Fiona Robinson is an event Project Manager at Staging Connections in Sydney. She has been part of the Staging Connections team for over 12 years and has worked across numerous roles including Production Assistant and Crew Control. In the first ‘day in the life of’ blog we get to grips with what being a Project Manager at Staging Connections involves, what a normal day looks like and get Fiona’s top audio visual event tips learnt from working on over 1500 shows in her career.
What is involved in being an event Project Manager?
As a Project Manager I tend to work on many of our bigger events that require a lot of coordination and management of multiple stakeholders. These shows tend to have a lot of different elements to them; there is usually a stage set, some form of talent, MC’s, guest speakers, large audio visual event crew and Technical Directors. Essentially my job is to ensure all these elements are coordinated in the lead up to the event and come together smoothly on show day. There is also a lot of client, supplier and venue liaison and collaboration.
What does a normal day look like?
At the start of every morning I spend time prioritising and working out what needs to be dispatched or done that day. Then it varies, one day I can be sourcing the southern hemispheres largest mirror ball and heading out to site visits and the next I can be working through run sheets, floor plans and liaising with talent – making sure they have exactly what they need to perform on event day. No two days are ever the same in this job – just the coffee intake!
If it is show day, my time is spent on site moving around where I am needed. I am also a stage manager for many events. This involves wrangling talent, ensuring presenters and speakers know what they are doing and where to stand. I also run rehearsals and essentially make sure everyone is show ready. I have worked with many different presenters, speakers and performers over the years but if I had to say just one, Ray Martin is one of my favourites to work with. He is such a professional and a great laugh.
What do you enjoy most about being an event project manager?
I love the thrill of the big shows and seeing all the months of work coming together. I especially enjoy Stage Managing – nothing compares to the excitement of being involved in a live event environment.
What is the most memorable event you worked on?
I’ve had many memorable events but working on Amway China in Singapore for eight weeks in 2006 was one of the special ones. Working and living in another country is pretty exciting, hard work, but so rewarding.
What is the best piece of advice for someone thinking about holding an event?
Access, Access and Access! When looking for an event venue always consider the access first. For instance a venue with no lift or loading dock can slow down bump in time leaving less time for rehearsals.
This leads me onto my second piece of advice; the key to a successful event is leaving plenty of time for rehearsal!
Written by Fiona Robinson, Project Manager, Staging Connections.
My favourite thing about working in events is working with some amazing and super talented people, mostly my colleagues. We have some awesome people here at Staging Connections.