Extraordinary Events Podcast

Ep 55: Audio Visual Production with Phil Grimpo

February 25, 2021
Extraordinary Events Podcast
Ep 55: Audio Visual Production with Phil Grimpo
Chapters
Extraordinary Events Podcast
Ep 55: Audio Visual Production with Phil Grimpo
Feb 25, 2021

In this episode I am SO excited (which you can tell because I am talking faster than normal!) to talk with Phil Grimpo from Inspirmedia. Phil is a tech wizard, audio visual production master, who travels all around the country producing top notch events.  In this episode I talk with Phil about production during the pandemic and trends for the future, costs to produce online versus hybrid events, staying within budget, aligning production with your target market, and so much storytelling!  I know you will love Phil just as much as I do! 

To connect with Phil, you can visit his website here: https://inspirmedia.com/ or email him directly at [email protected]

To check out the hybrid event for event professionals about hybrid events that Phil and I are working on together, check out the event website here: https://www.LevelUpYourEventGame.com

To connect with us at the Extraordinary Events Initiative and see all the things we have going on, visit our website here: https://www.extraordinaryeventsinitiative.com 

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode I am SO excited (which you can tell because I am talking faster than normal!) to talk with Phil Grimpo from Inspirmedia. Phil is a tech wizard, audio visual production master, who travels all around the country producing top notch events.  In this episode I talk with Phil about production during the pandemic and trends for the future, costs to produce online versus hybrid events, staying within budget, aligning production with your target market, and so much storytelling!  I know you will love Phil just as much as I do! 

To connect with Phil, you can visit his website here: https://inspirmedia.com/ or email him directly at [email protected]

To check out the hybrid event for event professionals about hybrid events that Phil and I are working on together, check out the event website here: https://www.LevelUpYourEventGame.com

To connect with us at the Extraordinary Events Initiative and see all the things we have going on, visit our website here: https://www.extraordinaryeventsinitiative.com 

Dr. K: Hello hello everyone!  Today, I have such a treat for you! I just can’t wait for you to hear this podcast. Joining me via Zoom is my dear friend and industry partner Phil Grimpo. Phil is such a delight, such an amazing person, you will hear all of that today. I have had the pleasure to work with Phil personally now for two years now on a variety of things and he is just such a great person, great educator, and most importantly for all of you on the podcast listening today - he is a top notch star audio visual producer. I absolutely love going back and forth and talking about trends and the future with Phil as you will hear in this conversation today and all different projects that we are working on together.  Phil - thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today! Tell us all who you are and what you do and how you got to Nebraska.   

Phil: Sure! I grew up in Michigan, went to school in Chicago, and did theater and technology there working in video production worked at a computer center. This was in the late 90s. So the web was pretty new, then. Moved out to Nebraska actually to be the tech director at a church down here. And they weren't really doing much with technology they do now. But they weren't then. So I started the company to work with other friends of mine who had graduated and we're looking for websites and video production. And then around maybe 10 years ago, we got more into live events. So video has always been like what I did. And I've always been kind of a gearhead. My philosophy is when life gives you lemons, make grape juice and let everyone wonder how you did it. So what can I do with what I have to best utilize this equipment, best communicate with people? So I remember even when I was a kid coming off my own little radio shows, and then in college, we didn't have any resources, but how can we make it look awesome and do environmental projection? This was back in like 1996, you know. The company now provides full audio, video lighting, and rigging.  And then with COVID fortunately, we were able to pivot to virtual events. So getting back to video, and you know, I've had people who have worked for me and said, “Why do you have this camera that's been sitting here on a shelf for like eight years, and all sudden, every HD camera I have is being rented out?” And we're using it all and we're going full time video. So in COVID, we've built a studio here that we're streaming from, we've been doing hybrid events, virtual events, remote production. So they're shooting it in Denver, and I'm producing it here. And then we're also working on a TV truck now to have a virtual studio that we can take out a little more easily.

Dr. K: Well and I know with my background, I was an Executive Director of Events in Las Vegas, and I did a lot with the medical industry and with special events. And then when I moved to the Midwest, first in Kansas, now Nebraska and I was like, wow, we're a little bit in a bubble. we're evolving. You know, things always hit the coast first. And then I found you and I was like, “Oh my gosh, a kindred spirit.” So tell us, you know, as you look back at 2020. And you look at all the experiences you helped to create, what's one thing that just stood out in your mind that you're like, wow, that was something really cool that we did?

