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Entertainment Committee Guide

Overview
The Entertainment Committee is responsible for the performance shows at conference.  These shows traditionally consist of the Opening Ceremony, National Culture Show, and Gala.  The Committee’s duties include (but are not limited to):

  • Managing the entertainment schedule and content
  • Handling the selection process of entertainers and emcees, including contracts
  • Stage props/backdrops/logistics for the performance shows
  • Working with the venue for staging set-up
  • Compiling entertainers’ music and equipment

General Timeline

  1. Determine what venues are available/needed
  2. Create budget and confirm with treasurer
  3. Scour web/local personal contacts for performers
    1. Select performers
  4. Finalize budget with treasurer after negotiations
  5. Send invitations to performers
  6. Collect completed and signed performer agreements
  7. Finalize venue arrangements, including AV
  8. Create scripts and timetables for opening ceremony, culture show, and gala
  9. Confirm with treasurer all payments have been made

Responsibilities  (Detailed overview of responsibilities)

Performer Agreements

Each entertainer at conference must sign a performer agreement.  This is a basic contract stating that the entertainer will appear at a specific time and location.  It also states that UNAVSA will not pay any performance fees in exchange for their appearance, though it will allow the entertainer to sell merchandise.  Also, some performer agreements may include terms and conditions for reimbursement of travel and lodging.

Audio/Visual Equipment

The Entertainment Committee is primarily responsible for requesting and obtaining audio/visual equipment.  (The Logistics Committee usually helps to coordinate this, and in some years the expenses have fallen under their budget.)  At a minimum, the performance shows require microphones, speakers, stage monitor speakers, a mixer, and spotlights.  Projectors and screens have also been used in the past.  If possible, the Committee should try to work with local theater groups to reduce the costs of equipment and labor.

Opening Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony occurs Thursday night.  It has traditionally included national anthems, a lion dance, entertainers, and speakers.  The Entertainment Committee is responsible for selecting performers for the first three elements, while the Programming Committee and Executive Committee usually handle the speakers.  The lion dance group and entertainers typically do not receive reimbursement for expenses.  Their performer agreements will only include clauses requiring them to appear.  The national anthem singers usually come from the staff, so they do not require performer agreements.  Attire for attendees and staff is business casual.

National Culture Show
The National Culture Show occurs Friday night.  It typically includes student and amateur entertainers from across the continent.  The selection process for performers relies on live auditions and/or video submissions.  The Entertainment Committee deliberates and chooses the final entertainers, with occasional input and oversight from the Executive Committee.  For the UNAVSA-8 Conference in Denver, the Entertainment Committee hosted an online contest (“UNAVSA’s Got Talent”) to allow attendees to vote for performers as well.

Entertainers for the National Culture show do not receive reimbursement for registration, travel, or lodging expenses (though in some cases UNAVSA may reimburse for parking). Their performer agreements will only include clauses requiring them to appear.  Ideally the entertainers will already be attendees or locals, so the opportunity to perform could be considered a bonus on top of the conference experience.

Other committees (such as Programming and CPP) may require time during the National Culture Show for speakers and presentations.  They should coordinate with the Entertainment Committee in order to reserve and schedule the necessary amount of time.

When arranging the overall conference schedule, the Entertainment Committee should reserve adequate time for sound checks and rehearsals.

Attire for attendees and staff is casual.

Gala
The Gala occurs Saturday night.  It typically includes professional and aspiring-professional entertainers.  Because of their established level of credibility or recognition, they usually do not need to audition.  The Executive Committee should provide a level of input and approval before invitations are sent, however.

Gala entertainers receive the following benefits in their performer agreements:

  • Waived registration fee
  • Reimbursement for hotel lodging on the night of their performance (though local performers are ineligible for this)
  • Partial reimbursement of travel based on distance
      • Up to $250 if traveling across three time zones (e.g. West Coast to East Coast)
      • Up to $200 if traveling across two time zones
      • Up to $150 if traveling across/within one time zone.

