Jay Leno Tom Dreesen
The Dan Hayes Orchestra Nickleback
Beyonce Carrie Underwood
Dana Carvey Ray Romano
Earth, Wind & Fire The Spinners
Tim McGraw Rihanna

PRISM ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Posts Tagged ‘Professional’

A few words about making the most of winter then enjoying the Spring!

Posted on: March 8th, 2017 by Dan Hixon

Everyone knows how hard the Chicago winters are. What helps us get through them, besides the pioneer spirit? You should embrace what you can’t change! That can mean getting yourself good, sensible winter gear & go ice skating, skiing, shovel your elderly neighbors driveway or go for walks in the many parks. There is also a wealth of fabulous entertainment to choose from, with seasons that focus on the cold months: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Joffrey Ballet, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago Symphony, Civic Opera Company, to name just a few. Outdoor activities help you physically & live theater tends the inner spirit.

All that being said, by the end of the long winter, we can’t wait for spring! If you’re planning an event, spring is a great time to schedule it. It’s easier & more dependable for guests to travel & people are ready to get out. For Corporate Sales Meetings, it’s a great time to motivate. You get a feeling of renewal & new enthusiasm.

Combining work with fun is also important. If Chicago is a destination for your company or corporate meeting, please consider providing entertainment, to enhance your goals & networking. Make that next Convention memorable for everyone attending by making it entertaining as well as informative!

Timing is everything! Think ahead for some wonderful Party Planning Options for the 2015 Calendar.

Posted on: March 5th, 2015 by Dan Hixon

Sometimes, the calendar year does a beautiful thing. 2015 is one of those years. The Fourth of July is on a Saturday. December 25th is on a Friday. New Year’s Eve is on a Thursday. What does this mean? All three big Holidays make for four day weekends! It’s the ideal year to make Big Party Plans.

This year, if you are considering something outdoors for your summer Company or Corporate Event, there are a few things to think about. Weather is the most significant consideration. You should scout out facilities that includes the option of moving indoors, should the weather turn bad. Also, offering a place where people can go to escape the heat, if it proves to be an especially hot day. You may want to look at facilities that offer permanent tents, as do many Country Clubs & Hotels. Hiring tenting is expensive, but it’s a wonderful way to enjoy an indoor/outdoor experience, especially if you’ve chosen a beautiful park or garden location.

Of course, Entertainment is our specialty. If you’d like to do a large picnic, for instance, we have a host of Strolling Performers, such as Magicians, Jugglers, Stilt Walkers, Cirque Performers, Exotic Animals with handlers, to name just a few. They work throughout the crowd & can do Shows, as well. Many of these Performers are multi-skilled, so you get a variety of options from one person. If you’re planning on families attending, clowns are great fun & our Performers are also multi-skilled, perhaps offering balloon sculpture, juggling & magic. For stations, we can suggest Face Painting, Handwriting Analysis & Psychics.

For Musical Entertainment, you might want to choose a Show Band, which people can sit & watch perform. You may select a Theme & the music can compliment that, such as a 50’s-60’s, Disco, Las Vegas, Circus, Patriotic, 80’s, Country-Western, etc. There are endless possibilities & Musical Entertainment to match.

The Holidays are another source of Entertainment possibilities. What better way to show appreciation for your employees, than a beautiful Holiday function. Once again, Theming your event can add so much to the fun & participation. We’ve seen a large increase in the Casino Theme, where we bring in all the equipment & personnel to provide the full Casino experience, with the Entertainment to compliment the theme. It’s been a huge success.

Live entertainment elevates your event from the ordinary & makes for an unforgettable experience.

What makes your Gala special? Spend some, make a lot!

Posted on: October 30th, 2014 by Dan Hixon

We are providing our Production Services for several major Fundraisers in the next couple of weeks. For most Foundations, there is a new committee each year, often times made up with volunteers. Our part in the planning is essential, as many of the committee members will have never planned a major event before & it can be daunting.

There is such intense competition for Fundraising dollars these days. It is critical that your Gala be the one that people put down on their social calendars each year as a “MUST ATTEND” because they had such a wonderful time. What is sometimes difficult for people to understand, is this simple but true axiom: you have to spend money, to make money. This is done through promotion, the event site, d├ęcor, food & entertainment. When all these elements are maximized, your event becomes the most important one of the season.

It may be painful to spend those dollars for a charity. Understandably, the whole idea is to MAKE money, not spend it. However, a good Planner can help you explore the most inexpensive ways to look expensive. That’s what an experienced Professional does. That’s why you call us.

Live Entertainment at your Holiday Event

Posted on: October 14th, 2014 by Dan Hixon

It’s coming on the time of year when you may be thinking about thanking your employees with a holiday event. Do you remember Scrooge being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past? One memory he returned to, was the night of Mr. Fezziwig’s holiday party. Even the embittered Scrooge could not help but delight in the joy of celebrating all the goodness that the holiday season embraces, expressed in the employer’s hospitality & appreciation.

We have provided entertainment year after year for many, many companies. It is something that the employees look forward to each passing season. It makes them feel appreciated & is a wonderful way to say “thank you” for their service.

