By Hucky Austin
Kudos to Kid Rock’s bodyguard “Little Bear” for conducting advance work and finding a hidden surveillance camera that was installed in Rock’s dressing room. The performer was in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Myth night club, where his personal security team discovered the illegal spyware.
As someone who has worked for years with entertainers, I cannot express enough how important it is to be diligent conducting advance work. It will not only protect the client, but help you to keep your job! I am not going to lie–it’s not exactly the most interesting or exciting aspect of working as a bodyguard, but it can make everything go smoothly.
I remember times when I’d have already put in a long day with a particular celebrity, who would then tell us he’d like to go to a local club after the concert. As exhausted as I might have been, it was important to never become lax in advance work. I’d run out ahead and figure out the best route, how to get the celebrity in through an unobtrusive entrance, find a safe “holding area” for him, locate the restrooms, all emergency exits, and anticipate and watch for any fans or paparazzi who had somehow managed to figure out where we were going, and followed. I’d take notes of where everything was and the security team would all be apprised of the venue floor plan.
You work with a lot of maps when you’re a bodyguard–when we traveled out of the state (or the country) we were constantly consulting maps. We may have flown in a private jet, but once landing in a city that is on the look-out for a celebrity’s arrival, life is anything but private, and we’d need to know exactly how to get from the airport to the hotel.
An important part of bodyguard training is in the area of advance work. A top-notch school will include this in its roster of classes. This is also the one area of any assignment over which a bodyguard or executive protection specialist has some measure of “control.” After the client has arrived to the location, they will decide where they want to go and what they want to do. This is where KNOWING your client preferences, interests and taste is important. If you know the client love Smit and Dorlas coffee, then you will have already located and plotted a route to the nearest shop. It has become much easier for bodyguards today–we didn’t have laptop computers back in the days when I first started in this business! I would advise bodyguards who want to really have a competitive edge to consider purchasing a laptop to assist in advance work.
Above all, advance work is about the ability to anticipate problems. It requires imagination from a bodyguard–something that is often overlooked as an important attribute in this business. To look at a venue and imagine potentially dangerous or problematic scenarios is no small skill. Don’t minimize ever the importance of advance work. Creative and imaginative thinking may be the very thing that saves your client’s life.