Liz Lathan knows virtual events, especially how to make them not suck! Listen as she joins us to talk about how to keep your virtual events engaging and fun for the person on the screen.
Is photography at your event worth the investment? Amy Coppersmith from Coppersmith photography shares why you should have a photographer at your event. We hear how to vet a photographer to make sure they capture images you will use for years to come!
Tell us how you got your start.
I started a long time ago, I will jump forward a few years. About 1999, I started out in families and kids. I actually fell into an internship with Best Buy corporate studios. It was all their Sunday inserts: pictures of blenders microwaves. I met my husband there. I was only in an internship, after 6 weeks I was done. I fell into another studio that did weddings, ended up becoming one of their lead assistant shooters. When she moved I decided to do photography on my own. My husband had opened up Coppersmith Photography in 99. When I first met him he was a commercial photographer, after Best Buy he wanted to start his own. I kind of pulled him into weddings. If I asked him today he wouldn’t want to do them, but back then we had a really good time and he learned a lot of things he didn’t know.
What brought you back into the corporate world, corporate events?
Brides are insane! I lost the love for it. It wasn’t fair to brides and grooms, and wasn’t” doing justice to what they wanted covered. I was already doing corporate work and loved it, I had three children so it kinda made sense. Corporate is take out the emotion it’s all business. I understand all business and made my life more calm. I liked the clients a lot more. Every event was a little bit different.
When it comes to events, why would I need a professional photographer?
Photo and video are vastly different. When it comes to photo vs video I know photo. I don’t know video, people assume they are one in the same, they can be, but it is not. The editing software is completely different, everything is different. The quality and knowledge of a pro is important. When i go into a room I see things that would be great to have a photo of, things others wouldn’t think of. It’s an outside perspective. It’s the small details people don’t think about: taking a picture of someone taking notes. I approach it as creating a stock inventory as well as documenting their event. It’s more versatile that way. Coming from weddings, it helped because they are so heavily detail oriented. Finding those details were a fun scavenger hunt and its the same in corporate.
If I’m producing an event, at what point do I want to have my photographer booked and whats the cost?
Timeline depends on the season, summer you need to call at least 4-5 months in advance. Winter dates you could call me the day before. I’ve had that happen multiple times in the winter, sometimes that works just fine. If you want your pick of photographers at least 4 months 5 would be fantastic. I create a contract the client signs, it has stipulations of when their payment is due. Every company is different depending on their financial department. Most of the time I have a signed contract and that is enough for corporations to follow through on. I would look at half day vs full day rates. Do you need an entire day covered, or only half a day? Can you condense things down? There are some events where Monday and Tuesday are exactly the same, do you need a photographer for both days, probably not. That will tell me how many hours I need to be on site. I have half day, full day, and hourly rates. I will help walk them through what they need. A lot of photographers are $100-250 per hour. Full day rates can be $1500-3000 for a full day (10 hours). For me that does include post production. *This differs for each photographer if post is included or not.
How do I vet a photographer?
Communication is so important. The visitors bureau is a great place to start, you can google search corporate photographer. Check out their websites once you have a list, get recommendations or referrals from them. Then you can see if they are legit or not. Another thing, when you look at their website, what type of website is it? If you are corporate you don’t want to go to a website that is all weddings. There are so many of us out there, find the one you can work well with. When it comes down to it there are events we want to do and love and others we don’t. It’s not that different an event from a wedding. But it is a business event versus a personal event.
Ask them about past events, what have they done? If you have a dignitary coming on stage and need a specific shot ask, How would you handle this? They should be able to answer that pretty quickly or verify that they are qualified to do it.
If I have you come and shoot who owns the photos, and who can use them?
With me you get to use them, they are your companies to use within the company. A lot of companies want to share their images with other companies, that is where it gets gray. You’ve payed for them for your marketing, the other company didn’t pay for it for their marketing. You are basically paying for their marketing, why would you do that? In my contract it states who is able to use what and where and why.
Contact Amy Coppersmith:Instagram – CoppersmithPhotographywww.coppersmithphoto.com
This week Charles and Lisa sit down with EideCom’s very own Paige Dorman. She shares her 6 live by communication skills that have gotten her here today! Whether you are in the events world or not, you will want to hear these!
Tell us about you.
About 12 years ago, I got my start in the events world. I had been around lots of stage productions, I had an opportunity to travel the country with an organization doing key note speeches. Then had an opportunity in college to work at a few different venues, doing the whole event planning side and executing the events. Then I worked for a bridal show production company, knowing my heart was always in the larger scale events. I got connected with Lisa at and ILEA meeting and asked her out for coffee.
You put together some great tips for customer relationships what are they?
