many times before. It would be unfortunate for them to have a bad experience, which may give them a negative attitude toward doing another game show in the future. I’ve seen too many times what happens without a professional host.
Also understand that Powerpoint may be good for some things, but it’s not a game show design software. All of our software that we use for our game shows is custom designed using Visual Basic and Flash. Our software designer has worked on TV game shows for a number of years. The games we use for our productions DON’T look like someone designed them in Powerpoint (isn’t that the whole idea). They look like they were made for television.
The entire point of this post is for meeting planners and clients alike to understand what a risk it is to “do it yourselves.” I hope it is obvious that Game Show America is passionate about providing the best game shows possible for our clients. We simply want to provide the best service for you and give you peace of mind for your event.
Any comments or questions are welcome. Thanks again for reading…and we’ll see you next time!