All posts by Marlise Beasley

It’s all about constructing creativity together

 

By Meri Took

The events industry has never been more competitive; there is an increasing demand to be creative within time and budget constraints.

The creative concepts which some event producers are developing and pitching to their clients are next level; we continue to be energised and inspired by what we are seeing.

However, it is a crowded market. From our perspective as a staging and event construction company we see one of the major challenges for event producers, is the need to stand out from the crowd and differentiate themselves. In order to do that, event producers need to come up with pitch-winning creative ideas, as well as demonstrate how to bring those ideas to life on budget. It isn’t an easy thing to do and we respect the profession immensely.

We’ve worked alongside the best, from those who have been around a long time, right through to the up and comers. With nearly 30 years’ experience under my belt at SRC, I know the blood, sweat and event tears it takes to make magic happen and to keep clients happy.

I know the temptation exists to turn to an ‘IKEA-approach’ to populate events; there are places where you can go to get something off-the-shelf, a packaged solution, or hire pieces dominated by the recent trends – they are seemingly good ways to cut down on production time. However, I would urge anyone to reconsider this path, for it is the creative person’s reputation to do something different that is always on the line. Your reputation to do the unexpected is everything – and at the end of the day, as a creative, what else do you have?

But you needn’t do it alone. Partnership with your client and suppliers is key.

It is an adage that partnership is everything in business, but it really is.

Look for partners that offer practical advice, new solutions and don’t just dismiss you with ‘that will be too expensive’. Search for people who will tell you what won’t be safe, what is unnecessary and who can understand your designs and concepts and offer constructive ideas on how to save time and money, without compromising the result.

Once you have a great idea and budget, you need two major aspects to build events. On one hand you need the building know-how, engineering ingenuity and someone with the equipment to bring it together, and on the other hand, you need people with event experience, people who understand deadlines and how events come together – lose either of those and it is a recipe for disaster.

Whether it’s a small or large budget for a product launch, brand activation, fashion show, exhibition stand, theatre production, corporate event, public event or sporting spectacular, you can always pick an event that is delivered by a talented event producer with a great team. The event tells a strong story, there is some element that really impresses, and all the details have been considered.

Our whole industry wins when we collaborate to deliver outstanding results.

Let’s make great events together.

7 things you didn’t know you could do with black drapes

One of the most versatile pieces of equipment used in theatre, TV, corporate events and fashion shows is the humble black drape. Usually made from velvet or wool, these drapes have the power to focus the eye, create intimacy, frame drama, delineate spaces and welcome guests.

Used in theatre for hundreds of years, they remain a staple of event production as they are safe (when fire-retarded), simple to set-up, quick to bump-out and can really make a statement.

We asked our experienced event production team how they use black drapes in events and some of the ways might surprise you!

1. Back-up band member

Use a black drape to create a stage presence for a band, and mask off any background visuals that might distract from the main event or diminish the impact of the lighting design.

2. Hide a multitude of sins

Have you ever looked behind a black drape? They can easily hide an element of a wall, signage, doorways or anything undesirable in a venue. This is a great temporary solution if you’re renting a venue and much quicker than stripping back wall decals or using flats to cover over.

3. Change a floorplan

Like all fabric, there is a front and back to a drape; by hanging two drapes, back-to-back, you can create a beautiful wall and demarcate spaces in a venue – creating break-out areas for conferences, pre-dinner drinks areas, rehearsal spaces and more. You can also use drapes to reduce the size of a room, ensuring it’s in proportion to your audience size and suitably intimate.

4. A dramatic ta-dah reveal

Drapes are the perfect way to make a dramatic reveal when paired with a kabuki. Kabukis are magnetic systems that hold the drape at the top with magnets, and then, at the press of a button the magnets release and the drape dramatically falls to the ground. A great device to use when unveiling a new product, dedicating a plaque, revealing an entertainment act or when your welcome drinks and dinner area are in the same space, but you want to reveal the dinner area with flair.

5. Create an entrance

Welcome guests to an event with an entrance that sets the right tone from the get-go. Not all venues are created with a VIP entrance in mind, but by hanging drapes either side and a shorter one across the top, you can create a threshold with a distinct entrance.

