The Michael Bay CES Lesson: Always Have A Backup Plan For Presentations

Action movie uber-director Michael Bay caused a sensation today at Samsung's CES press conference when he walked off stage because he couldn't read the teleprompter. There's a lesson here for everyone: if you're making any kind of presentation, make sure you have a backup option in case the technology failed.

It's easy to mock someone like Bay in this situation. It is worth remembering that he's a director, not a presenter, by trade. That said, he'd agreed to appear as part of Samsung's pitch.

He might not have been present for the dress rehearsal (after all, Hollywood time is precious), but there are some obvious steps he could have taken:

  • Reading over the scripted remarks in advance. These CES events are always scripted to within an inch of their lives. There might not be time to memorise the whole thing, but the gist would be easy to capture.
  • Having a printout in his pocket. It's always a good idea to have a printout for use if all the technology goes wrong. Yes, it would look strange reading from a printout, but not as strange as what actually happened.
  • Not leaving the stage so quickly. Bay quickly let the audience know that he couldn't read the teleprompter ("The type is all off"). Having done that, it would have made more sense to stick it out for at least a couple of questions (which also might have allowed for the teleprompter to be fixed).

When it comes to presentations, paranoia always helps. If you're using a laptop, have a backup on a USB stick and/or available in the cloud. Carry a printout. And be prepared to improvise — you never know when something's going to go wrong.


    I've walked out on his movies, so I guess it's kinda the same thing.

    That, or saving everyone else the trouble.

    I feel sorry that he was so flustered, but agree with you Angus that there really is no excuse for him not to have a back-up plan. As a presenter, you will always be subject to factors outside of your control, and you need to be prepared for every contingency. That said, it's sad he felt he couldn't trust himself to successfully wing it, even in the absence of back-up material.

    I feel sorry for Bay, but I cannot understand why Samsung didn't bring in a director who had wide-ranging respect, rather than someone who is criticised across the film industry as the person who 'ruined' one of the greatest toy franchises.

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