Team Entire’s Annual Showcase: The Vernal Equinox Experience

The Vernal Equinox Is the Day on Which Night and Day Are Equal, and We Transition From Winter to Spring. So We Took Our Guests on a Journey From Darkness to Light…

As many of you know, at Team Entire, we live for our annual showcase. It’s like our Super Bowl and Oscars rolled into one, and it’s our chance to show our incredible clients the trends and talent that will create the biggest Wow factor throughout the upcoming year. With both our experience design, full-production event planning married with our talent programming we aim to WOW our peers and clients alike.

We knew that we wanted to beat our best celebration yet (last year’s 1960s Palm Springs inspired Swing Into Spring), so we had to come up with a very intriguing theme. And what’s more unique than a Vernal Equinox, an event that happens just once a year?

We chose the date of the actual Equinox, March 20. And we got to work on re-inventing our go-to venue of the past several years, the Bently Reserve. It was a tall order, so we started planning in earnest last summer with monthly all-hands-on-deck meetings. Our fearless leader Natasha Miller nailed the Vernal Equinox theme, which was so elevated and mysterious. Kate Swee found the inspirational poem (featured in the video above), and Grace McFarlin put everything together in an incredible mood board that guided us.

Photo credit: Misti Layne (

From Darkness: The darkness to light experience started the moment our guests entered the venue. They were greeted by a moon and our “Starry Starry Night” room, which featured a winter-themed food station. 49Square catering outdid themselves with a culinary experience featuring a moss shelf that guests stuck their hands into and felt around for food in clear little pods. It was inspired by winter and root vegetables that are underground. “Starry Starry Night” also featured a Light Painting photo booth, with artists who paint with light (check out the amazing pics here)! And 0ur first mainstage moment was a dramatic, dark and mysterious performance by Capacitor (above).

Guests traveled through an ombre banking hall, signaling the change from light to dark. Our vendors were able to subtly showcase this transition in such a creative way. Elevate Productions, our sister lighting and sound company, slowly increased the light in the main banking hall as the evening progressed. And Blueprint Studios created an evolution in color, doing a slow gradation in highboys, as one walked through the room.

Each half-hour featured a truly distinct performance. Second up was the amazing harpist and singer Lucinda, who recently moved to the Bay Area from the UK. Such a treat. She’s like the late Amy Winehouse on the harp. She was paired with a double Lyra duet (this is really rare!) by The Dahlias, a quartet of multi-disciplinary cirque artists officially unveiled that night! They displayed their wide-ranging talents with Cyr wheel, contortion and aerial performances throughout the evening. Next came a gorgeous piece by our hip-hop ballet dancers and guzheng player. An ancient instrument, played to hip-hop, paired with a modern take on ballet combined the old and new in a really exciting way.

Photo credit: Misti Layne (

To Light: After moving through the banking hall (where a 49Square circular piece transitioned from winter foods to colorful, spring delights), guests entered the bright and festive “Floral Explosion” room, with flower crafts and a Floral Explosion photo booth. The grand finale was an original take on a Holi-festival themed piece. Our dancers performed a crazy, upbeat bhangra piece, and we had the brightest aerial silks framing the dance on either side.

It can be a challenge to re-invent the same space every year, but the Bently Reserve is so versatile. To change it up, guests entered through different doors, we created a deconstructed stage, and the lighting by Elevate Productions really helped to create a changing-of-the-seasons mood. Last year’s event was a bit too jam-packed. So we inserted a long runway into the main banking hall and moved the bar into an adjacent room to open the space up. We also tightened up the guest list. It was the cream of the crop – over 400 of the top event planners, many who traveled from Los Angeles, New York and other parts of the country. Sandy Hammer from producing sponsor AllSeated traveled furthest, flying in from Israel!

Photo credit: Jim Vetter (

Opening up the space allowed guests more room to take photos and interact with our talent. As many event pros know, an experience can live on long after the doors have closed and the house lights have come on, through the use of social media. Many clients who could not attend told us “I heard Vernal Equinox was amazing! I saw the photos.” No wonder! Everyone was using the hashtag #EntireEquinox18. By creating many visually appealing vignettes and “I’ve never seen that before” experiences, we were able to make it easy for our attendees to share the event with their circles.

We were also pleased to see an incredible number of requests for our talent. The very next day, our lead artist for our incredible light-painting photo set said, “No doubt that is a record number of quotes given in one day by a long shot!”

This was not your typical corporate event, which is just how we like to design for our clients. That makes us happy and makes our clients look amazing!

Team Entire: “We’ll see you next year!”


Entire Productions
Natasha Miller @entireproductions

Sandy Hammer @allseated

The Bently Reserve
Jim Bruels @bentlyreserve

Elevate Productions
Dylan McIntosh

49 Square Catering  Elaine Herman @49square


Best Beverage Catering Company Suzanne Kavert @bestbeveragecatering

Picture Perfect: An Evening of Living Art

With 40 Artists on Site, There Were a Lot of Moving Pieces to Manage at an Event Inspired by “Pageant of the Masters.”

