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Date: 2007-09-05 20:29:19
Social Butterfly Club Monthly Newsletter - Oct 06

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Oct 2006

Cirque Du Soleil: Delirium
As an event producer and also an avid fan of the Circus, I was delighted to go see Delirium with my boyfriend Dave. We saw Verakai this summer and were blown away by their athletism and creativity. I thought Delirium would be something similar, but this show was nothing like it. The stage was a long runway that cut across GM Place, with big screens that reached the ceilings.

The show opened with an amazing Middle Eastern songstress name Nitza, whose voice was heavenly ( Then we sat back and enjoyed a story based around a man who was dreaming. There was dancing, Viking Ships, African drumming, balancing acts, Trapeze artists, and a great rock show.

What really impressed me was how the Cirque producers utilized the fabric curtains as a screen to project videos, rain and different seasons while making the artists interact with the projected images. The crew consisted of 50 musicians, dancers, artists, etc. They were full of energy and pride. It was a celebration of many different cultural arts: Caporera from Brazil, drumming and dancing from Africa and songs from the Middle East.

We bought the DVD about KA, another Cirque Du Soleil Show in Las Vegas. That DVD is visually stunning with a mechanical feat as their stage was heavier than a 747 full of passengers and fuel, and could turn 180 degrees straight up. If you’re ever in Las Vegas, go see any of the Cirque Du Soleil Shows like “O”, or “KA”. I’m sure you’ll be blown away by the entertainment.

Event Design by Brock Lumsden

I had the great pleasure of meeting Brock Lumsden from BLD Décor and Scenery at the September International Special Events Society. He was kind enough to generously come and present a 3 hour presentation on Event Design for my event planning class. I learnt a ton from his presentation and stories that I would like to share with you.

Background: Brock came out of design school, very experienced with graphics, arts, even costume design. He worked for many years in theatre with experience in creating sets. While using lighting and structure to build the story using props and color. He has worked in event design on major events like the Calgary Special Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies, PEI’s new Bridge celebration, and Vancouver Olympic Bidding Presentation room at VCEC.

1) Everything that went astray in an event could be easily avoided if planned properly; bad planning is usually due to inexperience or laziness.
2) When designing an event, work on Micro level but also Macro level. Have the big picture in mind, but also focus on the small details.
3) Pick your battles, when you work with thousands of dancers, you can’t make everything perfect, focus on the highlights, and make those a perfect 10!
4) Lighting is your best friend; you can saturate a large space by using color or lighting.
5) Use the different elements of design: Color, shape, texture.
6) Make sure the entrance is memorable, because this is the moment of WOW, but this effect will wear off in 3-4 minutes, as guests will focus on food, napkins, etc.
7) Always have a friendly working relationship with all your core team: graphic design, florist, etc. A large local event company MKVA makes a point to work with the same suppliers, so even if their event is in California, they ship the whole team there. With experience, you get what you need - when you ask for it.
8) If you’d like to stretch your décor budget for a large space, instead of dressing up everything and have little to show for it, put all your money into one focal point and make it spectacular.
9) Think about the event as a story, so a beginning, middle and end; use your space to add more to the story to create the right mood and atmosphere.
10) Changing the direction of your furniture can change the whole perception of your audience.
11) Intimacy is critical to venue design; a grandiose space could come across empty and cold if you don’t have enough enclosure.
12) Ideas for special effects for your event: Candle lit pathway from venue to parking, Kaboki Fabric Drop for entrance, not announcing celebrity singers until they go on, etc.

If you like these suggestions, you can go see the amazing set designs Brock has done in the past at

Sponsorship as your best marketing tool
Have you ever considered sponsoring a charity or an event with your company? Maybe it’s a cause you believe in, or something your employees have urged you to do?

It’s a proven fact that sponsorship can be one of your best marketing tools, here is why:
1) Sponsorship opportunities often include media exposure at the Georgia Straight, CityTV, The Province, etc….is much cheaper than buying advertising space yourself.
2) Marketing material: As a higher level sponsor, your company logo will be on all event website, Emails, printed posters, brochures, T-shirts, mugs, pens, etc the list goes on. Unlike your marketing campaign, the audience welcomes these promotional materials and read them carefully, as they usually have a history with the charity or event.
3) Face to face interaction: There is no better way to laser target your audience. Pick the right conference or event and you can get in front of them with your sales team, material, tradeshow booth, and have the opportunity to interact with them.
4) Community relations: When your company is involved in something the community believes in, you gain a lot of brownie points. You come across as a helpful corporate citizen that cares, especially if you get your employees involved, not just make a fat donation.
5) Frequency Game: If you’d like to interact with your target audience often, being an event sponsor is great. As many annual walks and fundraisers have a lot of smaller fundraisers and meetings with your target audience. As a sponsor, you might get to host the meeting, MC, or introduce the speaker, thus giving you more face opportunity. For example, RBC has been a Canadian Olympics sponsor for 50 YEARS, this shows commitment and also longevity. The community knows, this level of support is sincere and not a PR stunt.

Volunteerism: Doors of Opportunity

My first volunteer job was working as a hostess at the Red Cross Centre every Sunday from 12 noon-4 pm, providing a friendly face, milk and cookies to donors. This was just one of many volunteer jobs I’ve had over the years. I’m extremely grateful to have had these experiences, as it expanded my social network, helped me learn new skills, and made me more aware of our society. I learned how to make business phone calls, write meeting minutes and how to talk to government personnel versus corporate executives.

I’ve encountered many job opportunities this way, but more importantly, I’ve found the right career path by volunteering and really exploring different industries without risking heavy investment into my education or working for 1-2 years. Currently, I’m the Vice President of Programs and Membership with International Special Events Society Vancouver. I’m working with top suppliers in my industry putting on our monthly events, while being introduced to prestigious personalities like Josh McCall of Jack Morton Worldwide and David Deloach from DisneyWorld. For those who are working in their first real job, or developing their professional skills, volunteering is a great way to climb the corporate ladder, as you’ll notice the people who join committees in your company are usually the ones that get things done.

So sign up for your next United Way Fundraising Committee and see what doors of opportunity open for you! It might be a new mentor, new skills, or simply a gratifying feeling that you are contributing to a worthy cause.

Quote of the Month:

"Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping, always make you less than you are."

Malcolm Forbes
1919-1990, Author and Publisher

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