A year of learnings

A year has gone by since my last physical event (and last flight..) and since our industry was turned upside down.

Like everyone else, I spent some time filling gaps in my training and took a few online courses that I thought would be useful when we return to in-person events. 

Training in the form of online talks by freelancers and suppliers has been priceless in better understanding what our industry peers do and in keeping up to date with the latest developments in health & safety and haulage post Brexit, which affects our industry a great deal.

The training everyone urgently needed however was around digital events and there is nothing like jumping in at the deep end. So I am eternally grateful to my dear live broadcast colleagues for giving me stage management and producer opportunities from my home MCR on several live projects as early as May 2020.

Working remotely with show crew and contributors using vMix and Unity was definitely something that I found challenging to start with, yet rewarding, and I learnt many lessons along the way.

I was able to apply learnings from this experience to a digital IT conference in the autumn where I produced three tracks on two different platforms (PGI and Webex Events), learnt to use the platforms, even ran PGI training sessions for my supporting producers and speakers. The exercise of working closely with track owners, managing content collection and scheduling rehearsals isn’t dissimilar to that on physical events. But content itself, speaker onboarding, and the technology of course, require a different approach and rehearsals are more important than ever.

Learning is never ending as each client company uses either a proprietary platform or one of a number of readily available products, each with a different degree of limitations.

Again I was fortunate to get certification on On24 PM XD and Webcast Elite platforms and have produced ten webinars for the medical sector to date – in English and in French – these have been really successful and the platform works well for these types of events.

Despite all the positive learnings and experience of the past year, I still miss the buzz of our face-to-face events, the flexibility of last minute changes, the comfort of knowing that the event is not subject to anyone’s internet going down and the onsite family and its impromptu catch ups at crew catering!

The freelance community spirit is going strong and even led to WWM21, a virtual event about freelancers made by freelancers with support from our trusted technical solution suppliers. It was streamed online in January 2021, warms my heart to have played a small part in it and shows that everyone is ready for the next phase.

2021 is going to be another tough year for everyone, new ways of working in Europe with the return of carnets, changes to haulage and immigration require additional planning. But we all expect that it should also see the end of a pandemic, the return of some live events and the emergence of many hybrid events in the UK – which I look forward to being a part of. So all in all, it will be a year to remember!

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