In the last couple of months,

I’ve been a Technical Director, Event Producer, Show Caller, Stage Manager, Audio Tech, Video Tech, vMix Tech, and Graphics Op, on several of the past medium to stadium-size events, some of the roles were primary while other times I wore multiple hats all at once.

I’ve been asked before,
why would you venture out of your comfort zone to fill some of these positions, when being a Technical Director or a Producer is your main B&B gig?

 

 

For three main reasons.

1. Venturing outside of the type of events I normally do gives me the opportunity to see what others are doing, boots on the ground, enlarge my capacity, learn a few new things, meet some new cool people, and being hands-on gives me the opportunity to stay in touch with the production technology as it constantly evolves right under our eyes/hands.

2. Finding quality production vendors and techs right where they are, so when I need quality production partners for my events, I have already established a rapport with people I’ve worked with, vs having to go blind and take risks that I can’t always afford to take on behalf of my clients, and trust me I’ve been burned before by production vendors that came highly recommended, but that I haven’t personally worked with until the day of the event.

3. Finding my tribe of behind-the-scenes #womeninavproductions #womeninav #womenineventproductions. For the majority of my career in event productions I’ve been the only woman on a tech crew in the geographical area I’m in, and it always bothered me that there’s no more of us, so I started wondering if maybe it’s just a locational reality and I needed to find out for myself if that was the case. And so I started wanting to get outside of these boundaries, and when I did I was finally able to find more of us, and that had been the highlight of my traveling adventures this season.

Tip of the Week:

Build a solid RUN OF SHOW
If you don’t know how to do it effectively to serve the production needs of a wholesome #hybridevent, we’ve got templates on our website, or we can guide you one-on-one via this link.

And so, below are some of the lessons learned, and

the main takeaway is:

Given enough pre-event time, any show can be perfectly executed, regardless of complexity.

More often than not, the complication comes when there’s a misunderstanding or miscommunication between different stakeholders as to how much time is enough time to build the show/event.

For the sake of staying on the production and technology topic, we’re not going to include here any timing necessary for the pre-event strategy as it relates to the end goal, registration, marketing, programming, sponsors, etc.

Time and time again I’ve seen this happen at many events I’ve attended, like a bad dream turning into a recurring nightmare, the production team is handed minutes before the show the majority of the content, or faced with last-minute changes to the content, or is handed a much-to-be-desired agenda that is supposed to fill in the role of the run of the show.

As a season event professional that’s been working and producing events for more years than I care to count, I can tell right off the bat, even as an attendee,

when there’s been a lack of communication or understanding #behindthescenes regarding the importance of giving the production team enough time to build the show.

I’ve been on the front end and the back end of that break in communication, and neither feels good.

I’ve also been on events where it’s an absolute joy to have the time to build my show, all the shortcuts, transitions, scripting, and triggers just so for flawless execution.

Side note: Can I get a 🙌 for Elgato‘s StreamDeck and the Bitfocus Companion? 🔥

And if any #eventprofs out there think for just one moment that the tech crew is satisfied with anything but a perfect execution, I am here to inform you, you’re wrong.

We’re just as OCD as you are.

We’re just as invested in the event as you are.

Maybe for different reasons, yet that doesn’t take away from the fact that we take PRIDE in our work as much as you do.

 

OK, this is not meant to put anyone down.

This post is to remind you and remind myself, that when I’m not tech’ing, as a planner and producer how important it is to:

✨ give my tech crew enough time to prepare and build that event just the way it needs to be built, and then

✨ have enough time to practice those traditions until they’re perfectly satisfied with their work, and

✨ not allow unnecessary last-minute changes that could have been prevented in the first place with enough open & clear communication.

And because #eventprofs, #AV professionals, and #meetingprofs feel VERY strongly about this topic, this post has caused an enormous number of responses on LinkedIn,

I will share some of the below, you can check out the full extent of it on my profile on LinkedIn.

