INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Organising foreign events can leave planning all at sea

Event planning in the UK follows a pattern. Talk to the client, grasp their needs, and come up with a concept within budget. Then meticulously plan the event, double check everything, arrive on site early and, presto, deliver a successful event.

The same should apply for events abroad, but this is not always so. We were recently asked to run a corporate conference in Milan using films pre-shot in the UK. To keep costs down, we used local companies to build the set and provide technical staff.

On arrival the set was half built, the lighting was not as specified, and the films would not play. Finally we realised the problem lay with the projectors. Many calls to London and several flights later, replacements arrived. The event had been saved but at a cost, both financial and emotional.

In late June, another job, this time in Portugal. Once bitten twice shy, so nothing was left to chance - we flew in builders and technical crew from the UK. Then, with minutes to go, disaster. The talkback box (enabling producer to speak to presenter via earpiece) went dead. We found the problem - a dead battery. It was the only piece of gear we didn't bring with us, and it was the only one that failed.

It just shows that things can go wrong no matter how well you plan. It also proves you shouldn't rely on anything you haven't sourced yourself, and that you need a good partnership between the UK organising team and the local one on site. Bearing all this in mind might just save the day.

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