In this new age of stay at home entertainment, virtual performances have become the norm.
But what is a virtual performance?
Technically, a virtual performance is any performance / lecture / presentation where the presenter is not present at your location.
This could be a concert, lecture, demonstration, or any event that is normally presented in person.
However, not every presenter can or will offer virtual performances.
Stand up comedy is extremely difficult to do without a live audience, and certain large performing groups simply can’t get everyone in the same space. Other artists may have a certain degree of performance visuals that they cannot produce remotely.
Yet there are countless musicians, comedians, and lecturers looking for creative ways to bring their art and message to colleges around the country.
That being said, it’s important to know what you want before you start the process since not everyone may be able to do what you want them to do.
Here are some tips:
1 – Do you want interaction with the presenter, and if so what is that interaction? Maybe some pre-screened Q+A topics will make the event the “personal” experience you are looking for, or maybe you need shout outs as well. Keep in mind that live Q+A’s can sometimes be tricky since nonsense – and inappropriate – questions are tough to screen.In addition, do you need the presenter to do different things? Do they need to perform, answer questions, do a shout out, and talk about how to write material? Your needs affect who is available, as well as their cost.
2 – How long a presentation do you want? Chances are your audience won’t sit through a 90 minute online concert, so maybe 45-60 minutes is sufficient. Live performance standards do not necessarily apply to the virtual world, so consider what your audience is looking for and how long you think you can keep their attention. A comedian answers questions with a humorous spin for 45 minutes might be the perfect event for your school.
3 – What do you want to spend? Again, all the standard models are NA for this new age. Artists are aware of this as well, so it’s easy to have a frank and honest conversation about pricing. However, finances do come into play. Artists are struggling like everyone else, but like all brands, the brand itself has value. A $150,000 touring artist is not going to accept a $5,000 virtual offer: it simply isn’t the right choice for the brand. Would they look at less than $150,000? Absolutely. Where the number ends up is affected by the items above as well as what value the artist places on the virtual space.
4 – What are you trying to accomplish with the event? The standard metrics for an event’s success are hard to translate to the virtual world, especially since everyone is online all the time now. Simply saying “we need a 1000 online attendees for the event to be successful” is flawed because there are no standards for measuring online attendance success.
Engagement outside the normal academic spaces – in our opinion – should be the key. Giving your student body something to participate in as a large group that is not academic is perhaps now more important that ever. Furthermore, your ability to set yourself apart from the online space is a way that is unique and engaging for your students is perhaps the best objective possible. A sense of community, involvement, and a way to escape your routine is often the best form of engagement there is.
Know your limits – and your goals – when you begin. This will make the process easier and quicker, and make it much simpler to get the results you are looking for.