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Guest blog by Lauren Bennett at drp

16 Jun

I’ve recently been talking to a few of the nice people at drp agency, a communications agency and production house with offices all over the UK. They’ve worked with a number of fantastic high profile clients on all sorts of wonderful projects.

They’ve recently brought on an Event Coordinator, Lauren Bennett, who made a brave career leap from working as a Nursery Nurse into the world of events. I absolutely loved this blog post that Lauren wrote so thought I would share it with my readers (especially those considering a career change!), for a little motivation and support.

 

 “Do you follow career paths, or carve your own?


Career paths are there to let you know where you are, remind you of where you have been, and give you a target of where you need to go next. With most sectors and industries, there is a step-by-step-process of progression. However, what if the typical career path isn’t for you? What happens when you want to change your profession completely?

Prior to working at drp I had had no previous employment or experience in events. With two young children, working as a nursery nurse for eight years fitted in with family life at the time. It was always a dream of mine to work in events, however, with my lack of industry experience I doubted that I would even be considered.


So…How can you carve a brand new career path?


Get Some Work Experience


This is essential, and highly advantageous. You must have a strong knowledge base and experience in your chosen profession. If you don’t, find ways to get as much experience as you can. Apply for work experience placements, internships, or apprenticeships for example. If companies don’t appear to have any of those, suggest working for them without a wage, and this will further emphasise how much you want to be there.


Show a Willingness to Learn

You can only get out what you put in. If you are fortunate enough to secure work experience, make sure that you get the most of out of it. Be inquisitive, ask questions, and offer to take on more tasks, participate, and keep your ears open. Nobody will expect you to know everything, but it is important to show that you are willing to learn.

Be Determined…

It’s not going to be easy, so you have to remain determined and persistent to succeed. Even if the company aren’t hiring at the time, there will come a time when they are, and your aim is to be the first person that they think of. Always see the bigger picture. You may be working for free, but you’re working… And you’re gaining the experience you need to be employed in a similar role.


Finally…


Don’t give up. If at first you don’t succeed try, try, and try again, and then try a few more times! Working as a Nursery Nurse couldn’t have been further away from being an Event Coordinator. I needed the experience, and drp were not hiring anyone, or offering work experience roles at the time. After persevering, and contacting drp on multiple occasions I was offered the opportunity to work for two months as an unpaid intern and I grabbed it! Seize your opportunities, and squeeze them for all they’re worth.”

Well done Lauren! The events industry is glad to have you. Good luck for the future!!

If you’re looking to burst your way into the events industry and want some help, tips, advice or just someone to talk to then please do feel free to get in touch with me!

Brand Activation / Experiential Marketing expected trends for the future

29 Mar

The experiential events industry is flourishing. Marketing budgets are ever increasing and focusing more on live events and experiential, whilst available technology is not only progressing but becoming more affordable and effective. These together are enabling some superbly innovative and creative ideas to surface all over the world.

So what do I think is going to trend in the future? Three key things.

  • Sustainable events
  • Immersive experiences
  • Internet of Things (IoT)

Sustainable events

It’s no secret that the events industry is not massively easy on our environment. Huge trucks carting tonnes of kit all over the world every day for a one day set up, large sets torn to shreds and discarded after short amounts of live time and anyone that works in the industry I can guarantee you is always drowning in printouts / paper….

However, the industry is waking up now and realizing the importance of delivering events with the planet in mind.

Recycled shipping containers are already a regular in the events world. But there are heaps of other ways event managers can consider the environment. Using electric cars / vans like the Nissan LEAF or the eNV200 for transporting crew and kit, printing using ink free printers, recycling every bit of paper and every empty bottle after an event, using recycled materials to print materials, solar powered kit and heaps more.

There are even sustainable events agencies appearing like The Blub London who are using industry standard ISO2012-1 as a benchmark for all their event planning.

Immersive experiences

The rise of projects like Secret Cinema and the current ‘Live Escape Game’ craze throughout the UK are perfect examples of this, as well as the rise in popularity of virtual reality headsets. Kit from a number of different tech companies (Oculus Rift, Samsung) is making it cheaper, easier and a better quality experience to create immersive experiences.

However, previously some brands have used technology for the sake of using technology. There hasn’t been enough thought put into what the end consumer would take from the experience. It has become apparent that the brand, the activity and the interaction needed to fit together seamlessly for right message to be carried away.

With this in mind, more brands this year will be thinking more creatively about how they implement these immersive experiences, whilst using the best kit available.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Probably the biggest and most exciting trend of the three, IoT has the potential to make experiential even more engaging, fun and personal to a consumer.

IoT is the network of physical objects embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity enabling these objects to collect and exchange data.

