Home' micenet eMag : micenet AUSTRALIA June July 2014 Contents “
Once upon a time”... those immortal words that herald the
start of a story. A place where we sat back as children and
allowed the words to wash over us, allowed our imagination
to float away with visions of new lands, princes bearing kisses
for the princess, and beautiful fairies. A time where we could
lose ourselves in the world that jumped out from the pages or
the mouth of the story teller.
As we have gotten older, so the stories and the story tellers
have changed. No longer are they our parents or the babysitter.
Now they are Game of Thrones, Angry Birds or the themed end
of year Christmas party.
Each provide a space to relax into, a space that offers
alternate realities from the everyday one we all inhabit. A space
created by actors, gaming companies and event companies.
As events people, part of our job is to provide an alternate
reality for our client and their guests. A space to sell, launch or
celebrate in. A space that despite the theme or purpose, is not a
mirror or a replica of the real world, but an encapsulated space
to hold guests during which time we are charged with
disseminating a message.
So why are there still events where nothing happens? Where
guests stand outside smoking and wonder aloud about “when
will it end” or “how fast can we leave?”
I was recently at an event where the producer of that event
had obviously spent a large amount of money and time putting
the event together and yet there was no definition to it. It went
nowhere. It was a series of unconnected vignettes that left the
audience confused and unsure of what was happening. When a
clearly uncertain MC came on stage to tell guests to move to the
next part of the event, no one moved. There was no impetus to
move. Ushers tried to herd guests, but to no avail. There was no
story; no through line... there was no reason to go anywhere.
As guests, we look for clarity and direction. With a clear intent
and focus, the way ahead is easy and the event has forward
momentum and takes the guests with it.
So why do I go on so much about story telling? Because that’s
what I do with my events. I tell stories. I am ultimately a story teller.
My career started in theatre, film and TV. I was trained to start
at the beginning. I was taught to entice my audience in, unfold
the facts and finally finish with a flourish and leave them gasping
and wanting more.
It was drummed into me that every piece MUST have a
beginning, a middle and an ending. There must be a through line
that pushes, entices or drags your audience through the story.
Without those elements the audience is left vacillating on how to
proceed. Should they leave at interval or stay to the end? Never
a question you want them asking.
From the moment they walk into the theatre or the event
space and see the set, your guests need to be intrigued, excited
and definitely expectant. What’s about to happen?
As event people we have at our disposal a large array of tools:
lighting, design, food and entertainment, to create our show. Each
element is critical in defining the stage, the mood and the feel of
the night. Each can be used to change the story, or carry it.
From the use of age old tricks such as a reveal, a surprise or
humour, we take our guests on a journey that enthrals,
educates, uplifts or just plain entertains them and always leaves
them wanting the show to never end.
My idea of a successful night is “pushing” guests out of the
venue because they don’t want to leave.
I love to watch a sea of expectant faces looking up for the
next reveal or wondering what will happen next and the smiling
client asking where the event will be next year.
Our clients pay us to create this for them. It is an important
mantle of trust and too often I see it misused in the name of
budget, or laziness. We are fortunate enough to be in a position
to create magic (trite as that sounds), so why not tell a
marvellous and magical story? It’s a hell of a lot more fun than
throwing some furniture, food and entertainment under some
lights and hoping for the best. m
Stuart Katzen can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org .
Creative director and principal of Eventify, Stu
Katzen, writes about creating an event story.
Once Upon a Time...
BY STU KATZEN
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