Finding The Best Corporate Entertainer – Tips for Corporate Event Planners

Hiring the best corporate entertainer is no doubt going to be a priority for your corporate event. You want an entertainer who is professional, suits the occasion, and frankly, does a good job of entertaining the audience. Here are some tips to help you select the best corporate event entertainment for your next event:

Consider the Audience and Occasion

First and foremost – to choose a great entertainer, you need to think about your audience and the type of entertainment the majority will enjoy. Popular types of corporate entertainment include comedy, music, and magic acts. Comedic entertainers are great for getting your group laughing and enjoying themselves. Some corporate entertainers do stand-up comedy, while others add magic, games, or other performances to their comedic acts. The best entertainers offer variety and are able to enrapture audiences across the board.

Plan a Realistic Budget

If you want the best, then you are going to have to pay for it. You cannot expect to get the top rated professional corporate entertainer for a small fee. Depending on the person’s or group’s reputation and experience, as well as the show size, the fees can range anywhere between $1500 and $100,000.

Experience Performing at Corporate Events

It is important to make sure that the performer you hire specializes in providing corporate entertainment. They need to be familiar with the corporate environment, including corporate event expectations and requirements. That is why knowing their experience will help you judge whether they are the best candidate. Feel free to ask them questions. Find out if they word as an entertainer full-time or is this something they do on the side. Ask if they have performed at similar events.

Reviews

Do not forget to ask the artist if they have reviews from clients they have performed for in the past. Seeing what people have to say about a performer is a great indication of how good they are. Many entertainers have their own websites that contain a lot of their promotional material, so that will be a good starting point. Reviews entertainers provide are always going to be positive, so you need to discern whether the entertainer is just good or fantastic. Remember, you want the best entertainment for your event. You should always ask for references too.

Demo Video

The best way to judge a corporate entertainer and see whether they are a good choice for your event is to view a demo video. The video should show short segments of the entertainer’s show with a live audience, which will allow you see how the artist performs as well as the reaction of a real audience.

Plan Ahead

Last but not least, you need to plan early when hiring a corporate entertainer. The best corporate performers get booked up quickly during certain times of the year. Booking can even start the year in advance. It is a good idea to start looking for an entertainer as early as you can, from the time you know the date of your event so you can avoid disappointment.

Why Not Hire a Children’s Entertainer for Your Kid’s Party?

Entertainers

There are many children’s entertainers in Leeds and the surrounding areas, you just need to do a quick Google search for “Children’s Entertainers Leeds” and you’ll have more than enough to choose from. There are clowns, magicians, fairies and pirate themed event organisers that specialise in entertaining for kids parties.

Just a couple of the best in the North West (and East):

JingJangJooJong – The crazy couple who create a magical alien world to entertain with.

Make a Wish Entertainment – Specialising in fairy-tales for children

So if you’re struggling to think of something to do, just hire an entertainer, most of them are members of Equity so they are quality performers. Make sure they have public liability insurance however so that any little injuries from the activities are fully covered and you have nothing to worry about. You may also wish to check for CRB clearance which many of them advertise having.

Equipment

Is it a dance, a do, a ball, a shower? Whether a birthday party, surprise party, or a calm British tea party, there’s some equipment you should make sure you have!

The things below aren’t always needed, but they usually are, and are always good to have in-case that 1 guest requests them:

Plastic cups (because if it goes outside, it’s best not to have glass)
Plastic cutlery (for the same reason as above, but also because you can throw them away and don’t have to wash them up!)
Paper towels (because someone will spill something… somewhere.)
Plasters (even plastic cutlery can cut!)
Bottles of water (for exhausted kids, and intoxicated adults!)
They are the basics, and obviously if you’re catering for a certain type of party you’ll need your niche products, kids parties normally always have balloons, don’t forget the helium, or even easier just buy pre-filled balloons, that way you don’t have to blow them up, it can take a lot out of you. For themed parties the entertainers sometimes provide costumers for the kids or something to help them feel more involved, however it will be worth checking with them before-hand and if not maybe rent outfits or just one token piece (pirate hat/eye-patch) to give to the kids it really enhances the atmosphere. You can usually haggle with outfit stores as they don’t really have set prices, so go in hard and say that you’ve got a party for 20 kids and need 20 outfits can you have them for £10 each! You may just get lucky.

Things to look out for!

Equity, Public Liability, CRB Check

There are some things that set some entertainers apart from the others. They don’t necessarily mean they’ll be better, but they do mean that the person has taken the extra steps of professionalism in entertainment, insurance, and safety.

