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A Newbie Behind the Scenes: My First Time on Headset!

May 22, 2018 Author: admin Category: Getting Technical with Event A/V, Slide, Technisch Creative Behind the Scenes  0 Comments

I’ve worked as an event planner since the early 1990’s, producing fundraising, corporate and social events, but the technical production side has always been a mystery to me. When venues asked me about my a/v requirements, I never quite knew what I needed, and I definitely had no idea what those wizards in black in the tech booth were up to!

Since I’m always up to learn new things, I was thrilled when Heidi said I could listen in on comm at an awards dinner Technisch was producing with their partner, Zoom.7. I got there early to meet all the players so I could put a face with a voice at showtime. Keith was manning the audio backstage and showed me the Voice of God mic that the announcer uses to let everyone know what’s coming next. He had all the lavalier mics lined up and numbered so he’d be ready to get people mic’d up at the right time before they hit the stage.

Jim was in his usual position at the main sound board, playing peppy tunes to get everyone pumped up while the team put finishing touches on the setup. He explained how he mixes in the microphone audio with music to keep the show flowing. Under the direction of producer, Scott Thompson of Zoom.7, the team got to know the players pretty well, and matched music to fit their personalities.

Nancy Hart from Zoom.7 was calling the show on this night, which means she’s the big boss. All of the tech crew have headsets on, and she leads them through the show using a run of show document, which details every moment of the plan. This role takes lots of precision and calm, and intimate knowledge of each part of the process.

I watched as the team set up lights, cameras, microphones, and the row of sparkling trophies for the awards. Once everything in the room was in perfect order, Jim cued up the party music and the hotel team drew back the curtains to welcome the excited crowd, all decked in their finest and ready to celebrate. For the first hour, the tech crew’s job was just to keep the music playing and watch the progress of dinner, to determine if the timing would coincide with the awards ceremony plan. Nancy kept everyone apprised of the plan over comm, so the team was ready to go when the show began!

Nancy smoothly orchestrated each element of the awards. Even a relatively simple show like this required so many little details and instructions, and everyone had to be on point. Nancy told Keith when to have the announcer begin speaking, when to mic people up, and when to send people out onto the stage.

The video team got their cues to keep the slides moving, and they had to stay on the ball to make sure the right names came up on the screen for each award. Jim and Nancy worked together like a well-oiled machine, having rehearsed the show several times. Jim kept the music going, switching it up when he felt the room needed a bit more energy, and fading it out when people were talking.

My biggest takeaway from my first time on comm was how many details, technical elements and instructions go into what seems like a simple awards show. It was so evident that this team enjoyed working together, and the conversation on comm was friendly, fun and professional, but always focused on getting the job done right. Usually at an awards show, I’m only thinking about what people are wearing and who wins what award, and only give thought to the tech team when something goes wrong. Now that I know more about the extraordinarily complex dance that goes on behind the scenes, I’ll never watch the Gala Awards in the same way again!

 

Written by Sunshine Woodyard

Women in Event Production: Janet Taylor

May 15, 2018 Author: admin Category: Event Production Tips, Slide, Women in Event Technology  0 Comments

Janet Taylor is a powerhouse Event Producer, traveling the world to put on shows for corporations, associations, and nonprofits. Here at Technisch, we’ve loved working with her on a touring show for a cosmetics company over the last five years, and we look forward to many more projects together! Let’s get to know a little bit more about Janet.

Back in the day…

How did you get started in the industry?

I have been in theatre since I was a teenager, but I promised my father that I would get a degree “to fall back on” – so I got a B.S. (how appropriate) in Journalism with an emphasis in Radio/TV/Film.  I’ve essentially outlived the radio industry and have been able to make a living in business theatre.  I tell my friends who are still in “legit” that I usually have the advantage of much bigger budgets and the challenge of much shorter rehearsal schedules.    I’m still performing, but in a different function.  My lines are “yes, let me check on that,” and “of course, I’ll update you on the budget impact as soon as possible.”

I began my life in business theatre in 1984 when I came off the road from a tour with a professional theatre for young audiences based in Boston and took a temp secretarial job to keep the bills paid at home in Chicago.  My boss for this assignment was a national Director of Corporate Programs for Arthur Andersen & Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).  When she discovered that I had been touring as a Company Stage Manager, her eyes widened, her smile got very big and she informed me, “Your temp job ends Friday.”  Before I could ask her why she continued, “If you give me first option on your time, I’ll give you 20 hours a week at $20 an hour (I was being paid $12 by the agency), a phone, a desk and a computer.”  She taught me corporate production and I never looked back.

I’ve always seen myself saving the day.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in technology?

My biggest personal challenge was to respond with humor and a smile when the inevitable on-site issues/muck ups/snafus occur. I was very lucky to learn those coping mechanisms early in my career.  Now, I pride myself on that skill set.  Practicing yoga helps.

How do you think women have an advantage in the technical world?

Because we are trained from childhood to be fearless, save the day and enjoy multitasking. My internal soundtrack is often the William Tell Overture or the Sabre Dance.

What is your favorite tech tool?

