NACA BLOG - Virtual Event Tips - 7/13/2020

July 13, 2020​
Maggie Gardner
Babco Entertainment (VA)

If you told me exactly one year ago that I would be sitting down at my desk to write an article for the NACA Blog about virtual events I would have responded with one of my signature "yeah, sure, okay" faces and continued going about my life, booking and traveling to cover live concerts. Over the past 6 months or so we have all been shaken and reminded of exactly how quickly, and drastically, things can change. While we're on our individual journeys with grief (anyone else get stuck between 'denial' and 'anger'?) I believe it would benefit each of us to add a step after "acceptance," or maybe a "side step" if you're not quite there yet. Let's call it "adapting."

Whether we're ready or not, life is moving forward. Students are, or are not, returning to campus. You're tasked with reimagining programming, and all of this new information about virtual or hybrid events and different digital platforms can be overwhelming. I get it, believe me – I have to take my blue light glasses off and cradle my head at least once a day. But I must admit, I've been learning a lot, and as the great Tina Fey once said "whatever the problem, be part of the solution," so here I am – sitting at my desk writing an article for the NACA Blog about virtual events.

I've been taking notes during countless Zoom calls, and here are the five best tips (pertaining to concerts, comedy, and speaker engagements) I've collected so far:

Get Creative.

Writing workshops. Moderated Q&As. Cooking demos. Co-star interviews. The possibilities are virtually endless.

Personalize.

Send school merchandise or a banner to the performer ahead of the engagement so that they can wear or display it during your event.

Invest in a Green Screen.

Customize your background using a green screen. If you're unable to spend the funds right now, google "Cheap Green Screen Alternatives" – turns out sheets and poster board can work just as well.

Hardwire Your Internet.

If you're presenting or performing, hardwire your internet with an Ethernet cable. This is more dependable than Wi-Fi and can result in a higher quality video stream.

Consider Booking a Moderator.

A smaller comedian will know how to keep the energy up when moderating and has experience managing an audience.

Advisors, you are superheroes. Event planners, recruitment and retention specialists, and therapists all wrapped into one. If anyone can turn these lemons into lemonade, it's you. I look forward to working alongside you to see it through.

Here's to a new, unique, and exciting(!) programming experience!

Maggie is a Talent Buyer at Babco Entertainment. She has been a member of the NACA community since her years as a student at the University of Central Florida and has served as a NACA West Associate Liaison.

Related Professional Competency: Technology


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