A Particularly Starry Midnight

It’s comes as no surprise to those of us at TPN that our co-workers are incredibly talented, creative people, but it’s always fun to show everyone else just how brilliant our bunch is, and the unique way that they express that talent. Case in point: the brothers Good.

Aaron and Nick Good

Aaron and Nick Good

Aaron and Nick Good are part of the video production team at TPN, putting their skills to good use behind the camera and in the edit room to make those on camera look their best. But outside of work, their passion lies in making films, and they’ve put their heads together to direct the short film “A Particularly Starry Midnight”.

The ten-minute film was written by Nick and filmed last August in Wisconsin, where the two attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There they were able to make the most of their shoestring budget, thanks in part to friends and colleagues who were eager to help in any way they could. The cast and crew consisted mostly of folks that they had worked with before and the majority of their gear was rented through connections for little to no cost.

On the set

On the set

Rather than drop the majority of their budget sourcing the perfect place to shoot, the two brothers opted to build the entire set (with a little help from their friends!) consisting of a brick wall and fire escape. The team completed the build in 5 days and housed the set in the designer’s workshop, which also doubled as their shooting studio.

A Particularly Starry Midnightht

A Particularly Starry Midnight

The brothers shot the film over the next 3 days and returned to Seattle to edit. They’ve since started a Kickstarter campaign to help raise the remaining funds they need to finish their film. These funds will go towards hiring an animator and getting musicians into a studio to record the final score.

Once finalized, the goal is to enter “A Particularly Starry Midnight” into as many festivals as possible, including the Wisconsin Film Festival, SIFF, Sundance, SXSW, etc. Though this is their first collaboration together, the brothers hope it is one of many more to come.


Ten tips that will impress your clients and company; pre, during, and post-show

Don’t risk your trade show investment or reputation staffing the wrong crew at your booth

Ten tips that will impress your clients and company; pre, during, and post-show
If you or your team is in charge of selecting staff to man your booth at the next industry trade show, you are faced with a challenging task. Let’s face it, your quality people are valuable in the office and it’s hard to imagine doing without them for multiple, consecutive days.

It might seem logical to determine whose calendar is least busy during the dates of the show and whose absence will least likely affect the office.

Well, you might want to think twice about that approach, because not only can it put your company at risk of wasting your exhibit investment, this approach can be detrimental to your brand and how the show attendees perceive your company.


Whatever your past selection criteria has been…
Be sure to consider the following 10 tips to establish a logical and balanced mix of expertise and help to make your next trade show a holistic success.

1) Create show-specific objectives
Work with leadership to establish a list of clear objectives that your company wants to achieve at the specific trade show you will be attending. Seems like a no brainer, but is surprisingly overlooked and often, assumed.

2) Get your hands on show statistics
Knowing your audience will help your on-site team prepare for who they will be talking to. Talk to show management to collect more statistics and historical data than what is commonly posted online.

3) Estimate your target audience
Use the data you collected to further filter the show’s attendees and determine your target audience. Review the demographics and subtract the exhibitors, speakers, educators unlikely to express interest then look at what you have. For example, you might estimate that 15% of the total attendee and exhibitor list is your logical & realistic target audience. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THIS INFORMATION?

4) Estimate # of staff & materials you will need
Use show data to determine the quantity of staff and materials to supply. For example, if the total show is expecting 25,000 attendees, multiply it by your estimated target percentage. 25,000 x 15% = 3,750. Now you have your target audience. But not all of them will actually come into your exhibit space to engage. (Source link at bottom)

j-2_294x390You can expect approximately 45% of your target to engage. Knowing this, you can estimate 1,688 actual visitors (3,750×45%) to converse with your team and you can now estimate the quantity of marketing materials.

In addition to your expected exhibit visitors, the size of your booth also matters. A good rule of thumb is to have approximately two people for every 10 feet of space.

5) Select your team based on all this great info
Now you are ready to make well-informed decisions about your team. Assign quality people from a mix of show-aligned and objective-aligned departments such as Sales, Marketing and Development.

Select roles and personalities that match:
1. Your company’s objectives for the specific trade show
2. Can appeal to the audience demographics
3. Have a thorough understanding of the industry and language
4. Have an expertise that will add value to conversations with attendees Important: Try to not overlap on this one; this is where a mix of roles with unique contributions will come in…and prevent gaps in knowledge during show.j-3_624x414

6) Give your select team expectations and education
Create a formal training program that is educational, motivational, introduces objectives and explains how you plan to measure success. Tell each individual what you expect of them, specifically, and what is expected of their peers so everyone is clear.

7) Be inclusive
Include the select team as much as you can in pre-planning meetings, exhibit design, production meetings and the like. The more included they are, the more invested and supportive they will be and the more successful you will be.

