When I started in the event business 17 years ago, I had come out of a career in film and television and I was immediately struck with the number of unexpected similarities there were in these two industries. This was particularly apparent with regards to how the whole process of creating a finished product is structured. In film there are production assistants, production coordinators, production managers and film producers. In the world of events, job functions are surprisingly similar.
A common misconception events professional’s encounter is the assumption that everyone in the industry is a “coordinator” – not true. While there is a great deal of coordination involved in producing an event, It’s helpful to clarify the differences between a coordinator and a producer. They can sometimes be used interchangeably but the responsibilities and capabilities are significantly different and worth understanding so you know what you’re in for the next time you work with someone to plan an event.
Event Producers / Event Managers
These are the seasoned professionals that oversee event projects. They know the ins and outs of the industry, have countless connections and are responsible for the overall event experience.
Generally these professionals are responsible for:
- Budgets and budget management
- Hiring of associated event partners / vendors.
- Contract Negotiations
- Creating event themes that work with the overall event objectives
- Designing impactful décor and venue set up
- Designing communications materials and event collateral like signage and programs
- Building custom menus
- Designing entertainment production
- Creating registration processes
In some cases these professionals will also be involved in generating income to put on the event through ticket sales, sponsorship etc.
These are the execution specialists. They are generally responsible for taking an event plan – sometimes created by an event producer – and putting it into action. There’s less strategy involved in these roles as these folks focus their energy on taking the larger directives and putting them in place. They tend to be detail oriented, tactful and timeline driven. A good event coordinator is worth their weight in gold.
Why is it important to know the difference?
The skill sets required for these two roles differ considerably. The experience levels and job requirements can translate to vastly different time commitments, production standards and costs – in terms of both hiring and negotiating power.
If you’re in need of an events professional to handle every last detail of a large or multi-faceted event, it’s certainly worth considering an event management or event production company. However, if your event is small and/or you’ve covered off the main strategic details internally then all you may require is an event coordinator to help you execute your vision.
The better you understand your needs the easier it is to hire the most appropriate events professional for the job – now that you know the difference.