Behind-the-Scenes Secrets

From visual storyboards to timelines that outline every single moment from when the doors open to when the doors close, events need a thorough production process from start to finish. In fact, that’s a benefit of working with an event production team. Behind-the-scenes on a production show, stage managers call cues for everything (visuals, music, spoken word). They call cues so quickly and efficiently they sound like auctioneers.

Our job is to scurry behind the curtain to make sure the stage is set perfectly for both the client and the audience. What are the keywords here? Behind the curtain! We like to keep it that way.

There’s so much forward thinking, planning and set up that must take place to produce a flawless event. But what happens when things go wrong behind-the- scenes? We keep it that way: Behind-the-scenes.

Let us explain what we mean with a story.

A great example of “keeping it behind-the- scenes” starts with a product launch we did at Navy Pier in Chicago. We spent an entire week setting up the launch and rehearsing for the show. Now, you’d think an event that received an entire week of setup would take off without a hitch. But there’s always something that’s out of your control.

In this case, it was the weather. A strong rainstorm came in overnight. When roof drains clogged, a pool of water formed on the roof. Finally, the water found a weak spot, separated roof panels and several thousands of gallons of water poured into the facility. To make things worse, it poured into the electrical vault right onto the main power supply, turning it into a public safety issue.

Of course, it’s time for the big show and performers arrive with no power and an uncertainty of when it would be repaired. It could have been minutes. It could have been hours. Meanwhile, the crew is working at warp speed to bring in everyone that could help. We recruited unions, janitors, electricians and even locals. Everyone kept their cool and hustled to clean up water and reboot computer systems.

Forty-five minutes went by and clients started walking in. It didn’t look like a complete black out, but it certainly didn’t look ready. It was make it or break it time.

In the nick of time, power rebooted and all technology loaded as expected. Since we were already behind schedule, we weren’t able to test everything per usual. We did a test run of portions of the show and got enough working to feel comfortable going live.

The most important part was that the primary clients had no idea any turmoil occurred until the event was over. We didn’t want to cause mayhem or jeopardize the performance. When some caught wind of what happened, they didn’t believe it at first because the team did such an exceptional job. We received huge appreciation remarks post-event that applauded our hard work. It wasn’t just us, the facility and the unions came together to help this show go on. It felt like a job well done.

Alas, you can’t control a weather catastrophe from happening, but you should never underestimate the power of Plan B or Plan C when you’re end goal is a flawless event.

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