8) Provide easy to use, helpful tools for your on-site team
Create summarized support materials and use technology support tools that are easy to use during show dates. For example, if you expect your team to collect prospect information or feedback, make it easy for them by having a simple process and tools to do it.

9) Be attentive of your team’s on-site well being
Trade shows are exhausting! You can help prevent fatigue, boredom and crankiness by having enough people to rotate, keeping shifts shorter and with frequent breaks. Show formal recognition or positive behavior, consistency and quality.

10) Share Post-Show Results
Hold a post-show review and share the outcome with others in the company. Focus giving credit to those who were on-site. Have the on-site team give additional reports to the greater organization to include them and keep their investment level high. Formalize the feedback to track over time.

In summary: Trade show exhibiting is expensive; these steps for selecting the right on-site team will support your company’s investment and boost your reputation. Make these 10 tips a part of your process and not only will attendees have a more positive, consistent and informative experience; your peers and associates will be more invested, excited and rewarded for their contributions.

Did you know? Did you know that seven minutes is the average time an attendee will spend engaging with one of your team members? And this is only “IF” they stop to talk, as only 45% of your target audience will stop to potentially engage. Prepare your team to maximize those precious minutes and let your competition wonder what you are doing right when they observe attendees spending a lot of time at your booth.

Contact Information:
Jennifer Campbell is an Account Executive for The Production Network in Seattle. TPN serves as a trusted partner to clients who host a significant annual event and trade show schedule.

Email: jenniferc@tpnevents.com
Cell: 206-430-3875 Desk: 206-957-5461

*Source: Trade Show Institute http://www.red-cedar.com/

Learning to walk

It has been just over 18 months since that surreal day I stood listening to our CEO announce a new direction for our company. That new direction involved me. After 10 years as a project manager for TPN, I was about to embark on unknown territory – becoming President. The first thing I learned was that I had a LOT to learn. Oftentimes one has their sights set on this type of position, preparing, and knowing quite well what they’re getting into and what they want to accomplish. I had 12 weeks to get used to the idea of being President before I started! But what an honor.

Now looking back, I can reflect on what I have learned so far:

Incremental change has been more successful than drastic change.

When I took over we were, like many other companies, surviving the economic downturn. So the first thing I did was immerse myself in accounting. Did I mention I was a Fine Arts major in College? I think that may have been a blessing as I worked through this, because I was able to approach our finances from a completely different perspective and identify small incremental changes we could make that would help the bottom line, without disrupting our fragile culture.

Diverse personalities in Leadership positions are an advantage.

I am proud to be among a Leadership group of people smarter than I. They are experts in each of their fields and we all quickly understood we could have robust discussions and still pull in a common direction for betterment of the company. And we laugh….a lot.

Balance can be achieved.

Two small children. A one-hour commute each way. Running a company. These are all factors in my daily life. None of them can be set aside. So how do I do it? With one incredibly supportive husband who also has a full time job and does more than half his share, many incredibly flexible and supportive colleagues, and my compulsion to work whenever and wherever needed even if that means logging on between bedtime and sunrise.

Timely communication trumps all.

No matter how large or small the need for it, it’s absolutely necessary. With Clients, colleagues, suppliers or kindergarten teachers, making it a priority to communicate quickly and be available and accountable is table stakes these days.

Crowning Achievements!

On October 18th 2012, TPN was proud to join friend and associate, Zach Huntting for his company’s one year anniversary celebration. Crown Social, which Zach began in July 2011, teamed up with Diesel Seattle and Picnic Magazine to celebrate its first year of serving as Seattle’s latest Social Agency. It was only his first year, and Crown had already earned the number one ranking for Social Media Agency in Seattle on Google.

Allison DeLeone, John Shrader & Angie Hopkins

Zach Huntting, Founder & CEO, brings his experience as a digital advertising strategist and head of marketing together with more than a decade in social media and Internet technologies. While Crown achieved some of the difficult yet common challenges of a first year business like full-time employee taxes and company-wide healthcare, Crown also achieved helping one of Seattle’s historical icons, Dick’s Drive-Ins, to make their new Edmonds launch the busiest day on record: 30% bigger than any day over a 58-year operating history.

Jennifer Campbell, Angie Hopkins & Allison DeLeone

Why does TPN like Zach and Crown Social? Besides the fact that Zach doubles as a hip DJ and seems too youthfully cool to hold an MBA from UW and have a business, his Social Agency holds promise to go beyond the typical statistical “likes”. Crown immerses the online community to spread excitement, finding every creative crevice to invigorate engagement and action as opposed to simply pushing messaging. All in all, Zach and his team are smart and holistic in their approach, melding real life into every online challenge.