Logos to look for on websites:

1. Equity membership logo: Being a member of Equity, the professional performers and creative practitioner’s institute, usually guarantees that the entertainer has been classically trained, or at least displayed a high level of performance ability and professionalism. Again this doesn’t absolutely mean that they’ll be better than someone whom isn’t a member, however it’s always a nice reassurance, as there’s nothing worse than having an entertainer turn up who’s not… entertaining, especially when there’s a tough crowd, amateurism really shines through and can make the situation very awkward.

2. Public liability insurance: This is probably the most important if you have more than a few children being entertained. There are so many little things that could go wrong, from a tip over a speaker cable, swallowing a popped balloon, damaging the entertainers or the clients equipment. But if someone has liability insurance at least you know that any injuries to your loved ones are fully covered, and it stops the “who’s fault was it” debate and saves people a lot of money.

3. CRB Checked: This is the least important of the three, but it does show that they have gone another extra step to prove that they’re suitable to work with children and in sensitive situations. It doesn’t really reflect the entertainment value, and there’s generally no risk to children at parties when the adults are still there supervising, however it is another nice reassurance if they do have it.

Thanks for reading my article, I really hope you manage to organise a brilliant party. Pick a theme, choose an entertainer, and buy needed equipment and you should be sorted.

How To Hire Entertainers – A Guide to Hiring Entertainment for Company and Private Parties

A Word About Agents

In the article ‘How to Plan a Banquet,’ we included a limited discussion about entertainment, and our basic advice was to hire a competent talent agent who specializes in “casuals,” which means one-day or one-night events, such as parties, weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and other
fun events.

Some agents represent actors and actresses, and unless they have a department that handles variety acts and bands, they would be of no help to you.

Some other agents handle only major attractions and celebrities, and unless you’re working with a serious budget, they won’t be able to help you get a band for Aunt Sarah’s 50th anniversary party.

A variety agent is able to help you get that close-up magician, band, and sometimes even name entertainers like Reba McEntire or The Temptations. Those that specialize in variety entertainment are sometimes called “full-service” agencies.

How do you tell who is a competent agent? That’s a good question, because if you asked an agent if he’s competent he’d be a fool to say anything but “Of course!”

Having been in the entertainment business for over forty years, I’ve seen a lot of people set up shop as agents. Some last, some don’t.

A huge percentage of my business comes from people who either have used my services before or were referred by someone who has used my services.

Finding Talent

Finding your own entertainment can be fun. I have spent years watching other acts, bands and attractions, and I never fail to enjoy it.

The internet or the Yellow Pages are a good starting place. Try using a search engine to find what you’re looking for. You’ll find listings in the Yellow Pages under entertainers, party planners, entertainment bureaus, and maybe some other categories.

Try a search for something like “bands in los angeles” or “juggler orange county” or whatever is appropriate. See what you come up with.

Beware that a beautiful website may not mean the best entertainer. Many website are not built by the entertainer and even it is, a nice-looking website does not translate to great entertainment.

Referrals from friends might be useful to you if you follow the reviewing procedures outlined below.

Watch your local newspaper for entertainers that are scheduled to appear for other groups in your area, and make it a point to catch their acts if possible. Of course, if you start going to other events, you’ll see some poor entertainment, too. (I guess it holds true that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince!) But even that can be helpful, if you are observant and make a note of what made the act good or bad.

Reviewing An Act/Band

If you’re not working with an agent, you will need to review the act yourself. There are three methods of reviewing an act: You can (1) go see the act perform live, (2) watch a video of the act, or (3) have the act come audition for you.

By far the best way is to see the act perform under roughly the same set of circumstances as your event. Seeing people perform in Las Vegas to a night-club crowd does not mean they’ll be able to perform for little Gloria’s 10th birthday party (or vice versa).

The problem with going to see live performances is that it is certainly very time consuming, and you will only be able to see a limited number of contenders before it’s time to make a decision. But on the other hand, think of the fun you’ll have!

Watching DVDs is an excellent method, as you can cover a lot of ground in an evening. Unfortunately, not all acts have DVDs or videos, and it would be a shame to eliminate a topnotch act just because they could not supply one.

Another BIG problem with video is that many acts supply a short, edited version of their act. This can be very deceptive. When reviewing an act by video, I always insist on (but don’t always get) an unedited version of the show. I never hire an act based on an edited video. I’ve heard of instances where an act was hired because they had a very powerful video, only to find that in their entire show, the only part that was any good was those few minutes on the video.

