8 April 2020

This second video of two is for you if you’re an event supplier. You have a huge opportunity. As we emerge from this crisis – brands, agencies and governments are going to want to buy better, find the most appropriate creativity and generate more value. To do this effectively requires knowledge and expertise. There has never been a greater need for your expertise, your talent, your knowledge… one of your biggest assets.

Most people who work in brands, agencies or governments – who buy, produce, design or create live events have no training in the craft of doing so – call it stagecraft, theatre craft… whatever you like.

This hinders productivity, creativity and budgets, results in crap tenders and RFPs – it also reduces an event or exhibition’s value and impact, as time and effort are focused on the wrong sort of problems.

This second video expands on the first with examples of what you could do, for who and how. It’s a long’un (about 8 minutes) but worth a watch if you’re looking for new opportunities and to help people in this changing world.

If you’ve not watched the first video, please do so first – which you can find here.

If you think these two videos can help others you know, feel free to share.

Thoughts and questions welcome.


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

And this is the second part of a two-part video series looking at how you, if you’re and event supplier, that is you supply goods or services to the event industry, or the event sector, how you have an enormous opportunity. In fact, it’s more than an opportunity, your expertise has never been more in need than it is now.

If you’ve not seen the first video of this two-parter, please watch it, there’s a link to it in the description.

In summary, though, we’re looking at filling the enormous knowledge gap that exists in all the hundreds or thousands of organisations that produce and create live events. Your audience for this knowledge are the thousands of Producers, Account Managers, Project Managers, Designers, Creatives and others who are designing, specifying or creating events for themselves, their organisations, or their clients.

Most are currently doing this without even a basic knowledge of theatre or stage craft, and the technical and logistical crafts that make them happen. Many people in these organisations are also often too afraid to ask for help or admit they don’t know something. After all, if you’re the Producer of an event, you should know at least the basics of, for example, lighting design… shouldn’t you? Sadly, many don’t, and they for sure want to, but to admit you don’t know, it’s seen as dangerous ground for many more junior people. And to be honest, even some people who own and run larger agencies or organisations who ought to know this stuff, don’t.

These knowledge gaps needs filling if live events are going to become more viable, be more creative, and deliver more value and more impact, because as we come out of the crisis we’re in, everyone’s going to be looking for more for less, and in more innovative ways. So assuming you’ve watched the first part of this two-part series, let’s look at how the expertise you have can fill those knowledge gaps, today.

First up, if you’re a set or staging company, look at and explain the very basics of stagecraft, stage design. Upstage, downstage, stage left, stage right, what a proscenium is and all the rest of it. The absolute basics, so people can better articulate what they are looking to achieve. Another large issue is the number of people who work or have only worked in 2D, and are designing events and exhibitions on screen, again, in 2D. Enlighten them with knowledge of the third dimension, and how this is best considered.

Talk about time, too, how things can change and transitions. Anything you think would be useful to a designer who’s only ever designed a digital campaign or some branding, and now trying to design a live brand activation in glorious 3 dimensions. Explain how sight lines need to be considered, and other key design considerations. Look at traditional stages, stages in the round, runways and all the rest of it.

Get the basics sorted out, and then move on to more theatrical effects, like how gauze effects work, or simple automation. Whatever you think valuable, to them, not to you. If you have a crewing or event resource service, look at stage management, for example, what works, what doesn’t, and how stage management should be addressed. So often stage management is seen as a dark art, and everyone wonders why so many people are needed, and just standing around. Explain it, detail what they are all doing. And that for some, it’s what they need to do when things go wrong rather than what they don’t need to do when things are going well.

Showcalling, another dark art understood by so few. Explain the basics, explain the terminology. Explain how and when they need to get involved, and the difference between what a Producer, Stage Management, the Showcaller and others should be doing during planning, rehearsals and the event. Look at events on traditional stages, in the round, in fields or the open public spaces, or in stadiums, in as many different places as possible. Provide as much context as possible, this is all basic stuff, and understood by so few.