We recently received one of our most interesting challenges yet, from AlliedPRA Northern California. One of their large corporate insurance clients was holding a week-long offsite with multiple activations in Monterey, California. The pièce de résistance: a high-end, formal dinner for 600 on the second-to-last night of their April stay. The client was inspired by the “Pageant of the Masters,” the crowning jewel of Laguna Beach’s annual Festival of Arts, featuring ninety minutes of “living picture” recreations of classical and contemporary works of art. Senior Account Executive Kate Swee and Production Manager Karen Waldmann set out to curate a customized “Evening of Living Art” that exceeded the client’s high expectations and grand vision.

Degas ballerinas (Photo Credit: Scott Campbell)

The event would take place at the Del Monte Aviation Hangar, with a one-hour cocktail reception outside, followed by a seated dinner. At the cocktail reception, guests would be greeted by eight Degas-inspired ballerina statues that would “come to life” throughout the reception. They would set the stage for what we dubbed the “Living Art Tableaus,” visualizations of classical paintings brought to life through custom-painted canvas backdrops, props, costumes, and live models.

Guests on the “live red carpet” (Photo Credit: Scott Campbell)

Kate immediately contacted one of our favorite body-painting artists who had created the 7 Deadly Sins for our MapAnything event in the fall. We knew that if anyone could envision what it would take to bring famous paintings to life, it was her. She was inspired by the unique concept and up for the challenge, even though she’d never produced something quite like this before. We set out to determine which famous paintings would make the cut. We knew they would have to be complex and visually-inspiring enough to WOW the guests, yet simple enough to execute in a month’s time. Our body-painting artists started a Pinterest board with initial recommendations, and after facilitating a back-and-forth brainstorm between them and the end client, we nailed down our six tableaus:

  • Boys in a Pasture, 1874, by Winslow Homer
  • The Singing Butler, 1992, by Jack Vettriano
  • A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1886, by Georges Seurat
  • The Garden Wall, 1910, by John Singer Sargent
  • In the Mirror, 1890, by August Toulmouche
  • The Two Fridas, 1939, by Frida Kahlo

“The Two Fridas” Prep (Photo Credit: Scott Campbell)

“The Two Fridas” Tableau (Photo Credit: Scott Campbell)

Painting ourselves in a corner (almost)! Did we mention the planning of An Evening of Living Art started just five weeks out? Our all-day walk-through at the venue, where we met with the AV team and the furniture rental and framing companies, took place in pouring rain, which we deemed a sign of much-needed good luck. Over the next two weeks we all struggled with what turned out to be our biggest challenge, how to appropriately frame the tableaus. Each frame had to be thick enough to cover the height of the staging on the bottom and hide the beam holding the reveal curtain at the top. The opening had to be large enough to optimize the viewing of the painting, while not cutting off any detail of the canvas. Complicating matters, the hangar would be filled with 600 people, who would each be viewing the tableaus from a different angle. It required more math than any of us could have anticipated, but after some frantic emails with the Blueprint Studios fabrication team, who created 3D drawings, we were able to settle on the dimensions of the frames.

“In the Mirror” Tableau (Photo Credit: Scott Campbell)

Prepping for the big reveal: We started load-in the day before the event to set up all of the canvases. With 40 artists on site, there were a lot of moving pieces to manage! Installing the piping to hang the canvases and reveal curtains took longer than expected, but by about 9 PM most of the models had walked through and blocked their positions. That evening we realized that the two tableaus flanking the stage had been set unevenly and one was significantly closer to the stage than the other. We had to move the entire tableau over and reset the painting!

“Boys in a Pasture” Tableau (Photo Credit: Scott Campbell)

Painting by numbers: The day of the event ran more smoothly than we could ever have imagined. We had 23 individuals being body painted by 14 painters and assistants offsite at a hotel, and they were running early all day. The Degas ballerinas were bussed over to the venue first, and they got into position outside in the reception area. The tableau models came next, and they waited in the lobby of the aviation hangar for their big entrance. We revealed three sets of two tableaus at a time, about 30 minutes apart, throughout the evening. Karen was on the radio with AlliedPRA and the AV team to stay coordinated for the reveals. Karen and Kate would walk out with the two tableaus and get them set into place. Kate texted Karen when her painting was ready to go, and once Karen’s was as well, a message was relayed to the band’s MC, who made a brief explanation of the images, and the AV team, who pulled the curtain to reveal the painting.

