Paper to Production: Planning Your Christmas Event (Transforming Tip #5)

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Last year we started the Transforming Tips series as a part of our annual christmas resource spectacular and it was a huge hit… so this Christmas during our Transform Your Christmas campaign, we’re going to help out by giving you several more transforming tips. There’s one thing that’s for sure this holiday season, there will be a multitude of christmas events. Planning your christmas event will require a lot of work and for some, that event will be a dream you’ve been wanting to have happen for a while. Regardless if it’s a candlelight service, an outdoor projection mapping project or a full-fledge christmas tour, planning your christmas event will require a lot of work. So here’s our list of how to get that event from paper to production:

1. Cast a Vision.

Any great event has an ultimate purpose. It may be as complex as asking for a donation and it may be as simple as spreading some holiday joy. What is the vision of your event? Begin thinking about the vision of your event and how you want it to transform people. Then cast that vision to your team who will help pull it off. There’s nothing more frustrating than planning your christmas event without an end in mind.


2. Count Your Costs.

Once you’ve got everyone on the same page with your vision, determine your budget. Every event i’ve ever been on has had a budget, including the big ones (like CMT Awards a few years back). After you know your budget, count your costs. Make sure that you know what all the rental fee’s are going to be, do you need insurance? Will it take any additional people to pull this off? If so, what will they cost? The area most people fail at an event is not planning for last minute costs.


3. Take Measurements.

For every event we’re a part of, we use projection… and if you’re on TripleWide Media, I’m going to assume that you use projection in your events as well. Make sure to measure your distances… twice. We’ve been hosed before for not getting those measurements right and the screens don’t get filled or the video is too big. Also know your stage dimensions for set construction and your ceiling height. While you’re taking all these measurements, you will want to find out if you can use haze or even low lying fog, and if there are any fire code precautions you need to inquire about. When planning your Christmas event, the details are key!

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4. Create a Production Schedule.

As you begin to get all the details in place, begin to schedule out everyone’s load-in’s, rehearsals, gear pick up’s and all the various things that will happen the week’s prior to the event. People need deadlines, especially creatives (and they’ll likely miss the deadline too). Make sure to plan out when you will take meal breaks as there’s nothing worse than a bunch of hungry production people.


5. Locate Additional Production Gear.

Do you need to rent additional gear to pull off your event? Maybe it’s a few projectors or a low-lying fog machine to get a more dramatic look and feel to that key moment. Regardless, you’ll want to allow a few weeks ahead of time to do this. Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for most production companies, make sure you get your requests in early. We get requests at Orange Thread LIVE in April and May for the Christmas season… it’s crazy!


6. Key People & Roles.

Before an idea can begin to jump off a piece of paper and become a reality, you’ll need to identify what key personnel you will need in order to pull the event off. This may include specific names or just key roles that need to be filled. Do you have a production manager, a producer, a video director or lighting designer? These are all key roles in the context of making an event happen. They don’t all have to be paid, many can be volunteers or part-timer’s, but we’ll want to get them involved early or else you’ll find yourself at last minute worrying about little details that will distract you from the ultimate vision.


7. Content Plan.

Make sure you think ahead of time what video content and looks you’re going to use. One suggestion is to use the TripleWide Media wish lists to plan out what you want to use before purchasing. This can act like a working “shopping cart” so that you can make sure the content you need fits within your budget. By determining this, you will likely be able to have time to search our library of pre-existing content and find what you need instead of having to custom produce everything… especially if it’s in an odd resolution like TripleWide’s are.

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8. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse.

I can’t emphasize enough the need for rehearsals. Not just for your musicians, your talent and the performers… but for your technical team. Even if you have an event every week, it’s tough to have a produced “moment” without everyone getting a chance to practice. Make sure there are technical rehearsals without your performers and musicians to work out all the kinks and walk through all your transitions… (this is also why you would have music rehearsals without the technical staff so that they aren’t wasting their time). Lastly, plan for a dress rehearsal. This is going to make the difference between an event and a transformational event.


Here at TripleWide Media we want to with the planning of your Christmas events and help you get from paper to production. That’s why we’re doing the Transform Your Christmas event. With video content, projection technology, multiscreen processors and a bit of creativity, it’s never been easier to transform your events into spectacular gatherings. Our hope is that you get to connect people… impact lives and spread some holiday joy.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, track along with us on Instagram and like us on Facebook to stay in touch with all the Transform Your Christmas updates. We’ve got a lot in store for you this year… Merry Christmas!

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Luke McElroy

Author Luke McElroy

Luke McElroy is the founder of Orange Thread Media, the parent company to TripleWide Media, SALT Conferences and Orange Thread LIVE. He is the author of The Wide Guide: Blueprint for the Multiscreen Movement. Hailed as one of the “top innovators for worship” by Worship Leader Magazine in 2013, Luke’s leadership has helped create powerful worship environments for thousands of Church communities throughout the entire world. He currently lives in Nashville, TN and regularly writes about creativity, leadership and faith at 

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