June xx 2020
March 13, 2020 – The day the earth stood still:
One minute you are prepping for a week with six events and a weekend wedding and by noon that day you have one event left which remains in doubt. That final event, a wedding, the happiest day in the life of our client, makes it the most important event in my team’s life and we were going to help make that event happen!
The phone rang and it was a very anxious bride/groom to be. Was the wedding going to happen, would it be safe, should they move forward, how can they be happy when things were so uncertain? Everyone was on edge, so I sat down with the bride and groom and their immediate family and encouraged them to allow everything else to remain outside and be present in this moment. We had a wedding that day….we had a life changing event that day for the B and G and for us. For them it was a new beginning, for us – it was the beginning of a temporary (emphasis on temporary) end.
By this point in March, April came calling and not to say Hello….but to say “it’s not you it me” goodbye. What do to you when your business has been shut off on a moment’s notice, revenue has ceased, and your future is uncertain? When 30,000+ attended events are shelved and those who know more than you about this sinister virus says shut it down? You build of course. We needed to look for a way to address the unplanned changes to our business model and find ways to expand, not reduce our creativity. Like most others, we had to see past the crisis and find a way not just to survive it but to grow through it. We knew it was a risk, but we felt we had to do it. What was the alternative? We consoled too many devastated brides, tried to reassure worried event planners and acted as a shoulder to venue managers, to roll over and quit. We had to help, we had to find a new solution to serve these people and others who still had to get things done, who wanted to start a life, build a business or train employees.
So, there we were, Brandon and I talking about ways we could not only help our business but help our colleagues, clients and friends too. As events become more virtual, meetings go on-line, and services are being offered in ways that would never have been considered previous to COVID-19, how do we create and expand the ability for that to happen? Not just happen, but happen well…really, really well.
We have always done a lot of what we have never done before…why not? We often say yes to something long before we know the actual “how to” of making it happen…we do love a challenge. We actually thrive on challenge. And this was our biggest to date.
We put together Brandon’s creativity and my know-how…or is it Brandon’s know-how and my creativity? Regardless…we knew we could do something good for us, for our community, for clients and colleagues. So off we went.
Step I: The creative development – aka…what exactly are we going to do?
[picture of Brandon and john at the table looking thoughtful]
We knew there was need to create an opportunity to help people plan and move forward with life events under a new set of rules. All weddings, anniversaries, and life milestones can simply wait. We needed to find a way to support the ability to have an event and virtually allow Nanna to attend. Not just by looking at a screen but fee like she was there and a part of the day.
We knew we had to help our business clients expand their services virtually, to offer their products, demos and meetings professionally; safely, well produced and all in one location.
What do we have, what can we repurpose, how can we use it, what do we need and how do we build it?
[Picture of the warehouse and your inventory]
There we were. The concept of our in-house and fully mobile production studio was born…conceptually.
[picture of a then empty space]
We started by considering how we would want to be represented on-line. What kind of production would we want to show off A2Z and our abilities, products and services? How does a training event, a fitness class, or modified event of any kind be done well virtually, giving everyone involved the sense of being there and really participating? We needed a solution. We knew it would have to be top notch, versatile and not like anything else out there…it had to be super cool. We like super cool. That was all the motivation we needed.
[The] Experience is Everything
June xx, 2020
Step 2: Equipment, grit and determination to the next phase:
There we were, Brandon and I sketching out what a studio we could make pseudo permanent and mobile all at the same time. We knew we could build it, but we had to do more. How do we set it, how do we use it, how far do we go?
How do we transfer all this to an event where you can only have ten people? Certainly, can’t have 6 of those ten taken up by crew. We knew we needed the best and most innovative equipment and our own studio that could be controlled by one maybe two people. Then we had to figure out what platform we would use to provide the best experience to any event we do and for those using our studio for their business and life needs.
Our days were spent buying, building, configuring, thinking and reaching out. Whew, it was a lot, but we knew we needed to get it done to give not only us a chance to pull forward, but our colleagues and friends as well. So, we built…ok Brandon and Brian built, and built and built. One POV monitor nope, not enough. One big screen, nope not enough. How many switchers do we need? Wait, what about overhead…there is a lot you would miss if to couldn’t see a top-down. So, the rig, the wiring, the camera, the lights the sound and the multiple angles….set.
[Intersperse pictures through out.]
