3 Essential Elements to Producing a Successful Virtual Event

Updated: May 5

After the initial shock of the COVID19 Pandemic -- and upon hearing from our clients for the next 6-12 months that all our gigs were cancelled -- we knew we had to make a decision for our business:


We could either A) stay in bed and cry all day, or B) pivot.


We know what you’re thinking. If this article uses “COVID buzz words” like pivot, unprecedented, and new normal, I’M OUT. Us, too. We promise we just got them all out of the way and won’t be using those terms any longer.


After a few weeks of being locked inside and constantly attempting to guess what might happen to the economy, we discovered something monumental: events still had to happen. Businesses and organizations still needed to reach their audience, and people needed social interaction. In fact, they needed it now more than ever.


So we transformed! Instead of filming live events, which is what we had grown our business doing, we were going to produce online virtual events.



A photo collage of Natalie and Meredith, both working from home, video conferencing with each other and "Cheers"-ing the screen with their coffee mugs.
She TV Media Co-Founders, Natalie & Meredith, Working Virtually


WHY VIRTUAL EVENTS?


When you think about in-person events, what comes to mind?


  • Hours and hours of prep

  • Developing a run of show and schedule/programming

  • Setting up the location

  • Organizing food, beverages, and waitstaff/workers

  • Enjoying the event (well, trying to enjoy because really you’re doing 10,000 other things at the same time-- that doesn’t even take into consideration the stage fright and anxiety if you’re the one to give a speech)

  • Cleaning up after the event

  • Sleeping for 2 days straight to recover from the event (....just us?......)


It’s a lot of work!


But with a virtual event, you can cut out any location-related duties (set up, food/beverage, clean up, and so on). You focus mostly on the content. All of your work (scheduling, scripting, filming, editing, and so on) is done before the actual event.


And when the event occurs, you are in the comfort of your own home, wearing whatever you want (pajamas, maybe?), and all you have to do is sit back, relax, and engage through your computer. Plus, perhaps the biggest bonus of all, not having to rush and sit in LA traffic to make it in time to the event.


Pretty fantastic, right? We know. Why haven’t we been doing this the entire time???


CASE STUDY: EXP’S 2020 OCEANS OF OPPORTUNITY GALA


One of our clients who we’ve worked with for a few years now, reached out to us about finding a way to make their Annual Gala a new and improved, elegant and high quality virtual event. Just like that, we had ourselves a mission.


Quick shoutout: EXP is the Opportunity Engine. EXP is a non-profit that helps young people gain experience, unlock doors and build the confidence they need to succeed in school, career and life. Aside from being continually inspired by the work they do for the community, we are also grateful to have them as a recurring client.


Okay back to business. In this experience, we learned the essential elements of producing a virtual event and broke them into three categories: Logistics, Platform, and Production.





LOGISTICS


  1. GATHER INFORMATION / DEVELOP RUN OF SHOW


We started the production process by discussing with our client what their ideal in-person gala would look like. What segments would they have? How many people would come? How would they sell tickets? etc. In this specific case, they wanted to include: a fancy dinner, an opening ceremony, awards & speeches, scholarship highlights, and a live auction.


Upon getting all this information, we went one-by-one to see how we could turn each of these segments into a virtual segment. We developed a Run of Show to organize the segments in order with length, who we need to complete, and any other important details.


  1. FIND A HOST


We decided that a host would really bring this whole event together. At typical in-person events, there is almost always a host or MC who is guiding the audience to the next portion of the event. So we would do the same.


In this case, it made the most sense for CEO, Amy Grat, to fulfill the role. She’s great in front of the camera, and very witty! So that was a huge plus.