Celebrations + Live Performances

A Global Perspective

Tuesday May 2, 2023

6 Min Read

At Hartmann Studios, we understand the nuances that come along with bringing our clients’ visions to life. Whether urban or rural, just down the street or an ocean away, our team has the know-how to provide custom global experiences that include exceptional digital productions and brand representation.

Organizing global events: What to expect

Recently we sat down with our executive director of event production, Jayne Samuels, event producer Michelle Seaman and account manager Cliff Israel to discuss global events from the Hartmann Studios perspective.

To kick us off, in three words describe what it’s like to produce a global event.

JS: Exciting. Inspiring. Motivating.

MS: Partnership. Teamwork. Transparency.

CI: Exhilarating. Sleepless. Educational.

What tools or tactics do you use that are specific/unique to global productions?

JS:  The local culture is a tool in itself—where you’re going, who you’re working with, and our clients or partners on the ground—they’re all vital assets. We also have to remember that we’re guests when we travel internationally, and we must always show respect to the local cultures and traditions.

CI: The best tactic is to refer back to the guiding principles of the event and let those inform your decisions through all the twists and turns. Whatever we do should always tie back to what we’re trying to accomplish.

MS: I always try to stay flexible and gain trust with the global teams and the individuals we work with. When approaching something global, as Jayne mentioned, embracing cultural differences and expectations is vital.

Speaking of staying flexible, what are some hurdles you’ve come across that you weren’t expecting?

JS: That depends on whether it’s a virtual or in-person event, really. With virtual, you need to always consider technical constraints that can and will happen with digital production. Be ready to react quickly and create solutions. It’s also important to find reliable local partners and to understand differences in workflow/execution. In one location it might be faster and more cost-efficient to locally build furniture rather than spend more to ship it to the venue.

CI: Hands down, for me it’s how much time is spent calculating currency exchange rates. Because the currency rates fluctuate often, even week to week, we have to work very closely with our accounting team to stay on top of changes and how they will affect overall budgets.

When working with local partnering agencies, aligning early and often with an open dialog regarding the best way to represent the brand is so key to mitigating any unexpected hurdles.

Global tricks of the trade

What’s the best trick you learned while producing large-scale international programs?

JS: Always be aware of time zones and how that can affect every aspect of the event, from planning, to travel to show days. Also, don’t be afraid of hopping on the phone. Sometimes tone and timely details can get lost in email.

MS: Consistency: stay available and consistent with communication. There are always i’s to dot and t’s to cross, so even when it feels like we’ve covered every angle, we have found it helpful on more than one occasion to still have our regular touch-bases. You never know when something new will pop up!

CI: Always be transparent with the client and don’t be afraid to build a friendship. When you establish a personal, not just professional, level of trust, it’s much easier to communicate what’s necessary to ensure their event is most successful. We’re so grateful that our clients have become friends because at the end of the day, there’s no one we’d rather be in the trenches with.

Advice for a producer’s first global program

If you had one piece of advice for any producer embarking on their first global program, what would it be?

JS: Be ready to pivot and be adaptable. Anticipate different narratives of what might happen on-site. Be accommodating when you get on-site. Understand how to manage the local crew, and how they will work together with your internal crew. And most importantly, never forget to feed your team well. Crew meals are important, and they’re one of the best ways to keep everyone in good spirits.

MS: Know your client so well that you “live and breathe” their brand. By that I mean know the brand, their products, and the people who work at the company like the back of your hand. Understanding how their products can integrate into experiences and being able to truly speak the client’s ‘brand shorthand’ will help you immensely.

CI: If you’re operating in a country where you need a translator, make sure you have the correct type of translator for your meeting. Some languages differ drastically in terms of academic vs. business translations. Having your translator provide the intended tone and connotation of what you’re trying to communicate is so important.

Are there any aspects that are specific to international productions that you specifically look forward to?

JS: Meeting new people. In fact, we had a producer visit an international event where she was embraced by the local team like family. They took her in as one of their own and made her experience there that much more special. I really love those kinds of stories and experiences.

MS: I love traveling, of course, and being able to visit new places. Experiencing local culture and breaking down language barriers in order to build something together is something I really look forward to.

CI: I agree 100% with all of that. Another thing to add is even though there are obvious hurdles that exist when working on a global scale, the core of what we’re doing is not really all that different from what we accomplish state-side. We’re breaking down barriers, building relationships and working together to create something memorable.

Don’t leave home without…

To close us out, we thought we’d ask a fun one. What are the two things you’d never leave home without on an international show day?

JS: No matter if the show is local or international, I always take lip balm and my water bottle with me.

MS: Chargers (and by that I mean my entire bag full of chargers for every device I use), outlet adaptors, site credentials, deodorant and snacks.

CI: I never leave home on show day without a blazer or my AirPods. You never know when or where you’ll need to jump on a call. As for the blazer — put your best foot forward. Always.

If you’ve got an international event you’re dreaming of hosting and are looking for a knowledgeable partner to bring it to life, we’d love to chat.

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