“The Garden Wall” Tableau (Photo Credit: Scott Campbell)

“The Singing Butler” Tableau (Photo Credit: Scott Campbell)

Masterpiece theater: Our incredible artists and models literally brought these paintings to life at a level that blew us, and everyone else, away. We couldn’t have done it without the expertise of the talented painters and models who worked tirelessly (sometimes through the night) to deliver an exquisite product, truly showcasing the exemplary caliber of what we strive for in our large-scale custom activations.  The fabrications, sets, and costumes were magnificent, and the tableaus were awe-inspiring. Some of the guests even got visibly upset when the curtains closed. One guest, upon the reveal of The Singing Butler, exclaimed, “I have this framed above my bed!” And others were asking out loud, “Are those real people?” Between that and the high fives from our client, we couldn’t have painted a more picture-perfect reaction.

“A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” Tableau

The CallidusCloud Challenge: Create an Experience to Inspire Adults and Children Alike!

When Your Theme Is “Innovation and Exploration,” the Sky Is the Limit…

And there’s no better venue than the California Academy of Sciences. What other location offers an aquarium, tidepools, a rainforest and a planetarium? Those created the perfect foundation for us to build an interactive, awe-inspiring event for 500 adults and 200 kids.

When CallidusCloud asked us in late November to partner with them on their annual company party, Experience Design Account Exec Rachel Quinlan and Production Services Manager Karen Waldmann knew we’d have to hustle. We had approximately six weeks to fully plan the January event, and they fell smack in the middle of the holidays. As if that time of year isn’t stressful already. But at Team Entire, we pride ourselves on keeping calm and carrying on under pressure!

Fortunately, in addition to the amazing interactive exhibits on site, the venue offered tables, chairs, mics and a sound system, so we were able to bite right into the catering. La Bonne Cuisine‘s creative proposal fit right in with the client’s playful theme. At the Paint-A-Plate station, guests would be invited to “paint” their plates with sauces to enhance the flavor of the kebab main course. The Mac-N-Cheese Action Zone would feature cavatappi corkscrew pasta and a toppings bar. We could practically picture the adults tempted to cut that line! The biggest wow factor? A liquid nitrogen dessert bar, where each serving of ice cream would be flash frozen to order.

After a walk-through of the California Academy of Sciences, we put together a continuous flow of entertainment and experiences, all related to innovation and exploration. On the big night, CallidusCloud’s employees and their families were first greeted outside by LED Poi Spinners and Butterflies and inside by DJ King Most, killing it in the African Hall. It was hard to choose what to do first—visit the tidepools, the face-painting booth (a huge hit with the kids) or the photo booth? Adults could grab self-serve cocktails as they entered the aquarium through the rainforest or tried to figure out how roaming magician Dan Chan did his tricks. No guest wanted to miss one of the three 30-minute shows in the Morris Planetarium.

As anticipated, the liquid nitrogen ice cream station where guests could choose their own toppings was a favorite with all ages. Even though it looked like everything was totally chill and perfectly orchestrated, we did face one big hurdle behind the scenes in planning the event. Because of the holidays, we were still struggling to confirm final floor plans for the food stations until the day of the party. But Karen was able to troubleshoot on site and adjust tables, chairs and talent performance spaces at the last minute. “I was lucky to have enough team members there to help with other pieces, so I could focus solely on this component,” she says. The lesson? On a tight schedule, it’s even more important that everyone stick to it.

In the end, we achieved everything we set out to. The best part? Hearing guest after guest saying, “This event is amazing!” We’re already thinking about ways to top it next year!

Going for Gold: How We Created a 5-Star “Apres Ski” Holiday Party for Yelp

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow…in San Francisco!

When Yelp asked us to create an amazing holiday event for 2000 employees with an “impossible” budget (the same as the prior year’s catering budget alone), we knew we were on a steep slope in black diamond territory. But that’s where we do our best work. We put our thinking caps and earmuffs on and came up with a pretty cool idea.

yelp, ice sculpture

Photo Credit:

We wanted to create a non-religious, inclusive winter celebration, so we suggested an Apres Ski theme, which the client loved. To turn the Regency Ballroom and Lodge in San Francisco into a cozy cabin at the top of a ski slope, we created a snowy mountain landscape at every window. Window clings (created by Blueprint Studios and Kaia Jacobi) made it appear that you were in the Sierras, not on Van Ness! Logs burned in the fireplace, and the staff were cozy-chic in boots, flannel and winter scarves.

Our client, Julia, at Yelp really wanted icicles, so our amazing sister company, Elevate Productions, sourced icicle lights and hung them, ringing the entire downstairs ballroom. It was a great effect that took more time than expected, but it was well worth the effort. “Like hanging your own holiday lights, you have to untangle them for quite a while to get them to hang nicely!” Claire O’Neill, our production superstar, explains.

Photo Credit:

Skiing–or just hanging in the lodge–makes us crave comfort food, and that’s exactly what we felt at the tasting with Svetlana Catering. First, we tried the awesome crostini. We thought it couldn’t get any better, but then it did, with the fondue, the mini grilled cheese sandwiches and the truffle mac and cheese. Sometimes with catering, it’s easy to do a great tasting, but then at the event, the quality suffers due to the incredible quantity of food required. But Svetlana was spectacular from start to finish.

