As cliché as it might sound, no two days are alike for an event producer at Yes&. Our client events touch pretty much every department within Yes&, in addition to many external partners, so there’s a lot of interesting things we get to create with a lot of interesting people.
The experience and theme
Whether it’s our clients’ first event or 50th, every event is unique in what we want the attendees to feel. Because of this, we always start with an overarching theme. Some of our clients come to us with one already set and we partner to imagine how that brand is extended throughout the event deliverables. Others ask for our help in theming, where we partner with them from the start on what the event looks and feels like.
We also help craft the flow of the event, things like recognizing board members, highlighting award winners, or dreaming up something completely out of the box like member monologues paired with musical impersonators. Every element on stage ultimately has to tie back to the theme and the overall needs of our clients. Throughout the process, I need to make sure my team understands the mindset of our client and their attendees so that we’re creating the most relevant content.
That sets the stage (pun intended) for everything else our team must create.
Lighting and set design are our first impression when attendees enter the ballroom. Like a kid in a candy store, this is where our teams are able to play with hard set pieces like custom-made cacti for an event in Arizona, to state of the art LED walls, and everything in between. Don’t be fooled though, a lot of planning and precise room diagrams are essential for ensuring we can pull everything off. As the event producer, I review the ideas not only from a theme and brand perspective, but also from a technical perspective (which inevitably ties into our budget).
Creating impactful graphics and videos lends to the overall excitement and feel of the event. We can have dozens of deliverables that require us to track down headshots, create video scripts needing review by world-renowned speakers, and collect many pieces of information that complements what is happening at any given moment. This is where organization meets patience, in that there’s many details to keep track of and many people to follow-up with.
We end up knowing much more about projection screens, cables, and labor unions than we ever wanted to know. We partner with a technical director and AV team to make sure we have the equipment we want and the labor we need. Our productions can require multiple trailers’ worth of equipment and onsite AV staff of 40+ techs, so there’s quite a bit that needs to be managed. As the producer, I’m also working directly with the speakers and entertainment on their needs… that could entail everything from specific water they prefer to have on stage to pyrotechnics.
Upwards of nine months of planning and creating lead up to a few days of the actual event. Our team is typically on the ground a few days prior to the event to supervise load-in and setup. I’m also managing rehearsals, providing stage direction, and coaching speakers so that our speakers, performers, and crew are able to run through every aspect of the event. Coupled with the actual event, onsite days can last upwards of 14+ hours. In addition to the physical endurance of moving around or even just standing all day, I’m exerting mental endurance managing a host of different personalities that walk across that stage. I’m making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there. I’m problem solving when things don’t go exactly accordingly to plan—that could be speakers changing their remarks minutes before the event starts, equipment failing us, or last-minute no-shows. Having a level head and being able to pivot is essential. As taxing as it can be being an introverted extrovert, it is equally rewarding to see everyone’s hard work come to life. We build a tribe with our client and crew and end up having a lot of fun throughout the managed chaos.
There are so many components to events—marketing, registration, logistics, sponsorship, production. Our clients come to us because they know they can’t do it all. The expertise our team brings to manage all the details of creative development and production allows our clients to focus on the areas they excel at. It becomes a true partnership that comes together in stellar fashion, even if the public only experiences it for just a few days.