Production

S.2 Episode 15: Should you hire a professional emcee?!

Does having a professional Emcee make a difference for your event?  Is it worth the cost of hiring one?  Charles and Lisa sit down with professional Emcee, Amy McWhirter.  Hear the ways emcee’s make a difference for your event and the tricks they have learned to create engagement!

S.2 Episode 14: Shocking Stories of a Storyteller

Does telling a compelling story actually raise more money? Elizabeth Warmka is a master story teller!  She helps to explain how story telling should be weaved into the entire event, from invitations to the moment they get out of their car, to the video played on screen.  These are tips you don’t want to miss.

S. 2 Episode 12: Getting Real with an Events Planner

Shadia Tobkin is a wealth of information!  This week Charles sits down with Shadia and they start to dig a bit into her experience while staying really real. This podcast is as entertaining as it is informative and you will definitely want to check it out!

 

  • Never be above the work

    • move tables, stuff gift bags, volunteer, work under someone at your same level

  • Keep it together under all circumstances

  • Always continue to learn and push yourself out of your comfort zone

    • Say yes…. We say NO because of the fear…FEAR OF FAILING

  • You don’t have to be the expert –

    • Know the experts.

  • Be One step ahead

    • Staff check-in (Leads, shirts, instructions, lunch)

    • Visualize the entire staff and attendee flow

  • Preparation equals success: “Chance favors the prepared mind”

    • As simple as putting all of you’re on site contacts in your phone

    • Send info and have calls in advance

    • Print radio check-in lists

    • Rehearsals are as or more important than the actual meeting itself

  • Work smarter not harder

    • When something gets thrown at you, take a beat to think (don’t make rash decisions)

    • Delegation, outsourcing, staff management

    • Manage Staff

  • Partners and connections are everything

    • Surround Yourself with Good people

  • Be Real

    • Confident, kind and relatable

    • People appreciate candid conversation

  • Expectations. Expectations. Expectations.

    • Over communicate to meet expectations

 

Extra:

  • Ask the “obvious” questions

    • Ex: 9/10 times that I ask a question most people also need the answer or people assume the answer or understand the answer in different ways

 

Newbies Advice:

  • Start Talking to anyone who will listen: People know people

  • Set-up 2-3 networking meetings a week

  • Follow and comment on Event Planner Insta Pages

  • Get Experience: Help plan for your friend’s wedding or volunteer at your company to be on the “social” committee

  • Intern or work for an agency

  • Work for a vendor/décor company (lots of exposure to various clients)

  • Don’t over ask too many questions (Ask a couple and figure it out)

  • Show up EARLY! Don’t complain! Be pro-active!

S.2 Episode 11: How to Create an Event that Flows: from a Production Manager’s Perspective

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.





S.2 Episode 10: Event Planners; Hire or Contract?!

This episode we are joined by Lisa.  We dive into the issue of hiring versus contracting event planners and where the threshold is.

Today we have Lisa Schuler, the president of Schuler Marketing. Tell us a little bit about you.

 

I’ve worked in the marketing communications field coming out of college and started out with international Dairy Queen.  I wrote all about DQ treats. I was the Children’s Miracle network coordinator, did a lot of traveling with their events. That is how it all started and I got the bug for the events and production component.

 

I’ve been in events for over 20 years.

 

Today’s topic we are talking all about how to know when to hire someone internally or hire someone externally. A lot of times they will have an admin do it.

 

I think that happens a lot.  Sometimes events brew up and starts and grows. It starts out small and all of a sudden it’s a big thing, they have an admin trying to manage it while supporting an executive, feeling overwhelmed and not as knowledgeable about negotiating contracts. They know enough but are not as focused. It takes a certain skill set. Meeting planners, you have to be able to juggle a lot of plates, and some people are not comfortable with that. You either love it or not.  Sometimes you are handing things off to people and it’s not their sweet spot or niche. That is sometimes when an organization should step back and see if they should bring someone in, focused on the event, putting the pieces together, and they can work virtually with the team that is part of the organization.

 

Bringing in a meeting planner, you can let them run the show, put the team together.  A lot of times I will step in and lead the team, bring them together and have a pulse check meetings. As a meeting planner, I can be focused on the event the whole time.

 

How does the company know when to hire internally?

 

It depends on the need. At some point if you’re not needing someone full time all the time, maybe you should be looking to fill that as a resource.  It’s not just putting anyone in, you need someone assertive and confident. When you get past the point of a group sitting together and start adding production pieces and getting more complicated, now you are starting to look at the point of needing a meeting planner.

 

So maybe you’re not at the point where you should hire someone full time, how do you create an arrangement with a 3rd party where they have authority and control?

 

In my role that is spot on.  You have to get comfortable with that and find the right person. I’m brought in a lot and looked at as a team member.  There are times people think I am an employee. Find someone who looks and immerse themselves into the organization. You need to know enough about the content to deliver that into the meeting.  If there’s such a separation, you’re completely missing out on the flow and integration on how the event goes.

 

How do you budget for a planner?

 

Typically I come in and it’s part of an event expense. You put it in as a line item. I scope it based on the event and give them a set amount you are working in. I help them manage that whole event. It really depends on the situation.

 

There are benefits to a contractor.  One of the benefits, is you are already a highly connected individual.

 

Absolutely.  There is that whole perspective. You have the preferred vendors, you know who you can go to.  There is a beauty to working with people you love to work with and can count on. And then it flows, that flow is so important.

 

Do you find huddles with the team are helpful?

 

Absolutely. I like to do them every morning before. You need to, things change and move and everyone needs to know about that. Bring together the key players, including the team of the event.  They need to know. It all has to move together, you want to have some kumbaya between the team.

 

If you are a fortune 500 company and you’ve added events and you need to hire a contractor, how do you as a corporation give you autonomy without feeling like you will take advantage?

 

Part of it is setting up a creative blueprint. Talk about the scope the audience and the objective of the event. I define what I’ll be in charge of and check if they are ok with it. You have to be very clear about what the expectation is.

 

Where do you see the most successful meeting planners putting themselves for budgeting?

 

For most people it’s basing it on the scope of the project. Doing a project price. We all know there is scope creep, you have to put that in a contract. What if they add another day of educational events?

 

A planner is kind of a liaison between the vendors.

 

Right, and they can lay out the options.

 

So say I’m a meeting planner and want to start doing more work for corporations, how do I present myself?

 

Sometimes businesses get so busy that they are not thinking about it. You need to work through a meeting planning department or where the meetings initiate in a company. Help them to understand that if they have a need they can bring you in to focus on it.

 

Take someone out of school and they want to get into meeting and event planning…

 

It’s really funny because everyone sees it as the fun thing. There are parts that are fun, but it’s a lot of stress, and you have to be able to manage it.  You coming out of school, one of the best things you can do, get on board and help with a component of a meeting. Volunteer, get involved in associations that are doing events.

 

What tips can you leave for those in the events industry who are contractor?

 

You can use indeed or LinkedIn, they may think they need a meeting planner, but maybe they need someone to come in and manage the event. Use your network to see if someone would look at a position as a contract role. At least ask, what’s the worst that could happen?