The party started at 1 PM, and the guests were blown away by the amount of entertainment–including Lumberjack hip-hop dancers, ballerinas in bubbles, aerial champagne pours and an ice sculpting DJ–plus fun stuff like the snowflake confetti blowers, crafts, photo booths, and ball pits. Several guests were overheard saying, “This is the best holiday party I’ve been to!”

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

How We Created a Winter Wonderland on a “Chilly” Budget

We couldn’t have pulled off such an elaborate event so economically without our years of experience, industry discounts, and connections. Here’s how we did it, in 7 steps:

  1. Chose a date later in December when venues would be more available and open to negotiations. We did this on Dec 20th after all of the major holiday parties were over.
  2. Held the event during the day after lunch so a big meal wasn’t expected.
  3. Hosted beer/wine and one signature drink related to the theme. In this case, it was hot cider with brandy.
  4. Sourced a caterer that could meet their needs at a greatly reduced/negotiated price-point.
  5. After we solidified the venue, catering, and beverages, we moved on to decor, lighting, and entertainment and found that we had done so much tidy negotiating and conserving of the budget that we had more than expected.
  6. We were able to negotiate huge deals with our vendors because of our relationship with them, but also because of the date we selected.
  7. Because they had paid us a planning fee, we booked all of their entertainment at a discount and were able to pack a lot more in than they ever dreamed of.

Photo Credit:

The feedback from YELP made us melt. “What can’t I say about the Entire Productions team? They’re simply the best. From the first moment I met them, they made me feel like a friend and not just a client,” says Julia. “They helped me plan the most AMAZING holiday party for over 2K people in just under five months. The event had everyone in awe. The quality of entertainment and production is what you’d expect to get with a half-million dollar budget. Let me tell you, mine was NOWHERE near that and yet they still made it happen. MIND BLOWN.”

Photo Credit:

And we were pleased that our client was able to focus on her day-to-day job and not be drained by the enormous planning and negotiating. She was able to think ‘Big Picture’ and let go of the rest, knowing she’d be in good hands with us. We narrowed down the perfect venue that was within their budget, then began layering in the elements that were must haves and ultimately being able to add in incredible entertainment due to the deep negotiations we made with other vendors in the selection process. The planning period entailed just a few in-person meetings including a few walk-throughs. We try to make it as easy on our clients as possible.

Photo Credit: Misti Layne (

Photo Credit:

“Claire O’Neill was my main POC throughout the planning process and ran my event on the day-of like a total boss,” adds Julia. “Her spreadsheets included every piece of information you’d ever need for an event. Someone who had no knowledge of events could have looked at her spreadsheets and run it without any issues–they were so detailed. She took the time the go over everything with me and was reachable 24/7 so that I was more than prepared when asked questions by my own team.

“Working with them is the best thing that you could do for yourself and/or your company if you want a guaranteed no-fail event with a 120% wow factor.”

Our Client Wanted Something That Had Never Been Done Before…

Their Only Restrictions: No Fire and No Exotic Animals. That’s Right Up Our Alley!

When Glow Event Design came to us in early 2017 and asked us to help them create a unique, other-worldly experience with over-the-top entertainment for MapAnything’s Dreamforce after-party, we couldn’t wait to dive right in.

At Entire Productions, we don’t just book talent anymore. As our name implies, we’re also expertly skilled at producing entire events, with a diverse staff that excels in every aspect of experience design. Team Entire is always keeping our eye on what’s new and innovative.

The Dreamforce conference in early November, hosted by Salesforce, takes over most of San Francisco (cruise ships are even brought in to house some of the 200K attendees)! By day, it’s a tech conference. By night, MapAnything wanted to create an experience their guests would never forget—something along the lines of an unsettling but exciting dream. It had to be cutting edge, ahead of trend, and a multi-sensory spectacle that nobody had ever seen before.

Our creative experience genius Kate Swee, Senior Account Executive, immediately got to work on a proposal for a sexy, full-of-surprises, interactive “Into the Darkness” themed after-party that would leave guests wondering exactly where the entertainment began and where it ended. The challenge, explains Kate, was figuring out, “How can we get our guests—who will range from San Francisco residents to people flying in from all over the world for Dreamforce—as involved as possible?”

For the desired vibe and atmosphere of participation, Kate and the client were inspired by Sleep No More, an immersive, interactive performance piece currently being staged in New York City. “It’s kind of this dark, in the shadows vibe where the guests are part of the entertainment and the performers are touching them and following them, but not jumping out at them in a haunted house kind of way,” says Kate.

