12 May 2010
Choosing the right entertainment for your event can be quite tricky. Music, speakers, theater, comedy and all artistic expressions are subjective. Different people enjoy different things to some degree or another. The best way to start is to stay close to the theme of the event. Hire entertainment that will add to the overall message. Know the audience. Stay within your means. Check on the venue on what they can handle. The bigger questions will be answered as options widdle down to realistic possibilities.
It’s a good idea to check out acoustics, lighting, electricity, technology, equipment, audio and vantage points for all potential problems. Depending on the actual set up you want people to have access to the corybantic. Keep an active dialog with the facilities manager; she may have wonderful advice on past events and what went well and what didn’t. Her experience will be a great resource.
Presuming you have the category or styling of the entertainment, set up “Plan B”. Rain, cancellations or random acts of God can and will happen. Secure an alternative date if possible. Be sure to heed any safety or security concerns well in advance. For example, if you hire anyone who includes “fire” in their act, converse with the local fire department. Research all code ordinances like sound, occupancy, late hours etc…
Almost all entertainers for hire will have a website and references, if they don’t, leave them off the short list. Be sure to check their references and promotional material thoroughly. A big issue to watch out for is reliability. When you feel comfortable with your choice or choices make sure you have an agreement or contract set up on your end. Make a list of expectations and compare them with your talents history. If the discussion goes well, the schedule works out and the lists match up, your good to negotiate price.
I once hired a well known keynote speaker within his ranks for a business seminar. My research indicated this was the right person for the event. He was intelligent, dynamic, funny and a great communicator and orator. What impressed me at first was his tenacity on the speakers’ circuit. He spoke everywhere almost 250 times a year. When it came time for my event he was horse and exhausted. His voice had this horrible irritation and rasp about it. He constantly complained about how sick and over traveled he was during his presentation. It was a nightmare. Things got particularly interesting afterward when he wanted the other 50% of his fee. Lesson learned: draft out a list of expectations.
Researching entertainment for your event can be fun if you want. Attend similar events or shows that may be a good fit. Google the hell out of the style of choice and it will give you many ideas on how to move forward. Envision how it will unfold and coordinate accordingly.
It seems like I’m forgetting a bunch of stuff on how to research entertainment for events. Help me out, what is your process on choosing talent? Write back, I could use the insight. Any questions, ask away.