We give content deadlines and the client never holds their speaker to the deadlines. It means I’m still downloading content within minutes of a show and my tech crew is super stressed out when they shouldn’t be. We need to normalize not waiting until the last possible second. It means there is less chance for anything to go wrong in show.
Great post…I would add, for Event Mgrs/Producers, to have a chat with your Show Caller, Stage Mgr,Tech Lead(s) as early as possible, walk them though the agenda/ROS, what to expect in each segment, and see if they have questions…so much can be cleared up/addressed with a quick meeting, giving the tech crew a chance to ask questions/clarify.
This is a great post, and yes if the client wants a streamlined well flowing event they need to realise that content and timelines are key to a professional production of any event. Last minute changes should only be subject to necessity due to circumstances and not the norm because stakeholders are too busy to understand the importance of pre testing productions . Live events need preparation and should not expected to plug in USB key with content and produce a flawless production on the cuff!!
All very true- it is so hard to show a client how amazing things can be when they keep moving the starting line, the finish line, and the start time.
Time + Budget = Success
That is typical the reason for most mistakes of shows as you mention. Not enough time to build, no clear coms. Trying to cut corner, so gear is downsized compared to the needed gear.
Or even the amount of ppl needed – just to win the gig and be the lowest price. Many factors play here.
For sure change happens like the sun comes up. The key is to have prepared wherever possible so you have bandwidth for the inevitable. I see a lot time wasted out there on both sides of the coin but the crew has the burden.
Can not agree more. A great show starts with great planning. I’ll add that great results come when team leaders set daily goals and timelines and explain to the crew exactly what needs to accomplished. Never just assume that “they should know”.
Yesss to thoughtful event preparation!!!
Pre-production is everything. Success starts and ends with a well executed plan.
It’s not as much about the “last minute content” as about being handed on the day rigid “scripts” created without any whatsoever understanding of what’s really needed to facilitate those or if they’re really technologically possible given the tools at the venue’s or team’s disposal.
Two things we can change are our attitude and estimate. There will always be “last minute offers” to deal with nevertheless how much time for set-up we have. And that’s the beauty of our service – to be there, catch the field and solve the issue. Show must go on, otherwise don’t mess with it. I took it from freelancer perspective more as from venue’s worker’s point of view. Nevertheless, in the field, one cannot do event tech service without being ready for ANY unexpected issue just at the time or during the show/gig/presentation/younemeit. Grocery stores always have some vacancies. More prep time and decent planning is a cherry on the cake for the techs. Breath and take your professionality to the stage, come what may. Prepared presenters/performers are our golden goose and I prise them.
Great post and points well made. But …. I’ve been in this business for 3 decades and can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times we receive the content early enough. AV teams ‘just cope’ leaving the client and speakers wondering why we made so much fuss – and next time it’s even less likely they’ll deliver on time. Would love tips for enabling clients and speakers to really understand the importance.
As a producer and Showcaller often responsible of gathering all material I have thought about this a lot too. If the relationship is good enough I sometimes apply a gate to the cloud service of choice so that the folder created for uploads shuts down after a clearly communicated date and time. Opening it up costs money as it requires extra hours(often late nights and weekends) all down the chain of stakeholders working to produce a great event. Works quite well.
Well said and can’t agree more. A successful event requires good planning.
It really is a great post, you have hit on so many key points to help the live execution of an event be as seamless as possible. I might add or expand on two areas:
1) Access to the event space – as you mention, the more time the tech crew have to prepare- the more comfortable presenters can feel to rehearse, if necessary.
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. A tight ‘get in’ puts a tech team under unnecessary pressure.
Consult with your production provider as to how much time is needed to safely set up an event and book the venue accordingly

2) Following on from that, another key point is to recognise the tech talent on site, these hard working professionals deserve proper breaks and rest periods. Crew food should not have to be ‘begged’ for in a remote venue and needs to be planned well in advance as much as any event catering on-site. While an event may be an annual occcasion to a client, these talented human beings, work day in and day out on so many events, often away from their families, that a little bit of recognition can really reignite their endless passion to succeed on an event.
The story of my life as a producer & showrunner. The pressure is not for the faint-hearted.
Well said and can’t agree more. Never ‘assume they know’ or ‘take it for granted’ that either the team or client know the exact flow and ideas. Perception can be very different. A tiny misunderstanding can turn into horrible situation.
I would add that projectmanagement  policies and processes would aid in respect to stakeholder communication. What is being communicated and when? To whom and why? Do people appreciate the knock on effect of delaying communication? Great post that reflects the frustrations of many! Thanks
Working in ‘perfect’ harmony, meeting your clients needs and exceeding expectations, no matter what part you play in the delivery of a ‘perfect’ event, comes down to getting that ‘perfect’ Brief and enough time to pull together all parts of the 1000 piece jigsaw events  eventmanagement beunforgettable
———————————-
If you’re in need of an event producer/director that has worn all the hats in events and is in touch with each part of the production workflowhit me up. Our team at Tree-Fan Events has grown this year, and so has our capacity to take on new clients and new projects in 2023. I might have different teams working on different events, but they all go first through my very particular intake process, making sure each client gets the most customized service possible.

Related Posts