Jul 30, 2013 Corporate Event Management Production Tips from Legend Productions
I’m proud to say that one of our favorite new partners is Jeff Goldstein at Legend Productions. Legend Productions is a premier corporate event and video production company based in New York. We teamed up with Jeff on a recent project in India and worked seamlessly together. Along the way we realized we shared similar business philosophies, and through our collaboration, both teams were able to deliver greater value to our common client.
Knowing that many Wilsonwest corporate event management clients engage production services directly, we interviewed Jeff about what he does, how he does it, and what sets Legend apart.
WW: What are some of the biggest challenges in your line of work?
JG: For most clients, there’s a temptation to think that bigger is better. But for us, planning an event isn’t about that. We’re focused on meeting that client’s needs at that particular time, for that specific audience. So, what’s most important is to avoid doing Big for the Sake of Big, and to focus on each project in its proper context. That’s something we’re really good at.
WW: Have you ever been in a situation where a client wanted a big, grandiose event and you talked them down to doing something smaller?
JG: Oh, absolutely! We do it all the time. It’s part of our job to educate clients. Now, we certainly do big events when the theme and communication goals warrant it. But when good ideas become overly big in their execution, they often lose their simplicity and clarity. They become “style over substance.” At Legend Productions, our specialty is to do substance with style.
WW: What’s a typical client engagement for Legend Productions? Or is there any such thing?
JG: Well, we’re equal parts audio-visual production company and content creation company. If we’re just executing the AV for a simple board meeting, we may only need to be involved for 30 days, including planning. But if we’re involved in creative development, you’re looking at a longer engagement—maybe 90 days to six months. We’ll be involved with that client from the earliest stages of “What’s our strategy?” all the way to execution.
WW: It sounds like you’re describing something like a national sales conference.
JG: Exactly. The client approaches us saying they’re having their annual sales conference next January in Florida. If they’re a repeat client, we’ll sit with them and ask, “How does this year differ from last? What’s your core message? What’s your audience all about?” Because we never want to assume that this year’s event should be the same as last year’s, no matter how well we think we know the client.
The key here is that we have to listen—and that’s one of the things Legend Productions does best. We soak everything in like a sponge, brainstorm with the client, and then go off into our world for a while before we come back to the client with some tangible ideas for executing in various formats.
WW: With all of that in mind, how can clients help you deliver the absolute highest quality of service and product?
JG: Things work best when both sides treat the relationship as a collaborative partnership. Sometimes clients want us to take an event and run with it—and we’re good at that. But when you’re planning AV for a major corporate event, so many little variables can change during six months of development. If there’s collaboration and communication, everyone can stay on top of their game as things evolve.
WW: Can you describe a really major success Legend Productions has had during challenging circumstances?
JG: Our most challenging recent project was when we did an event management and AV project across three cities in India in three days for a major global corporation. (Cindy Wilson can probably share some interesting insights on that project!) It was a very difficult environment to work in, not only because of the geography, but also the logistics of having to detail out and execute across three cities. In spite of the challenges, we executed flawlessly and the events came off beautifully.
WW: Very impressive. What were your secrets to success?
JG: A huge part of it was that everyone on that project—from our AV team to Cindy Wilson and her people—was a highly seasoned professional. When you have so many variables around language and communication, you need teams that can handle anything you throw at them. You need to know how to ask the right questions in any situation, and what to do with the answers you get. And you need the ability to guide things back on track, seamlessly and transparently and always with a cool, calm, collected manner. We all left India with the feeling that if we could succeed there the way we did, we could take on anything, anywhere, anytime!
WW: What’s most satisfying about your work?
JG: If our clients are smiling at the end of an event, that brings us great joy. Because you have to remember: there’s a lot of angst for our clients as they plan their events. They’ve been working with their projects longer than we have, and they’ve got it all on the line. If they’re actually smiling at the end, then a lot of things have gone right.
I especially love it when we prepare a printed rundown for a 2-hour event and the client tells us, “There’s no way we can fit all of this content—we’ve got to cut somewhere.” But then the event ends right on time, and they’re amazed that we pulled it off.
WW: How did you get into this business, anyway?
JG: I come from live TV, and that energy and excitement is still in my blood. Back when I was 16 or 17, I was an intern for the first couple seasons of Saturday Night Live. I was just a kid, but I got to spend my Saturdays at Studio 8H, watching live TV happen. That experience taught me that with live events, there’s a real thrill to having only one shot to get something right.
WW: What can Wilsonwest clients expect if they work with you?
JG: When we work with Cindy and her team, we work as partners and collaborators. There’s never a sense of one team being the “hired gun” and the other being the supervisor. The focus is always on what we can bring to the table together to make the project better for the client. Rest assured that your needs and objectives are our top priority at all times.
Thank you to Jeff Goldstein for this interview, and to the whole Legend Productions team for their top-notch partnership. We at Wilsonwest plan to keep collaborating with the Legend team in ways that deliver the highest possible level of service to our clients.