All Things Production & Branding for the National Career Association!
With the inaugural National Career Development Conference on the horizon, the newly-formed National Career Association looked to Cybis to produce their very first live event! Starting off with an audience in the hundreds, Cybis was poised to support the event from pre-production all the way through to on-site execution. As with any new organization, NCA was also in need of a brand design, and Cybis was perfectly fit to serve all of their needs under one roof.
Following the creation of the NCA brand, Cybis got to work on the details. NCA emphasized how they wanted to go above and beyond for the first ever National Career Development Conference, to set the stage for future growth, so our pre-production began with conversations about creative and technical direction for the event. It was our goal to wow first-time event-goers and create an inspirational production experience for our true client: the audience!
During pre-production, the Cybis Team got to work connecting with the venue and coordinating all technical aspects of the event. Our audiovisual experts developed room and stage diagrams, along with gear lists and detailed production plans for the equipment Cybis provided. On the creative side, Cybis also developed the motion graphics and comprehensive design of the show. Providing Total Show Management and support meant Cybis had to make decisions about the stage design; video, audio, and lighting equipment; team staffing; and set building to create a program that was truly unforgettable.
When showtime finally arrived, Cybis brought our talented production team and stage manager to provide VIP coaching and leadership for this inaugural event. The NCDC serves as an opportunity to highlight members of NCA and recognize them for all of their achievements in career exploration programs. It was Cybis’ goal to elevate this organization and their mission through high quality production and creative elements. Seeing what was once an idea form into a complete organization with a clear brand and logo, to then seeing a stage and full event built around that brand, resulted in an immensely successful event with more opportunities ahead for Cybis and NCA!
CONNECTing with E2open
Cybis had the privilege of partnering with E2open for the first time to produce their CONNECT 2022 Customer Conference. E2open’s global conference serves as a hub for networking professionals, influential individuals, and industry solutions. While their company focuses on providing solutions to their customers, our team is focused on creating solutions for the show.
With Cybis’ commitment to Total Show Management for all of our clients, we aim to fulfill promises by exceeding expectations. During the pre-production phase of this project, we listened to the E2open team’s vision for the event, environment, and stage. What we gave them was a custom-built, client-inspired stage with multiple projection spaces, personalized lighting designs, and professional elegance to highlight the mission, message, and leadership of E2open.
When showtime finally arrived, the Cybis team was all-hands-on-deck. Since the talented people on our team tour with us for multiple events in our show season, they are equipped with the knowledge and experience of a smooth sailing production. Cybis continues to go above and beyond the call of duty, executing flawless excellence for our client’s live event experience.
“With events back in-person, what are some tips for handling stress during an event?”
It’s so great to be back together! The best way to reduce stress is to overly prepare during pre-production… —
If you’re like me, you’ve indulged in “ event stress” once… maybe you craved the rush! Putting out fires, being personally vital to an event’s success, and then celebrating when it was over… and knowing it could not have happened without you! Then, fast forward to your 3rd or 30th event and you realize there has to be a better way!
If your next event is in 6 months, the best solution is to start now! By overpreparing and beginning the process early, you’ll find ways that you can enjoy the event along with your attendees. I can mostly attest to the live general session productions, but believe the same practices apply to all aspects of an event/conference. And the best part is that when you overly prepare, early; you’ll also be reducing stress for your support staff and, ahem, your AV production company! The result: everyone will be excited about your next event and you’ll benefit from an experienced team.
Here are some quick tips and reminders. With events coming back strong, I share them humbly as reminders to myself, too! 🙂
- Create a timeline for major milestones. Break down the important tasks into and spread them out over days or weeks, especially the ones that seem to cause the biggest headaches right before or during an event. Place your deadlines on your personal calendar (google calendar is my preference!)
- Set high expectations and be ready to roll. At Cybis, we shoot for the stars, to exceed our clients’ expectations in every aspect of the event. Then, when something doesn’t work out exactly as envisioned, our team is the only one who knows and I can relax. When the bar is set high, the client / audience will still be ecstatic!
