Rick Bloom | Peeling Back The Curtain: The Importance Of An AudioVisual Producer For A Successful Event

budgetJeannine: Right, so it’s kind of like if we go from a wedding standpoint, you know, women have visions of what their cake should be, especially with what they see on the TV, and they want this grandiose cake but it might be that $500 fits into their budget, but when they actually sit down with a baker, they go ‘well, no, that cake that you want is actually a $5,000 cake.’ So, it’s kind of like that, that your eyes have Cinderella dreams, but you don’t quite have the budget that Cinderella would have.

Rick: Exactly. And one of the other things that’s a great point, great analogy and one of the things that we try to do is there are different levels, I mean there is so much technology out there, if we could break apart all of the systems that we deal with in the typical conference, which includes in some way, shape or form audio, so that people can hear whatever’s going on, video which of course could be flat screens or iPads, or projectors or video walls or something like that, it involves lighting, it involves stage design, and we deal with all of these things. There are so many different manufacturers and I guess on our side, it’s fortunate that there are so many ways and methods and manufacturers that we can use to skin the cat, skin the same cat, and arrive at the same goal that as long as we don’t compromise the quality or the integrity of the systems, in other words we make sure that microphones connect to the speakers correctly, and make sure that your computer connects to the projector or to the flat screen correctly, that those systems will work and deliver the same message at the end of the day. So, that really takes a lot of really intense and behind the scenes work, and as I said earlier, we just take the patience and the time, because know that over all of these years that to be able to work with clients and to make them feel comfortable that, you know, the common phrase is ‘we’ve got this one.’ But, in fact, we really do and we can make their meetings a success as a result of taking that time.

Jeannine: So, if I’m planning an event and I want to do it all on my own, so what advice would you have for me, or this is kind of a truthful question, one for getting everything set up like, you know, the time management of it all because I do know that some people are in facilities that they’re familiar with, but you know, I might’ve spent all of my budget getting a room at some airport, hotel, you know meeting room so that’s where my money went so now I’m responsible, or someone in my office is responsible for handling the audio-visual. So, what kind of pointers would you give someone like me, I mean, for doing something like taking my own reigns and handling them on my own, which I am pretty confident that I would not do and I would not advise, but if I’m going to, like what are the checks that I should be going through and the time that I should allot myself to make sure that everything is aligning as is, or should be, sorry.

Rick: Great, great question, and it’s what I run into a lot. You mentioned the key word in there, which was time. That’s the top of the checklist, is start far enough in advance. I mean, even if it’s just a couple of weeks that you have noticed that you have to put on an event, hopefully it’s a couple of months, but give yourself the gift of time, the blessing of time to be able to step back and really analyze and figure out what it is you’re going to need, how many presenters you’re going to have, what style and format is that going to be, is it just going to be one or a series of presenters at the same podium, or are you going to have some panel discussions, or are you going to need microphones to pass around the table for sort of group discussions and interactions? So, those are the kinds of things that you need to start to take into account early. And ask questions, that’s probably point number two. Figure out your goals, start in advance, and ask questions of everybody who’s involved in the outcome so that you basically begin with the end in mind, so that you know where you’re going, and then along the way starting in the small audio-visual steps – you can figure out how to get there. Start with, as I’ve mentioned a few times, start with systems, start with the video and dress that down for everything you’re going to need, does somebody in the office have a simple projector that will meet your needs? Can you show it on a wall instead of renting a screen, or is there a drop-down screen in the room that you can use, even if it’s not a room that you’ve used before? Can you use microphones in a built-in system rather than going to the expense of having to rent an outside system and the operator to go along with it? Is there some lighting in there so that the people who are being seen, up on the stage or dais or panel table in front of the group, be able to be seen, or are there some simple lighting settings in the room on the little panels that everyone knows, on the walls in the ballrooms or conference rooms that those can be set in a certain way? And most often, in a hotel or conference room setting, they’re already preset knowing that different groups of different people will be able to very simply and very easily control that lighting and make sure that their conference will be a success by being able to see the speakers who are involved. Those kinds of things. All of that takes time to think through. I would also recommend not doing it all by yourself, but if you are in an office setting or if you have a good friend or a close confidant who’s also involved in the same business, seek out some council and really try to see what all of the items are to be able to be included in that. If you go to my website, I will give you that address later, I have a 57-point checklist on my website that everybody is welcome to download and take as a guide for being able to walk through all of these kinds of problems if you’re going to do it yourself.

Jeannine Barcarse

Jeannine Barcarse is an entrepreneur, business owner, and author. She is an independent contributing reporter to Business Innovators Magazine & Show Host on Business Innovators Radio showcasing trusted leaders in business and entrepreneurship.