BEHIND THE CONVENTION CURTAINS
Published May 19, 2014
This past week I had the unique privilege of providing the Live Announce for the huge Melaleuca Sales Convention in Salt Lake City. It was my sixth year for that convention.
There is nothing quite like the energy of an annual corporate convention! When the convention is a large, fast-paced, high-energy production, a live announcer is a better way to go than relying on pre-recorded introductions and announcements. Far too many things change at the last minute. I’m blessed to have those opportunities, and grateful to be a part of a company’s annual celebration!
It takes a lot of work to make a convention program work! To put on a production like this last week’s job takes a minimum of six months of planning on various levels.
The client, the agency and the producer spend an incredible amount of time pursuing the right strategy and options. The creative team begins to put together a plan to accomplish the client’s vision. That may take months of “back and forth.” Finally, after the dreaming, planning, strategizing, and innumerable creative concepts, the client’s vision comes into focus, and the next phase of work begins.
Spending time backstage at a large convention is mind-boggling. It literally takes hundreds of people to put such a production together, and then to pull it off live. In just a few days a complex stage design of multiple levels, ramps, entrances and exits are built. Miles and miles of cable, trusses, lighting, curtains, screens, and speaker arrays are assembled to specifications that would make an architect’s head spin. A full TV production studio is built behind the stage. The entire arena is turned into a recording studio. A maze of curtains creates offices, green rooms, the make-up room, all full of office furniture, living room furniture, computer desks, printing facilities, and TV monitors in every room to keep up with what is going on. Then, of course, there is the ever popular catering area where workers take their meals and breaks.
Once the convention production starts it is full-speed ahead. There is no turning back. Everything has been planned to the second and must be coordinated between the stage presenters and crew, the live video crew, the audio crew, the light crew, the power points crew, the teleprompter crew, and I’m sure I’m leaving out a few departments. Snap decisions are made on the fly, timings adjusted in real time, and all communicated in a unique language of it’s own over a headset network that covers the entire arena.
The people that make this all work are incredibly, intimidatingly good! Even gifted.
And once the production is over, everything has to be disassembled and moved to the next the job, which in and of itself will be very different and equally complex.
The immensity of this last week’s production served as a great reminder to me of how voiceovers fit into the whole process whether it be for live productions or recorded commercials, narrations, eLearning, etc.
We voice talents who own and mostly operate out of our own studios often miss out on how complex and intense the entire production process can be. Even a simple thirty second TV commercial involves so many people, all doing their job; all coordinating and giving their best efforts; all communicating and bringing the vision to life.
It’s an awesome privilege to a small part of that whole process!