Event Production A&R? Corporate theater producer?
September 17, 2009 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Authors have agents. Musical talent has A&R reps. Startups have VC. What is the category of representative, or who is the aggregator, for my business? We do live interactive performance visualization.

It's live in the sense that nothing is prerendered (no video loops).
It's interactive because we hook up wireless controllers and cameras to stuffed snakes, eyeballs, and magic wands.
It's a performance when the audience plays with the snake and sees an onscreen snake mimic the motion they're making.
And it's visualization because the output is high-res, high frame rate, HD on multiple screens, usually large scale projection.

We need to get repped to the production companies and event designers who do corporate theater and live performance. The main "problem" is that we're almost the only folks doing what we do, so clients don't know they need us yet.

Please help us tech geeks find the marketing agency category or people who handle large scale procedural blinky pixels.
posted by lothar to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't understand what kinds of audiences you're trying to reach. Who participates in this as an audience? Why is it fun for them? What other entertainment experiences is it like?

Right now I can't tell if this is like lazer tag or like a magic show or like a virtual-reality demonstration, each of which are marketed by different entities.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:03 PM on September 17, 2009

We need to get repped to the production companies and event designers who do corporate theater and live performance.

This is too vague. You need to work from the event backwards: what kinds of events do you imagine your thing happening at?

I also don't know what you mean by "corporate theater." Do you mean "entertainment for professional conferences, conventions, and other business gatherings?"
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:04 PM on September 17, 2009

Is what you do something that a major interactive event/ad production agency like Jack Morton would want to work with you as a paid contractor/vendor? Or, are you looking for the equivalent of a booking agent to prospect business for you?
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:07 PM on September 17, 2009

For the record, A&R works for the labels, not the artists. Similarly, VCs don't (primarily) provide agent-type services for startups, they provide working capital.

Based upon your basic description, you don't need an agent or manager, you need a salesperson. They're responsible for finding and converting people who "don't know they need [you] yet."
posted by bpm140 at 6:07 PM on September 17, 2009

Response by poster: My elevator pitch needs work.

Our audiences are those seeing corporate theater and concert attendees. But the audience will rarely know who we are. We make audioreactive things happen onscreen behind the band or DJ. We make corporate presentations punchier.

Traditionally, corporate theater assets and concert graphics are done by video production companies and CG artists. You get someone to design a presentation for you. It gets rendered and edited in advance. Hit "play" to advance to the next slide.

We do it live. In real time. On site. The logo treatment might track over the CEO's head wherever he walks on stage. Live video of the performer is mapped in real time to complex geometry that reacts in time with the music.

I think I'm allowed to say here that there's a (website) link in my profile.
posted by lothar at 6:27 PM on September 17, 2009

Response by poster: Yes, mrmojoflying, we're contractors to performance, branding, and experiential marketing folks like Jack Morton and Nocturne Productions.

We need to hire someone who knows both "who" and "how" to contact a useful set of these companies. Ideally there's an existing business performing this task. Who would that be?
posted by lothar at 6:47 PM on September 17, 2009

Why not ask the people at Jack Morton and Nocturne Productions where they find their people who do whatever it is you do (which I am still not clear about what it is)?

Do you coordinate the technical side of an entertainment event or interactive experience? Like special effects, but with more follow-through? Because if that's so, someone like All Crew Agency would probably be a good match.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:31 PM on September 17, 2009

We make corporate presentations punchier.

Count me too as confused as to why someone would hire you along with the other staff needed for an expensive corporate production. Why not brand yourself as a new kind of corporate presentation company? As described your services just make a presentation more expensive. Maybe think about handling the entire presentation from start to finish in all respects, but with extensive attention to dramatic effects (?) your own special twist if the customer wants it.

As an audience member, I would find the bells and whistles you describe distracting or headache-inducing. If you handle corporate productions from start to finish and offer all the gimmicks for an additional fee, you'd carve a niche for yourself in a sector in which I bet spending has dropped significantly.
posted by vincele at 4:55 AM on September 18, 2009

Best answer: Okay - I get it now, but you are going about this backwards. You need to bring the business to the representation, not the other way around. In other words, agents don't want to bootstrap a company that isn't already fairly successfully at doing their thing. There's no money to be made that way. They want someone who is already successful (in their own right) and the agent already knows exactly how to find them more work tomorrow.

Let me give you my perspective based on having worked at William Morris (a largish agency that will represent anyone who makes them a lot of money). The most logical question is one of revenue. Are you already generating revenue doing this? If so, how much (you don't need to tell us)? More importantly, what's the honest growth potential for your services once you are represented? How much value do you add to a production? What other services do you provide (per vincele's response)? Who else is doing exactly what you are doing and where do you stand with respect to them? How convincingly are you able to demonstrate your service/product?

The reason I ask is that unless you are already generating revenue (i.e. proven), with the potential to make a lot more money, you are probably not going find an "agent" that is willing to work with you, unless (and this could be the case) that you have a startlingly impressive demonstration or demo reel and you look like the next really big thing.

So, back to the problem at hand, getting you work. You need a startlingly impressive demostration and media kit (the website is a good start) that you can take out and educate potential clients and representatives about what you do. I say this because even if an agent, or manager, agreed to work with you that would be one of the first things they asked for (how else can they sell you?)

I may be completely wrong, or simply not educated enough about what you do and how you do it, but I would think that you would be better served by putting together your own list of corporate and entertainment event producers and prospect them directly or attend a few relevant trade shows and put on your best in-booth demonstration. I'm sorry if this isn't more help, but I can't seem to think of where representation fits into your business model just yet.
posted by mrmojoflying at 5:31 AM on September 18, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks mrmojoflying. Excellent on-topic points.

We do have a startlingly impressive demonstration: We've given invited talks in both LA and SF to our peer groups, with great attendees and feedback. We need to get our live demo in front of the right eyeballs. It's very much a creative niche market right now.

Who are the major players in the field besides Jack Morton for experiential marketing and Nocturne for large concert design? What is the likely job title of the person we're trying to contact at similar organizations? As pointed out by bpm140 earlier in the thread, my examples largely work for those who would hire us rather than directly for us.
posted by lothar at 9:01 AM on September 18, 2009

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