Don’t be overly impressed by a DVD or video of a movie appearance, guest spot on a TV show, or commercial. That still does not mean they can do the job you want them for.

Unless you’re an agent, you can just about forget about having the act audition for you. Maybe an act will drop off literature. In the case of a magician, mime, or similar variety act, you may receive a short demonstration. However, this small segment along with its glib pitch can be very deceiving.

Don’t take chances; be sure of what you’re buying!

When you talk to an entertainer on the phone, ask him to send his “press kit” or literature and a DVD or video tape.

Most variety acts will have printed literature or a complete press kit (which includes a photo, biographical information, letters of recommendation and references or list of past performances).

Please don’t be taken in by good printed material. Usually, but not always, you can get a pretty good idea of their level of professionalism by the materials they send you.

I do know some really great acts that work all the time and have virtually nothing in the way of printed materials. Of course I’ve also seen some really outstanding printed materials but was disappointed when I saw the act. I have a band that I send out to a lot of small weddings and installation banquets, and it took me almost a year to get a photo from them. (I’m still hoping to get a song list some day.) I’ve got another band that is absolutely tops in promotional material and their band is absolutely tops, too!

Some performers no longer use paper press kits but instead prefer an electronic press kit either contained on a DVD they send you or simply up on their website. That’s fine. It’s certainly a more contemporary method of promoting one’s self.

Arrangements

It’s important, once you’ve decided what entertainers or band you’re going to hire, that arrangements be made clearly and in writing. I’ve enclosed a sample letter you may wish to use. Some entertainers have their own contracts, but many do not, making it necessary for you to put everything down on paper and send it to the entertainer. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know how enforceable the letter is, but at least you have the information down on paper and you both understand and agree to the terms.

If I’m serving as Agent, I fill out a contract based on our conversations, and then forward it to my client for a signature. I try to collect as much information as I can about the event so that I can prevent any surprises. The entertainers also receive a binding contract.

By the way, this might be a good place to mention that talent agents are like travel agents in that they don’t charge you for their services, but instead charge the entertainers. The agent is really looking out for your interests and can draw from countless entertainers and bands, being reasonably familiar with what each act does. There is an internet subscription service that lists thousands of entertainers, who their personal manager is (if any), and/or how to reach them. All entertainers are available to a full-service agent, rather than just a handful of acts that the agent has been able to put together.

When making your arrangements with entertainers make sure that you discuss everything:

Location. Best to send the act a map.
Date of performance.
Time and duration of performance. Bands usually work 4 hours, with a 10-15 minute break each hour. Talk to them about their breaks and how much overtime will cost. Some bands supply recorded music during their breaks.
Put the fee down in writing. I would hesitate to pay the act a deposit, although some entertainers and bands require it. I’m a licensed agent, so an act knows that once I send the contract their pay is guaranteed. Both you and the entertainer are acting on a trust not yet demonstrated. The entertainer wonders if he’ll get paid, and you wonder if he’ll show up! It’s the only system we have.
Method of payment. Acts always expect to be paid in full following the performance. If any other arrangements are to be made, please not only discuss it with them, but put it in your letter of agreement.
An act will want to know your time schedule… what time is the cocktail hour, dinner, etc. and this brings up an interesting subject: feeding the act. Usually, if you have only one individual doing a show after dinner (e.g. a magician or a singer), you should invite him to join your group for dinner. However, it would not be expected of you to feed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Even bands are seldom fed. If you use the band for the cocktail hour, during dinner, and then have them take a break while you give out awards or conduct other business, then
it would be appropriate to feed them during that hour. It’s not mandatory, however. (Keep in mind that a meal is a nice consolation for the act if they are giving you a special break on the fee.)
Who supplies the public address system? Bands usually have their own equipment; other acts may not. A guitar player who sings may require two microphones. Four singers might require microphones and expect you to supply them. If you’re at a hotel or other banquet facility, you may be able to get everything you need from them. Extensive sound systems will have to come from a professional sound company. Make sure you discuss this with your performer and put it in writing.
Lighting. Again, your facility may have what you need. Spotlights with an operator can be rented for around $350. Big concerts will require the services of a professional lighting company.
Stage? A banquet of fewer than 50 people may not even need risers, but when you start getting up in the numbers, you’ll need to get your entertainers up to where the audience can see them. A catering facility or hotel will usually have 4′ x 8′ risers at various heights so that you can build a platform or stage for your entertainment.
Is it outdoors? What if it rains? You should really specify what you will do. Will you then hold it indoors? The act or entertainer has blocked out that day for you and perhaps turned down other work. They are really entitled to their fee even if the program is rained out, unless you’ve made other arrangements.
Seating. It’s very difficult for an entertainer to have a dance floor between himself and the audience. If you’re having a dance after a comedian or other entertainer, talk with the act about how close the seats or tables need to be. Maybe he/she can work on the dance floor.
Does the act need a place to change clothes or set up equipment?
Does the act sell albums or other merchandise at the performance? Some musical acts offer albums after the show. Is this all right with you?
Parking and unloading. How nice it is for an entertainer to pull up in front of the YMCA and find a sign “Reserved for Entertainer.” You can’t always do that, but remember that some acts have a lot to carry in. If the only parking available costs money, you should reimburse the entertainers. Talk about it and include your decision in your letter of agreement.
There are plenty of things to inquire about. Take time to picture in your mind exactly how things will be. If there is a question in your mind about anything, ask. Ask the hotel, the band, the act, the agent.