Phil: We did, with one client here, it's an agricultural client. And they go out and they do a field day where these growers and sellers from around the area go to their test plots. Learn about what the latest is with chemicals and stuff. And they said, “Well, we can't get all these people in here to do this.” So a few years ago, we went out, instead of bringing them to the test plot. We did live events in a few different places around Nebraska. This year, they actually made it a show. We did seven shows. Every other week, we did a show. And it was a one hour webcast. And we shot it here with the three cameras in the studio. We had remote callers that came in, people registered, they asked questions they were answered the next week. And I don't know it was it was a lot of fun to do because it felt like we're doing real TV production. But you know, this is just like the Lincoln circuit or branch or something. But now regionally in corporate, they're based out of Germany. Now they're looking at this and saying, “Wow, this, this actually worked!” you know, so that that was a really fun one to do. The other thing is we've been doing more of this now, but where we're controlling it here, but it's a conference in Denver, and they're sending me their signal, and I'm on comms with them and I'm telling them what to do and I'm telling the camera operator where to move, but I'm producing it here in Nebraska and I don't need to fly out there to do that. So that's another thing that has been pretty exciting, I guess to be a part of.

Dr. K: Did you ever do that before COVID? Were you ever like our remote producer before COVID?

Phil: We've done a couple of shows where someone else's producing it, we were one of the remote sites. And actually, we did do one out of Florida. And one out of Fort Wayne yeah, we had done some remote production with remote sites. But you know, the industry had to grow up really quick with the Internet, and encoders, and things that get this stuff through the web affordably. So these companies have been cranking out product, it's hard to keep up. Because you say I wish I could do x. And in two weeks, some company comes up with a way to do that. So I'd say that conditions are way better now than they were a few years ago, out of necessity.

Dr. K: Absolutely. You know, we're talking about trends over the next year or two. And there's a lot of trends in terms of appreciation for tech. But there's also this one differentiating factor of I've read this and in many different articles and news outlets and thought leader groups that I'm in, but really differentiating between being a TV producer, who is broadcasting content, and being a meeting planner, who is facilitating engagement between participants and between groups to help foster learning and engagement. But to me, I'm like you need both because you need a really stellar crystal clear keynote. And then you need engagement around that if it's going to stick. So have you seen really good engagement practices as part of your sessions there?

Phil: Yeah. So I have another company that we started a few years ago called InspirMeetings. And we did meeting planning and not like, where should the flowers be? And stuff like that. But like, how do we help you? What are you trying to communicate? What are you trying to learn? How do we build that program? Facilitate that program? What are the learning moments, we've called it high tech, high touch, and it was for live events. But now we've shifted that to online virtual events. And there's a gal out of Denver, who's my partner in this, and her thing is really the engaging and connecting piece. Because I'm like a gearhead, I'm about the gear and I'm like, just give me the content. I'll watch it on my own time. I don't necessarily care if I hobnob with a bunch of people right now. Just give me the information. And she's more about I go to these events, to meet other people and to network. And that's a big piece for her. So when we get together, she's always pushing the how are people connecting to each other? And I'm always pushing the how do we use technology to make sure this doesn't fail? You know? So what do we need to have happen? Do they all need to see each other? Maybe? Do they all need to see each other during the keynote? Probably not. So we've designed some events where during the keynote, we maybe have some questions that pop up. And we use it in external apps so they can be watching on their phone. We encourage there to be groups, so cohort groups or some type of watch parties. And if we know we're doing that, then during the keynote, there will be questions will pump out to them that pop up on their phone, and they can answer and then after the keynote, then that keynoter comes on and he engages with those questions, then maybe we break out and say now for the next two hours, there are live zoom rooms that are available for these types of groups. And there are some other breakout sessions that we've recorded. And then we're going to come back together. And the chat in the question answer pieces work well, because we're telling them when we want questions. And we're giving them time to do that. If we just have a chat box open, people generally don't put much in there. But when we say and now get in your groups and from your group, we want you guys to come up with two questions that you can ask about. And we'll make sure those get answered. That's worked a lot better.

Dr. K: And I think having the gearhead and the engagement person together, that's where the magic happens anyway, because you need both of those pieces to be successful. So I love how you mentioned that when you get in there, you're just all about the content. And I think that's super important for knowing who your target market is like, I know, I go to meetings and events conferences, and most of the time I want the content. But then I'll go to my groups and in my little areas, and I really want to engage, but I need that content to provide value in those engagements. So how do you identify your target markets and things like price points?

