What’s the one element, above all others, that ensures a successful event? Lots and lots of pre-production.
In order for any event to be a success, you need a plan. And a back up plan. And a back up plan for that back up plan. We've been in the live event production business long enough to know that anything can happen.
Event managers take heed: the only way to ensure a SNAFU-free event is to plan for everything. Here are three common live event production mistakes to avoid, and three ways simple pre-production planning can make you look like a rockstar.
“Whose Job is That, Anyway?”
The Mistake: Poor Communication Means Lack of Accountability
Have you ever worked on a jigsaw puzzle only to realize as it comes together that you’re missing a few pieces?
That’s what it’s like (times about a million) to be in the midst of producing a live event, only to realize you don’t know who’s got what resources, how “X” session is being handled, or where to regroup. At that point, it’s already too late.
The Fix: Kick-Off with the Live Event Production Team
We can’t overstate the importance of a quick event kick-off. It's important to circle up with the team so everyone is on the same page. That means bringing together the event technologists, the talent, your event management team, and any venue admin you’ll be working with for a quick, 20 minute chat.
These kick-offs are an opportunity to put faces to names, go over individual responsibilities and expectations, and assign points of contact. This might seem simple, but a quick kick-off is the key to a solid event partnership.
Attendees and Presenters Can’t Get Online
The Mistake: Assuming the Venue will Facilitate Wi-Fi
It’s not uncommon to have about 100 channels of wireless audio and intercom in a venue, with other events nearby, as well as TV and public safety communications.
Without the right know-how, these frequencies can conflict with one another which can cause connection issues and equipment failure.
The Fix: Longterm Radio Frequency (RF) Planning
In collaboration with the venue directors, planning for this phase should begin long before you arrive on site. Your event production team must employ skilled RF technicians to set up, scan, monitor, coordinate and locate frequencies for all equipment.
It might sound uber-specific, but only an experienced RF technician can fill this role; and it’s not something you’ll want to leave up to venue techs who won’t be familiar with your program.
But employing the right talent is only half the battle. You also need the right tools. We make sure to use the latest spectrum analyzers and frequency management software to regulate resources, and we upgrade often to ensure we’re always one step ahead of the tech.
Your Equipment Malfunctions
The Mistake: You’re Not Prepared to Deal with Equipment Failure
These are the types of unforeseeable mistakes that can make an event manager come unhinged. Things break. Equipment malfunctions. All hell breaks loose. Unless you’ve got a plan.
The Fix: Equipment Redundancies & Contingencies
Your event production team should strategically plan for equipment issues through a combination of redundant live backups of critical items, dual redundant power supplies, battery backups, and spare equipment on-site.
The best event producers also plan contingencies with vendors and have backup vendors in place for each service they provide.
Plan for everything. Have backups of backups. Have trusted vendors on emergency retainer, and get your tech team in communication with venue administrators as early in the process as possible.
Finally, stay in close communication with your event producers. They need to know about any changes in your program, any technology hurdles, and how you're allocating internal resources and responsibilities.
Ultimately, the key to producing a successful event is to work with an experienced team who knows what to expect and how to handle it.