(Seven Deadly Sins: “Envy” and “Sloth”)

The final proposal featured entertainment every hour on the hour (more on that below) at Verso nightclub, with each performance building to a cutting-edge, extravagant grand finale. What really set the plan apart was the ambient entertainers who would interact with guests before and between the featured acts. Models, fully body painted as the Seven Deadly Sins, would roam the party, interacting and dancing with guests—except for Sloth, who would melt into his chair, with some of his limbs actually inside it. And five Crawlers would lurk in the shadows and then stealthily tap a guest on the shoulder or whisper something in their ear.

(“Gluttony” Headpiece and Model With Full Body Paint)

(“Envy” Sketch and Model With Full Body Paint)

With the plan approved, it was time for our Production Services Pro, Claire O’Neill, to make it a reality. In all, there would be over 40 performers entertaining guests. Concepts, costumes, makeup, and models were all meticulously detailed and approved ahead of time by the client. All of that advance prep could not have paid off better.

The big night, 9 PM: As guests first arrived, they were greeted by two costumed holographic LED Poi spinners with wands, depicting MapAnything’s logo in the air. LED Poi spinners are a great way to create the drama and movement of traditional Hawaiian fire Poi dancers, without the actual flames. (Kate later heard that MapAnything’s CEO wanted to take the LED holograph Poi home with him!)

(Beaker Girl and Close-Up of Beaker Skirt)

At coat check a Black Swan style ballerina, with contact lenses that gave her eyes an eerie zombie look and feel, performed on a small pedestal stage. Guests could order a drink at the bar, where they might run into Envy, who had big, beautiful eyes painted all over his body and a knife sticking out of his back, or Lust, covered in gorgeous Georgia O’Keeffe style flowers. Or they could grab a surprise custom concoction from the Beaker Girl. Her metal beaker skirt was based on the popular Champagne skirt, but we preferred a modern twist, so we had one custom made to carry beakers.

(Aerial Artist Mina Wowed the Crowd)

10 PM: The Crawlers started whispering to guests that something special was about to start. Aerial artist Mina then wowed guests with her stunning aerial act on silk. What made that particular performance even more amazing? Claire had originally been advised that the venue had a rigging point to support an aerial artist. Four days before the event, she found out that it didn’t! Can you say last-minute panic? “Because we have such a strong network of artists and riggers that we work with,” says Claire, “we were able to find a rigger who saved the day and allowed us to have that stunning aerial piece with Mina doing these beautiful falls from the ceiling.”

(“If The Walls Could Speak” Performance Art Piece)

11 PM: Imagine a black wall suddenly coming to life, with hands and faces trying to literally reach through it. That was the backdrop for the custom choreographed If The Walls Could Speak performance piece that Kate conceptualized. A skeleton-faced “puppet master” sought a volunteer in the crowd (a dancer wearing a Dreamforce lanyard had been planted to look like a conference attendee) and mimed hypnotizing him, as the guests wondered whether or not he was a part of the act. More dancers in costume came out and joined the 10-minute engaging performance of acting and storytelling.

Midnight: The dramatic grand finale required a total blackout. Guests didn’t know where the three ILuminate (featured on America’s Got Talent) LED hip-hop dancers were until the lights on their customized suits started flashing. It was the perfect headline performance to cap off a night of surprises.

Claire couldn’t have been more proud that every performance started right on time. “I was calling the show,” she explains, “working with the sound and light teams and stage management to make sure that everything went exactly as planned. I was the one counting down 3, 2, 1, GO!” Her biggest challenge? The run-thru for ILuminate’s LED dance performance couldn’t happen until the sun went down (there’s a huge skylight in the middle of Verso). Which meant that she had to stage a full blackout when everyone was busiest, setting up the bar and getting the food and decorations into place. “There were a hundred people running around setting up the party, and we had to turn off all of the lights and pretty much pause everybody in their places for 15 minutes,” she says.

We were thrilled when Kate was told by the client that we “killed it” and that they couldn’t have been happier with the results. “We wanted to make sure that we delivered an exceptional experience, and I think we achieved that,” she says. Claire adds, “People now associate MapAnything with that party, and it’s hopefully something we’ll do again.” She credits her team members with making Into the Darkness run seamlessly. “They were getting each of the artists into place, making sure they were ready and waiting in the wings to get out on time,” she says. With so many different components happening at once, everyone on staff had to play their role to perfection.

“That’s one of the things I think people really rely on us for,” says Claire. “Each and every member brings such expertise and positivity to the event. And that’s what people really have come to expect of Entire Productions.”

  • The Event: MapAnything‘s After-Party at Dreamforce in San Francisco
  • The Date: November 8
  • The Venue: Verso bi-level dance club in SoMa (South of Market)
  • The Theme: “Into the Darkness” – It’s dark, it’s sexy, and the guests don’t know what’s going to happen next, but they’re excited
  • The Challenge: Create a one-of-a-kind experience to wow the “been there, seen that” tech crowd

Nobody Puts the Band in a Corner…Unless It Has a Beautiful Backdrop!

Don’t Put the Entertainment in a Cornerand Other Tips to Get the Most Bang From Your Band or Musicians!