The things that are the same through all events are relationships and maintaining relationships.
- Exceptional communication: We come in contact with that time and time again in any job I’ve had. It’s all about communication in any relationship. As we were talking about how I started it was the communication, you guys being open and honest in what you were looking for.
- Maintain a positive attitude in all experiences of the event: Whether it be the communication pre planning post planning meetings, really exude that energy and confidence you want your client to feel about your work. I find removing myself from a stressful area helps me to maintain calm, as well as maintaining the perspective, what is the other person feeling? How do you put yourself in their shoes and see what they are seeing?
- Acknowledge your client as an individual, not just a piece of business: Really acknowledge the person and not just the project. You acknowledge them as not just a paycheck. I’ve been in enough meetings with Charles to know you’re truly passionate about it not being transactional, but about it being a relationship. It’s part of our sales process, helping people and acknowledging your not a one time show and checking our check box, you are important to us.
- Share your knowledge: Share information that will help the client understand what you do which will build trust and confidence in the process.
- Be transparent: Be open with communication and really set expectations.
- Exceed expectations: As we are being transparent and honest that sets us up to exceed our clients expectations. All the things above is how you do it. Be confident in what you say, focus on exceptional communication and make sure they know what is within your wheel house. Make sure they know every step along the way and the process. Make it so when we execute an event we can exceed their expectations. We need to do everything above and beyond and blow it out of the park.
Connect with Paige: Paige@eidecom.com
Kyle Arndt, EideCom’s Production Manager takes time out of his day to sit down with Charles and Lisa. He shares from his perspective, how to create a show that flows and what goes into the details. Kyle has years of experience in the industry and with that comes many must know tips!
We have a special guest. We actually have the pleasure of working with them every single day here at EideCom, Kyle Arndt welcome.
Well the guys, thanks for having me. You know we get to, we get to hang out. We never get to hang out like this.
So I thought I would just start by maybe tell us a little bit about how you got into production in general, how you got into the industry.
So once upon a time I dreamed of being a rock star. So when I was growing up, I played guitar and then, through my first couple of years of college, we played shows every weekend. And then I ended up like realizing that I liked setting up the equipment and dealing with the equipment more than I liked playing shows. So then I started working for my friend’s bands and I traveled the world working for a bunch of different bands. And then, um, when I got sick of traveling, I joined up with a few companies in town. And then about six months after working around town, I found EideCom here. So then I’ve been on the team for the last two and a half years now.
Well, so let’s talk about kind of from the beginning, how do you make a great production that’s well-oiled and turns out to be very successful?
The holy grail to all these things is how we build a quote, how we recognize where stuff might be missing, the holes, where we need content for, how we play stuff, how many microphones we need, how we build; everything is off of any sort of schedule we can get from the client. If you’re putting on an event, make a detailed schedule or a rough schedule to start and we’ll ask questions. You know, that’s one thing we do is look through a schedule with a comb and say, hey, you know, it looks like we’re missing something here. Or it looks like you have this many people talking here. We’re going to add some, some equipment for that. We’re going to add a few microphones for this. Do you plan on having all these people speak at the podium or do you need microphones for them all? So it’s just the schedule is really the key and that kind of needs to outline the obviously the timing of things. Who speaks at what time for how long they’re speaking. If you’re working with a great production team, they’re usually asking these questions upfront. Building the schedule is different, different per scope of work. A lot of times these gala’s we do you get the information the week of or of the day of even the content shows up on a jump drive and then usually just it’s important for you putting on a show to know who your point person is with, with the product.
What are the importance of Comms?
There’s a couple of different kinds of systems. I’m mostly familiar with a product called clear, their newest stuff I think is helix net, which is a wired system. So anybody that’s sitting at the front of House table or anyone sitting backstage where their position doesn’t call them to be roaming around the room, you would just plug in there. They have like a comm unit and they can push talk to the people they need to talk to you. And it can be programmed. It doesn’t sound like a radio, Sounds like us talking right here. It’s super nice. It’s super crisp and clear. You can hear everything they’re saying. It’s super controllable. It’s programmable.
We always have three teams of people on comm. We always have audio, video and lighting. If we add cameras to a show, that’s another set of people. If we add the client to that, that’s another set of people. So a lot of these shows, even the bigger conferences can have up to 50 or 60 people on it.
Tell me about the importance, do you need it?
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean it’s like the last thing I’ll try to take off an estimate. When someone’s trying to cut costs, I’m like, we absolutely need this. Even if we’re all sitting next to each other, say it’s a small show if we’re all sitting next to each other, it’s better for us to be whispering to each other than yelling. The comm is insanely cool technology. We can separate everybody. So it’s these people talk to these people and then everybody connects on one channel everybody can hear this, but only people can talk down this ETC.