Live entertainment lifts that celebration out of the realm of the ordinary & gives your employees a chance to enjoy each other’s company outside the office. It’s worth the relatively small investment & will be remembered by each & every one.

Working at two different Chicago Iconic spots on a Holiday Weekend!

Posted on: July 16th, 2014 by Dan Hixon

When it comes to major, often times one-of events, you want the very best most experienced professionals available to help make it flawless. Would you use a surgeon who’d only done a few surgeries? A hairdresser that was just learning? An electrician who crosses random wires? & it’s not only what they do for you the night of the event, but how they can anticipate potential problems & head them off before they happen.

A perfect example was a large event we had at the Drake Hotel in Chicago on July 4th. Summer in the heart of the city is always hopping & holidays intensify this activity, especially if the weather cooperates & it’s a beautiful day/night. We need to be proactive, not only with the people working the event, but making sure our Clients inform their guests of parking options, traffic patterns, etc. All potential problems were avoided, by planning ahead.

On July 5th, we had a huge party at the Field Museum. We became aware of a gigantic Dave Matthews concert taking place the same night on Northernly Island, which shares all the parking with the Museum Campus. Not only was traffic nightmarish, but parking was unattainable. With the cooperation of the Museum, we were able to get our staff & guests in & oblivious to the traffic mess outside.

Our advice is not always heeded. A classic example was last year’s Holiday Light Parade. Our Client booked a hotel in the very heart of the Gold Coast on this night & we strongly cautioned them about the crowds, but they weren’t concerned; until 40% of their guests were unable to get to the hotel. All the streets in the neighborhood were closed. Guests were circling two blocks from the hotel for TWO HOURS. It was a shame, as it could have been avoided. But you know this, if you have experience.

Employ & LISTEN to your professionals.

What makes a Fundraiser successful? Stars usually makes people come out at night!

Posted on: June 11th, 2014 by Dan Hixon

We were so proud to once again provide entertainment services for Make A Wish Foundation (wish.org) recently, which we have done for quite a few years. Over the years of our involvement, such Name Performers as Dana Carvey, David Spade, Martin Short & this year, Seth Meyer have performed to a packed house. Having a Star appear for your organization or foundation may just be the factor which makes people choose your event, in our challenging economic times.

Today, unfortunately, there is a tremendous competition for those charitable dollars. If you want to tempt the right people to your event, it has to be special & set apart from the rest. How do you do that, without spending more than you take in? That is the magic trick!

One way to circumvent the huge pricetag of the more irresistible Name Talent, is of course, to either find someone connected with your organization with a personal connection, or research Entertainers with a personal interest in your charity. That is somewhat obvious. Otherwise, a Production Company such as ours can help you to target Performers which would best impact your event & least impact your budget. For example, Comedians are in many ways the ideal Name Entertainment for Fundraisers. They have few production demands, can usually do the right amount of time for your format & they can generally be prevailed upon to do some personal meet & greet with your V.I.P.’s. However, it’s important to have good advice on what kind of Show your featured Artist does & whether that is appropriate for a general audience. Believe it or not, there are many well known performers that not only do not have material appropriate for your audience, but they may not even REALIZE what is acceptable.

Once your guests have (hopefully!) made generous donations, then enjoyed the Show, great dancing helps to unite the crowd & make them glad they came & want to come back the following year! The importance of enticing people to stay, when they’ve just sat through a meal, presentation & Show is paramount. This should be coordinated with your Production staff & Bandleader. Of course, having a fabulous Dance Show Band not only should convince your guests to enjoy the rest of the evening, but can also provide their own promotion of your event through their client following.

On the loss of two dependable Corporate Entertainers – Mickey Rooney & John Pinette

Posted on: April 29th, 2014 by Dan Hixon

It’s strange to link two such well known performers, separated by four decades in birth but weeks in death. We had the privilege of working with both these men in the past. Certainly, they were very different Talents, but they each brought joy & entertainment to their audiences.

We worked with Mickey Rooney (www.mickeyrooney.com) when he was in his 80’s & doing his One Man Retrospective. The staging was manageable & required some sophisticated backline A/V specifics. In regards to working with him personally, he was in every way the professional you would expect. You might imagine that, given his kaleidoscopic 70+ years of Show Biz history, he might have earned the right to be a bit grumpy. On the contrary, he was bright, sharp & energetic, treating the audience to the highlights of his inimitable career & paying tribute to the other iconic performers he had worked with, most especially, a loving homage to Judy Garland. We’re so proud to have included his iconic name to our company’s rich history of Name Performers.

John Pinette (www.johnpinette.com) was a different kind of “Star” & naturally, he would be. Although a veteran of television, movies & standup, he was comfortable to stand alone on the stage & just make people laugh. Of course, if you know his act, you know that most of his humor was self-deprecating & focused on his size & weight. The very thing that brought him fame & fortune, tragically did him in. Sadly, he had to cancel the last show for which we had him contracted. Two weeks later following that cancelled performance date, he passed away.

Both these very talented & very different performers will be missed.