So many things come into play to make an event have depth, engagement and excitement. And to live on in everyone’s minds and Instagram feeds. Any vendor would argue that they are the key to making an event—from catering, decor and florals to lighting, linens and entertainment. Actually, seeing them all come together in an amazing venue is where the magic happens. They’re all important—experiencing one without the others could be a very blah experience.

But let’s get back to entertainment—that’s one of the main touch points where Team Entire comes in. And yes, I feel it’s one of the biggest game changers (especially live music) you can have at your event to make it special. If it’s exactly the right group for the theme, room size, and demographics of the audience, it can transform the atmosphere.

Let’s assume that you now have the absolute right entertainment—whether it’s a jazz trio, Ukulele singer/songwriter, dance band or classical ensemble. You assume that if they have the right sound equipment and perform perfectly that you’re taken care of, right?

Not so fast. That’s just one piece of the puzzle. Have you asked: What surface are they performing on? What’s behind them—a blank wall? Pipe and drape? A window? Is there lighting designed for their vignette? The space in which an artist performs is a make-or-break element in event design.

When budgets get tight, the space surrounding the band is often not designed. Don’t get me wrong—live entertainment or a DJ spinning in a sterile conference room is better than none at all! But you’re missing out on the opportunity to showcase the brilliant choice of talent that you’re bringing into the lives of your guests. It’s a gift. Present it to them packaged artfully and delight when they discover what’s inside. Putting the musicians in a corner, or on the floor with a blank wall behind them, can be damaging to the overall look and feel of the fête.

Designing a “set” for your musicians can be ornate and come with a large price tag, but it can also be simple and inexpensive.

Here are a few things to consider when you book musicians for events:

Stage or Riser: This is typically at your discretion, though larger and more well-known acts have this in their “rider,” which is an addendum to their contract with all of their requirements. However, having the band perform on a platform of some height—even just 6″-12″ gives guests the anticipation that something meaningful is going to happen.

The size and shape of the platform should ideally be determined by the number of artists and the choreography of the performance. They should be able to move comfortably in the space you’ve allocated for them. The best way to present a stage is either skirted or with a solid base so you cannot see underneath it. Steps leading up to the stage from the side or back for the musicians’ safety (especially the ladies in their high heels) are encouraged. Equally important: if you anticipate someone from the event taking the stage to make remarks, they should have a clear path to the front.

If you are lucky enough to have a venue that features a “natural stage”—either a patio or a raised platform—then no additional staging is needed. However, a nice rug or floor covering might be in order. If you want musicians to perform outdoors, there should be a solid surface underfoot, so they’re not standing in grass or dirt. A plywood covering with a rug on top will do the trick.

Backdrop: Placing a band against a wall or to section off space is fine if you have great lighting. However, planning this piece can be as important as selecting the right linens and color scheme for the entire event. A scrim, designed backdrop, stage panels, floral installation or even simple pipe and drape will frame the ensemble and make a statement.

Lighting: Lighting can make an average band seem like they’re in line for the next Coachella or Carnegie Hall date. Stage lighting, a spotlight, pin spots—or if you want to get really fancy—moving headlights or lasers can pump up the drama noticeably.

And don’t forget this handful of must haves…

Green Room: This doesn’t have to be fancy, just functional, but it should feature the following necessities:

1. Chairs for every band member and support staff to sit in to rest and eat.
2. Table surfaces that are clear of clutter. (It can’t also be a staging area for catering and a dumping ground for event staff’s belongings.)
3. Security. These performers are going to give it their all once they hit the stage. To come back from pouring their hearts out for your event and find their belongings missing is a major buzz kill. This actually happened not too long ago at a Super Bowl performance, and it destroyed the exciting spirit of the big day.
4. Water—either bottles or pitchers with enough glasses to go around before the performance, during breaks and after.
5. Snacks, unless on the rider, are not expected, but they are considered an appreciated extra special touch.
6. A warm, balanced vendor meal, per your contract. With dietary needs requested in advance allocated for. Served at the time that was arranged before the event.

Temperature Control/Cover from Debris and Elements: This is so important, both in the green room and on stage. The green room should be warm if it’s cold outside or cool if it’s hot. I have seen planners forget this piece and have had bands shivering while they waited for hours after sound check to go on stage.

If musicians are playing outdoors, they should be covered by shade, an umbrella, a tent or an awning, so that they’re not in direct sunlight. Not only is it uncomfortable for them, but their instruments can go out of tune quickly if the temperature is not consistent and controlled.

The cover also helps with falling debris from surrounding trees, light mist or rain (which is common in Northern California) and wind. I was once playing my violin at the Legion of Honor lawn, and the wind was so strong it not only blew my music and stand away, but I couldn’t keep the bow on the strings! Mother Nature must have been angry she hadn’t been invited. 🙂

Which just serves as a reminder that you can’t control everything. But by following the steps above, you’ll rarely miss a beat.