There are so many event technologies, clearly, I don’t have time to go into them all, but let’s look at some of the most common, you’ll a flavor of how to approach it.

First up, if you are a lighting company, explain the basics of lighting design. The aim here is not to replace you or the role of a lighting designer, it’s to give people the tools to have more useful and informed conversations and to get them thinking.

Explain a little about different lights, how to light difference scenes or environments, talk about the subtler side of things, like shadows and shade, whatever you think is worthwhile. Maybe even discuss how to choose a lighting designer. Then look at how lighting set ups work, what goes in the gap between an electrical supply and the lamps themselves? Lighting desks, dimmers, control, the cabling and distribution, and all the rest of it. Explain the basics, how does it work, what does it look like, how big are these things? People will find this useful.

If you are a sound company, again, explain the basics of sound design. The things you find yourself explaining time and time again, from how you can’t stand in front of a speaker with a microphone, the different types of microphones, how to cover an audience with sound, foldback, in ear monitors, the basic stuff. Then explain the equipment set up. What’s in the gap between a microphone and the loudspeaker? Cables, which sort, wireless technology, desks, multicores, amplifiers, mains distribution and cabling. What does this look like How is a basic rig wired, set up, sound checked and operated?

If you’re a video company, explain how projectors work, the different types and how to line them up. You could even show the old-school method, too. Understanding how projectors with their different colored light sources of old are lined up, explains the science behind the technology now taken for granted.

Demonstrate how LED screens work, what different resolutions are useful, how they link together, and anything else you can think of.

Camera rigs, how do cameras work, and link together, and how are they controlled. How should camera set ups be designed for different types of events? Playback and control. How do images get from a camera lens, or from a playback device, mixed and onto a screen? What are the different technologies, how do they link together, who operates them, what does all this stuff look like? But keep it simple. You are not training your staff here, you’re giving people enough information to create and design events more effectively or creatively, and giving them the tools and the language to be able to articulate things to their colleagues or clients.

Rigging, if you’re a rigging company and you’re getting the picture now, what are the basics of rigging? Rigging points, hoists, hardware, truss, and how all this comes together. How does flying and automation work? What are the most common systems or approaches? How is it controlled, what are the key considerations, again, anything useful. I’ll leave the event technology companies there, hopefully there’s enough there to spark a few ideas.

Finally let’s look at a few logistical opportunities. If you are a freighting, trucking or shipping company, the world is your oyster. So little is understood, and everyone thinks they’re an expert, and few people understand the difference between a traditional logistics partner and one who specializes in events. Explain the basics of how sea freight works, how air freight works, and how trucking works.

Explain how customs, import, temporary imports, exports, fees, bonds and other bureaucratic necessities work. Again this is not to replace your role, it’s to help people explain how things work. Help people to help themselves and you. Maybe sort out answers for the questions you get 100 times a week, and are fed up of answering. But keep it positive.

If you have a travel, accommodation or catering firm specializing in events, explain the basics. If you have a catering firm, how does that work? Do you build kitchens, do you need kitchens, how do you approach catering for crew, for guests, delegates and VIPs, and any other scenarios? Look at your specific area of expertise or niche and talk about what people really should know before they pick up the phone to you.

I could carry on, but you get the idea.

Now, live events can utilize any skill and any industry under the sun, but there are some fundamental basics that are so common to so many events, but understood by so few.

As I said in the previous video, the ways and means of doing this can be found across the interweb. But as we emerge from this crisis, brands, agencies and governments are going to want to buy better, find the most appropriate creativity and generate more value. Without the basic knowledge we’re talking about here, this has always been an issue, and now never more so. This is your opportunity to lead from the front. Remember, this is not about selling, it’s just about helping.

There has never been a better time, there has never been a greater opportunity, and there has never be a greater need for your knowledge and for your expertise.

These two videos should have given you enough inspiration and thought provoking ideas to demonstrate both the opportunity and how to help others and yourself at the same time.

I welcome your thoughts, and happy to take questions.

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