6. Hide staging equipment

On any event, trusses, cords, AV equipment, lighting and event gear can be unsightly and distract from the magic. By using truss borders (short length drapes) you can make your trusses (hung high or low) ‘disappear’, hide AV equipment’s lights and cover under stage areas creating clean lines, polished finishes and keep the magic alive for the audience.

7. Create dressing areas and green rooms

Backstage, use drapes to create dressing areas for models’ pre-catwalks, green rooms for talent prepping, and storage areas for crew. This is a great way to use valuable event space efficiently and cost effectively, and when needed, the spaces can be manipulated to meet the changing needs of your production.

 

Bonus information: Some hot tips our event production team thought you should know!

Let the stars shine.

Like the idea of elegant black drapes but looking for something a little more? Star drapes are a great way to make an ethereal statement. They are made of black wool and have tiny LED lights discretely sewn into them, perfect for backdrops, walkways, and theatre and TV sets. 

Safety first.

Australia has strict standards when it comes to theatrical drapes being fire-retarded. Be sure to check your supplier has up-to-date documentation of their fire-retarding programs to ensure the safety of your team and guests, and protection of your event’s reputation.

Six Ways with Flats

 

Have you ever thought about the event equipment behind media walls, many stage backdrops or simple room dividers?

We are talking about the humble, but extremely adaptable, flat or ‘temporary wall’. They’re an important part of stage craft and event production. They consist of a wooden frame that is usually covered in fabric, paint, or digital print. Customisable to suit any theme or size, flats are highly versatile with a myriad of uses. Don’t forget, it is essential that your supplier works with you to determine the best way of stabilising flats to ensure they are installed safely.

Our experienced event production team have shared some of the ways they have used flats on their client events.

1. Media walls 

Media walls set the scene for a red-carpet event, providing a perfect background for VIP and guest photos as they arrive.

Flats wrapped with printed vinyl create the ideal background to ensure picture perfect photo opportunities and prominent brand exposure.

2. Stage backdrop

Frame a stage using flats; use them along the back of the stage to create a backdrop that can be decorated and customised or left blank and projected onto.

Creating the backdrop can also hide anything behind the stage area that might detract from the show.

3. Flats as fascia around stages  

We all want a professional smooth stage fascia, however some elements of a stage build, such as the use of screw jacks can make a smooth fascia impossible. The use of flats as a hard fascia around stages can cover a multitude of sins.

Flats as fascia around stages are also particularly useful for very high stages or outdoor stages that need to withstand the elements and wind.

If using flats as a fascia around stages, they can serve a double purpose!  As well as the fascia, by using flats that extend above the height of the stage, you can create a control surround.

4. Artistic stages

The creative use of flats can deliver a set design that has impact and impresses your audience.

You can use flats in different shapes and sizes, position them on a stage to create depth, use flats with cut outs for dramatic lighting effects, or decorate them with scenic art – the possibilities are only limited by imagination – and budget! 

5. Room screens/divides/temporary walls

Flats can provide a flexible solution to change the floorplan of a room or event space. Use flats to create room screens, divide a space into different sections, or change the size of a room so it’s more appropriate for your audience size.

6. Display walls 

Flats are a great way to add additional temporary display walls to any event. Whether it’s for a special collection at an art gallery or museum, for a school art exhibition, or the display of poster abstracts and content at a conference, flats are a flexible, cost-effective temporary solution.

 

Staging Rentals & Construction has a wide range of rental flats available for your event, or if you’d like to create something unique our construction workshop is ready and waiting to build it!

Meri Took discussed the new client, creativity, and all things events industry with micenet

Micenet Meri Took Article Oct 2018

CH, CH, CHANGES. EVENT SECTOR CHANGES AFOOT

Fresh from a break at the helm of Staging Rentals & Construction (SRC), Meri Took has burst back into events, seeing plenty of changes to the sector since his return. And they’re not all what they are cracked up to be.

As I take a seat opposite Meri Took in his Alexandria office, a cup of tea on the table for me, he’s looking at photographs of white feathers and gold leather on his computer and quietly chuckling to himself…

 

Read the whole frank and fun conversation, click here.