Movie B-School: Spinal Tap Presentation Prep

3 minute read


This is Spinal Tap is one of the greatest rock docs ever made, and that’s not even a bold statement. At this point in time, it could be considered fact. The film was named “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress when it was selected for preservation. Even though the band’s not real, it echoes so many groups’ touring experiences that it may as well be. That realism of performance preparations isn’t exclusive to bands, either. Performances can bring out the worst in us through stress, ego, and a lack of confidence, but can also be managed through proper performance prep. We picked out the five funniest moments of the film to help with any presentation anxieties you may deal with. Practice makes perfect, after all!


  1. Rock ‘N Roll!

One of the greatest enduring jokes, and the one related to by most professional musicians, is the scene where the band gets lost in a maze of backstage hallways while trying to make their way on stage. This one is pretty straightforward – you can’t get where you need to be if you don’t know how to get there. Creating the backbone is an ultra important part of writing a great presentation and an ideal first step. Make yourself a map, instead of taking your listeners through a maze to reach the point.

Movie B-School: Spinal Tap Presentation Prep I North by Northwest Boise

  1. None more black

After attempting to get away with rather…blue…album artwork, the record label releases Smell the Glove with an all black record sleeve. As the tour goes on, the band realizes that autograph signings are out (because it would mean black ink on a black cover). Be sure to think through your presentation, and ensure each piece makes sense and serves the topic.

Movie B-School: Spinal Tap Presentation Prep I North by Northwest Boise

  1. And a little Stonehenge…

Literally, a little Stonehenge. Check your work and be specific in what you intend to say, rather than expect listeners to read your mind. After the band’s baby-Stonehenge humiliation, they fight with their manager who neglected to have the Stonehenge stage decor made at the logical size of 12 feet, and instead went with 12 inches, as notated on the drawing.

Movie B-School: Spinal Tap Presentation Prep I North by Northwest Boise

  1. ALWAYS perform a rehearsal for friends or family

At one point during a concert with elaborate “pods” for the band to emerge from, the bassist gets stuck in his for the entire song. The pod finally opens up just in time for the other members to step back into theirs. While this is a funny moment in the movie, preventable errors are typically mortifying in front of an audience. Never, ever go onstage unpracticed. There could be a technical problem, a spelling mistake, or error in the flow of your statements, and it’s much better to catch it in front of your spouse than a room full of eager listeners.

Movie B-School: Spinal Tap Presentation Prep I North by Northwest Boise

  1. These go to eleven.

Finally, rehearsal allows you to take out those nonsense points that may make you sound unprofessional. Don’t say things that can easily be pointed out by audience members as a way to discredit you…edit and think before you speak.

That’s how Spinal Tip can help you prepare for a presentation. Bonus tip: Watch any one of these scenes before walking on stage for a giggle and extra injection of comfort. Trust us, it’s way better than picturing the front row in their skivvies.

Movie B-School: Spinal Tap Presentation Prep I North by Northwest Boise

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For more informative and entertaining articles about the strange and wonderful world of video, subscribe to our blog below. Fun fact: North by Northwest Boise is celebrating its 22nd year, and over 10,000 videos! It feels good, and we’re accepting all birthday cards, gifts, and cake at our physical location.

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About the Author

Stephanie Norell is the Marketing Director for North by Northwest’s Boise office. She loves horror movies and Pinterest, adores the classic film Xanadu, and “enjoys” disseminating her thoughts for trolls to discuss online.


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