Franco recently had the opportunity to work with former Tonight Show host and celebrity comedian extraordinaire. Jay visited the Stahls’ Automotive Museum in support of its inaugural Hat Trick for Heroes, a three-day event celebrating heritage, heroes and hockey, all in support of local veterans and their families. Jay attended the charity gala fundraiser in Chesterfield, the first of three events in the weekend-long celebration.
(Take a virtual tour of the incredibly impressive Stahls’ Auto Museum here.)
Behind every successful event is a team of intelligent and hard-working individuals. Following the event, I had an opportunity to sit down with my Franco colleague Erica Swoish Harmon to gain some insights and suggestions from her experience working with a celebrity like Jay. As it turns out, Jay and his team were a pleasure to work with and we hope the Franco team will be fortunate enough to work with them again in the future. As far as the tips, here’s what Erica had to share:
1.Prepare, prepare, prepare
One of the major keys to executing a successful event is coordinating proper planning. Planning is especially key when an event involves a celebrity appearance or performance. Preparation for an event begins months ahead of time – securing a venue, incorporating sponsors, charities and the media are just a few of the required tasks. When celebrities become involved, a well thought out plan must be in place long before the event to ensure the celebrity is satisfied and ready to work their magic. Have a clear picture of what you’re asking the celebrity to do before reaching out. This can include transportation, security and other aspects that may not initially come to mind. Hash out these details as early as possible and communicate with the celebrity’s agency or agent with as much information as available. Encourage the celebrity’s agency to keep you updated so you can relay any information or changes to your client. Don’t be afraid to ask the agency for clarification or suggestions on specific details or situations. They’ve probably coordinated several events for the celebrity and most likely have some suggestions.
2. Do your research
Most celebrities have some sort of claim to fame, a reason why they are who they are. Be sure to know how they’ve come to travel down this road, what projects they are currently working on, and what types of hobbies and interests they have that may reflect projects for the future. Understand what the celebrity likes, doesn’t like and needs to have for events. Reviewing and paying careful attention to the celebrity’s rider within their contract is very important. Be sure to provide requested materials, avoid areas and situations that are specifically noted, and do whatever you can to be sure the celebrity is happy and taken care of.
3. Craft an experience
Crafting an experience for the celebrity is an important part of the event for your agency, client and the celebrity. Creating a run of show that is specifically for the celebrity is a good place to start. Be sure to outline all of the important event details, timing and expected requirements. This will help to eliminate questions from the celebrity’s perspective and show that extensive effort and planning has gone into the event. Be sure the celebrity is greeted properly, receives ample time to prepare and change if needed. Inform the client, agency and anyone else involved in the event execution of preferences and tendencies of the celebrity. Make sure that the media understands what opportunities are available and unavailable to eliminate any interruptions or potential problems. Give them your full attention when they ask questions or are speaking, smile, and put your best foot forward.
4. Be ready to adapt
Go into the event with the intention of following your plans, but events involving celebrities are often altered in the moment for a variety of reasons. Try to stay firm with your decisions and suggested timeline, but between the media, celebrity, client and attendees, odds are you’ll get a curveball or two. Don’t panic, think strategically and quickly. Continue to be accommodating to the celebrity while ensuring the client is satisfied as well.