Ever wondered what an events Production Project Manager does? We spoke to Alix Rollinson, who took us through a day in her life.
What does my role entail?
I work within the Creative team at Ashfield Event Experiences as a Production Project Manager.
Production traditionally covers technical aspects of an event such as stage design, set, managing our AV suppliers and providing technical project management for our clients.
I joined the team in March 2020 just as the pandemic broke – suddenly, every live event switched overnight to a virtual solution. As a result, it ended up being a quick and steep learning curve for our whole team: we had to pivot efficiently to keep up with demand from our clients. We invested in in-house technology and equipment to deliver broadcast solutions from Ashfield House in Ashby de la Zouch, UK, and immediately started to run our own virtual meetings through our broadcasting system.
As things are slowly getting back to normal, we are now transitioning from virtual back to either hybrid or face-to-face meetings. There will be an element of virtual and hybrid event delivery for a long time to come, so our experiences in the last 18 months will help drive and grow our creative solutions of the future.
What does a typical day look like for me?
8am – 10am:
On the start of a live event day, this is when I would brief the team and start the show build. During this time is when our team will look through the detailed show flow and understand their roles during the event. Our Operator will start the build on our broadcasting system and work closely with our Showcaller to ensure that each event state is correct.
10am – 12pm:
After the show is built, we then carry out our internal testing. If we are sending the event stream into an app or a platform, we will then set up demo streams and test them. We will also run through the entire show from start to end and prepare any notes or queries for the speakers prior to their rehearsals.
12pm – 2pm:
Following our internal testing, we will then normally have speaker rehearsals booked in. Our Producer will speak to them once they join our system, technically check them and run through their session; this helps to ensure that, on the live delivery, speakers will not run into any unforeseen issues.
2pm – 3pm:
Catch-up time! If there have been any changes from the rehearsals, our team work hard to make these amendments before we go live. We will also perform another internal test and communicate any changes to our team.
3pm – 6pm:
We have our entire team on standby and ready to go live. We will typically play out an opening video, ensure that we have all of our speakers online and then go live into the first session. Throughout the live event, this is a pretty intense time of overseeing the event and making sure that everyone is focussed. As the Production Lead on an event, it is my job to pull together the event from a technical point of view and be there if there are any technical hiccups.
What are the biggest challenges?
Production and technical support is such an essential component of events right now that there is always someone looking to try something new, or asking about the practicalities of achieving a client request for us to support and lead on. While both of things can be challenging, I think that’s where we all thrive the most – it helps us to grow and improve every single day.
What do you like most about the role?
I love the pressure and challenges that my role brings. The constant learnings I’ve faced since we’ve been in a virtual space have been intense, but they also mean that no two days are ever the same. And now, as events are switching to hybrid and face-to-face again, I can go back onsite again and get my passport back out, which I do really love.
On top of all of that, it was amazing to be nominated as part of the C&IT A-List 35 under 35 – I was invited to join the other A-Listers out in Switzerland for four days.