Do you dream about the Stars? Are the Stars right for you? Part 2

Posted on: April 15th, 2014 by Dan Hixon

Would you like to have a Star perform at your event? OF COURSE. Nothing generates more excitement, than an iconic performer at your Big Event. So, what is criteria number one? That would be budget. Establish your overall budget parameters for Entertainment & we can begin. Second of all, what is your audience demographic. It’s important to accurately target the taste of the majority of your guests. However, if you really like a Band or Comedian & you’re footing the bill, GO FOR IT!! Third, is your site. What are the strengths & limitations of the facility you’ve chosen? These are all considerations, when determining the right Attraction for your event.

What are some of the added expenses of booking a Name Star? Besides the asking price of any given Attraction, the extras can add up pretty quickly. Generally speaking, these include airfare(s), accommodation (usually premium), ground transportation, hospitality, sound, lights, staging, security & in many cases, labor. Does this all sound daunting? Well, it can be. However, when you use a reputable Production Company, all these things are negotiated & taken care of for you.

If you come to our company & express an interest in having a Name Entertainer at your upcoming event, we begin with a variety of suggestions, after determining what you like, can accommodate at your facility & what is within your budget. Comedians can be the simplest to produce with the fewest production demands. However, it’s critical that sound, staging, lighting, multimedia & other production aspects match the magnitude of your Star.

Musical acts can be much more challenging, but certainly can have a higher impact. It’s important that you have advice as to what kind of Show a given Band performs, whether they are suitable for the Corporate market & if they are a good fit for your circumstances. Many Bands bring their musicians in from multiple destinations, require specific rental instruments & travel with entourage. They may also require supplemental highly skilled local musicians. This all requires the tremendous expertise of the Producer. That’s why you use us.

Can you have Elton John, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Black Eyed Peas, Billy Joel or Maroon Five perform at your event? Yes. Do you need a reputable Production Company to make that happen? Yes again.

Do you dream about the Stars? Are the Stars right for you? What do you need to have Name Entertainment at your event. Part 1

Posted on: April 8th, 2014 by Dan Hixon

Everyone knows about Jay Leno passing The Tonight Show baton this past month. http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/jay-lenos-long-goodbye-ready-or-not-its-time-to-move-on/2014/02/05/62454b36-8d19-11e3-95dd-36ff657a4dae_story.html I have great affection for Jay, having seen him doing Standup in Hollywood, when I worked out there thirty years ago. It was the golden age of Comedy Clubs & I scouted out talent at the original Improv. It was there I first enjoyed Jay, along with Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Lewis, Jeff Foxworthy & countless other Comedians who would go on to great careers.

Back in Chicago in the mid 1980’s, I worked hard to convince our Corporate Clients to spend $1500.00 to bring Jerry Seinfeld in for their event. They’d never heard of him & that was a lot of money for a non-name. Later, after the first season of “Seinfeld”, one of those Clients called me & said “You know, I remember you mentioning Jerry Seinfeld. I think we’re ready to book him for our company Gala. I’m looking back on your quote…$1500.00 right?” Comedy is not the only thing that’s all about timing.

It was with great pleasure that we booked Jay Leno for a Corporate Client the first time. Over the years, I have produced Shows with a lot of Stars. Most of them are extremely professional, but a few have been tricky. I would have to say, the one common denominator would be their desire for privacy. We always provide security, to this end. Each time we’ve booked him, Jay has been accommodating to our Client in a Meet & Greet, happy to take pictures with people & to sign autographs. Not only that, but he often disconcerts his Security Guard, by making himself known wherever he goes! We have so many funny stories involving him & Italian Beef stands. Luckily, we always use off duty Chicago Policemen as Security, so they know where the best stands are. Anyway, Jay Leno has always been a delight to work with & does the perfect Corporate Show: funny, clean & fast paced.

Of course, the first element of whether you can have Name Entertainment at your event is: do you have the money! You have to have a range of budget before we can determine who you can afford. Once we know that, we can deal with the next elements. Look for that in my next Blog.

Would the entertainment at your Corporate Event win an Academy Award?

Posted on: March 4th, 2014 by Dan Hixon

When you think about the investment in Live Entertainment for your next meeting or company event, what makes it a justified expense?

First of all, many people in this economic atmosphere, don’t have the expendable income to hire professional Entertainers anymore. Experiencing live Entertainment is exciting & unique. If you’re hosting an event, certainly one of your goals is to motivate your guests & what better way, than to treat them to something they don’t get to experience at home.

Our company is located in Chicago, a world class city. It has so much to offer visitors, if you get out to explore, However, it can be intimidating, if you’re not used to navigating in a large urban environment. One way you can help the less adventurous, is to bring the entertainment to your guests. Great music is a hallmark of our city & your people don’t have to leave the safety of the hotel to enjoy it. It can also help to give a sampling of the variety of what the city has to offer.

Everyone wants & needs to motivate. The scale on which this can be accomplished from an Entertainment standpoint, goes from the simple to the grandiose. As with everything, it begins with budget. When you seek out the professional services of our company, we have the ability to analyze how best to spend those dollars, after determining all the needs of your particular group & event.

Can you count on an Award Winning Event? I think we can help make it memorable, fun & effective.