- Bring in the man/womanpower! If you don’t have sufficient staff, it’s time to recruit some friends and family to assist you on-site. PRO TIP: If you still need extra bodies, consider local labor or friendly event companies who can provide experienced support staff for nominal costs. Even Craigslist can help you bring on some very talented people who are just looking for new opportunities.
- Plan one solid day to yourself right before your event. Enjoy this moment to clear your mind. PRO TIP: Even if that goal was too lofty, if you plan this way, you’ll appreciate this “bonus day” to tie up any loose ends and still walk into the conference recharged and ready to rock!
- Reward yourself and your team. Plan at least one day off, to completely disconnect, after your event. Everyone will be more relaxed on-site knowing a well-deserved break is around the corner.
- Thank your team. You’ll want them back next time and a handwritten note or token gift card goes a long way to show appreciation. PRO TIP: Write these weeks in advance because you’re going to want your time off afterwards!
- ENGAGE AN EXPERIENCED AND TRUSTED PRODUCTION TEAM. Cybis’ clients appreciate that the show will go on! We own our world of general sessions and strive to minimize your stress at all stages of pre-production and on-site. We know you have a million other things to handle and are proud to help you NOT worry about your shows! : )
It’s so fun to produce and host events! And I’m so excited we get to be together again. By working with intention in the months leading up to each event, Cybis is poised to bring peace of mind to your live event productions. Please contact us today for your 2022 events!
Cheers to stress-free events,
In the Interim: Big Groups to Broadcasts
With an anticipated live audience of over 12,000 attendees, HOSA-Future Health Professionals—like so many other organizations—had to bring their 2020 International Leadership Conference to a virtual platform.
This year, the Cybis Team flew to Dallas, TX to produce and broadcast the general sessions for HOSA’s online audience of over 6,000. Tucked away in a ballroom of the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, our team built a full set equipped with an LED screen, neon accents, a brilliant reflective stage, full lighting, and haze for dramatic effect. The leadership rehearsed and presented on-stage as normal… with the contingencies of wearing masks and staying 6’ apart.
Team Cybis followed all of the safety precautions on-site as well to ensure that we created a healthy environment for our team and representatives from HOSA: one person per 6-foot table, mandatory masks to be worn at all times, temperature checks at the beginning of each work day, hand sanitizer available all over the room, online team documents, individual hotel rooms, and social distancing on and off the work-site.
Over the course of seven days, our team travelled, set up, rehearsed, broadcasted seven general sessions, and struck the whole set. We received rave reviews from HOSA staff, members, and online participants.
It was one of the best [sessions] ever, regardless of whether it was online or in person.
— Jeff Koeninger, Director of HOSA, Inc.
We were proud to produce this flagship virtual event and showcase our potential for other organizations as the industry faces tough decisions over the upcoming months. Our team will continue to adapt to the changing times and demands of virtual events, but we can’t wait to get back to the live productions we love most. In the interim, our team will be serving clients virtually whether we are together, miles away, or just six feet apart.
“How can I host an event for my organization during the pandemic?”
Many event planners are now exploring virtual options because of COVID’s effect on social gatherings. Cybis is adding our extra touch of professional production knowledge to make virtual events engaging and special for online audiences. —
While it’s not our normal market, the live event industry has largely gone virtual and caused many companies to adapt and follow suit. Our team has banded together for an approach to virtual live events that we are very proud of.
There are many options for virtual events – what is right for you and your organization should depend on your budget and the type of experience you want to offer your audience.
Pre-recorded, live-streamed events:
First, we provide technical specifications, host Zoom practice sessions, and conduct “rehearsals” with talent and speakers. Then, Cybis will receive videos, announcements, and elements submitted by leaders of your organization and edit them together to create a virtual session experience. We add motion graphics and engaging music soundtracks under presenters and in-between segments to keep the energy alive. Once the session is fully edited to your satisfaction, we can set up the recording to stream live on the date and time of your choice!
Click here to read about the full process!
Pre-recorded, pre-produced, live-streamed events:
We will travel to a venue of your choice, or help in your search for one, and build a completely custom set to shoot your event. Our team of video directors, lighting technicians, audio engineers, and production assistants will create an entirely pre-produced event for you, pre-recorded and edited to perfection. Then we will stream the event live on the date and time of your choice!