Trial and error are our forte for sure. Each set up lead to the next until we accomplished over a few weeks’ time what we think is a state-of-the-art set of possibilities for moving events and businesses forward. Then we tested it…who knew all the hidden talents Brian and Brandon possessed. We tested a cooking segment, music, speaking, presentations, and more. We hosted zoom meetings with many of our event planner colleagues and broadcast it live. We hosted a concert (WHO WAS THE PERSON IN YOUR PROMO VIDEO SINGING) …add all the stuff you did in studio thus far. We hosted a top yoga instructor and provided a professionally produced live class for her 60k+ followers. The studio was working, the broadcasts were well received, and we were helping people get their services seen, delivered and revenue producing. Not going to’ lie, we were happy. Our vision was taking shape. But, was it enough?
WE NEED PICTURES of THOSE WHO WERE ON STAGE and YOUR first ZOOM meeting etc.
Take a look at a reel that shows what we can do LINK HERE TO PROMO VIDEO
Then we thought about all those events we were set to work on but were off the calendar. We wanted to be sure they came back and were rescheduled and that people would not forget about them. We chose to be the solution to keeping those events and activities relevant for tomorrow. We took on the role of working with event leads, corporate sponsors and community hubs to keep those important events in the minds of those we want to bring back to the new date and time. We are producing sponsored spots to create a sense of expectancy and remind the community that the event or activity may be on hold, but it was coming back and it was coming back better than ever. ADD EXAMPLE HERE.
We were feeling pretty good for a minute. We had built this awesome studio from scratch – one, I am proud to say, that functioned to our expectations and still had room to grow. You should come by and take a look…we’d love to have to stop by…we usually get a lot of “WOWs,”, or “can you do XYZ too?” and “this would be perfect for X.”
Then came the obvious next question. What the heck do we do for people who still want to have an event, modified though it would be, and cannot do it at an off-site studio?
[The] Experience is Everything
June xxx, 2020
Phase 3: What’s next?
Being the optimists that we are, when we built the production (CAN WE CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE? – it is more than a production studio in my mind). It was obviously important to have the structure and capability of a permanent facility BUT, we wanted its function to be mobile. We are a mobile bunch after all. We regularly have to build and take down entire worlds we conceive, and this was no exception. We know this current state of affairs will not go on forever and slowly more and more venues will open up. But, for now, we wondered how we could accommodate those for whom coming to a studio was not practical. Some people still wanted to do their event, and while modified in setting and set up, did not want to modify the relevance. They didn’t want it to be any less magical for them or for those who could not be there but wanted to be there. How would we want our own party or life event to go off to include people who couldn’t be there? You wanted 50 people there, you can have ten. Heck, you wanted 500 people there, you can have ten. Again, we needed to find a solution.
This studio and all its capabilities can go with us….with one person if need be…and be the connection that brings those who can’t be in the room….all but in the room. I have to say, that is such a powerful moment. Our work has many moments of course but to allow a family member to be a part of something they thought was impossible and do it in a really cool way is, well, it’s life changing. We have structured all of this in a way that allows it to go off without a hitch at the same time not taking up human capacity in the room when you can only have a few.
Then of course we have a responsibility to do all of this safely, in studio and out. I have to say, there were moments up to this point that were a bit overwhelming. So much to consider, so many details that now were no longer just which switcher and lights to bring, but ensuring we kept the very lives of our staff, clients and colleagues safe. I mean, that is a lot to consider. Would people feel comfortable? Would they trust us, and can we be sure our staff would be ok? What could we do to do our best in this space as well?
I realized pretty quickly there was no one place to go to get what we needed to make those assurances. Heck there was no one place to go to even fully know what we needed, what was available and what the rules were. Again, we needed a solution.
Bring in the Clean Event Coalition.[NOT SURE I HAVE YOUR CONNECTION CORRECT HERE] We teamed up [with we sell events] to create a place where we all can get information on the most innovative and workable solutions to keeping our clients and staff safe no matter the type or size event. From thermal temp video scanning to masks and gloves; it’s all here.
Now we are able to offer assistance and solutions for a fully virtual event; a pre-recorded and broadcast event; a hybrid of live, virtual and/or broadcast or fully and safely in-person as permitted.
Our goals in this wave of change is to find solutions – as much as I dislike the phrase – for the new, or better stated, evolving “normal.” To accommodate the needs and wishes of our clients in a changing environment making sure the substance and goals of whatever the “it” is remains the unchanged. Someone wants a party; we are going to give them a party. If someone needs a training seminar, we are going to give them the best seminar they have ever had. If someone wants a wedding…we are going to give them a day to remember for all the right reasons and not because of accommodations made that were beyond their control.
There is still more to do, to consider and to work toward. The world around us continues to change at a pace unlike anything I have seen before. I remain optimistic. I have to.
[The] Experience is Everything
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