How to Put on a TEDx Show in 10 Easy Steps
|Photo: Travis Houston.|
Never heard of TED, or TEDx? From their site: In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.
In the spirit of sharing, here are a few of my thoughts on why the day was so successful, from my perspective as director of the show (there are a million other things that go into a successful show...but this is just about the production itself). If you're inspired to put on your own TEDx show, I hope they help you in planning:
|Our set piece. Photo: Travis Houston.|
|The show bible, aka my rundown |
notebook. Photo: Travis Houston.
|Jake Shimabukuro rocks the ukelele.|
Photo: Travis Houston.
4. Have a tech rehearsal. The day before the show, we had a full cue to cue tech rehearsal. We started off with our tech load in, then marked all our speaker spots on stage, followed by our emcees running their lines. Speakers began showing up in the afternoon, some running their full talk, others just clicking through and getting a feel for the stage and the venue.
|Kurt Gray on "Doing Good." Photo: Travis Houston.|
6. Have a plan for speakers who go over their time. Finally, we showed with the speakers how we were going to handle it if they went over their allotted time. I stood on stage acting as the speaker, and the emcee did her part. We told them at 0:30 over, the emcee walks onto the stage and stands down stage left (to give them a peripheral visual cue). At 1:00, the emcee walks toward them and kindly says something witty, such as, "We could listen to you all day..." All the speakers agreed it was a fair, elegant solution and it worked out well for us.
|Simon Sinek on the power of connecting. |
Photo: Travis Houston.
8. Use the pre-recorded TED talks to come out of break. This one was key. Knowing we had a big venue, I didn't want there to be too much shuffling of folks getting back into their seats while the speakers were talking. So we gave a 5 minute VO warning over the PA system (accompanied by the onscreen PowerPoint counting down from 5 minutes left until 1 minute left). Then we came out of the break with the emcee introducing a pre-recorded TED talk. That worked out well, because by the time the speaker hit the stage everyone was comfortably seated, relaxed, focused, and ready to listen. And speaking of the required 25% TED talks...
|Our set pieces: some pig and the X. Photo: Travis Houston.|
|Best crew ever. Sonia Rhodes, Me, Michael Esposito, Lynn|
Kelly, Anthology, Anthony (L-R). Photo: Travis Houston.
Finally, don't just take our word for it. Browse the Twitter stream (hashtag #TEDxSD), which has a lot of beautiful, positive commentary.
I've gotta say, that of all the shows I've worked on, and events I've produced, TEDxSanDiego is by far my favorite. If I may...my two favorite quotes about the day, from the speakers:
|TEDxSanDiego curator, Jack Abbott, closes the show.|
Photo: Travis Houston.
"I've never seen a show run so tightly on time. Kudos. I'd work with you again in a heartbeat." - Tom Yelllin, former ABC News and biz partner of Peter Jennings
I adore each and every person who I had the luck of working with on TEDxSanDiego, and miss them already. I woke up the next day with a smile on my face, and almost a week later, it's still there.
My key takeaway? Never underestimate the power of a small group of people with a big vision.
Venue: Anthology (Little Italy neighborhood | San Diego, Calif.)
Date: Mon. Nov. 8, 2010
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Speakers: 22 (including 2 performances by Jake Shimabukuro)
Attendance: 325 in person | 27,330 via live webcast
|"Sure Travis, I'll smile. But I have to get back to the tech|
rehearsal cue to cue now." Photo:Travis Houston.
|We had nametags, so it must be real. Photo: Travis Houston.|
|The good-natured Jake Wood from Team Rubicon, who put up |
with entirely too much ribbing from all of us who kept calling
him "The Other Jake" (in reference to Jake Shimabukuro, who
was also was at the show). Photo: Travis Houston.
|Inventor of the cell phone, Marty Cooper. Yes, that's the original |
cell phone, all 12" and 3 pounds of it. Photo: Travis Houston.