Four Ways to Make Sure Your Next Live Event Production is a Complete Flop

Performing arts organizations have the tricky task of being in the live event production business. Living and performing in the moment can be thrilling and exciting, but it can also be incredibly stressful. There are no do-overs, take-backs, or retries, so it’s absolutely essential that things go right the first time around.

Read on if you’d like your next live event production to be a complete and utter flop. Don’t worry though – we’ve also included some helpful tips to avoid committing these live event production sins!

Hire production team members that are know-it-alls, don’t work well together or are just plain miserable.

CC Image via Creative Sustainability by Glen Forde
CC Image via Creative Sustainability by Glen Forde

We really can’t stress this enough. Attitude is so much more important than competency, and this is even truer in community theatre productions because your production team members are volunteers.  Trust us – you want to work with people that work well together, are pleasant to be around and are willing to do whatever it takes to solve your production problems.

Your team is a direct reflection of you and your organization. Work with the best people available to produce a top-quality production.

Fire your stage manager a few days before your production opens.

Stage managers are essential to your cast members and your own personal sanity. Figuratively speaking, they are the grease that makes the wheels run smoothly and the water that puts out fires. From initial rehearsals to the final performance, stage managers play an active, hands-on role during the entire production process. Bottom line: don’t do it.

Cancel your tech-run.

CC Image by eyeliam
CC Image by eyeliam

Have you decided that your cast is ready to rock their opening night performance and so you’re considering cancelling your tech-run?

Don’t. Delete that email right now.

Tech-runs are vital for your lighting operator, sound engineer and your cast members. It’s their last chance to make sure everything is ready to run smoothly on opening night. And even if your cast is ready, you’re lighting designer and sound engineer might not be. I’m a firm believer in taking a “better safe than sorry” approach; always have a tech-run.

Neglect the visual aspects of the production.

Founder of Orange Thread Media, Luke McElroy, provides a great analogy demonstrating the importance of visual aspects in a production: Think like Disney World instead of Home Depot.

What does this mean? This means that you want to create an immersive and innovative environment for your audience to enjoy, instead of opting for function over design.

Performing arts organizations are incredibly lucky because their primary communication medium easily lends itself to creating an immersive environment. The end goal is often to transport the audience to a different place and time, and this is most successfully achieved when a production has addressed all aspects of the performance: music, acting, dancing, sets, costumes and lighting. If you’ve ever been to Disney World before, you know that they always address all of those production aspects.

CC Image by Jeff Christiansen
CC Image by Jeff Christiansen

Besides – I don’t know very many people that would choose to spend an evening at Home Depot over Disney World. Do you?

Hopefully you’ve picked up a tip or two to make your organization’s next live event production a huge success. Go for it – make the transition from flop to top!

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