The most important things for the stage manager be doing is to make sure everybody on stage can be seen on camera. To me whenever I get to stage manage, I like to remind people, I’m like, hey, you know the cameras straight out in front of you. We have a camera over here and there’s a camera over here.
Like just so they know like they’re always facing forward and you know like in that part of that comes into play. Like some people do panels on stage and okay, then you’re looking at the stage managers usually in charge of setting up those debt furniture, right? So they play a big part and going where it, can this be a pit positioned on stage so we can pick up everybody nicely on camera.
Do rehearse the furniture?
Yeah, so that’s where comm comes into play because then during the setup, because usually it’s a five minute change over, but then you’re the stage manager who’s helping them set up, you’re connected on comm to the video director who’s watching, who’s physically looking at the camera shots. You got a camera operator and moving around and making sure you can see everything and they’re going, yeah that furniture needs to move. It’s not like somebody’s running back and forth and it takes more time.
Tell us about the show flow…
There’s a few things I like to do when I gather the information and this information is key. When I talk to a presenter, whether that’s a CEO, an auctioneer, or a keynote, whoever it is, I just like to say, you know, you’re supposed to speak for about this amount of time. How are you wrapping up your speech? Like what are you saying to end it, right? Cause there’s a lot of times I’m looking for a cue. I’m looking for, somebody is going to press a button at the end of this that’s going to start music, the lights are going to move and that has to happen all at the same time. So we’re looking for a vocal cue.
Some keynote, CEO’s, and speakers they’re very, very good about what they’re going to say. . And then at the same time, some people literally haven’t thought about it yet. They’re planning on winging it, I’m just going to go up there and talk for a little while. So I’m like, well, it would be helpful for us to just kind of know how you’re going to wrap up. How do you, how do you plan on ending this speech? Like who name five people you’re going to say thank you to or something to get to get them thinking about it because that’ll help them glue it together as well to just kind of bundle it up.
So that leads me to the question about rehearsals before we talk about transitions and other things like that. Like tell me about rehearsals.
We get the opportunity of doing a show in all different situations. When we have short rehearsal time or no rehearsal time, we can pick our team based on that. I think the most important part of rehearsal is how somebody is getting on and off stage. Because once they’re on stage, they’re going, if it’s a performance piece, it’s a little bit more involved. But if it’s a keynote, it’s like they want to know how they’re going on and off stage, what the lights are doing, where they’re walking from. We get the opportunity to figure out like how long they’re going to take to get onstage.Everyone’s walks at a different speed, if they get the opportunity to do it twice, that’s kind of in their mind like this is how I’m going to do it. Now if we cycled to a performance, they’ve got dancers and they have singers and they’re on this stage and they’re gonna move to this stage. We have the opportunity of setting up the day before for this particular gala and we’re going to run through that for probably about three hours from the night before and we’re going to get the performance piece rehearsed the night before. That way we have time to walk through anything the next day if needed, and then we get it. And then we’ll take the rest of that time the next day before the event starts to go through all the the keynote speeches.
From a production standpoint, we love the venue the day before. Now we understand that it increases costs and we take steps to try to minimize that. We’ll go in with a reduced crew just to get some stuff in place. Try to do a half day there. There’s ways that it doesn’t double the labor costs. There’s creative ways to figure that out. If you’re a client and you feel like you’re always running around with your head cut off an hour before the show starts, trying to get in the night before the day is going to help your show immensely.
We were talking about the show flow and it going well. Are there softwares or tools or do you just use a spreadsheet?
There is a web based program called show shoflo. It’s more or less just a spreadsheet that you update on the web so everybody can see it on their device or whatever. They can log into it and they can even follow along. So as the show goes, the timings on there and there’s a person in charge of pressing next, so you can see, okay, we did that, this is what’s coming up next.
When we get the opportunity to help build the show flow we tend to use a spreadsheet. That’s how a lot of our show callers have always done it.
How do you make sure that weird stuff doesn’t happen?
I just talk through a show so many times before the show. With the team, with myself, with the, with the client, with everybody. Just to make sure we got everything okay. Every piece of the transition, how something ends, what happens in between, how that person gets on stage every detail is talked through. Those small points speed everything up. They make it so it’s not awkward because it can’t cause the second it’s awkward you’re sitting at the tech table and back, everybody’s turning around looking at you and you’re like, oh, I guess it is our fault because we are running the production.
Tell me about like having an MC?
The best mcs they kind of show up and they go, Yup, I’ll go on stage whenever you guys need me. Uh, looks like there’s a script printed out. Let me know if I’m needed for anything else. The news casters around town, they’re all very good. I think the quality of a person is how involved they are in the project. That speaks with how our team works here. We try to be very involved with everything we’re doing. And then we’re invested. Same thing goes with an MC. It’s like, you know, how much are they involved with your organization, if at all?