Phil: it's been tough. We're talking about that today. Because a lot of the conferences we've seen, they're cutting their price in half for the end user when they're not having a big event. And I kind of said, “Why are you cutting it in half?” They're still getting the same content, but they're not having to travel there. They're not paying for meals, they're not paying for hotels, they're automatically saving money. But for some reason, we've kind of diminished to say, “Well, if it's online, it's not worth as much.” So I don't know the right answer to that except for me to say that I think we can package that differently. For me the virtual or hybrid event means that I can watch this online for the next two weeks. If this event did not work for my schedule, I can watch it my own time later. Live events, I'd say I'm busy that weekend, and I just missed it all, it was gone, you know. So I think that we can get closer. If we do it well to pricing the event similar to what if it would be live, and take that money we were going to spend on ballrooms and chicken dinners, and put that instead into the technology to make that engaging, having a website where we can house that stuff and have it have some longevity, for replay afterward, send some boxes and things out to the people. So they have something that they can use. I know, one of the guys we work with, he always has some object lessons.  Well then let's send them a box with those object lessons in it so they can do that in their groups. I'd say from our standpoint, it would be really easy for us on a live event, like a bigger event, let's say it's like 2,000 - 3,000 people at that convention center, you could have an AV budget of $150,000. Well, now we're doing that virtual and maybe our AV budget on the video side is like 25 or 30. I'm not having to do all those big lights like I was before, in a room that's 300 feet by 300 feet or whatever, I just need to do a studio space. And streams are I mean, next to nothing these days. So I'd say a lot of the events that we're doing, virtual event one and two day events, the price tag to our clients is around the $20,000 - $25,000 range. To do that, when it gets into hybrid, and we're saying we still need to light a space and we have to bring in remote callers that maybe need to be on a screen and be able to interact, those can get pretty pricey. There's a lot of technology to make that go well.

Dr. K: So as we wrap up our time here today on the podcast, we have so many listeners that listen, we have current students, future students, past students, professionals, professionals in tangential industries. I know we have some marketing, and it's just so many people that have reached out they're all so great. Thank you, everybody, for listening to the podcast. I just love you all. So Phil, if you had a piece of advice, or some parting words that you wanted to bless our listeners with today, what would those be?  

Phil: I'd say one is now's a great time to learn. This is probably here to stay not just in COVID, but I think hybrid for sure is here to stay. So start learning about what is the technology? What are the possibilities? So that as you're planning on pitching an event, whatever you're thinking about the virtual audience, one thing that we've talked about our clients, we work with a lot of clients where they have breakout groups and sectionals in in the past, the keynotes have been streamed, but the sectionals it was just like it's, you know, too bad. So sad. And because it was always cost prohibitive to say we need 30 video crews out recording this stuff all the time and all these breakout rooms. So we recommended to them is they have to send you their presentation in a video format, if they're going to be presenting their live. So you have a copy of it that you can then put on your website afterward. Because people are going to want that value add of coming home and being able to rewatch it. And you're gonna have a virtual audience that you maybe haven't tapped into before in the past. So I would just assume there's got to be a virtual slash hybrid component to nearly all of your events moving forward.

Dr. K: No, it's so so true. Hybrid is the future. it's here to stay. It saddens my heart. I was on a conference committee call earlier and they're like, yeah, we're just hoping to go back live at the end of this year. And I'm like, it’s hybrid! 

Phil: Yeah, I had a guy say today who said only live events are dead. I don't know if I completely agree. I don't want to agree. But I think there's a lot of truth to that, that when you do a live event. The question is, what parts of this are we streaming in? Who are those people? And how are they registering and what's available free play? And do our contracts show that with all of our presenters, we have to contract differently.

Dr. K: Well, and always keeping in mind your target market, not everything has to be hybrid, but there is a lot that will need to become hybrid by nature. So. 

Phil: Well and I’ve I've seen when we done podcasts, we have like 20 people watching live or like, Oh, this stunk the next day you look and it was 300 because they all watched it later. So our live events have got to shift to cater to that as well.

Dr. K: Thank you so much for being on the podcast. And I could literally just talk to you forever and ever and ever. And I appreciate that we were able to make time for this. Thank you so much.

Phil: Absolutely. I'm glad we're doing, we're doing a live hybrid event coming up. I'm so excited about that.

Dr. K: So everybody listening, everybody, if you want to come to Lincoln, and you're part of the right people who need to be in the room, you're invited to apply for a ticket. And if you're not then you can stream in hybrid on April 1st, and check out some of Phil's amazing work because he’s so great and I just love you so much. Well, thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Phil: Absolutely. Thank you so much.