(Natasha Miller owns the entertainment production company Entire Productions with offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. She is a recovering classical violinist and jazz vocalist whose passion for presenting live entertainment is overshadowed only by her devotion to her boho-chic writer daughter Bennett.)

Summertime Fine – Entertainment for Your Outdoor Soiree

Summertime isn’t over yet and we all know what that means: there’s still time to party!

Our 1950s Roller Girls

Over the years, we’ve seen and done it all. Elegant evening weddings set in wine country, extravagant corporate beach mixers, breathtaking under-the-sea children’s birthday parties, and ladies’ luncheons with string quartets. Our focus has always been on curating entertainment that complements the season and environment, all the while impressing your attendees.

Live Performances

Guests want to be surprised and dazzled at any event- it’s now expected. Long gone are the days of a simple showing of streamers and balloons, with the hosted bar. No one will write home, or shall we say, post on social media about that.

Better ways to enchant guests are with costuming, activities and with a take-home soundtrack of the event. Say you’re hosting a pool party- along with making sure there are plenty of rafts, tubes, and toys (oversized swans and flamingos are quite the sights), also delight guests with surprise live performances.

Perhaps a synchronized swim routine on land and in water

Photo by Kassia Phoy

Or even our mermaids emerging out of the blue (water, that is).

Curious on how to take it a step further and make it even more interactive? 
Consider bringing in a poet, whose specialty includes creating haikus on the spot. Sitting down with our artists, your attendees share a topic of their choice and in a matter of minutes, they receive a typewritten personalized work from the heart.  Our poets have been complimented by their sitters, saying “(it’s) therapy with a gift at the end.” 


The festivities are not complete until you’ve got people dancing underneath the stars and what better way to make that happen than to bring in a live band? From bluegrass banjos to steel pan drums, music will set the tone throughout your party, offering guests that extra magic. Even if a stage isn’t available, you’ll want to situate the band so that they weave into the environment, making them photo and social media-ready!

The suggestions we’ve mentioned are merely a taste of the different acts you can have at your end-of-the-summer hootenanny. Make sure to reach out to your favorite Team Entire member to curate entertainment for your next event.


The Power of Experiential Marketing: Launching AAA’s GIG Car Share Service”

With a little over a month away from rolling out its new car-sharing service, GIG, A3Ventures (AAA’s venture arm) called on Entire Productions to design a spectacular and newsworthy experiential launch. From playfully (and sometimes seriously) considering ideas involving helicopters and the shutting down of the Bay Bridge, our team worked side-by-side with A3Ventures to introduce the East Bay’s hottest new ride.

Occupying the short-term rental niche with the likes of Zipcar and GetAround, GIG offers the unique option of one-way car sharing service. Users are not required to return the car at a designated location, but can instead rent any of the Toyota Prius C vehicles with the mobile app. When finished, users can then drop it off at any public parking lot or metered parking space within Oakland or Berkeley.

Since its last product launch in 1971, AAA looked to tap into a younger Millenial generation by offering a new product. GIG Car Sharing Service was that opportunity. The question at hand was then how could GIG successfully and uniquely launch to this target group?

Entire Production’s President, Natasha Miller, and Director of Experience Design, Carina Hessmer, developed a two-part publicity stunt showcasing the cars while leveraging social media and our own network of diverse and incredibly talented local musicians. 

Meticulously planned by our creative Production Manager, Claire O’Neil, and executed by the rest of our team, the first aspect involved four drive trains cruising throughout Oakland and Berkeley’s main thoroughfares. Each drive train was made up of five vehicles, with the lead car hosting a beautifully decorated bike on its top rack. Whimsically adorned, the decor of the bikes paid an ode to the annual art and music festival of Burning Man- a celebration attended by many of our target audience members.  

Reggae-pop band HIRIE in GIG Car with customized Burning Man bike.

Leading each car were four Bay Area music groups whose social following composed of influencers and Millennial fans alike. Equipping the cars with GoPro cameras and microphones, we were able to live stream their take on James Gordon’s Carpool Karaoke-meets-NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts. Throughout the routes, the musicians belted out tunes to hundreds of random passersby and thousands of online viewers, gracing everyone’s morning and online stream with good vibes.

The Easy Leaves jamming out during their drive train.

Brass Mafia Trio on a micro-concert stop.

After traversing around Berkeley and Oakland, all GIG cars reconvened at Lake Merritt for the second part of the stunt – a world record attempt at having the Most Concerts in a Car, or as we affectionately refer to it, ‘Most Gigs in a GIG’. Inviting official Record Setters, we brought in 23 colorful musical acts to perform inside one of the GIG cars. Launch goers were treated to a variety of performances, from youth indie rock stars and an authentic pirate to an Italian opera vocalist and sweet island reggae. Our team not only took a lighthearted approach to introducing a service, we set a world record for music!

