A Celebrity’s Personal Tour Assistant
Written by Plexus Radio on 20 July, 2017
A Celebrity’s Personal Tour Assistant
Being a personal assistant to the stars isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You have to constantly be on guard for any strike against you. Celebrities are generally concerned with one thing: Results. Ninety percent of the time they’re uninterested in an explanation as to why something isn’t so. Being good at this job means you have to think like that person. That’s obviously a skill that takes time to acquire, but you need to be a quick study and pick up on the clues. When mistakes happen or when a comment is made about something, write it down as a reminder and review your notes at the end and beginning of each day. When you’re asked about a particular aspirin, write it down and put it on the runner’s list for the next day, or go out and get it on your own time.
Dry cleaning on tour can be a bitch to get done every day, let alone weekends and holidays. Many places require that it to be brought in by 9:00 or 11:00 am. Make arrangements with the promoter and the runner ahead of time (at least several days in advance) to have them meet you at the hotel, if you stop there, before proceeding to the venue. Have everything already pulled out the night before, and everyone else’s regular laundry ready in one place when the runner arrives. Being organized this way can mean either getting it done or missing an opportunity.
One of the essentials is to identify and understand a celebrity’s pet peeves. Make a physical list of them, and make sure you not only avoid them but that others you work with are aware of certain things too. Local people don’t need explanations, just the knowledge.
Having a meet ‘n greet after the show in the dressing room can be a huge pain in the ass for the assistant. First of all, it means the artist will be there later, especially if he or she is feeling chatty. This means the crew will be waiting on your wardrobe cases, thus holding up the pack of the truck. Immediately picking up their clothing and towels as they hit the floor will save the embarrassment of a dirty dressing room and will save time trying to pick them up with 20 or so people standing around.
The biggest pain in the ass is when the celebrity has a change of mind. Suddenly everything you’ve been doing per request is completely wrong, as if it was never that way to begin with. Now you’re incompetent because you didn’t get the memo before it was written. And make no mistake, it is definitely your fault. When you’ve been instructed not to provide something unless and when the artist asks for it, now it’s ridiculous that you’re not providing it at certain times and they’ll never to have to ask for it again.
Forget about packing anything up until the celebrity is gone, either. They watch you pack something away and then ask for it five minutes later, angry that it wasn’t right where it has always been. If you make a major, irreparable mistake with their wardrobe, the best thing to do is admit it. Confess your mistake immediately, and say you were the one who messed up.When given the “why” portion of the drill, don’t piss off the celebrity with excuses. After all, the bottom line is, “It just didn’t happen, I messed up.” If you can replace something, let them know you’re finding a replacement.
If you as the assistant are also responsible for the crew’s meals, catering and hospitality can become a real issue.When the band gets done at 11:00 on a weeknight, the crew won’t be able to eat anything until at least 12:30. That doesn’t help when you’re in the middle of nowhere and everything closes at 10:00 pm.When advancing this portion of the carnival, you might need to make local people aware of the time limitations in advance so they’ll have time to figure out something other than the standard pizza. Every place wants to feed the crew pizza after the show because it’s cheap, easily accessible and feeds several people at once. Regardless of that, not everyone will be happy with the choices every day. No matter if they order their own meal or you throw darts and pick food for everyone, someone will be unhappy with the choices or with the meal itself. That’s life.
The assistant might also be responsible for the runner and settling the receipts accordingly. It’s best to settle receipts with the runner before the show ends, then to settle with the production manager after the show. Unless everyone gives you money separately beforehand, it’s tough to track down people after the show and hit them up for money. People want to eat, shower and get to bed for an early load-in the next morning. If you have to track people down in this manner, you won’t get to eat, shower and sleep. Unless you make a system for people to pay their runner bills, you could find yourself defending against the production manager who wants to settle receipts after the show because he needs to report the tour’s finances to upper management. If they get their ass ridden, you as the assistant are sure to have yours ridden too.
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