When it comes to events or conferences that demand larger production planning, for any location there are some key considerations before deciding how build your production plan. There are good arguments for and against using local Production Companies in isolation or using a mix of local and permanent partner.
- Think about the state of the local economy and the political situation
- Consider the social culture in your event location
- Research well the in-country production/AV companies
- Consider the financial implications and the benefits of bringing your own crew
If you are in a location where the economy is under pressure, then negotiations with local partners can go two ways: either you’ll get a great deal on the pricing for your production planning, or you’ll find that the supplier will play hard ball.
Greece is one such example. During the production planning for a business conference in 2016, the coastline around the islands near Athens was identified as a possible location. The economy at the time was in the doldrums, and many businesses had folded. However, the production company we approached to help us with the production planning refused to negotiate on their eye-watering AV pricing because in their market they lacked competitors (since they’d all gone out of business!) Another problem in this scenario is that it’s possible that suppliers fail to constantly invest in state of the art equipment, being under pressure on margins. Ultimately, this was a deal breaker for this location and we chose another.
In Morocco, Jordan and Oman, where we have experience of doing several major conferences, the social culture is of utmost importance when deciding on how to manage the delivery of your production planning. You really need to think about how the AV crew expects to behave.
- Will they turn up on time, or does the culture dictate a flexible attitude to schedules?
- What is their attitude to “overtime”?
- How many smoking breaks do they take or expect, and will this affect the smooth operation of your agenda?
- Does the supplier have a watertight payments process, and what are their expectations on payments up front?
- Are they likely to stop work on site unless they are paid in advance for amendments or upgrades?
As you might guess, all these points indicate some of our experiences.
So, the point here is that, depending on the location, your production planning needs some careful building.
Bucharest is the venue for a forthcoming internal regional conference for a global IT and Telecoms leader. After the initial location search was done, the Production Plan takes centre stage.
Bucharest has a lot going for it. The economy in the City is predominantly based on services and there is a good range of international standard business hotels with state of the art meeting facilities with built in AV and production options. The basic meeting AV on offer is second to none, and you can be sure of an international standard meeting experience for seminars, roundtables and smaller events.
With everything in the mix, the production planing for the conference in Bucharest will rely on bringing a tried and tested partner from Hungary to build and run the show. Special Effects will drive equipment, set, staging and crew in a truck for the 800km 10 hour journey from Budapest, Hungary to Bucharest, Romania. What is certain is that they will need some local support if necessary for spare parts or last minute bits and pieces like reprints on foamex, if necessary. The impact and benefits to the budget are tangible in this instance, after a full cost exercise, compared to the risks.
While working with new partners in new locations is not entirely a no go area, you have to ensure you have done your homework. Do a full analysis of the market landscape and take a pragmatic approach. Where you choose new partners to manage or support your production planning, ensure you visit their offices and staging and kit storage areas in person. Always check their references and double check that test payments in advance are working properly. Ensure you negotiate payment after the job, as far as possible.