Em’ceeing A Lot of Money: Side Income for Hosting

Have you got a magnetic personality? Can you speak well in public? Do you empathize with the man on the street? Yes? Then you’re clearly not one of our MPs. Which means like average Singaporeans, you’re struggling with the current cost of living. The good news is, you can use your charming persona to roll with the (financial) blows. In this article, I ask part-time emcee Eugene Tay about this booming industry:

 

Eugene Tay

Eugene Tay, entrepreneur and part-time emcee

 

What’s Emceeing?

Emceeing is getting on a stage, picking up a mic, and insisting everyone pay attention. Just like after your 15th drink at Wala’s, only you’re sober enough to feel embarrassed.

An emcee’s job is to direct audience attention at something; a married couple, a social message, a video game, etc. That’s the easy part. The hard part is keeping everyone’s attention there, for an hour or more. Think of it as a fusion of sales, public relations, and theatre.

Because emcee work has short durations (a few hours a month), it’s becoming the student job of choice. Events manager Xui Han is amused:

With one e-mail I can get competing quotes from 10 – 15 emcees, usually within a few hours. Where are they all coming from, man?”

From the urge to make money, that’s where.

 

Two emcees dressed as PUB servicemen

Eh dude, I think I know why nobody wanted this “Paying Water Bill is Fun” gig.

 

What’s the Money Like?

I asked Eugene how much it pays:

At the beginning I was only given about $300 for a Dinner and Dance Event that can last for five hours. These days I can command from $500 – $5000.

It really depends on how large scale the event is. One event I emcee’d for was held at Suntec Convention hall for 5000 participants. That one I took home 5k. A small D&D for 20 people might fetch me only $500. A mall event may bring in $800 – $1200.”

But how much time does this take up?

An hour before the event, the event itself, and possibly a half hour after.”

 

Jail cell

And in events with drinking games, as long as the judge decides.

 

2. Why is Everyone Doing It?

A single request for an emcee will flood your mailbox. It’s like the new viagra spam. But why the sudden surge of would-be emcees? Is it something in the water? An extra dash of self-esteem in breakfast cereals?

Why, Eugene?

Cos it seems like easy money. And for agencies who just hire anyone, an undergrad emcee can get $150 for three to five hours work. That sounds like easy money. It’s just that people are more aware of which job pays a little more during the holidays. Waiters are so yesteryear. Why earn $5.00 per hour when you can earn $50.00?

 

Person in chicken suit

I’d rather do this than emcee. Who wants to prance around making a fool of himself?

 

3. Mostly A Guy Thing?

Hey, I’m all for gender equality. I wish it weren’t true, but…if you’re female, this may not be the right source of side-income. Emceeing is a guy-dominated industry; there’s a running joke about how emcee is one letter short of MCP.

So, Eugene…why don’t many women get to use this as side income?

A guy can make fun of himself on stage, get cheap laughs and still be funny. He can be loud, crass, etc. But a girl is judged based on her looks first. An ugly girl won’t grab attention. A good looking girl finds it hard to be loud and funny.

That being said, a girl would be perfect for product launches and mall shows. A guy is better suited for Dinner & Dance, and other “crazy” type events.

 

Girl emcee and guy emcee on a stage

Be honest. Which would you accept a fart joke from?

 

4. Why Not Full Time?

So, solid pay for a couple of hours work. And if you’re full time, you get to up that price further. Why would anyone (like, you know, Eugene) slave in an office?

Part Time job for me. There are full timers for this line, but it can get really tiring because you have to be a happy bunny all the time. And unless you’re a known celebrity, it is tough to do this full time.

You probably have to take up s***y assignments that you dislike, only because you need to make ends meet. If you do it part time, you can still select the jobs that you would find enjoyable. Remember, if you don’t enjoy your job, your audience will definitely know.”

 

Talking into a mic

Geez, I think I know why the last guy quit. Okay, one more time: Pursuant to section 49, sub-section 7E…

 

5. Let’s Talk Qualifications

Is there some sort of emcee school? Some list of qualities you urgently need?

You better learn to be shameless, fast on your feet, witty, knowledgeable (pop culture references, worldly knowledge, etc). You need a wide wardrobe to fit most occasions. Good emcees create their own games and activities. Even better emcees “produce” their own shows – songs, concept, costumes, games, storyline, etc.”

Oh, and let’s not forget charisma:

“Emceeing is about about showing your personality. You need to shine. You need to CONTROL. You need to improvise. A good emcee controls the stage with his charisma, a bad emcee depends on his surroundings (music, crowd, games, etc).”

 

Sleeping on the grass

I’ve got personality alright. My speeches have been used to calm riots.

 

6. Don’t Things Go Wrong?

When someone includes “shameless” as a job qualifier, you better brace for eternal YouTube humiliation. So what happens when an emcee messes up on stage?

