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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.

 

 

3 reasons to bring your own A/V team for a hotel event

February 26, 2018 Author: admin Category: Getting Technical with Event A/V, Slide  0 Comments

It’s a little known secret in the meetings and conventions industry: meeting planners don’t have to use the hotel’s in-house provider for their audiovisual needs when holding an event. Major convention hotels have in-house providers, outside companies who keep equipment at the hotel for use during meetings, and many think these companies have a monopoly on A/V for hotel events. But that’s just not true. As a meeting planner, you have the choice of your own A/V provider and can select one of your own for equipment rental, A/V production, and stage management. When you work with Technisch Creative, we help you determine your requirements so you can decide whether the in house A/V or an outside company is the best option for you.


Reason 1: Modern Technology.

Many in-house systems are dated and well-worn, with uncertain reliability. Just because a microphone and PA or projector is convenient for the A/V company to set up, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for your event. Often times the maintenance schedule of the in house equipment is not as current as an outside company with quality control processes in place. At Technisch Creative, we invest in the latest technology for our clients, so we can bring in the best equipment to execute the job with the highest standards.

Reason 2: Service. 

Generally speaking, in house A/V companies exist for the meeting planner’s convenience. Their model is to provide easy access to the most commonly used pieces of equipment. The model of an outside A/V company is to provide the equipment you need to do the job right. At Technisch Creative, we take the time to understand the goals and objectives of the event and we plan accordingly. We become part of your team. When something glitches, we’ve got your back!


     

Reason 3: Value.

It’s hard to make a decision on numbers alone. Often times, the in house company has a higher retail price of the equipment rentals, but can offer added benefits like free wifi or rigging fees. An outside A/V company can offer added benefits, as well, that may not appear as a line item. Include services can vary from creative design work, stage management, and directing the show. When you are evaluating supplier contracts, consider the value of piece of mind and working with a team you trust.

The Crew Eats, Too

January 04, 2017 Author: admin Category: Event Planner Tips, Technisch Creative Behind the Scenes  0 Comments

A guide to the proper care and feeding of your production team

By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM, and James S. Rota

From the Beauty:

Regardless of what you’re planning, it’s key to know your audience. Today we put a spotlight on the backbone of almost all productions: the production crew. These are the men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs seamlessly from a production standpoint. Their hours are long, usually starting before the sun rises and finishing long after it sets. They often go unnoticed, but they should not be forgotten.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Have a food allergy list for your crew as well as your attendees.
  • Set up a beverage station with hot and cold beverages that are refreshed throughout the day.
  • Offer food selections that can be eaten hot or at room temperature. The crew may eat in shifts.
  • Offer healthy options that keep energy levels consistent.
  • Treat your crew as you would any valued attendee or staff member.
  • Properly feeding the crew creates solid morale, which translates into more motivation to work hard.

From the Brain:

The production team is in the spotlight if a projector fails, sound quality is poor or if any number of other technical snafus occur, so you want the best of the best at the helm.

Dedicated crews arrive earlier than most and are often last to leave. Installation and tear down requires physical and mental energy and, while the show is running, these folks are the nerve center of your operation.

It’s ironic that people who are critical to successful content delivery are often overlooked, if not ignored. Here are a few ways to correct that while improving your show quality:

  • Contract enough time for load-in and strike and avoid overnight load-ins. If something goes wrong during setup, there are few options for replacement equipment. Speakers likely won’t have time to rehearse and your program is at risk of starting late. Additionally, your cue-to-cue rehearsal may be cut, which means you have no dry run for your program.
  • Overnight load-ins have the crew up all day, loading in overnight and likely working the next morning. Depriving the people responsible for key timing and execution of sleep is bad for everyone.
  • If you have a 15-minute break, the crew has about eight minutes to hit the bathrooms and return. They rarely eat as they have neither the time nor the opportunity. Have catering bring food to the crew during breaks. It should be able to be eaten without a fork and only drinks with lids should be offered for equipment safety.
  • Strongly encourage speakers to submit slides at least 24 hours before the event. Put them in a PowerPoint deck in presentation order and put them on a jump drive. Include title slides and walk-in/walk-out slides or still stores. Hand the drive to the production team so they can load the presentations into show computers. Make time to sit with the graphics op to make sure there are no unseen glitches. If you want walk-in/walk-out, play-on/play-off music, let them know that as well as what type of music you prefer.
  • Provide the names and titles of speakers and a pronunciation guide for anyone who requires a VOG (voice of God) introduction to the stage.

Production teams work tirelessly to make your event run smoothly. Treat them with the kindness they deserve.

Want more tips on the proper care of your production partners? Email me at: Christy.lamagna@smeplanners.com.

Until next time, remember that smart is beautiful!

Thank you to Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM of Strategic Meetings and Events for reprint permission.