What follows his a list of important items to remember at each major step of a successful, but quite big, Bar Citizen event. These tips are mostly useful for big events (50+ guests), but can be used for even smaller events, and will help you understanding a good routine and the process involved.
These notes were drafted by Semila and Remo, which organized multiple Bar Citizens in Germany in the last few years. And before you get reading, just remember the following quote:
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
A smart guy.
1st Milestone – Concept phase
- Before you start the conception of an event of this scale, you should check the acceptance and interest of an event in the community to get a feeling for the expected guest list.
- Contact CIG and clarify their involvement in such an event. Maybe they can support it with goodies such as raffle items, Q&A panels, swag, etc.
- Build up a core team that will coordinate and help plan the event
- Set the limit on how many guests you plan to accept at the event – sometimes based on venue regulations, local laws, fire code, etc.
- Search for a venue that can host the amount of guests you set. Clarify on how far they can support you with technical equipment, security, medical team and so on. This is usually based on local laws, which can be covered at by the venue itself.
- If required, you may have to contact an insurance company to cover such an event, in case of accidents and emergencies.
- Clarify who is responsible for the event. It is better to be done through someone that owns a company, for taxing purposes and taking on the risk of running such an event.
2nd Milestone – Build phase
- Contact a ticketing partner that takes over all the ticket selling and money administration for money collection. For the guests, this is also a more trustworthy way to buy tickets instead of a private PayPal account.
- Define a clear concept for your event. Is it a presentation event like official events? Is it an interactive event with the community that Star Citizen organisations or project owners represent themselves?
- Contact known community organizations, streamers, Star Citizen news sites, Star Citizen project owners and invite them to represent themselves to an audience and explain the benefit for them and the guests.
- Create a website that explains the Event, which should contain a FAQ to be transparent about financial uses, venue rules, the idea behind this event and so on.
- Integrate a possibility, that people can register to participate as a presenter on the stage or having a booth instead as an example.
- Setup the event plan (must not be finalized at this point) that shows what will be shown during this event.
- Go live with the ticketing system when you’re confident in all the above points.
- Look for the best advertisement way for your region (Facebook, Twitter, Forums, Reddit, Games Magazine).
3rd Milestone – Dress up phase
- Design merchandise articles you would hand out to the guests. The Bar Citizen Coordinator’s Discord has a whole section on the subject, and we will be post some tips on that here soon(tm).
- Get in contact with CIG legal department and PR and get a confirmation in the form of a contract to be able to produce the merchandising (especially true if you plan on using CIG assets such as logos).
- Keep track of your budget, keep it black! You do not want to go in the red as somebody will have to foot the bill, and that can cause some serious personal and financial issues.
- Plan the streaming setup and equipment if you would also give this service to the backers that are not able to attend
- Floor plan of the venue must be done to visualize what, who and where. Planning of cabling, tables, chairs, bar and so on.
- Invite/ask for helpers, that help on the event day i.e. ticket boy, runner, moderators.
4th Milestone – Event day phase
- Have one person overview the whole process
- Start with a briefing meeting with the whole team, including helpers.
- Clearly address roles and responsibilities to the helpers and the team.
- Preparation of ticket and merchandise handling.
- Check and double check all the tech setup. Nothing worse than a microphone not working, a speaker blasting ear drums, etc.
- Instruction to special guests and VIP, including responsibilities and who’s responsible for them.
- Check food and beverage handling (if required).
- Start the event – and hold on to your horse…
- End the event – whew.. you survived (maybe with a few extra scars).
- Clear the venue – some locations may require you take care of the trash etc. You do NOT want to leave a bad impression, as you may want to use their location again in the future.
- Short debriefing with the team – what went right, what could of gone better (do not only focus on the bad!).
- After a week, compile the debriefing notes and record lessons learned – nothing worse than doing mistakes more than once.
Lessons Learned from Semila and Remo
- Venue – constantly communicate to clarify the services they offer. Keep some form of record of conversations (a note book is very handy).
- CIG Communication – prepared to talk with different people and multiple times – plan ahead the questions and ideas and collect it into one location.
- Event Plan – The plan must be adaptable, as it will change often!
- Communication with special Guests and VIP’s – This takes a lot of time in the beginning. Take the time, do not rush this! You want to leave a good impression so that they want to do it again!
- Merchandise – Plan ahead as it will take a long time from Designing through CIG legal to production and delivery.
- Financial – Be prepared to have enough money upfront to pay different things right away as first bill of the venue for reservation, merchandise, etc. as ticket companies have their cycle to transfer the money from the sold ticket to your bank account.
- Communication – be careful what you say officially in the name of the event. Be as transparent as possible. Try to communicate professionally, businesslike, it increases the credibility of the event