Holiday Party Entertainment – How to Use Entertainment to Make Your Party a Smashing Success!

If you’re planning a holiday party this year some kind of entertainment may be a great addition as a part of the festivities. Even more than the location, the décor, and other elements, the right entertainment can set the tone for your event and give your guests a unique, memorable, and truly enjoyable experience that they can carry with them for many a day to come. The right entertainment can add atmosphere and class, humor and fun, or inspiration and encouragement to the tone of your event.

What Kind Of Entertainment?

The most important question is, what needs do you want the entertainment to fill? Will it be the main event of the evening, one of several highlights, or will it simply be background to everything else?

If the entertainment will be the main event of the evening, you may want to have some sort of feature performer such as a variety act of some kind; a magician, a comedian, a juggler, a singer, a show band, etc., and you will probably want the entertainment to last somewhere between thirty minutes to an hour or so.

If the entertainment is simply one part of a longer program or of several featured activities, the same type of performer might still be appropriate, but you may want the length of the performance to be shorter, somewhere between twelve and twenty-five minutes.

And if the entertainment is to be simply background to the party, you may want some sort of ongoing, low key entertainment, such as dance music, strolling close up magic, strolling musicians, or a small orchestra, depending on your budget.

And of course depending on the schedule and time frame, you may decide to use a combination of more than one of the above choices.

Whatever the case, make sure you’re clear about the specific needs you hope to fill with the entertainment, and simply choose accordingly.

Finding the Right Entertainers…

Once you’ve determined the specific needs of your event, it will help you in choosing the right type of entertainment. You want to look for entertainers who can tell you specifically what benefits they can offer for your event, and how those benefits fill your unique needs. If an entertainer is unable to communicate clearly and directly how he or she can fill those needs, they may not have your needs in mind at all. Make sure you’re completely clear about the specifics of what the entertainer will be providing, and that it’s spelled out in a written agreement.

You can find a variety of entertainers in the yellow pages or on the Internet. Don’t assume that the one with the biggest ad will be the best. As with any other service professional, make sure they have experience and good references. Any quality entertainer should be able to provide you with background credits, testimonials, and reference letters from past clients.

And don’t make the mistake of letting price be the only deciding factor. It’s important that the entertainment not only provides a fun filled, lively experience, but also that none of your guests are put off or offended in any way. If your audience is conservative, or a family group, make sure that the entertainer’s material is appropriate. Comedians and other performers who are used to working in adult nightclubs can sometimes have a very different idea of what’s “clean” than what you may have. So make sure you’re clear and specific about your needs.

Some Important Tips

Whoever you end up hiring, you want to be certain you’re getting the best value for the money you spend on entertainment. Here are a few useful tips to help you determine whether an entertainer can come through for you in bringing the best experience to your guests.

Be sure to ask these important questions…

“Are you a FULL TIME professional entertainer?” While there are exceptions, in many cases if an entertainer isn’t full time, it may mean he’s either not experienced enough, doesn’t have a good enough show, or is simply not professional and dependable enough to support a full time career.
“Can you provide references from past clients?” As I mentioned, any performer worth his salt should be glad to furnish you with letters and testimonials from his happy, satisfied customers. If he can’t, you may want to proceed with caution!
“Do you offer a money back guarantee?” If an entertainer doesn’t guarantee his work, there may be a reason he’s not prepared to do so! Even paying a much lower price is still a waste of money if your guests aren’t thrilled, or worse, are somehow offended or put off by the performance. You need to be certain the entertainment can deliver for your event.
“Can you tell me CLEARLY AND SPECIFICALLY what benefits you provide for my event?” Many performers are more interested in looking good than in meeting your unique needs. As I mentioned previously, make sure the entertainer is clear about how they can help meet your specific needs.
Use Your Creativity

As with every other aspect of planning your event, don’t be afraid to be creative and to think “outside the box”. Don’t assume that certain types of entertainment are “just for kids”. (That’s one of the biggest misconceptions I encounter regarding magic, here in the Midwestern United States.) Or that they won’t work in certain situations. Quite often the least obvious types of entertainment can be just the unique twist that will bring a touch of freshness and appeal to your event.

