How to Identify a Strong Production Team

From the first Discovery Call through the post-event thank you note, your event production team is your partner in bringing the event vision to life. Having a highly skilled and experienced team will not only produce a compelling, polished event, they’ll know how to alleviate stress and concerns along the way. Here are a few things that all strong production teams have in common …

The Pre-Production Team

While the pre-production process may vary with different production partners or depending on the size of the event, most will have the same general team and support structure.

The process typically centers around a primary point of contact for both the clients and the production team (at Encompass, we call this person the Project Coordinator). They understand the production process, are used to working with and leading production teams, and have spent a great deal of time onsite at events … and now they use their talent making sure every detail is perfect without ever stepping foot into the venue!

The Project Coordinator should be assigned early … usually before the first Discovery Call. They remain the primary point-of-contact throughout pre-production. They typically don’t attend the event, but their onsite counterpart, the event’s Project Manager, seamlessly takes the baton and runs with it.

The Onsite Production Team

The onsite production team is centered around the Project Manager. This person serves as the client liaison and communicates with the onsite crew. For smaller events, a Crew Chief may fill this role, ensuring leadership and clear communication.

Other onsite roles are determined by the needs of the event, but it often include Audio and Video Engineers, Lighting Director, Master Electrician, Video Playback Operator, Graphics Operator, Camera Operators, Stage Manages, and Production Assistants.

For many of these positions, the production partner may hire freelancers (sometimes referred to as on-demand employees). These technicians and engineers may have general knowledge in many areas of the live event industry and be capable of performing multiple roles. Alternatively, many on-demand professionals are highly trained specialists who are experts in the position they were hired for. These technicians are vital to the success of most events. Having a specialized crew means that each component of the show is being handled by an experienced professional who is dedicated to the event’s success.

The Importance of On-Demand Employees

Any good production partner knows the value of on-demand employees and has a large labor pool to pull their technicians from. This is important for a few reasons.

First, having a large labor pool means that the production partner will be very prescriptive about who they hire for each event. They’ll be able to utilize talent that is not only the best fit for the production’s needs, but the best fit for the organization, putting presenters and other crew members at ease.

Second, many on-demand employees and freelancers left the event industry during the pandemic, meaning the labor pool has shrunk, while live events are booming. Specialized technicians start booking months in advance, and typically take events on a first come, first served basis. Having a large labor pool gives a production company a large variety of contacts when booking technicians for an event – and the ability to make more connections.

Working with Highly Skilled Technicians

For those who don’t regularly work with technicians and specialists, it may be hard to differentiate between those that are highly skilled, and those who know the right things to say. Luckily, there are a few ways to tell if a technician is highly skilled.

First, the scale of events they’ve shared or listed as experience should meet or exceed the expectations for your event. If you’re producing a three-day event with over 5,000 attendees, don’t hire someone who specializes in weddings or holiday parties.

Second, utilize referrals. Technicians often work with a large number of other freelancers, so they’ll be able to make recommendations should they be unavailable, or should you need additional technicians. They know who they like to work with and who they are willing to stake their reputation on.

Finally, and this may seem counterintuitive, good technicians aren’t afraid to say no. Highly skilled technicians and specialists are often in high demand, especially during busy event seasons. Experienced freelancers prioritize their work life balance to prevent burnout and keep them emotionally and mentally comfortable when onsite.

Pro Tip: Many companies require self-evaluation or skill assessments prior to being assigned a role on a production. Partnering with these companies can save you from working with unqualified onsite labor.

Conclusion

A highly skilled production team is important from the pre-production process until the show’s strike is complete. Working with a production partner that has experienced, highly professional employees will reduce stress throughout the entire event production process.


At Encompass, we have unique backgrounds that situate us perfectly to produce high end and complex offerings. We’ve worked in broadcast television, touring entertainment, live sporting events, and countless convention facilities across the country.

We have technical design experience and a disciplined process in place that allows us to easily scale events and shift from in-person to virtual without angst. There isn’t much that’s beyond our scope and we love the intensity of putting on events!

If you’re a planner working to create an event, seeking help with virtual event technology, or simply want to learn more … we can help! Sign up for our newsletter (we promise to keep your contact information secure and won’t “overshare”).

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