Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Finally - An Organization for Event Producers

Ever since I began in this crazy business in the mid-1980s, I have felt like an orphan. Why? Because I did something nobody else seemed to do. I acted as a coordinator for all things technical in an event as well as dreaming up creative ideas for decorating and staging the event. I was not a planner or manager. Heck, I hated coordinating buses and airline flight arrivals. Couldn't stand arranging hotel bookings and registrations. Catering was not really my thing. But leave me to the creative and "making the show happen" and I was in my glory. It took a few years, but eventually I realized that the term that defined me was "event producer." Now everyone wants to be one. After all, it's what "causes the applause."

At long last, there is now an advocacy organization for event producers called the Live Show Producers Guild of America (LSPGA), although I am baffled as to why it has to be restricted to America, since they risk alienating many unbelievably talented producers from the rest of the world. Well, let's at least give them a chance. They've only been established since May 2012.

My request for information from them has not been acknowledged but their web site provides quite a bit of information. Supposedly they advocate for anyone who may be a part of a live event production management team, from the Executive Producer down to stage managers. They go on to state that "the LSPGA also welcomes technicians, artisans, crafts people, and essential service providers in the live entertainment industry to be part of the community by becoming involved in their Recommended Services network." According to them, live events include "special events, sport events, live theatre, theme attraction shows, trade shows, touring concerts, and more." Like me, they recognize that such an organization is long overdue.

I think it bodes well for the industry that this organization is now in existence. What would really help clients and make the industry more accountable is to use this organization as not only one for advocating for its members but also one for policing its members. By this I mean that for the far too many event disasters that annually are caused by technical problems - already there is at least one major stage roof collapse in 2012 - the LSPGA should set up an investigative body to determine what happened and have the authority to allocate appropriate punishment, be it membership restrictions, fines, or whatever. This would certainly make the industry at least appear to be accountable to the outside world.

Lastly, they have the stated noble goal of providing accreditation for those in the production business. Again, very worthy. However, if past experience in special events and other "professions" is any indication, this accreditation should be accomplished by a completely independent body and not the advocacy body. But, hey, at least they are starting and for that I give them full credit.

Check them out at