TPN’s President, Allison DeLeone, Project Manager, Angie Hopkins, Business Development, John Shrader and Jennifer Campbell were honored to ham-it-up celebrating Zach’s first year of success and they all look forward to working more with Crown in 2013.


To learn more about Crown Social, please visit Crown’s website at www.crownsocial.com.


Larry Rickel and the puppies Continued from Interview with the Experts – Session 3 with Larry Rickel

TPN: So you started 16 years ago…I’d love to hear about what tech was then and how the role has changed over the last 16 years.

LR: Probably the biggest difference is that projection was solely about data, video and IMAG. That’s what it was there for. The screens supported what was going on onstage. They allowed people to see better, which they still do, but it’s hand in hand now with actually being part of a scenic look. Scenery has gone from a bunch of hard flats to really almost everything being projected in some way, shape or form. Three letters say it all: LED.

The role of the Lighting Designer has changed too. 15 years ago, Lighting Designers would frequently have a cyc; the more traditional background with the white sheet, pointing lights at it that turn different colors and everyone would go “oooh ooh”. You know what was high tech? Putting in gobos and color scrollers and things of that nature that you could do some different looks with. That’s where lighting was. Then when moving heads (moving lights) came into play, “intelligent lighting”- which was pretty ‘stupid’ when it first came out, but still better than the really, really dumb stuff that didn’t move- it became a game changer.

And projection overnight calls too, I mean, back in the day, we would do three overnight calls sometimes to tweak in these bloody huge projectors. …continue reading “Experience” ›

Interview with the Experts – Session 3 with Larry Rickel

Larry Rickel and the puppiesFor our next set of TPN tips we turn to Larry Rickel, Lead Technical Manager here at TPN. We’ve been waiting to talk to Larry because there seems to be a gap in our Q & A. Because he’s so FULL of useful information, we’re splitting his session into two parts: Technology and Experience. Let’s talk tech.

TPN: So Larry, the best way to start is at the beginning. What got you into the industry and how long have you been with TPN?

LR: I’ve been with TPN 15 years. Vadino got me into this industry. I knew John from many years ago. He was lighting dance at the Broadway Performing Hall and I was working as a tech. I acted as Master Electrician for a lot of his shows, so we hit it off pretty well. We’d run into each other from time to time, our paths would cross, and eventually I got hired for an Exhibit job that fell through (Paris Air show), but Richard Moore (TPN co-founder, retired) said he could use me in Events.

TPN: Ah, so Richard Moore is a large part of the reason why you were able to stay that day.

LR: Yeah, although no one really knew what I was gonna do. As a matter of fact, for the first two weeks I hand drafted (because we didn’t have CAD in those days!) the offices so I could figure out where I was gonna sit. …continue reading “Interview with the Experts – Session 3 with Larry Rickel” ›

fremont fair goes to FCC

It’s all the neighborhood buzz…the Fremont Fair will not be managed by Solid Ground anymore. It’s going to the Fremont Chamber of Commerce (FCC) http://www.fremocentrist.com/

Interview with the Experts – Session 2 with Paul Nyborg & Angie Hopkins

Welcome to another installment of our INTERVIEW WITH THE EXPERTS series. Today I spoke with Paul Nyborg, Senior Project Manager and Angie Hopkins, Project Manager. Both Angie and Paul work on a variety of accounts at TPN and each take their own road to PM Mastery!

I sat down with the two after they completed their first ever joint-event for a notable and challenging event. Fresh(u-hem) off the event floor, this dynamic duo may have been exhausted, but the mood was celebratory. You could almost hear the beer mugs clinking…another job well done. At first blush these two seem like an unlikely pair. Paul with his reserved demeanor, tall, slim and delivering his expertise in quiet confidences. Angie, always smiling, outwardly friendly, petite and bursting with energy. So of course my first question had to be how they did working together, although the energy between them and the constant laughter made the answer intuitive to those in the room.

Tongue – in – cheek Paul opens our conversation with “Well it was hard to delegate at first.” Angie bursts into laughter at this. Clearly the two, now bonded over their experience can poke fun. Paul’s tenure had in fact made it hard to let go and allow Angie to take the reins. But she never pushed, or rubbed in her experience to thrust the issue. As she put it, she ‘understood the process’.
Paul: Eventually I did delegate and then I just sat back and kept my arms crossed…or was it my fingers? No, I’m kidding. Angie did great work, received ample compliments from our client and vendors.

RHG: So this is the TPN Tips moment. How do you delegate? Let’s face it – sometimes doesn’t it seem easier to just do it yourself?
Paul: To be able to delegate you have to trust the …continue reading “Interview with the Experts – Session 2 with Paul Nyborg & Angie Hopkins” ›