This blog describes my very own personal experiences from being a young English man, from a tiny village in South Wales UK, to living the life and rubbing shoulders with the stars in Los Angeles. this will demonstrate my development and should hopefully provide a few entertaining stories of my experiences. I hope you enjoy it, and feel involved with my time here in the United States.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

20, 200, 350, 700...

Aaron Kaniecki - Rising star of GG! Events

B. E. T, formally known as Black Entertainment Television, was having a premier event, which was to feature two new programs. One called “Let’s Stay Together” and the other; “The Game


As the saying goes, “When one door closes, another one opens” And in catering we believe this to be the case…. At least that’s what we think…


This event for BET couldn’t be a better example of just that.


With the New Year beginning, we wanted to hit the ground running, and our calendar for January looked pretty good. Our creative director Dan Smith had a small event in the first week for twenty people, which was pretty much ready to go. Then, out of no where it was canceled… Great, not even a week into the year and people are canceling parties…The door was closed on that one.


Then, another opened…


In the form of a telephone call from the television network BET, asking for us to design and cater for their premier event in the Directors Guild of America for 200 people. Now that’s an improvement!


What was great for me is that Dan asked me to go along to the walk through with the client, which was in fact only two days before the actual event.


So on the walk through we went, the client was very easy to work with, they just told us what they perceived as the ends result, and we can do whatever we want in order to make it happen.


They said "we heard that you are the best, so we trust your judgment" That's refreshing to hear...


So we were talking through some details, when the DJ for the event arrived. He then asked a key question… How many people again? The client turned round to Dan and I slowly saying “oh yeah… I need to mention something about that… its gone up to 350..”


No problem on our end, we were loving the fact that the count had gone up. The extras then followed, a VIP lounge, bars, a dance floor, GOBO’s, florals, the lot!


Our Custom Made BET GOBO


Dan and I left the directors guild with cheeky smiles.


So back to the office we went, where phone calls had to be made to the relevant vendors to ensure we can in fact accommodate all the guests.


The day before the event arrives, and more of the same… phone calls, planning and organizing. Then, Just before Dan Smith was about to leave the office that evening, the phone rings…


“umm, Dan… The count has gone up again… up to 700 people…”


So back on the phones, we need more liquor, more food, more rentals, more everything! But of course being the professional company we are, we make it happen.


One thing the client did stress is that these people know how to party… so be prepared.


Party day arrived, and I went along to the event site with Dan to set up. There were several different companies, in the same space working together like a well oiled machine. The step and repeat area was up in no time, with the red carpet rolled out. The florist were ready to go, the rental company were bringing in furniture by the second... it was all coming together.


Time for the event.


The event kicked off, with the celebrities dripping in slowly but surely through the step and repeat area. Cameras flashing, people screaming out questions, not to mention the stilts.. sorry I mean heels the women were wearing. The women were walking about eight feet tall on the red carpet, with super short skirts and a can of hairspray.


The Step and Repeat area


They moved straight into the screening rooms so we could then set up buffets and champagne.


The event ran so smoothly, and great credit goes to Patrick Sullivan of GG! with his new Service system. Everyone knew where they had to be and when. No one was asking silly questions, no one was waiting for something to do, it just worked.


Patrick Sullivan's New Service Dynamic


When I agreed to be involved in this event, I thought BET was just another struggling network on American television, full of aspiring actors waiting for their big break… That just shows how na├»ve I am.


Before I knew it I was serving champagne to the likes of Brandy, Ray Jay, and Eriq La Salle… There were several other faces I recognized but I’m afraid I cannot recall their names!


Ray Jay and Brandy


The event was a hit, the food was going, the liquor was going quicker.. The DJ was playing music I have never heard of, yet everyone else in the room knew. At one point there was a rap song on, and I was trying to ask this lady, who must have been in her 60’s, if I could take her glass… I might as well of been talking to the plants. She had no idea I was there.. she had her eyes closed, head tilted back, swaying from side to side rapping every word from this song… that was an alien experience. After the sixth or seventh time of asking I just took the glass.


The DJ Booth


When I thought I had seen it all, the DJ then played a track called “Cupid Shuffle” And everyone from the age of 14 to 60 was on the dance floor in their stilts or extravagantly noisy shirts, getting down to this song. And for those of you who may not know the song, there is a dance to it, which every one of these people were doing, in sync, step for step.



The Cupid Shuffle


Of course being from a small town I’m not used to seeing such behavior. I couldn't help but watch... instead of concentrating on the glasses I was picking up, I was watching the dance WHILE picking up glasses!

The DJ then called it a day and started packing away his equipment, and for the GG! staff the breakdown was efficient as ever.


You know you have done your job, when the client comes running up to you, gives you a big hug, and says “I can’t wait till next time” And that’s exactly what happened….. To Dan.


It was a real pleasure to work with the clients and all other vendors involved, and I just loved being involved from start to finish. Let’s keep these parties coming!


KEY LEARNING NOTES:

  • Be prepared for changes and to adapt at any given moment.
  • BET is in fact NOT a small network; it is very much at large!
  • 60 year old women know how to rap.
  • Inform ALL vendors of any changes, even if you feel it might not affect them, so you are all on the same page.
  • Patrick’s new service dynamic works!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice work! Adaptability. I'm sure you must have driven your suppliers M.A.D! I would ad a key learning point for the future: in my opinion you have to educate your clients as well so that they know/you know/make them know everything they consciously or unconsciously need for an event. Note: If you had done this event in France you probably would have had a tough time getting all your suppliers to multiply their deliveries by... close to 4 within a very short timespan.

    Congratulations on this performance, must have been quite the riot! Looking forward to reading your next adventures.

    ReplyDelete