Live, produced virtual events:
Our team will provide our full package of production elements as described above; with optional stage management, script development, and a full suite of custom motion graphics. After a hearty amount of rehearsals, our team will execute an exciting, truly live broadcast to your online audience!
While we can’t wait to get back to doing live events with audiences in the hundreds to the tens of thousands, we are excited to serve our virtual clients in the coming months for these special times. If you are looking to make your live event virtual, please contact me right away so we can start the conversation. I want to help deliver the absolute best production possible and help you make the right decisions for your audience and organization!
“What are the highs and lows of live show productions?”
Frequencies! A successful event requires a superb sound system to effectively amplify the high, mid, and low frequencies to your audience. —
Having the best sound system for your event is essential to captivate and engage the audience. Everyone in a large room should feel connected whether they are in the front row or the nosebleed seats. With the proper audio equipment, arrangement, and an ace Audio Engineer, you can reach every person with high fidelity.
This year, Cybis is proud to debut the newest addition to our inventory – RCF line array speakers. These powerful, yet compact, speakers are designed for the greatest voice clarity and aural experience for 100 to 10,000 people.
Our scalable audio package provides crystal clear, high-quality sound so your presenters can be heard from every inch of the room. Our gear is also exceptional for music because it’s driven by our 32-channel Yamaha digital mixer, which handles all audio processing and routing. It provides superior sound that we can direct to our various RCF Line Array Speakers and Subwoofer options. These speakers can be hung from the ceiling when rigging is available or stacked upon one another on the floor or stage risers. Our line arrays are designed with built-in amplifiers, so we don’t have to worry about extra bulky power equipment that takes up unnecessary floor space and expensive setup time.
With these features, our audio equipment can be completely catered to the needs of your event – they are compact, convenient and completely versatile. And don’t forget the A1 (Audio Engineer) – the right man (or woman) behind the audio console is the final key ingredient to ensuring the system is properly EQ’d, delay signals are properly timed, and feedback is effectively eliminated.
Since we’ve rolled out our new audio system, we’ve heard from so many of our clients and attendees. They are complimenting the superior sound we have brought to their events. This is exciting news as our commitment to audio represents Cybis’ largest technology investment in the company’s history! Give us a call today to learn about all of our audio options. We want to deliver the absolute best production possible. Cybis promises to give you sound advice to make your events sound great!
“As an event planner, what should I do today to increase attendee revenue?”
It’s so easy to commit all of one’s energy into an upcoming event production and forget about the NEXT one. Time after time, we hear: “now that this event is done, we can think about the next one.” Wrong! The time to think about your next recurring event is NOW, and one solution is the ThinkBackTM video! This can be a fun highlight reel or convey a serious message – either way, it is a powerful marketing tool that must be planned in advance. —
As we declare on www.ThinkBack.com: “A ThinkBackTM video is an exceptional way to commemorate a past event or promote a future one. We’ll send an experienced Cybis videographer out to capture your inspiring general sessions, powerful award ceremonies, engaging meetings, captivating shows, and grand presentations.” By capturing unique moments along with the raw, authentic emotions of the occasion, you will continue to experience the thrill of your event every time you take a look back.
We have produced ThinkBackTM videos for everything from White House summits, countless student leadership conferences, corporate events, fashion shows, non-profit organizations, MAC, and even the Playboy Mansion. Videos are typically 1-5 minutes long. Sometimes they are just music and footage… Sometimes they contain sound bites from presentations, speeches, and/or excited attendees. Our team can run totally autonomously based on your brief objectives of the video; or you can direct us into specific activities or interviewing specific individuals. And we are especially proud of our synchronization licenses to pair clients’ ThinkBackTM videos with popular, mainstream radio music; usually an extraordinarily difficult feat.
While the main purpose tends to be to present the ThinkBackTM video on-site at the closing session to current attendees, there is a huge recurring value in using the same video to market the next event months later to future attendees. Not only are you able to re-live it, but you are also able to share your inspiring experience with the world, which helps extend your reach to an audience beyond your event.