Imagine a city that is totally connected. Cars, roads, cameras, traffic lights, clothes, phones, bikes, fridges; everything. If a phone can talk to a fridge you can find out what you need to buy for dinner on your way home from work without physically looking in your fridge. If a street camera can talk to traffic lights or your car they can redirect you around another route from where there might be heavy traffic to make your journey quicker. If your phone can talk to your jacket while you’re riding your bike you can receive phone calls, emails and texts – still riding with both hands….

It’s remarkable how this technology can be used. There are already projects like The Things Network where technologists are testing out city wide networks in places like Manchester that are totally free to use. So not only amazingly forward thinking but incredibly cheap to run and create. 

Absolut are already ahead of the game, you can see some of the ideas they’ve been looking at with a number of agencies in this article in Marketing Magazine

I found this infographic very helpful in understanding the basics of IoT! The possibilities of how you can transpose this type of technology into an event space or activity is incredibly exciting and infinite!

I Love Events Top Suppliers

8 Jul

Every now and then I’ll write a short post plugging top suppliers I’ve have had the pleasure of working with over the previous months. I really cannot tell you how useful it is to have a supplier recommended to me from other event planners, so I just keep on writing recommendations in the hope that I’m in some way helping my peers.

So, the last few months I’ve been doing quite a bit of on site work which means really seeing which suppliers pull out all the stops for you and which ones don’t.

The first supplier on my list has dealt with SO many phone calls from me with the most ridiculous requests at crazy times of the day or night and has always pulled it off no questions asked….

  1. Liquorice – Lyn Taylor has been my personal saviour on various projects. Essentially, Lyn comes from a lengthy background in procurement agency side (so totally understands the challenges we go through), and has incredible contacts all over the country and worldwide that provide event planners with anything that their project needs. Whether it’s last minute print you need sending half way across Europe, or it’s 200 bespoke acrylic badges made in 24 hours for a special client event, or making something completely new and bespoke – Lyn can help. Lyn knows all her contacts inside out, and negotiates great prices for her clients and can get excellent turn around times for those last minute requirements (or classic client changes to print just a few hours before going live!). Lyn has excellent production knowledge too – she knows how things are made and who makes them best; which helps; big time – Lyn works with you to deliver exactly what you want. Her company is called Liquorice because they do allsorts…. (geddit??!). All hail Lyn – the lifesaver. Email: lyn@liquorice-consulting.com Phone: 01206 736155
  1. Brentwood Radios – Brentwood supply event planners with robust, reliable and tested 2 way radios for live events. You can either hire or buy directly from them and they have a great selection of makes and models available, as well as high quality audio accessories, such as headsets and earpieces – and above all their prices are really good too.
  1. Crucial FX – Wowee these guys do some cool stuff. Crucial FX use the latest technology to create bespoke event experiences. They can provide special effects, 4D & 3D projection mapping, prototyping, and bespoke integration of social media into event technology and loads more. What I’ve found fantastic about CFX is that I went to them with a crazy idea and they provided a robust, clear, simply explained and above all, a cost effective solution for what we wanted to happen. Their work is beautifully executed, their team are all helpful and creative and they’re super helpful turning round proposals and costs in very short time scales. You can see some videos of their work here and here.

So thats my supplier round up for now! Enjoy 🙂

In other news, I Love Events featured in Leighman’s top 12 Information Event Management Blogs! Thanks Leighman’s! You can read the article here.

Hello Manchester!

2 May

Regular readers will know I’m not one to stay in one place for a long time. My recent venture has been to Manchester, the largest city in the North West of England. I’ve been here for 3 months now and, so far, can say it’s one of my favourite places I’ve ever lived.

The quality of life here is much better than anywhere else I’ve ever lived. General living costs way less, the people are friendlier (by far!!) and there’s a more serene, laid back way to exist here. No rushing, no rat race, just nice people and cheap food and drink.

So you can tell I’m sold! And will be here for the foreseeable future. So to start off my new life in Manchester, I thought I’d tell you my favourite places, activities and what I’ve been doing since I got here….

1. THE NORTHERN QUARTER. It’s my new home. I absolutely LOVE the Northern Quarter. It’s full of vibrancy and friendly people, as well as amazing coffee shops, bars, vintage shops, record stores, the lot. My newest favourite haunts have been Home Sweet Home (for lunch, dinner and cake), Bonbon Boutique (for hot chocolate and general delicious treats), Terrace (for Aspall cider – my favourite), Sugar Junction (for brunching and afternoon tea), Soup Kitchen (for beers and man watching 🙂 ) and Band on the Wall (for beers and live music)

2. FLECKY BENNETT’S MANCHESTER GHOST WALK. Took part in this last week and it was so much fun! Flecky Bennett is a fantastic host and took us on a 90 min walk around Manchester teaching us all about it’s ghostly history. It was a great way to learn about key buildings in the city, and get some cool facts and also feed my weirdo interest for ghostly things – all for only £11.25.  Flecky also hosts Manchester’s underground tunnel tour where multiple ghost sightings have happened!! I’m going on that one next! You can learn more and book here.