Either my smartphone or my netbook – I don’t know how I did my job for ten years without them in my hands at all times and I can’t really separate them – especially when the phone is my only source of wifi.

On the job!

What advice can you give to young women who would like to begin a career in production?

Keep doing it.  No matter what.  Now especially is a terrific time to join the industry and ride the upswing in business and jump in with both feet.  Find a company: an agency, a supplier of gear or services, an association, a corporate events department and begin to learn the business by doing the job.  As far as I know, the only training available is either through university theatre departments or for-profit technical schools, neither of which really teach you corporate production.  My industry-specific training was all OTJ.  I bring a great deal of added value to my projects because I have been a stagehand & technician, an event manager for a venue, and a producer/technical director/stage manager for experiential marketing agencies so I know all sides of the business.  I love mentoring with new PA’s.  My number one goal with them is the same as any show I take on — work to foster collaboration for the best show product.

 

 

Women in Event Production: Jamie Jacobs

April 30, 2018 Author: admin Category: Slide, Women in Event Technology  0 Comments

Our series on powerhouse women working in event technology continues with Jamie Jacobs, a Video Engineer based in Orlando, Florida. Jamie taught show production and live audio production courses at Full Sail for two years, and now works independently producing corporate, academic, and music shows in the Orlando area. We caught up with her to learn a bit more about her experience.

How did you get started in the industry?

I’ve been playing music my whole life, since I was a little kid. At 17 I taught myself the guitar and started writing songs. It was a natural progression to move into production when I decided to attend Full Sail to become a producer. While in my recording arts degree I met Gregg Mandigo. He took me under his wing in live sound reinforcement and I caught a bug for live events. I’d spend Friday and Saturday nights downtown on Wall Street with him, and Sunday mornings at a church where he was the audio director. My first professionally paid gig while still in college was as a stagehand for Beyoncé with Black Onyx Event Services. Now I specialize in both audio and video disciplines as I’ve expanded my career and knowledge base.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in production?

The obvious stigmas. I’ll still get the “hey honey can I help you lift that?” Mostly it’s a factor of men not taking me seriously. I also look pretty young so people assume I don’t know what I’m doing, but I usually win them over by asking the right questions. Eventually I get the respect I deserve for my experience level. I don’t let those stigmas affect me. When I was starting out, I messaged Sylvia Massey, a well-known audio engineer and asked her advice. She said “Just ignore the stigma and do your job and show that you know what you’re doing.”

How do you think women have an advantage in the technical world?

The fact that we don’t have that typical male bravado. We don’t come in there straight out with an ego like a lot of men do. As women we help each other a lot. We counteract our physical weaknesses in comparison to men by sticking together and working as a team. We see more details than men do sometimes, that comes from a woman’s psyche in general. We tend to clean up those little details, the minute things that most people seem to overlook. We’re more able to talk to clients and convey what they’re trying to do through our technical skills.

What is your favorite tech tool?

For video, measuring tapes, laser distance measuring tools, and a multi-tool are my ultimate go-to’s.  I also rely on vector scopes and waveform monitors. We don’t always get chroma charts on show site, but it’s a treat when we do. And for audio, I like to use Tweaker, Q-box, adapters, and headphones.

What advice can you give to young women who would like to begin a career in production?

Ignore the stigmas, put your pants on one leg at a time like everyone else and do your job to the best of your ability. Know what you’re worth. Ask questions when you’re unsure of something you’re doing. Work safely. Walk with purpose, and hustle! Don’t try to lift anything more than you’re capable of just to prove something to the men around you, and always lift with your legs!

Women in Event Technical Production

April 13, 2018 Author: admin Category: Slide  0 Comments

We’ve all heard it at an event: “Call the A/V Guy!” Even in the female-dominated field of events, there’s an unspoken assumption that the people handling the technical side of an event will be male. Whether it’s due to a lack of female mentors in the field, low emphasis on technical production in university hospitality programs, or just a lack of visibility, we’d like to change that. We’re inspired by female leaders in event technical production who take it to the next level. Are you a woman in event technology? Contact us to share your story!

Contact info: Heidi Brumbach

heidi@technischcreative.com

RFP Checklist: How to Develop an A/V Services RFP for your event

March 01, 2018 Author: admin Category: Event Planner Tips, Event Production Tips, Slide  0 Comments

For meeting and event planners new to working with audiovisual services, it’s often hard to know what you need. You have a good idea in your head of what you’d like the event to look like, the material you want to share, and how the speakers should be presented.  But translating that into a service order can be nerve-wracking- you don’t want to forget anything vital!

First of all, you’ll want to provide your company background, the purpose for the meeting, venue details, and equipment requirements for each location and segment of your meeting. But going beyond this, you also want to make sure that the A/V company or event production company you choose has the equipment and expertise to handle your request. That’s why we’ve come up with this checklist- we hope it will be helpful when you’re putting out an RFP for your next event!

 

Want to make this checklist your own? Email heidi@technischcreative.com for an editable version that you can use to make all of your future RFPs more comprehensive, so you’ll get better bids!