28 August 2019

STRUCTURE – there can’t be many people that, should they want a building designed and built, wouldn’t know an architect leads the way, directing engineers and builders. It’s a known and proven structure. Most pursuits have recognised structures: law, medicine, military, film making etc..

When it comes to live events, exhibitions and pavilions though, this structure is often missing – there’s just not the same common comprehension. People, companies and agencies often making up their own approach, relying on hearsay or doing what they’ve always done in their sector or field of view. Get a proven, efficient structure in place and you’ll save time, money and effort, you’ll reduce risks, life will be easier for all involved and you’ll get way more sleep (which is important!). Three and a half minutes of video to help…


Hi, I’m Will Glendinning. I’m a live event Producer, Designer, and Director.

Now, most industries that have to produce and deliver something have a clearly defined structure that exists because it’s proven and because it works. A restaurant kitchen has a structure led by a chef, an army led by its commander, a surgery led by the surgeon, and a film production led by the producer and director.

Live events are absolutely no different. There is a structure that is proven and that works.

Yet, I’m still amazed how frequently I find myself explaining this structure to people who are trying to create events, exhibitions, pavilions, or anything live. Almost any issue, be it creative, political, commercial, technical, operational, whatever it is can almost always be traced back to this structure not being in place or this structure not even being known about.

And I don’t care whether it’s the Olympic Games, a sporting event, a cultural event, military event, product launch, brand event, conference, whatever it is, there are four questions. And if these four questions can’t be answered almost immediately by everyone working on the event and everyone involved with the event, there is no way on Earth your live event is being delivered, produced or developed as efficiently and as effectively as it might be. This reduces it’s value and also diminishes the impact it creates.

Question one, which one person is the overall lead, ultimately responsible for delivering the event? They need relevant contextual experience of having led events with similar contextual requirements before in similar circumstances. They don’t necessarily need to understand the content or the purpose of the live event.

Question two, which one person is the overall lead for all content and all creative direction? This might be the brand manager or creative director for a brand or business event, the competition or sporting director for a sports event or for a concert it would almost certainly be the artist.

Question three, which one person is taking overall responsibility for the physical delivery and production of everything necessary? They need relevant contextual experience of having delivered similar before in similar circumstances.

And question four, which one person is taking overall responsibility for all the logistics and operations requirements? For example, travel, accommodation, catering, ticketing, accreditation and all the rest of it. They need relevant contextual experience of having delivered similar before in similar circumstances.

The boundaries between these four roles can blur, but getting the right team in place and the right marriage between content and contextual experience is critical. Everyone else involved, account managers, procurement, marketing… whoever, all work with, or report into this structure.

If you’re a client or buyer, you could have this team report into you, or you may even be one of these core team members, the producer if you’re right for the job, or the content lead perhaps, if you’re a brand manager, but make sure this structure is clear and unambiguous.

These four roles could all be the same person on a smaller event, or they may have massive committees or teams involved, but ultimately there needs to be a directly accountable individual in each of these four roles. On larger, multi-faceted events, you simply divide the event into smaller obvious sub-events and ensure they have the same structure.

I’ve adopted this approach and structure on projects where there’s been just me, or a handful of people, through to projects and events where there have been over 20,000 people working on it. It works. All events are theater in some way, shape or form, and these principles have been proven over hundreds of years, so I can’t take all the credit.

Make sure you have this structure in place, or put it in place or get those you’re bringing on board to put in it in place for you. Everything will be less: expensive, complicated and painful this way.

So I hope that was helpful, any questions just let me know?

Thanks for watching, and I’ll speak to you again soon.