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Making Magic Happen

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By Scott Ellis

No matter how big the request, Stage and Screen has managed it.

In the rock and roll world, there’s a story of the band who demanded, as part of their performance contract, a bowl of M&M chocolates with all the brown ones removed. It’s actually true, but it wasn’t because the boys of Van Halen didn’t like the colour, it was to test their tour organisers to see if they actually read the rest of their contract and had installed other – more important – requests. If the M&Ms were a mess, they reasoned, chances are the amplifiers, guitars, accommodation were a mess too.
Unusual requests come thick and fast in the entertainment world, but like the Van Halen chocolates, there’s always a reason and no matter how strange they might sound, professionals just get on and do their jobs.
So what’s some of the strangest requests the Stage and Screen team have had to fulfil? 

1. Tinted windows. Lots of them.

One performer wanted the windows tinted on an entire hotel suite – 26 windows in total – for their stay. Stage and Screen did it… and then removed it all after they left.

2. A giant harp.

Transporting a two-metre high, 36-kilogram harp. All airlines state that no luggage can weigh more than 32-kilograms so for one leg it flew in its own seat in the cabin, on another leg it was sent as freight and on a third it went in the plane as luggage.

3. The celebrity surfboard.

Similar was the surfboard owned by another high-profile visitor. Too important for the traditional spot on the roof racks, this board got its own car – with nobody else but the driver allowed.

4. A very special paint job.

An artist asked for their rental car to be repainted to specific colours, which of course was done. And again, once they left, the car was repainted back to its original colour.

5. Bookings no object.

When a specific luxury regional property was requested at short notice by a performer wanting a weekend off in the middle of a long tour, did it matter the place was already booked? Nope, it was just a matter of relocating existing guests to make it possible.

6. Chopper in a hurry.

A major band staying on the Gold Coast was due to perform in Brisbane but were running late. A car just wasn’t going to get them there in time so… a helicopter was hastily organized, complete with permits to land right outside the stadium.

7. A seeing-eye horse.

A visually-impaired performer needed her assistance animal with her on tour, a normal request, except in her case it was a guide horse. No problem, seats were simply booked on a single-aisle plane for her and her horse.

8. Finding stuff.

And then there’s the lost luggage, iPads and clothes that need to be found.

9. Gifts.

A bottle of 1965 Grange Hermitage? No problem!

10. Sustenance.

There have been many special foods sourced, some shipped in from overseas. “I remember before it was available in Australia we had a performer coming who wanted Aloe Vera water, a lot of it, back stage at her performances and in her hotel,” Stage and Screen National Operations Leader and travel expert Adam Moon says. “So we just tracked down an American supplier well in advance and had it shipped over. If that’s what they want, then that’s what we have to get.”
Typical, he adds, is the call to remove a hotel mini-bar and replace it with a full-size fridge, stocked with the basics and a few treats from home – no matter where that home might be.

11. A home away from home.

One legendary American singer travels with all her own furniture so her hotel rooms have a more “homey” feel.
Odd requests aren’t just prima-donnas flexing their mega-star muscles, says Adam Moon, rather the bits and pieces people living a hectic life need to make things just a little more normal.

“The requests might seem strange to some people, but we get it These performers are often on the road 24/7, for nine months of the year, going from country to country, place to place. If we can help make them more comfortable while they’re doing that? Then that’s what we’re here for!" Adam Moon - Stage and Screen National Operations Leader

“Tinted hotel windows? That’s a performer who’s going to have to try to sleep at odd times, in a new time zone, then perform at 100 percent, for days on end.
”We understand why they need the tinting, so we figure out a way to make it happen. The clients already have enough on their mind, we’ll do the details.”
And besides, at the end of the day it can mean you end up with a bag of brown M&Ms nobody will claim. And that’s never a bad thing!