Written by: Colin Cloud
We get asked all the time, how do we make virtual or hybrid shows feel the same as live shows? How can they possibly engage audiences in the same way? Well, at the beginning, it was trial and error, and learning from our mistakes!
Let’s face it, no one likes to admit their mistakes. Right?
And that’s mistake number one.
Until we’re willing to admit we’re fallible, we’re going to continue making the same errors over and over again expecting different results … which was Einstein’s description of insanity.
When I was first asked to perform virtual entertainment, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think it would work.
Let me be clear. I wasn’t worried about coming up with amazing demonstrations – that’s a burden I’ve been faced with for years. I wasn’t even worried about not being in the same room as the audience I was performing for – I’ve done that for TV and radio show interviews all my life. My genuine concern was ensuring that everyone, every single person left feeling like that had been a part of something special, not just a spectator in the crowd.
Thankfully, I turned that belief, that misconception into the purpose of the show.
One other thing you should know about me before we get into this blog, March 2020, I’d never even heard of zoom. If you’d asked me to have a zoom meeting, I’d have assumed, at ‘best guesstimate’ you meant a very quick/snappy meeting.
Little did I know that it was going to be the stage I’d be performing on for at least the next 12 months. Or that Zoom entertainment would become as in demand as it has been.
I also know what my strengths are in entertainment. I know what I’m good at and I know what I could be better at. So looking back at my first attempt at a virtual ‘show’ I realized it didn’t have the aesthetic or production value that best complimented my style.
I immediately got in touch with cinematographers, lighting experts and set designers to ensure that everything about the picture I was sharing with people perfectly suited my style.
On top of that, I realised that to deliver in my normal style with comedy, being present and being able to address things happening in the audience (literally being able to pay attention to every audience member at once), I needed to get someone to run the show for me. That was single handedly the biggest mistake I made. Thinking I could do it all myself.
After working with experts and learning how to use professional broadcasting software, my team and I have created a product that has been described by clients as world class. Everything about the show now ensures it feels as close to a live TV show as possible.
The beauty is that now that myself and my team have been so immersed in this world and have mastered the AV side of the performance as well, as we move into hybrid shows and hybrid entertainment, we’re now perfectly positioned to ensure that what we present is the perfect composition of both worlds – the real and the virtual, ensuring that your event for your audience, in the room or otherwise, is completely inclusive and utterly unforgettable.