3. MANCHESTER ART GALLERY. Not only free to get in, but filled with a vast selection of art works ranging from wild and beautiful contemporary pieces to Dutch 17th century paintings that tell incredible stories. The gallery is also hosting Joana Vasconcelos’ Time Exhibition installation at the moment, which costs an additional £7.50 – her large scale sculptures are incredible, and world renown. A lovely way to spend a rainy afternoon – and trust me – there are many many rainy afternoons in Manchester!!

4. DUNHAM MASSEY. Just a short drive outside of Manchester City Centre, Dunham Massey is a beautiful Georgian house with 3,000 acres of surrounding estate that is now owned by the National Trust. Built around 1730, the house was owned by various Earls until during the first World War, the current estate manager (Lady Penelope Stamford), transformed the house into Stamford Military Hospital, caring for over 300 injured soldiers. The house is currently set up to look how it would if while it was a hospital and tells the amazing stories of some of their patients and staff. The surrounding estate is beautiful for an afternoon walk, and full of super cute deer as well!

Am absolutely loving Manchester and really looking forward to settling down and staying here for a while. I’ll be starting at a new Events Agency in Liverpool next week, so will keep updating my blog with more information on my work, and cool events in the area 🙂 Stay tuned!

Interview with Phil Beaven, Freelance Production Manager

14 Aug

Continuing the I Love Events Interview Season, Freelance Production Manager (and wannabe stuntman!), Phil Beaven gives us his tips and hints on how to get into Event Production!

 

What is your name? Phil Beaven

What is your current Job Title? Freelance Production Manager

Do you work Full Time or Freelance? Freelance

Who do you work for? Myself, various big brand clients, festivals, corporate clients, large and small scale music events

What qualifications do you have? 9 GCSE’S and 1 A-LEVEL. No degree or higher education

How long have you been doing your current job title? 12 years

What is your involvement in the Events industry? I worked for an agency for 9 years, 7 years full time, 2 years part time, and 5 years freelance working across all kinds of events, concerts, festivals, gigs, tours and award ceremonies. I’m well connected within the music industry, but I wouldn’t say I work specifically in the music industry.

What does your role entail on a day-to-day basis? Planning up coming events, or working on site. Planning logistics, travel, pre-production, ordering equipment and production design (taking concepts from idea to reality). I work from home so can work at my own pace, except summer when work is at it’s busiest .

Where would you say you spend most of your time doing your job? (i.e. office based, at meetings, on site etc) At home when planning, and on site when live.

Do you work internationally or are you UK based? Both. Have been to 28 different countries producing events.

Have you always known what you wanted to do?  I think so! I wanted to be a stuntman when I was very young, then I thought more about getting into graphic design, but I’m not good at graphic design (still good a stunts though). When I was 15 I organised a rave for 2,000 people in a farmers field behind my house and got grounded by my parents, so yes I think I have always wanted to organise music events!

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far? There has been so many. I’ve met lots of A listers and music heroes. I’ve worked at a great agency for many years with the best people in the industry and learning everything I know from them. But I think the highlight so far has been the realisation that I can do what I do on my own, and I have the confidence to break off to work for myself. It’s been a massive challenge, but it has been worth it and I still enjoy my job every single day. Winning 4 awards for a Groove Armada & Bacardi Campaign was also pretty good.

What do you like most / dislike about your job? I love that no two jobs I work on are the same. It changes every day/week. This keeps my job interesting and means you are always learning to solve challenging problems and constantly develop new ways of working. I love travelling the most. I dislike that as a freelancer it can take months to get paid by larger clients so cash flow can be tough.

What would you say are key skills / attributes to have in your line of work? Being a good problem solver, always remaining positive, never losing your temper and patience! Always smile!

Is there any advice you would give to anyone wanting to get into your area of events?  It’s all about experience. You need someone to give you the chance to work in this industry so you have to create those chances. Offer to shadow people for free for a weekend at a festival, ask about jobs that no one else likes doing, box office, site runner, driving vans, putting up branding. Once you have done these jobs you have the basis to become a Production Assistant. From here you can branch off into different areas – Artist Liaison, Tour Management, Stage Hand/Manager, Production, Lighting or Sound. Find the area that you most enjoy and go for it!

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