1 Week Internship at HQ Creative Dubai:
I looked at a detailed budget sheet for a client meeting for 3.30pm this afternoon, we had to reduce the costing and take some items out as our budget was too high for the client. If it meant lowering the mark up percentage or taking out a few items it’s worth it to make the client happier and gives us the chance to win the pitch along with chances of developing a long term relationship with the clients.
I had lunch around 1.00pm then went off to our client meeting in Abu Dhabi with Adam and Producer Katie.
It took less than two hours to get to Abu Dhabi; our meeting took about 15 minutes so I guess it’s quite a long journey for a 15 minute pitch but that’s the kind of timing and preparation it takes for a 15 minute pitch sometimes, that’s just events for you. I took some notes and learnt that there were other agencies pitching for the same project and budget was a big issue for the client with our charges being the most expensive so Adam did his best with the mark ups, he also took some items out whilst maintaining the quality that HQ offers, still we can't take it for granted that we will get it that’s why it's worth knowing who our competitors are before we turn up and it helps to know what pitches they’ve won before. Of course our strength’s is what we can put emphasis on, experience, quality and most of all the creativity so Adam did just that, he explained his creative ideas for the event and this impressed the clients a lot, we’ll have to wait and see if we win the pitch.
I watched one of the designer’s create 3D view of a stage and venue design step by step come together. My God, a lot of editing, deleting, retouching and polishing, the creative team aim for perfection and every detail makes a huge difference in winning the pitch, a lot of time, patience, thinking and consistency is required for a perfect design.
After lunch I looked at a list of companies that our coordinator will be calling up to inform about HQ creative services. It’s not as simple as just making a call, it’s important to get hold of the right person which doesn’t always happen with the first call, planning what to say and get them to be interested with a subtle approach by sending them information about us by email first and wait for them to come back to us when they’re ready.
Later in the day Adam asked me to explore Microsoft project 2010 in order to create task breakdowns & milestone reports. I spent a few hours learning the basics from the book realized that the planning, time keeping and organizing in events is non-stop and planning alone just takes up a lot of time, just knowing who is doing what, when and where on Microsoft project makes life a lot easier in the long run and creates a great communication line for the team especially when there are preparations to be done for more than one project in the same time and new tasks are always coming up unexpectedly to allocate to someone in the team.
Adam gave me a new brief to read which was sent to us today from a Tourism Development & Investment Company from Abu Dhabi. He asked me to re-create a HQ creative version of the brief to send to our suppliers.
I’m glad Adam asked me to do this as the last time I looked at a brief was almost a year ago at the course and I’ve never seen or written an event brief before so wasn’t sure exactly what to include and not to include. I looked at the contents page to see what’s crucial for the supplier’s, re-read each paragraph and paraphrased it in my own words, a bit of editing, copy, cut and pasting was done too. I learnt that it’s important to pay attention to detail and send full details of listing of items with the right size, quantity and measurements so suppliers know exactly what they’re doing and can have it ready within the given deadline.
I attended a client meeting with Adam for a professional football league association. They wanted us to build a creative stage for them within 3 minutes on the football ground / stadium. I took notes and learnt a lot about football tournament ceremonies as well as stage design ideas.
I must say football was never an interest of mine so good listening skill is the only tool that’s going to get me through this meeting. Even if you don’t know anything about the topic, activity or event if you listen and write the notes down it can be discussed later and the right information can be delivered to everyone else in the team.
Adam asked me to write up a creative brief based on the meeting to hand to the creative team, at first it sounded difficult as I wasn’t sure what a creative brief was and so I thought I’d get started by writing bullet points of the meetings.
Adam had a look at it and told me to re-write it in more detail so the creative team knows more about the company and exactly where, when and why they are having the event along with the client requirements such as details of a creative stage and the budget.
The client at the meeting mentioned that we are one of her favorite agency she’s worked with along with one other, this means we have a very good chance of winning this pitch providing we deliver a much more creative stage than the previous one. I must say within four days my knowledge and confidence has increased from day 1 and I can’t imagine how much I will learn if I stay here for a few months.
I spent a lot of time looking at the server today and realized that there is so much to learn from there. I looked at the photos of Christmas decorations HQ has done for various malls in Dubai, they were all very different designs and very well thought out. I also looked at some pitch presentations. This was a really good insight on the hard work, HQ Creative team put together to make it all happen from research, to preparing a pitch and organizing then delivering the event, it shows how professional and organized they are as a company and I think I made a good choice of work placement to learn good habits.
Later Katie the producer asked me to type out a copy of a cover letter from a hard copy which she needs to email a client for a proposal, everything has to be done professionally, worded very carefully so the client can agree with the proposal by writing and both sides can proceed further.
Later, I approached the people in the production department and asked them about their parts of the job, they told me that they were working on a shopping festival happening tomorrow where we will be managing the stage / entertainment for 16 days. I asked Adam if I can get involved as this is a good opportunity to see a live event be set up for the first time, he thought it was good idea, can’t wait for tomorrow.
The shopping festival was happening at the beach next to the mall, I watched the stage be build up and red carpet get cup up to stick on the floor, the entertainers hired were celebrity look alike including Justin Timeberlake, Britney Spears, David Bekham, Will Smith and many others.
I helped with moving furniture into the backstage room and dressing room for the performers due to arrive tomorrow morning, everything was full of dust and the floor was sandy, some pieces needed a good clean as they were coming from the warehouse so I guess organizing events isn’t so glamorous; both production and project management team have to get their hands dirty in setting things up together, it’s also about good teamwork.
I woke up earlier than usual as Andrea the Assistant Producer needed my help with setting up the dressing room, backstage room and lounge room for the performers before they arrived, including cleaning everything and shopping for the performers at Ikea to buy things such as table lamps, refreshments, snacks, table cloths, tissues, hangers and rails for their outfits.
We spent a lot of time cleaning up as there was no sinks nearby to get water so we wet the sponges with mineral water, the furniture from the warehouse was so heavily stained, this was the least enjoyable part of the job but if it doesn’t get done then the performers can’t get comfortable and this will ruin the whole event which will make us as an agency will look unreliable and professional.
Once the power was on we got the sound and audio tested, we played around with stage lighting and added a few lamps in the backstage room as it will get dark in the evening and everyone needs to see what they’re doing, the performers arrived and did some rehearsals to get warmed up with the speakers and sound system. Things can easily go wrong with events so is important to prepare your selves as much as possible, test everything is working before the guests / audiences arrive.