Monica Moore #024
Event Producer, Monica Moore is difficult to find on social media but you can always see her onsite with a headset calling the shots. We talk about times we spent together at the Frieze Art Fair and Bloomberg Summer Picnic, but what you may not know is Moore is a big deal especially in Times Square. We are impressed with the Pontiac Garage Times Square Opening (), Coca Cola 2009 Sign Launch (), and the grandest of them all, the New Year’s Eve Times Square.
This permitting savant explains the problems to solve at Martha Stewart American Made Celebration, ways to pivot into steaming YouTube Brandcast, and how outdoor events are living strong in the city with NY Pops Up.
We dig deep on how keeping an event safe and secure will hit the budgets for the next few years, worry about unclear guidelines based on those safety restrictions, and the short lifespan of the virtual-only event.
Event Budgeting Affects
The Future of Charity Galas
@precisionwineco @imagerywinery #frieze #pontiacgarage #cocacolasign #newyearseve #jackcollins @americanmademsl #youtubebrandcast @nypopsup #budget #liability #virtualevent #charitygala #eventproduction #stagemanagement #tech #monicascloset
The Big Deal about a Big Deal
As event producers, defining our job to others can be a task. Even though people know the events we work at and understand it takes people to put it together, if we’ve done our job correctly, it seems easy. When it looks fun and seamless, that means everything has come together as planned and the event gods have shone brightly upon you. But that’s because no one is supposed to see you testing and retesting microphones, readjusting displays, and fixing the custom fabricated item that cracked on shipment. They should arrive as A-list talent for a short period of time to swing through, say a couple of words on the stage to make the audience go wild, and safely step down stairs and out the back, all with escorts and positive words from a team of black shirts with headsets on. But with virtual “it’s not just pulled back the curtain, it ripped it off,” says Monica Moore, Event Producer. “We can’t hear you. You are muted. Oh, you didn’t charge your earbuds. Do you hear that sound? We are getting feedback on a sound. Oh, it’s your washing machine, can you turn that off?”
And even when you prep the night before through all the tech needs for the next day’s live stream, it’s still occurring from someone’s home instead of a closed set, and the equipment has all been moved and needs to be set again. It gives a frustrating experience between you and your talent – a relationship that used to be coated in smiles. Guiding talent through your tasks as an event producer can be disheartening because you know you just need to swing through, say a couple of words on the screen to make your tech team on the backend go wild, and safely step out of their house and back to the studio. And with hybrids getting planned in full force this hurdle may remain.
It also doesn’t cost any less than the previous onsite versions. It simply shifted the budget into broadcast and videography teams which cost just as much. So our original estimation that virtual events were easier on the budget, didn’t pan out. Our audience has grown outside geographical locations, but fewer people are tuning in and we’ve almost lost an entire older demographic. “It’ll be interesting to see who continues with their planned virtual events after vaccinations finish their rollout,” questions Moore.
Although the pandemic has spread nationwide, its response is state-wide, and guidelines and restrictions on COVID compliance on events are varying wildly. Maybe the producer didn’t mark enough money to cover a compliance officer, screening, rapid testing, and continuous sanitation. What is the consequence? If it’s a Union job, they have well-defined guidelines, but if it’s a non-union show, who’s guidelines do you follow? If it’s a touring show across state lines – which state rules do you follow and can you carry it with you? Will our industry create a standard, force us to follow another industry’s guidelines, or are we left to make it up as we go along on what makes a safe and sanitary event and workspace for the crew?
It’s easy to say to follow Union standards, but if the producer does not have the money to execute those guidelines – what gets sacrificed? And if it’s COVID safety procedures that are left behind, are you okay not working in a clean environment?
Moore offers up another question as vaccinations are given and cards are flashed, “Can I have a fully vaccinated crew if I can only hire on skill? Do I even have the legal right to ask someone if they HAVE gotten a vaccination card?” That sets up a case that would be ripe for the courts. Some people do not get vaccinated for religious reasons, does that mean they don’t get the job because you WANT a fully vaccinated set? It seems that can easily fall into job discrimination and those guidelines and consequences are well-defined.
That enters another learning moment. In an earlier episode, when vaccinations were just getting released, we talked about vaccination cards and an express lane for attendees past the screening process, but with vaccinations coming in at different percentages of effectiveness, is the card really proof enough? If a third of your audience skipped screening with a vaccination card that’s 65% effective, can you say your event is safe?
With these questions in mind, Moore assures us screening isn’t going away, masks aren’t going away, compliance officers reminding people about nose slips aren’t going away. And maybe some folks will get tired of the extra security and health steps, choose to stay at home and watch the hybrid show from their computer wondering how to unmute.