There is nothing more embarrassing and demoralising when you mess up on stage. Every young emcee WILL mess up. Even experienced emcees like me mess up.

With enough experience, understanding of human emotions and reactions, you can turn a disastrous situation to your advantage. Think of it as a guitarist playing live on stage. Forgot the chords? Better be prepared to improvise. Fell on stage while dancing? Learn from Robbie Williams. He posed on the ground and continued singing.”

 

Pointing at a power point slide

So, what was wrong with the way I hosted that birthday party?

 

7. I’m Quitting My Job, Boss

I’m leaving to become an emcee. How do I get started?

Join an agency, grow your contacts. Find out who’s running what, and start hanging out at events.”

Eugene also mentions he got his start when: “I got talent spotted. Agency took me in and gave me gigs.” So there you go; there’s no job application form. It’s just a question of attracting the right attention. And if you can’t do that, well…it’s a sign this isn’t the right job for you anyway.

Image Credits:
madaboutasia, Casey Serin, stevedepolo, DJ Houston & Destiny B. Childs, pretenditous, markhillary, knittymarie

Are you an emcee, or do you want to be one? Comment and tell us about it!

Get more Personal Finance tips and tricks on www.MoneySmart.sg

Click to Compare Singapore Home Loans, Car Insurance and Credit Cards on our other sites.



More From MoneySmart
Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesian executions: key questions and answers
    Indonesian executions: key questions and answers

    Indonesia is set soon to execute eight foreigners convicted of drug offences, despite international outrage and desperate appeals for mercy from relatives. Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- that they would face a firing squad imminently. If the executions go ahead, the seven men and one woman will be led to a clearing on a prison island to be shot by police marksmen -- after authorities have placed a black mark on …

  • Pagasa: Drought may worsen
    Pagasa: Drought may worsen

    The drought in 12 already dry areas in the country is expected to worsen as the summer season peaks next month, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. In an advisory, PAGASA said the provinces of Albay, Bataan, Batangas, Biliran, Cavite, Cebu, Ilocos Norte, Leyte, Misamis Occidental, Pampanga, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur will continue to receive “way below” or “below normal” rainfall in May. PAGASA defines …

  • Maximum restraint for Phl troops in West Phl Sea
    Maximum restraint for Phl troops in West Phl Sea

    The military has advised its pilots conducting surveillance in the West Philippine Sea to exercise maximum restraint even if they are being bullied by Chinese troops. Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala said all actions of the pilots should be consistent with the declaration of conduct signed by claimant countries. Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said the Philippines should remain on moral high ground when it comes to the territorial dispute. A …

  • MMDA simulates rescue march after quake, tsunami
    MMDA simulates rescue march after quake, tsunami

    The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday led the annual rescue march from Quezon City to Manila, giving rescue volunteers a glimpse of possible scenarios if the metropolis is hit by a strong quake or is inundated by a tsunami. Cora Jimenez, MMDA general manager, said 700 volunteer rescuers walked from the Quezon City memorial circle to the Bonifacio monument in front of the Manila city hall to simulate a response-exercise to a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. Renato Solidum, …

  • Islamic State threatens Mindanao, Phl tells Asean
    Islamic State threatens Mindanao, Phl tells Asean

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario bared yesterday before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reports of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threat to the Philippines through the Black Flag Movement in Mindanao. Speaking before ASEAN foreign ministers, Del Rosario said the ISIS threat to Philippine security is real rather than imagined because of the Black Flag Movement’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. …

  • ‘Chinese reclamation affecting Phl’s energy security bid’
    ‘Chinese reclamation affecting Phl’s energy security bid’

    China’s occupation and buildup of its military structures in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea is causing the country’s top energy official to get the jitters as the encroachment is seen as a huge dent on the Philippines’ efforts to achieve energy security. “It is a concern but if we don’t bring it to the United Nations, where will we bring it? We cannot bang heads with them,” Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla told The STAR in an interview over the weekend. The US Energy …

  • Phl to Asean: China getting de facto control
    Phl to Asean: China getting de facto control

    The Philippines yesterday urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to unite and stop China’s massive reclamation in disputed waters as it will give China “de facto control” over the area and cause $100 million in marine wealth losses annually. At the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting here, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told his counterparts that the situation in West Philippine Sea had worsened just a year after the Philippines began to draw international …

  • Gov’t spends P11.8 M for Noy’s Asean trip
    Gov’t spends P11.8 M for Noy’s Asean trip

    The government has allotted about P11.8 million for President Aquino’s attendance at the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi in Malaysia from April 26 to 28. “President Aquino’s participation to the 26th ASEAN Summit is important as the region gears toward the creation of an ASEAN community, which is envisioned to provide new opportunities for the peoples of this region, including the Philippines,” Ochoa said in a statement. He was with …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options