In many years, the Gala has included a banquet dinner, either at the hotel or at an off-site restaurant.  The Entertainment Committee is responsible for selecting and negotiating the menu, in coordination with the Executive Committee.

Other committees (such as Programming, CPP, and Sponsorship) may require time during the National Culture Show for speakers and presentations.  They should coordinate with the Entertainment Committee in order to reserve and schedule the necessary amount of time.

When arranging the overall conference schedule, the Entertainment Committee should reserve adequate time for sound checks, rehearsals, and decorating.  Previous Directors have recommended allotting more than an hour for Gala preparation.

Attire for attendees and staff is formal/semi-formal.

After Party
The After Party occurs Saturday night immediately following the Gala.  For many past years, UNAVSA has hosted it at a nightclub or banquet hall off-site, though UNAVSA-8’s remained on-site at the hotel.

If hosting off-site, UNAVSA should provide safe, reliable transportation for the attendees.  In past years, the organization has rented charter buses or utilized metro rail.  The Entertainment Committee should coordinate with the Treasurer to negotiate and arrange payment for such transportation.

When negotiating with nightclubs, the Committee should discuss minimum age limits for admission.  Since many attendees are undergraduates, the club should allow ages 18 and older.  Also, the Committee should discuss cover charges with the nightclub.  Ideally, all attendees would have free admission.  Some clubs may only allow this for ages 21 and older, however.  A useful bargaining tool used in the past is to agree to a minimum bar tab in exchange for waived cover charges.

If hosting at a banquet hall, hotel, or any other venue that does not included a set DJ, the Entertainment Committee would need to hire one.  Ideally, the DJ would agree to perform for free.  Otherwise, the Committee should coordinate with the Treasurer to negotiate and arrange payment.

Lessons Learned

  • Previous Directors have recommended maintaining a master spreadsheet with tabs for show schedules, performers, equipment, and decorations.
  • Instead of dividing the members into sub-committees, they advise keeping everyone focused on all aspects of the performance shows together.  In addition to full-time members that contribute to the planning, the Committee will also recruit temporary volunteers and stage crew during the actual conference dates.  (These volunteers and crew members typically do not need to pay registration if they are not attending workshops or programming).
  • For Gala, there should be an effective and efficient way man the door and monitor admission.  Only conference attendees and approved guests should be allowed entrance, since only a certain amount of meals will have been purchased.
  • Another problem to be aware of is people leaving the Gala early to prepare for the After Party.  The entertainers deserve full attention and respect, especially since they’re performing for free.  Great care should be taken to preserve good relationships with the entertainers, so that they may be willing to return in the future. This also helps to maintain UNAVSA’s reputation among potential entertainers going forward.
  • It is not necessary to have committee conference calls every week.  The first call should be long to handle introductions, rules & expectations, etc. It should also be the time to start delegating tasks, like editing the performer agreement and looking for performers.  Ask each committee member to think of 2 possible performers and contact them to see if they would be interested in performing at conference.
  • The Entertainment Director should have an initial call with E-Board to discuss time that needs to be allotted at each event for things like speeches. Do this at the beginning and follow up with E-Board until they’ve said, “that’s all we need” and everything is clear.
  • Because Entertainment is one of the most expensive and visible parts of conference, it will receive a lot of scrutiny from the E-Board and EDs.  The Executives will try to minimize potential risks to UNAVSA’s finances and reputation. Be prepared for them to question and doubt many committee decisions.  Have multiple options and solutions available to choose from.  Know when to stand your ground and fight for what you want, but also when to compromise and concede certain points.

Reference

UNAVSA-4 & UNAVSA-5 Entertainment Schedules: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqeVsOoLXv3jdExUaDUxb280WmJLNzVPSHJqUHVyeXc

UNAVSA-7 Entertainment Playbook

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqeVsOoLXv3jdE5tYzM5RnR4SFJYaXlQRmZaRzRSTkE

Appendix

Performer Agreement templates are on Dropbox:

My Dropbox\UNAVSA (Conference)\Committees\Entertainment

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