Team-time: the key to conducting a live event production
by Malati Singh
Tonight’s the night. After months of picture-perfect preparation, detailed pre-event planning and production schedule-perfecting, the event is here. Like conducting an orchestra, coordinating a live event involves synchronising a variety of instruments and personnel into a beautiful memorable harmony. From the logistics to the timing, the group efforts to the sole responsibilities, it takes seasoned conductors to get the best out of an event. Luckily, that’s exactly what event professionals are.
Timing is both the essence of a harmonious symphony and a note-perfect event. From set-up to guest arrival, after-dinner auctions to recycling pick-up, having a to-the-minute breakdown of the night’s events ensures it runs like clockwork and has the desired impact. Here’s what you need to bear in mind:
Production schedule – Craft adetailed minute-by-minute (sometimes even second-by-second) production schedule that incorporates every single element of the event from set-up through to tear down. Like a map with an extra zoom on a key area, you may want a general day overview (hour-by-hour) and an extra focus on the main three hours of the event (e.g. cold canapés – warm canapés – speeches – art installation – DJ).
Logistics – Make a list of when the key elements of the event – i.e. the MC, entertainment, food and beverage (F&B), on site temperature check tech and team, sound and lighting – are arriving, where they are going and when they are leaving. In particular, ensure that all deliveries to site have the correct contact details of whom to contact on drop-off, arrival, pick-up or departure.
Run sheet – Print it out, make copies, laminate it. Paper never runs out of batteries and having multiple event programme agendas on site will take a weight off your shoulders (always have access to a printer on site). There are always last minute tweaks and a clean run sheet lets the client know you’re on it and ensures you’re not leaving scribbles open to misinterpretation.
A conductor is only as good as his musicians and no event is possible without a well-organised, dedicated team. That’s not just the event planners and brand representatives, but the photographer, security, housekeeping staff and service personnel too. Pre-event you should think about:
Numbers – Ensure you have scheduled enough team members on event days and don’t take shortcuts. If a client insists on reducing staff, make sure you communicate the risks to them beforehand and if you strongly disagree with the decision, let them know constructively – you’re only showing off your expertise!
Briefings – Schedule pre-event briefings with all partners and suppliers to ensure everyone knows and understands their where, when, what, how, as well as their Covid safe roles and responsibilities throughout the day.
Value – Make every team member aware of their vital contribution. No one’s role is insignificant and communicating the importance of each person – showing how what they are doing adds to the holistic success of the event – is crucial to perfect delivery.
Pastoral – Look after your team as without them there is no event. Build in staff breaks and schedule substantial meals for them (you don’t want staff picking at the canapés or passing out from hunger).
Run-through – Like a stage rehearsal, deliver a full run-through with the event showcaller as well as any external teams (e.g. photography / videography) onsite pre-event.
Embrace the unexpected
And breathe. It’s natural for the butterflies to buzz before an event, but remember there’s only so much you can do. Like a sizzling concerto or rousing recital, a live event is exciting as it can never be fully scripted (despite anyone’s best efforts) and preparing in advance will lead to calm and level heads on the night, which means you’re in the right frame of mind to transform any event hiccup into an event thumbs up (sometimes the most memorable events involve spontaneous changes of plan like when your host has to pull out their top jokes to entertain the audience during a street wide power cut).
At Rebel & Soul, that’s our mentality. As event composers, our INVOLVE®-inspired neuroexperiences are designed to maximise impact and make long-lasting memories. As event conductors, we bring all the aspects of an event together and are always ready to improvise. Let’s make some (event) music together.