Occasionally we get asked what keeps us motivated as we sit at our desks and answer emails and phone calls all day every day. To some the job of a middle buyer may sound exciting because we are dealing in entertainment, but then they realize 95% of our work is done sitting at a desk and it may not be all that it is cracked up to be. As you deal with the stress of a few shows per year, we are dealing with the stress of multiple shows each week, at locations on opposite sides of the country, with artists on opposite sides of the spectrum.
I’m not going to lie – some days are easier than others. Some days as we sort through contracts, chase marketing materials, answer emails asking whether our clients really have to provide that package of underwear listed on the rider, and so on, it can seem a little tedious.
Being honest, this job has ruined my own ability to be a direct consumer of concerts and comedy events. I cannot help but wonder why the artist started 15 min late, why the left spotlight isn’t working, and I often find myself preoccupied with the details that have nothing to do with me as an audience member. BUT, then we get to attend a show for one of our clients, and our perspective changes. We get to see the entire process come together in one culminating event. Buyers, committees, venue staff members, students, and audience members are all excited for the day of the show, whether it be the nervous excitement of those backstage or the anxious excitement of audience members lining up outside. The energy on a concert day is unbeatable. Anyone on the planning side of things is working hard to ensure a smooth day, to make all their months of planning come together, and to keep everyone (especially the performer) happy. Then, it all somehow comes together, and the performance starts. If we’re lucky and all is running relatively well, we get a chance to see the looks on the faces of both the audience members, AND the faces of those behind the scenes. My favorite is watching those behind the scenes, seeing all their hard work come together, and knowing they’re thinking “this was totally worth it.”
After a show, those working the show are typically on a “high,” loving the texts and social media posts from their friends, and they start asking the next logical question – “What can we do next?” The excitement is visible on their faces, the sense of achievement and accomplishment, and a sense of pride is in the air. A sense of “we pulled it off!” An echo of “how can we present something even better next time?!” It’s contagious, and makes us smile just thinking about it.
Those are the moments when we know why we do what we do. And that’s when WE say “this was totally worth it.”