You’ve done some of our shows repeatedly, do you have a level of comfortability once you’ve done it before?
Oh, absolutely. Every time we do a show, the second year the show goes well. The second year it’s like, we did this last year, how is it different? We’re familiar. We know the people involved. We go, okay that person’s speaking for sure they’re involved with the organization at this level so there’ll be on stage. We get to the opportunity to go into a little bit more detail. We know where are the most important people sitting.
We are joined by the VP of the Inc 5000 Event Breana Murphy. Tell us about you!
I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years. I started in Marketing, I’ve worked in Media my entire career. I’ve worked in the corporate marketing department, and I grew up there, we put on varying types of events. We did roadshows, tours, pop up stores. I was there for 10 years. I worked for rolling stone and did stuff on the festival circuit. Then I ended up here as a freelancer. Was recruited by a friend of mine who worked in the industry and she needed someone to help produce the Inc 5000. This will be my 16th 5000 next year.
Tell us about the Inc 5000 event.
The Inc magazine is the premier magazine that services small business magazine. Every year we publish the Inc 5000 list, the fastest growing small businesses in America. It’s a three day event that celebrates their achievement. It’s not easy to make the list. The folks there are people really excited to come and celebrate their achievement and be recognized for their hard work. Its rooted in content. Everything about our event starts with the content and how we can better empower our audience and readers.
1 day pre conference
2 day conference
1 day gala event.
Tell us about the conference.
The attendees are people who have made the list. Business owners. The speakers are generally other founders. We try to put on the stage notable founders, Mark Cuban to Ben Chestnut, people who have had remarkable success. Or we also do teachers, people who are inspirational. Our audience is across the industry so we don’t cater to any specific industry.
How many attendees?
Just shy of 2000
Where is it?
We move and try to keep it in resort areas. We are in San Antonio this year, coming up it will be in Scottsdale, then Palm Springs.
When it comes to the event, tell us about your process.
There’s two parts, multiple actually. We have the logistics side and the content side. Last week I sat down with my editorial team and my programming team and we brainstormed who will be the big names, who will be interesting, who will make impact, who is relevant, we made a laundry list of people we’d like to go after. That’s on the content side. On the logistic side, the floral plan, anticipating if we have enough rooms, our setup how we like it, keep our sponsors in line.
We have a lot of return sponsors because we deliver a lot. We give them a lot of ROI on their investment. If they keep coming back we are doing something right.
Tell me about the design.
We redesign. Every year we try to inject something new. What we did this year that was successful and unique was a session in the round. We do concurrent sessions and gave the options of really small pointed conversations with business leaders. 30 minute topics with a maximum of 10 people per table. Then they switched and moved tables. Or they could do a breakout session.
It wasn’t just providing them with keynote, it’s interactive.
And that is probably the note we get back most. How can we provide more networking opportunities and that is something we strive to do. We do a kick off networking before our opening session. We do purposeful networking. We do an in depth survey to drill down the content pieces. They are there to be inspired and they want to meet other people.
It’s lonely to be an entrepreneur. You get them in a room it’s amazing they start solving each others problems.
How much does a company need to grow to make your list?
There’s not a set number, you have to be in business for at least 4 years and you have to have over a million in revenue. The growth percentage ranges. Some grow 3000%.
Do you include the room and other things with the ticket?
The ticket is just itself. The marketing department handles that. We have a room block, almost 800 room nights reserved. We have a portal where they can book and get a discounted rate. We do not arrange for travel or pay for hotel.
Tell me about when you are doing the coordination and working with hotel, are you negotiating directly with them?
I work with an organization that I connected with a few years ago. Hotels for Hope. They help us negotiate the room block. I work with them because my contact there is amazing and because the process of managing that block is hard and I have a small team. That process is made turnkey with working with them.
What do they do?
Part of their commission goes to a charitable organization.
When it comes to pricing your ticket, have you had to move it around?
It has stayed, we have separate consumer marketing team that handles that. The price has been pretty consistent year after year. We have to keep in mind inflation. The industry average is 10% i do my best to negotiate that. But food goes up by 10%.
Tell me more about your programming.
I have an executive producer, I’ve worked with her for six years. We sit down and do a draft agenda. We do a lot of planning with our editorial team. We look at who is making waves or has something new coming out, something that will be relevant and topical. We start with key names we want to put in and we try to round out the content and make sure we hit all the notes. Talk about money, company culture, human resources, economically, we empower them to grow their businesses.
Meeting Minds by Eidecom