by David 

5 Actionable Tips to Use TODAY When Planning Your Christmas EventLighting Console Layout for Events with Camera (A.K.A Every Event)

Want to make your Christmas events rock this year?

Have you ever been at your church or venue until 2am setting up and working through problems on December 23rd?

Want to make sure that things go smoothly and you stay sane?

In this post, I want to give you 5 tips that you can take action on today in order to make your Christmas production better than last year.

1. Plan, Plan and Plan ahead!

There is no better way to ensure success in your production then to plan.  Think about everything that you need to do to make Christmas events happen, from staffing to renting equipment, building sets and designing lights, and get it down on paper.  It’s amazing how much more you are able to accomplish when you are working off of written plans and checklists.

The second, and most fun step of planning is when you get to delegate.  You can’t do everything by yourself, and you’ll kill yourself trying.

Chances are, you either have staff members or eager volunteers who would love to help you set up your Christmas program.  If you’ve got pre-planned action items for others to accomplish, you can easily hand those off and focus on the tasks that only you can do.

For example, you can set a group of volunteers to decorate the set and run cabling for special lighting while you work on programming the lighting console and addressing fixtures, or other highly technical tasks.

The other added bonus in having a delegation list is that when you’re tired and can’t think straight, you can reference the list in order to hand items off to people, and get things done!

2. Identify Possible Problems and Find Solutions BEFORE Crunch Time!

If you’ve spent 5 minutes working in technical production, you know that during implementation of your plans, there will be problems that arise and things that need to be adapted.  However, if you’ve spent a lot of time planning, you also know that you usually get a hunch inside about certain elements of your production that you know may not implement like you design them to.

So, when you do identify a possible problem, write it down and make key staff and volunteers aware of it.  Even if it’s not a definite problem, you can brainstorm a plan B and be ready to pivot your plan when you’re carrying out your setup.  This will save you tons of time and hassle and hopefully prevent those 2am work days at the church before Christmas!

3. Get your Key Volunteers in Place Ahead of Time

There’s nothing worse than calling up a key volunteer or staff member a couple weeks out from the event and hearing back, “I’m busy” or “I’m already helping with _____”.  I know the pain you face, as I have called up talented volunteers 2 weeks out from a production and they can’t make it, leaving me having to run sound, powerpoint and lights all while dancing back and forth trying to not miss too many cues.  Not my idea of fun!

On the other hand, if you line up your volunteers 2-3 months out for Christmas, you’ll have time to pivot and find someone else or hire a freelancer or someone else to take their place.  You’ll get their help planning the production early, and you won’t have to worry like crazy!

4.  Make sure to allow enough time for rehearsals, and have fun!

The #1 problem I see with church and other volunteer productions are the lack of good rehearsals.

Do your best to get everyone there early, so you can start on time, rehearse efficiently, and have fun.

What does an efficient rehearsal look like?  An efficient rehearsal is one that is planned out, and when it comes down to an individual needing to work on a specific part by themselves, it gets written down and skipped over until later.  That way, you can maximize the time when you have everyone there, and people aren’t standing around waiting all night while you run lines with the 3rd shepherd who can’t remember where the star is!

5.  Have More Than Enough Crew to Get Things Back to “Normal” After Christmas

Nobody wants to dread coming in to work at the church and tear down the Christmas set for hours on end.

So, get more than enough volunteers and staff crew to tear down the set and restore the venue to it’s normal state after the show.  That way you can all move along and get back to celebrating the holidays with your family!

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