Are you ready to see what ThinkBackTM can do for your event? All of this is possible when you plan in advance! Contact us right away so we can start the conversation. We want to help deliver the absolute best production possible and help you make the right decisions from start to finish. Visit thinkback.com to live and re-live the experience!
“How do you keep an audience engaged?”
Keeping an audience’s attention does not come automatically just because people showed up; nor does it have to be expensive —
Maybe your event needs a boost – a little caffeine pick-me-up – in order to best communicate your message, inspire guests, or celebrate success. It’s time to deliver a show that is swelling with energy, tightly choreographed, features a handcrafted soundtrack, and portrays how serious you are about the outcome.
I will share a few secrets that I hope you can employ at your next live event:
Least Common Denominator – This is a factor I’ve promoted since our very first BIG show in 2002. Imagine the person who has the least interest and reason to be in attendance. Maybe ze is the most cynical or the most unlikely person to impress. I focus my efforts on impressing this person through the spoken word and immersive production experience. If you can reach this person, you may find that you have reached the other hundreds or thousands in attendance.
Timing is Everything – Everybody’s lives are jam-packed and there are few things worse than feeling like your time is being wasted. Absolutely, in speech, insert the pregnant pause or the dramatic question to the audience to further your message. Otherwise, keep the show moving! Do’s and Don’ts: Do start your event on time. Don’t allow it to go longer than it needs. Do have presenters queued and waiting for their intro. Don’t ever leave an empty stage. Do monitor the time during the show (I take on this job during Cybis shows) and do adjust the program; shorten parts; etc. if you’re at risk of going long. Do end earlier than published times; never later. And Do have the production team with their fingers on the trigger for every song, lighting cue, and graphic roll, because that synchronization is felt/embraced by the audience; 1 second late is late.
Rehearse – I would like to make this the first, second, and third item on the list because live one-off events are seldom effectively rehearsed; and it makes the difference between silver and gold. First, ensure your organization has the appropriate dedicated stage director or at least a presenter-liaison to host special guests. Insist that every presenter attend a rehearsal prior to the doors opening. And my rule of thumb – rehearse, in real-time, every single action/cue/transition that will happen during the show. A fumbled music/lights/video sequence takes away from so many of the efforts that go into planning for your big event. Whether you’re an event manager, producer or show director, I commend anyone who says “that was close to perfect, but let’s do it 2 more times to be sure we’ve all got it!”
Crave the Special Moments – We acknowledge that many shows contain long biographical spiels, acceptance speeches, and historical testimonies. But don’t let that bring you down. Look for every appropriate instance in the program to crescendo the music, utilize special effect lighting, and provide motion graphics on screens that parallel what your guests are used to seeing on prime time television. When we identify and execute a dozen of these extra special moments in a program, I’m happy and I think the audience is satisfied, too! The energy and action in your show should peak and valley. Be conscious of the order of presentations in your agenda in order to best keep the audience on the edge of their seat and wanting more.
Lights, Camera, Soundtrack – I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to just mention the power of programmable moving light fixtures, well-choreographed camera movements, and delivering the right music for the mood. These are not all easy to convey in one article so I’ll focus on soundtrack. My best advice is to stay trendy. We frequently mix instrumental beds of the newest popular songs in order to capture a special part of our audience’s senses. Staying current with music and crafting an aural soundtrack for your live event helps to promote the relevance and timeliness of your message.
The key to all of this is planning. Recognize the beginning of a show as an opportunity to start getting the audience excited even if no one is on stage. Know who is speaking, when they will be speaking, and what they are speaking about. Ask about important points that might be enhanced with audio, lighting, or camera shots. Know where the person will be presenting and plan to have cameras/lights focused on those points. Consider having multiple cameras for different angles and cutaway shots. Make sure anyone on stage knows where to enter and exit; professional choreography will highlight excellent preparation!
Creativity in audience engagement is an art form that takes practice, but the right team with the right equipment and leadership will be able to execute a captivating experience. If you have a live event coming up, and you’d like to enlist Team Cybis to help keep YOUR audience engaged, please contact me right away so we can start the conversation. I want to help deliver the absolute best production possible and help you make the right decisions for your audience, space, and budget!
