Ivory-colored tablecloths, shiny silverware with a hint of dazzling sparkle, golden-ribboned chairs, and banquet décor you could only imagine seeing at your rich friend’s wedding…
It was a going to be a huge charity event. One of our very first non-profit fundraising galas! As established corporate event planners, it was a big step in diversifying our portfolio and expanding our expertise to non-profit organizations. We were excited to help produce a fantastic cause awareness video with a $5000 budget!
We couldn’t wait to show all of our 400 guests the dedication we put into this production. There would be high-profile attendees, corporate sponsorship executives, and the fundraising generosity in the room depended on this critical video reveal. We were nervous. Being out of town, we couldn’t hire our usual audio-visual experts. Nonprofit charity organizations prefer local partnerships with vendors as a kind extension of community support.
We knew it would be the most critical piece of the night so we prepared it in every format imaginable…MP4, MOV, AVI, you name it, we made it and kept backups. We tested audio-visual and lighting services with our technician repeatedly. Synched and resynched the presentation script until sound and screen testing was flawless at soundcheck the day of the event.
In our heads we were thinking, what could possibly go wrong? On the evening of our charity event, we opened the doors and greeted our guests and clients with cheerful anticipation. It was finally time for the big show-stealer! Confident, we escorted the VIPs up onstage and queued the AV technician to switch to video at just the right moment. Then, silence. Awkward silence. Guess what…never in a million years, did we see this coming. The screen suddenly went blank. No flawless execution here folks. When he clumsily fidgeted with his laptop to get it going with me whisper-yelling at him in his earpiece, our locally-hired AV technician played the wrong version of the video. We were utterly mortified. Those awkward minutes it took to get the correct video working again felt like an eternity. By far the most painfully embarrassing ever… thankfully, that was twelve years ago but it still haunts us to this very day.
Unfortunately, glitches do happen even to the most experienced event planners. You don’t have to be a corporate events genius or non-profit fundraising guru to acknowledge that simple truth. There are ways to minimize or even avoid AV Production fails. Here are some basic tips to help you identify qualified audio-visual service providers for your next event.
- Background Check: Vet them for their organizational stability and online reputation. Ideally, they should have over 3 years of industry experience, and great testimonials on their website or social accounts. Social media advocacy is a new trend even in the AV provider space.
- AV Equipment/Technical Services: Provide them with a list of equipment needed and determine if their inventory matches your needs. They should be willing and able to help you with equipment setups or program installation processes.
- Cooperation/Communication: Assess if they will involve you in the planning process. Adequate communication is essential to the successful running of an event.
- On-Site Support: Let’s face it, changes are bound to occur during any event. The AV provider should be available to address inquiries and resolve issues as they occur in a fast-paced environment.
- Cost, Cost, Cost: Quality services come at a pretty penny, but not so much that you’ll break the bank. A great AV provider will work with you to find a suitable plan for your event needs AND budget. In fact, digital display price drops are a current trend in Toronto with the prevalence of HD becoming outdated.
With these basic criteria in mind, you can now rest assured that this PR nightmare won’t be happening to you any time soon. Of course, we’re here to help. You don’t have to go at this alone. We can share recommendations and connect you with Toronto’s best audio visual service and live event production companies, for all your audio, video, lighting, staging and streaming needs.
THINGS HAPPEN, BUT DUE DILIGENCE CAN HELP PREVENT.