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My thoughts on the Academy Awards

February 25, 2015

People love to hate the Oscars. As an event director I feel for the team who organizes this massive show – a show that never really seems to get approval from the masses. It must be impossible to get that show running on time (though I’d love a shot at it), finding the right host (and one willing to do it) – again impossible to please everyone, dealing with the drama of high maintenance people and having people care more about the why and less about the fashion.
But isn’t this the story of all our events? It is so hard to please everyone and often in debriefs the focus is more on what to improve on rather than what went right – if it ain’t broke….
The struggles, though not on the same level, are still there.
Finding the right host – Who will be appropriately funny and not offensive? Who can we afford? Who is available? Who will be a draw? And who do we like working with? Can we get someone who fits all our criteria? A tough gig to live up to! Our advice is to invest in a professional – in most cases you will get what you pay for.
Keeping things on time – choosing the right partners in catering, venue, event staffing and audio visual can help with this, but the wild cards are those speakers (just like the Academy Awards). People want their stage-time. You do rehearsals and script briefings but when the time comes there is a microphone and an audience - people love to talk. We always hear from clients and guests – cut out the speeches – we get it – we really do. And just like the poor folks at the Oscars if we could play “get off the stage now” music we would! That’s why we build in some buffer time.
Why are we here? There is always a purpose and objectives with events – from fundraising to appreciation to learning and celebration. We constantly strive to embed the cause or purpose into our events with signage, vignettes, awards, gifts and social messaging.  We also work with our clients and committees to have them focus and remember the purpose of the event rather than on the logistics and ambiance. If the tone is set early in the planning and carried through with the invitations, guest communication and ultimately at the event the purpose of the event is the focus rather than the colour of the napkins…..  #askhermore did this for the Oscars! Brilliant.
Dealing with the drama and high maintenance people. We all saw the drama between Melanie Griffith and daughter Dakota Johnson – it was awkward and as event professionals we see drama at every event. So and so cannot sit beside this person, this person has to speak before that person, the President doesn’t like the colour green . . . and so on. This just keeps things interesting! I love trying to guess what strange request or social interaction will happen – it keeps me on my toes. Like most event professionals between Jennifer and I we could write a book about it!
The Oscars are too long – but we know why. The host is always “close but not perfect” – but geez what a tough gig. The why, well we do know why - to celebrate the best in the biz! What I’d love is to have them televise the after-parties so we can see some amazing events in action and of course the …DRAMA!
Ashlee Sorochan
Event Director & Co-Owner
Our Forté – Inspired Events by Jennifer & Ashlee

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