Cybis Solutions for BluJay Customer Conference
Cybis has had the privilege of producing BluJay Solutions’ annual SOAR event since it came to Orlando in 2018. BluJay’s global customer conference serves as a hub for networking professionals, influential individuals, and industry solutions. While their company focuses on providing solutions to their customers, our team is focused on creating solutions for the show.
With Cybis’ commitment to Total Show Management for all of our clients, we aim to fulfill promises by exceeding expectations. During the pre-production phase of this project, we listened to the BluJay team’s vision for the event, environment, and stage. What we gave them was a custom-built, client-inspired stage with multiple projection spaces, personalized lighting designs, and professional elegance to highlight the mission, message, and leadership of BluJay Solutions. When the BluJay team requested a different direction for on-screen content, we knew we could get the job done. And we did: with parallax motion graphics, industry-oriented imagery, and client-specific designs.
When showtime finally arrived, the Cybis team was all-hands-on-deck. We put our best people up front to direct the show and our secret weapon backstage to choreograph the show; every key member of our group was in a position to elevate the entire event experience. Since the talented people on our team tour with us for multiple events in our show season, they are equipped with the knowledge and experience of a smooth sailing production. We know we can count on our team to go above and beyond the call of duty so that our clients can count on Cybis for flawless excellence in their live event experience.
“How do I get involved in the live event production industry?”
While there are degree programs, industry conferences, webinars, books, etc., there’s another way to fast-track your way into a very exciting and rewarding field. —
It’s one thing to experience an amazing live event in the audience; but being part of the production, working back stage, planning/coordinating, and building the set from the ground up gives you an entirely different appreciation of what live event production is all about. And if having fun while earning good money sounds intriguing to you, first find out in which part of the event you’d like to be involved.
If you’re a student, there are often opportunities in campus production teams to figure out if you thrive in pre-production, the live event itself, or post-production. When I was in college (go Knights!), I heard about their “Video Productions Committee” and stopped in to a meeting. I was soon invited to check out a hypnotist show where the students would be running camera, switching videos, etc. I lucked out when one of the camera operators didn’t show up and I was thrust into the seat. It was so exciting and swiftly intensified my passion for live events! If there aren’t student-led committees on your campus, find out which companies service your school’s productions — and read on!
Outside of school, there are many A/V and event companies in every major city that will offer internships and on-site experience opportunities. These companies are usually just a phone call away (like Cybis!) and will likely welcome you to “stop by” an event to see how things work. Your best next move: roll up your sleeves and offer to push cases, lug around cables, fetch coffee, test microphones, etc. Earning rapport with the team and demonstrating your value in a volunteer-position will almost definitely earn yourself an invitation back. If you’re willing to do some of the grunt work and most importantly USE these opportunities to observe the departments that interest you most and ask lots of questions, you’ll find yourself better suited than any outsiders when that company is looking to expand. If you’re worried about getting the company’s attention in the first place, try posting on their social media site! Be sure to provide a link to your online resume so folks can see your background and interests. Also be persistent — if you try hard to get noticed, then at least as far as I’m concerned, you’re more likely to try hard to be great!
Another strategy? Put yourself out there on production crew websites (like productionhub.com). Again, if you’re happy to intern or volunteer to work for free while getting your feet wet, the opportunities will be endless. (Side story: when I first started Cybis 25 years ago, I earned my first clients by offering computer help for FREE… after a while, I was eventually able to start charging. Side-side story: it’s also the basis for my favorite quote on the bottom of www.thinkcybis.com!) Be patient though — the companies you’re supporting know that in this industry, you only get ONE chance to get it right. “You’re only as good as your last performance.” Expect it to take time to fairly demonstrate you are determined, diligent, and 100% dependable.
The live event world is a super-fun industry to work alongside fun people, travel, and be a part of something that people experience with all of their senses!
At Cybis, we pride ourselves in being able to provide our clients world-class service, and that ability comes from having an exceptional team. If you’re interested, we are always looking for new talented people to add to our roster. Getting in touch with us is easy — click “Impress Us” on www.thinkcybis.com; that’s always up-to-date with the roles we seek, and which ones are “hot”! If you love your work, and it’s shows – contact us!