Hiring your own entertainment for any event can be a daunting task, often performed by someone who has never done it before.
Recently Jamison Yoder, Major Corporate Accounts & Fundraising, along with Michael Yoder, Corporate and College Accounts, agreed to sit down for an interview to discuss some of the do’s and don’ts and some things you need to consider when planning your special or corporate event.
Thanks to their years of experience they were to provide readers a real insiders look.
Q- What is the biggest mistake you see people make when selecting entertainment?
A- Going it alone! There are so many factors to consider when trying to match the right talent to an event that things often get missed. Clients need to consider their budget, venue, event culture and demographics and what the ultimate goals of your event are. All of these items need to be in sync with your entertainment.
Q- What should people consider when selecting talent for a corporate event?
A- What do they want from the entertainment? Something more passive like comedy where they listen and laugh? Or something more interactive like a mentalist? Can the venue they chose accommodate entertainment? Does it have basic production capabilities like sound system, stage and lighting? What’s the purpose of their event? Is it to celebrate something, or is it to workshop? If it’s for team building, types of entertainment like a game show, trivia, escape room or murder mystery might be best. Are their guests a tightly-knit group, or are they mostly meeting each other for the first time?
Q- What tips do you have to offer to ensure the smoothest experience planning entertainment for a corporate event?
A- It is always best to work with an agency that can help you find the best fit for your type of event. An agency will help you with your budget and protect your most valuable resource, your time. Make sure to talk through format, expectations, room set-up, etc.
Plan as far in advance as you can, since more entertainment options will have wider availability. For most entertainment types (except for Murder Mystery), it’s best for the entertainment to go on after dinner and desert is cleared and before any Awards and/or closing remarks.
Q- How much time/effort is involved for people when they book on their own, versus going through a talent agency? Hours? Days?
A- Quite a bit of time and effort, it varies depending on the size and scope of the event. The real issue is dealing with the uncertainty of working with the performer for the first time.It’s hard to vet people online because you’re only seeing a 5-minute set versus having someone an agency has worked with before on several similar events. Working with an agency alleviates a lot of the stress you may encounter planning your entertainment on you own.
Q- What sets you apart from competitors?
A- Hands down our amazing customer service. We are very responsive to questions, providing ideas, etc.
We work with some of the best talent in every market and we have decades of relationships with entertainers and the industry.
We work for our clients and not the performers. One of our core values has always been to operate with integrity.
Q- Why do you have so many relationships with talent?
A- Longevity, reputation, treating artists fairly and with respect. The volume of bookings we’ve done, and also the quality of those bookings. I always direct new clients to check out our reviews.
Q- What questions should people ask when they are talking to a talent agency?
A- All the questions! Ask everything that you can think of, a good agency will be ready with answers. At the end of the day you ultimately know your group best, but don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations.
Talk through what you want the talent to do and the purpose and goals of your events, how the room should be set-up, the best format, etc.
Q- How much should people expect to pay for corporate entertainment?
A- Corporate entertainers run the gamut in terms of cost, but expect to pay in the $2,500-$20,000 range and up to $50,000-$200,000 for well-known celebrity comedians.
Q- Do you have any horror stories of events gone bad, due to picking cheap talent etc.?
A- So many stories! Too many people pick the cheapest option they find on their own, the talent ends being inexperienced with corporate events and they don’t heed the content guidelines.
It’s true that you get what you pay for and entertainment is embarrassing for everyone involved when they are really bad. Makes the event planner look bad, and it makes everyone else uncomfortable.
It can really ruin an evening and the event as a whole. Selecting someone who has a different definition of ‘clean’ than the planner does can really ruin an event in a hurry. You need to be confident that the entertainment you use will adhere to the ultimate goals and guidelines of your event.
Q- What is the biggest benefit you offer your clients?
A- A smooth and easy booking process with plenty of help and support along the way.
We bring them a unified list of reputable, proven entertainment professionals who fit their audience, budget, and purpose. We save them time and money. We’re with them every step of the way, 24/7 from the start of their planning to the weeks after their event.
Q- How long in advance should the entertainment be booked?
A- Ideally 6-12 months for best selection but we are ready to act and give our clients the best possible solution even in a pinch.
Q- Do the acts request special items be available on the day of the event?
A- It depends on the type of act but, yes, some acts have a rider which details their needs. We send these in advance so people can plan accordingly and will help arrange if needed.
Q- Anything else you want people to know?
A- I think the biggest thing is, working with an agency you’re able to leverage our expertise and relationships from 30+ years of doing this.
And you want to work with someone that listens and treats you with respect. We’re not a fly by night operation or a comic trying to help book him or herself or his or her buddies on the side. We book talent exclusively and do our best to take care of our clients who come to us for amazing entertainment.
If we just book one event together, that’s fine, but our goal is to be a trusted resource and relationship with groups for several years.
Jamison and Michael have a combined 17 years in the Entertainment Industry, they have been in charge of many successful events and seen what can happen with poor or rushed planning. They understand the importance of every event and every client. They just get it.
“My pain may be the reason for somebody’s laugh. But my laugh must never be the reason for somebody’s pain.” Charlie Chaplin