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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.

The Cost of Hiring a Pro

July 18, 2015 Author: admin Category: Event Planner Tips, Event Production Tips  0 Comments

Can you plan your own events? Probably so. Then why do you need the services of a professional meeting planner? You don’t. That being said, please accept my challenge:

I guarantee what you’ll find will be of interest to you every time you need to make a business decision requiring your commitment of a large block of time. You need a calculator and a pencil. Stop here and return when you’re ready to churn some numbers.

Ok, first off, take YOUR yearly gross salary, then multiply it by 30% and add the two numbers. (For example if you earn $100,000 multiply it by 30%) $30,000) then add the two numbers = $130,000)

Now, divide the total number reached above by 2000. The number you see here is YOUR approximate hourly wage ($65)

Now, this is an interesting number but the equation isn’t over yet. Part two is a bit more subjective.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I presently working on?
  • How much revenue do I derive yearly for my firm or organization?
  • What major projects take up most of my focus?
  • Am I working on a highly visible tangible project such as a new contract, the move of a building or headquarters, the purchase of another company or perhaps an IPO?

If so, ask yourself: “what is the real cost of diluting my focus on these issues?”

Now, in order to complete the equation let’s turn to your event. The one common denominator that transcends the planning of every event or meeting is time. There is of course, the time between today’s date and the actual date of your event. There is the time you must invest in order to produce a world-class event. The two are without a doubt interrelated yet very different. The primary focus of this article is on you and the amount of time you’re able to commit to the planning and execution of an event. There is no getting around it –proper planning takes time and always more than meets the eye.

My argument here, respectfully submitted for your understanding, is that more than likely you can’t afford not to use a professional planner and the numbers truly tell the story. A simplistic comparison: taking one’s clothes to the cleaners. Can I wash and iron them myself? Sure can! But the cost per shirt is nominal for professional laundering when I consider the time I’d have to invest in order to accomplish the same task myself.

Time is money. We’ve heard this over and over again throughout our careers. Why do you think corporations spend millions maintaining fleets of private aircraft? They are not executive perks; they carry busy professionals who don’t have time to waste, men and women whose contribution to the bottom line of their company far exceeds the cost of maintaining executive aircraft.

From another perspective – if you’ve ever had the opportunity to put together a toy or kitchen gadget on a holiday morning, I am sure you can relate to the following point: People who do something over and over again, do it more quickly and efficiently!

In my opinion, that is the best case for using professional planners for your event. In addition to having their ear to the ground about venues, industry issues, etc., they know what “not to do.” They know the risks involved in certain decisions and can clearly see danger well ahead of others who plan meetings from “time to time.”

Returning to my original statement, you are more than likely capable of planning your own event and most probably could do it well, but unless you do it all the time, you’re not going to have access to the information and knowledge base of someone who lives the craft professionally and in most cases, socially as well.

Using our equation model, what is the real cost of your total involvement for countless hours on end? I believe, significantly higher than of a professional planner.

Numbers do tell the story and the model I’ve suggested here today can be used in other areas of your business and personal life as well.

Copyright 2000. Avery Russell, Alexandria, VA, USA. Reproduction permitted.