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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Career as Compere ( MCing)






YOU may have seen him, or her, at a mall, pumping up the energy of the crowd and keeping people interested in an activity. Or it may have been at a corporate event or a fashion show, adding zing and excitement when there's a lull. 


   Welcome to the world of MCing or emceeing as it is called. If you have the gift of the gab, like people, like talking to crowds and dislike a 9 to 5 job, try being an emcee. First things first. An MC or emcee stands for 'Master of Ceremonies.' He is a professional compere who acts as a catalyst or a connecting link at an event, telling the audience about the show, the sequence that just took place, or the sequence that is expected to follow. Among other duties, he introduces the show, the key people, the celebrities, elaborates on the theme of the event, asks the crowd to clap, announces the lunch break and also concludes the show. 


   What qualities does an aspiring emcee need to possess? It is presence of mind, the ability to think on your feet, being spontaneous and adapting to the situation at that point, because many times, the flow of the event may meander. Also, you need to have language skills, excellent communication and people skills. And a lot of common sense. You may start by becoming an emcee at a family gathering or your college event. These are good starting points. The more events you emcee at the better, because practice makes perfect. 


   Anjaan, who's been in this industry for a while, says, "Networking is important in this line. Watching and observing seniors in the field gives you a lot of exposure. Meet up with deejays. Begin with doing events for free, so that once you are confident, you can charge a reasonable fee.'' Then, there are road shows. Road promotions are also a good way to begin, though they may be less paying (Rs 800-2,000 per show). At a road show, you may have to stand on a float and galvanise audience attention at four or five locations. At a mall, it's a stationary location where you must get the people involved. Here, there's no script ready, so it is considered good training ground. 


  As for money, a corporate event or a public performance can earn you Rs 8,000-15,000. But those who are talented and established may charge up to Rs 30,000. Also, girls are paid better in this field, say experts. Ushy Mohandas, emcee at corporate events, says the best way to start is to get in touch with the HR chief of the corporates. The alternative is to contact event managers. 


   The special attributes for being an emcee for corporate events is a good command over the English language, understanding the corporate philosophy and the language; and the ability to convey the message the corporate house wants you to, effectively. 


   With corporate events, you can start at Rs 3,500-5,000 per hour and a half; those established can be paid Rs 40,000-50,000 per hour. Ideally, you must have another job, a fulltime one while you are still at the beginning stage. Once established, you might make the choice to make this alone your career. For example, Ushy is principal at a dental college in Bangalore. 


   A significant aspect of the career is that there work could be seasonal. It is usually believed that March to June are lean months since it is exam-time with hardly any festivals. A point to bear in mind is that you may start as an emcee, but end up in TV, radio, film or giving voice-overs.






Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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