The main thing is, don’t automatically rule something out because you think it “wouldn’t work”. Look into a variety of options and ask for input from other creative or knowledgeable individuals. Above all, have fun planning your holiday party entertainment, and you’re sure to make the party fun and memorable for you and all your guests.

Choosing Wedding Entertainment For Your Reception

So you’ve just got engaged! It’s now time for the excitement to begin. You’ve got a wedding to plan! At this point you’ve probably got a lot of questions running through your mind. Where do you begin? What questions should I ask vendors? Where am I going to get the money? Wait, how much money are we talking about? On the contrary to what most couples believe, wedding planning can actually be fun. With proper planning and allocated time to complete it you can create your truly unique and exciting Chicago Wedding reception.

When it comes to the entertainment portion of your reception this should be treated with care as with all your other very important wedding details. The entertainment seems to be one of, if not the most important components to a reception. Sure, the food, decorations, and socialization are very important but without entertainment, these events would take on an entirely different personality.

For affairs that are focuses around the entertainment, or at least ones where it is responsible for a major role in the success or failure of the event, some serious considerations must be taken when hiring the right entertainment.

Will you find the right entertainment by hiring the one that answers the phone first or the one that has the lowest price or would you select one just because they live in your hometown? These are actually several things you should consider before selecting your entertainer:

Is the entertainer experienced in providing services for your event type? This question can’t just be answered in a yes or no question either. You’ll want someone who knows the ropes. How much experience do you want your entertainer to have? Consider getting a list of references from previous clients.
Who will actually be the entertainer at your event? Often times with larger multi-operational companies you won’t actually know who your entertainer is until that night. Is this something you’re willing to accept? Always ask this question when shopping for entertainment and make sure it’s laid out clear and concise in your contract.
What type of equipment do you deserve to have at your event? Imagine not being able to understand announcements or even worse hearing a hiss or buzz during your event. Imagine having part of your beautifully decorated event contain an eyesore of wires and beat up equipment. Another important face is just because an entertainer charges top dollar doesn’t always mean they’ll bring top dollar equipment to your event. Getting a picture of their setup is a must!
What additional services are included other than just playing music? Will you need a master of ceremonies (emcee) at your event, a coordinator, or even someone to interact and participate with your crowd? Is your entertainer willing to step up to the plate and deliver those services? These can be important things to ask before your event. You’d hate to hire an entertainer who can’t entertain.
Is your entertainer and elegant public speaker? Do they speak in complete sentences without stuttering and using um and uh? Public speaking is said to be one of the number one fears in the United States. If someone isn’t good at speaking in person odds are they won’t be able to speak in front of your crowd. This is a very important aspect of the entertainer can be over looked.
Is backup equipment provided and immediately available? As you know all electronics are man-made and with all man-made products they can fail. So it’s important that your entertainer have not only backup equipment but also a backup plan. Ask your entertainer for their backup plan.
What happens if the entertainer is ill or otherwise cannot attend your event? These details should be laid out in a written contract form with EVERY service provider. Always lay these things out prior to your event to prevent any situations later on.
Is your entertainer insured? Every legitimate business has insurance. This may not seem important upfront, but heaven forbid something were to happen at your event. Are you willing to hire an entertainer without it? Ask your entertainer for his proof of property AND liability insurance.
Are there any hidden additional charges or expected necessities from your entertainer? For example, are you required to pay a service charge for stairs at the reception hall? Or are you required to pay for their dinner? Will they need to take smoke breaks? If you’re entertainer doesn’t cover these issues in their sales pitch perhaps you should ask them.
How much input will you be able to give on your music selection? This can also be a very important question when you’re shopping for entertainment. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences when it comes to music. Will your entertainer be able to cater to those tastes or will they stick to their own routine. Also does your entertainer offer online music planning?
With so much riding on the success of your event your entertainment should never be over looked. There should be several factors that come into play rather than just price when shopping for your wedding entertainment. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions as the entertainment will have a direct impact on the entire success of your reception.