Even with live events, you’ve gotta have a story

Guy Carrington, Executive Producer at US/UK’s Done + Dusted (http://doneanddusted.com), one of the world’s top live entertainment companies, explains that even with live events, narrative is key.

Are programmers more open to live events than they used to be? Is it an easier sell?guy carrington

I wouldn’t say it’s an easier sell, you still need a good idea, but broadcasters are definitely more receptive to “appointment to view” shows that can drive audiences to a particular time and space. Some of this momentum has actually been driven by the audiences themselves, who respond to moments they can engage and interact with live, in real-time, via social media.

Do audiences keep expecting bigger and better when it comes to live events?

Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Narrative is key. Why things happen, and when, is far more important than how big something is and how much it costs as ultimately we’re telling a story.

How do you keep upping your game?

We’re always striving for better. If anyone on a production ever tells you they’re 100% happy with how things went, then they’re lying! So what happens outside of our own control is actually immaterial, as long as we’re always pushing ourselves internally.

What has been your favorite live event?

Working on the 2012 Olympic Games in my home city of London will always be pretty hard to top. They are a very special event. You’re involved in something that’s watched by billions all over the world but you’re also instrumental in the memories of individuals who have trained their whole lives for a single moment so how you approach certain moments has to be factored into the equation. What we achieved was special, and I’m proud to have been a part.

What mistake have you made producing live events that others could learn from?

Assumption is the mother of all f***-ups. Never, ever assume something is being dealt with, because there’s a greater than likely chance it hasn’t, and the last place you want to find that out is during a live show. I would tell people to trust their instincts and speak up. You’ve been given a role for a reason so be confident in your own opinions. And always have a contingency plan. For live events in particular, things happen, and how you react in a split second is crucial for the production. Run through the scenarios before you get to the show. Chances are everything will run smoothly, but if they don’t, be prepared to make a decision.

How far is too far when it comes to live events?

Risking someone’s well-being is too far, but it’s our job to push the creative envelope. Now more than ever we’re in a business driven by reaction, be that on social media or in the press, so what we do invariably has to be newsworthy.

The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to colleagues, followers, and the public at large. In their own words and in targeted Q&As, columnists address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital. Cynsiders columns live on Cynopsis’ main page and are promoted across all daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at Lynn@Cynopsis.com.

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