When It Looks Easy…

Saving Mr. Banks

By Elisabeth Scott Daley, WED®, ABC™
“A Passion for Performance”

The best compliment we as performers can receive is often a double-edged sword. If we do our jobs correctly, it seems effortless. To those observing, it will appear that there is no “art” involved, but that is an illusion. That is when we are truly at our best.

When we achieve, “The Art of the Artless Art”; when what we do is so easy and so natural, that it might just go unnoticed, that is when we can claim to be an artist.

A few days ago my husband and I went to go see “Saving Mr. Banks”, and it wasn’t at all what I expected. It totally blew me away! As we were discussing the movie, I actually said something like “what script?”, condescendingly suggesting that there didn’t appear to be one…and then realized my mistake.

The script was so perfectly written and so effortlessly performed that it didn’t seem like a script at all. None of the amazing actors seemed to be acting. This brilliant film had me believing I was watching a documentary. It had me believing I was a fly on the wall watching all the action take place. Simple. Simple. Simple. There was no “chomping the scenery” (over-indulgent, heavy-handed acting) and no “Ten O’clock number” (send them out of the theatre singing the title song) ….it just was.

The film was filled with well-known actors, but I was never aware of that fact. The directing was subtle, and filled with understated humor like when Mrs. Travers stated she didn’t like “made up words”, and the song writers who were sitting at the piano, gently pushed the sheet music for “Supercalifragilistic” under another piece of music, with a quick knowing glance to each other. This movie made filmmaking look easy. It is not.

What we, as Masters of Ceremonies and DJs do is also often marginalized. If we are good, it looks easy. If we are bad, it’s especially embarrassing because everyone thinks it’s easy, that we must really be idiots to screw up something so simple. It is a “no-win” situation.

But just like Captain Kirk, I do not believe in “no-win” scenarios and therefore will continue my quest to encourage everyone to find the art in what they are doing and share it with the world.

Always remember: when you seamlessly transition from your Grand Entrance into the Formal Dances; when you achieve “beat-mixing” nirvana, or finally when you facilitate with hundreds of different choices (both scripted and unscripted) an amazing event…You are an artist. It still might look easy, but we will know in our hearts that for just a brief second, we elevated those moments and created art.