What it Takes to Produce Big-Name Talent

Event production involves many moving parts that can greatly affect an event; Opus producers are able to adjust to each facet to execute flawlessly. Sometimes, the most delicate aspect of production is the onstage talent. Opus producers are no stranger to producing celebrity talent. I have experience working with Gavin DeGraw, Alicia Keys, Steve Miller Band, and John Legend. While celebrity talent can add to attendee experience, it also requires extra measures from the production team.

Along for the Rider

When working with famed talent, production teams rarely speak or work directly with the artists themselves. You typically acquire the talent through an agency and will then work with a talent manager on logistics such as contracts, lodging, and transportation. Every performance contract includes a rider—a detailed document that spells out the artist’s needs. The rider will function as your team’s roadmap, and as a continual reference for the event management professionals working on the program. Riders always include technical specifications for audio, staging, lighting and video, along with comprehensive requirements for the artist’s lodging, transportation, and food and beverage requests, but they’re not always crystal clear—it’s imperative to have clear channels of communication established early on to help head off any hiccups. Rest assured that any extra effort you put in during the planning stages will pay off in the form of a smoother performance, and an enhanced attendee experience as well.

Is This Thing On?

High-profile artists are used to a consistently high level of quality of sound and production. It’s not uncommon for prep and sound checks to vary widely in length to achieve top-quality results. You and your team must therefore be flexible with your schedule and overall plan. If your talent needs four-hour sound check, you’ll need to improvise and allow time for that. Do your absolute best to deliver what is asked of you, and ensure they have everything they need to feel comfortable for the performance.

Safety First

Security is a priority at any event, but high-profile artists increase the need even further. Ensure the venue’s security team and any contracted security personnel are fully aware of who the talent is and where they’ll be throughout the event. All security must be aligned with the artist’s personal security team, if they have one. It’s imperative to take these steps to keep the talent safe and away from crowds.

Play it Cool

When working with well-known talent, rein in any star-struck feelings you may have. Control any urge you may have to ask for a photo or an autograph! The talent and their crew appreciate (and expect) professionalism from start to finish. Keep in mind that performers are people at work, just like you. It’s easy to remember this when you see them take a call from their kids or rehearse a set in their sweats.

Have you produced an event that featured a household name? Share your story!

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