Accordionist Rob Reich with Record Setter during his Gig in GIG.

Oakland Youth Chorus posing with their Record Setting badge.

A few A3Ventures team members getting ready before their big musical debut.

All the while, if you can believe there’s more, Entire Productions and A3Ventures also partnered with Daybreaker to curate a giant, outdoor festival. Set at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater, Daybreaker attracted thousands of attendees to launch day with a morning yoga session, a dance party that continued into the afternoon, food trucks from Off the Grid, and interactive art installations.

Daybreaker leads yoga on Lake Merritt. Photo by Daniel Lee.

Dance festival on its way. Photo by Kristina Bakrevski.

The overall launch day was a HUGE SUCCESS! We had over 6,000 RSVP’s and more than 2,500 attendees sign up for the GIG service, doubling their sign-ups in one magnificent day. In less than 6 weeks, we gained measurable traction for GIG and established the brand to be one of relevance, accessibility, and, most importantly, fun! The power of experiential marketing!

We can’t wait to produce the next raving celebration!

Team Entire Out.

Special thanks to our photographer Jim Vetter and videographer Elson Ross of Mirrorless Media for trusting us on our wild rides and capturing the essence of the day.



With summer fast approaching, we’re excited to bring our talent and entertainment to the great outdoors. Producing carnivals for attendees of all ages, from the tots learning to walk to our older couples teaching us how to jump, jive ‘n wail, our team is ready for a whole lot of fun and cotton candy! Here is a peek at three carnival celebrations for very special clients from last year!

The first carnival, an annual event for us, was for one of our favorite clients at Oakland City Center. The OCC Carnival is completely free and open to the public as the Center’s way of showing gratitude to both tenants and neighbors for their patronage. Team Entire managed a craft booth where visitors made custom frames, and also brought in magician MC Calvin Kai Ku, face painter Lisa, balloon artist Raul, popcorn and cotton candy vendors and vintage carnival games. The event draws over 300 attendees each year, and 2016 proved to be the biggest and most successful OCC carnival yet!

For more info on this year’s OCC Carnival, clink on this link or on the flyer below.

The second carnival was a new event for another one of our most fabulous loyal clients – this time to celebrate their occupancy of a new floor in the One Market Spear Tower building. Royal Jelly Jive brought the event alive and proved to be the perfect fit for a carnival setting. They were joined by fellow entertainers including stilt walkerstarot card readers, an acclaimed mime artist, a photo booth complete with carnival themed props, and vintage carnival games. The event- held seven floors up in a historic San Francisco building, made for some tight logistics coordination (always a breeze for us here at Entire Productions!) and also made for the most amazing bay, ferry building, bridge and skyline city views. The event was a smashing success and featured the most stunning backdrop we’ve seen at a carnival event to date.


The final event, held at The Pacific Telephone Building at 140 New Montgomery, was a tenant appreciation event and another annual carnival event for us here at Entire. The event featured live music spun by DJ King Most, plus entertainment provided by caricaturists Rene Pulido and Mokhtar Paki, a tarot card reader, a photo booth and vintage carnival games. The guests, all still kids at heart, were both playful and appreciative of the event, proving you’re never too old to let go and enjoy some summer fun.

Thinking of throwing a carnival or festival this summer? Make sure to check in with your favorite Team Entire member for new talent ideas.

-Team Entire

Swing Into Spring Event at the Bently Reserve with AllSeated

In our ninth year of production, our annual celebration has become one of the most anticipated Bay Area event industry events. Receiving such recognition is not only rewarding but fires up our creative team to try and top the previous year. Needless to say, after the amazing and beautiful Suddenly Spring at the Bently Reserve last year, the team could not wait to begin scheming on how to WOW our fellow event professionals this year.

Rooted in showcasing the best of our talent while keeping experiential design (check out our Burning Man article regarding “XD”) top of mind, the team set out to take guests on a sensory journey back to Palm Springs circa the 1960’s. If you’re unfamiliar with the aesthetic of this glamorous time period, think Pop Art, geometrics, and mod muted color tones. We took a little more creative liberty by adding a few flamingos here and there—leaving the jello molds and fondue to things of the past.

Partnering with the Bently Reserve and AllSeated, we began the evening with a special VIP pre-party for our most esteemed wedding industry friends. With the creative collaboration and vision of the team at Glow Event Design, we fashioned the historic Sansome Lobby and Adriatic Room into a serene bridal lounge. California-cool in design with lush florals and banana leaves, guests were treated to an exclusive session with renowned event planning guru Mindy Weiss and our president, Natasha Miller. While guests mingled in the lobby with bubbles from BBC, bites from Barbara Llewellyn Catering and a gourmet cake bar by Global Gourmet Catering, our poet crafted instant prose for guests while our 1960s band, Project Pimento, wooed everyone into a lounge-like vibe.

VIP Lounge Designed by Glow Event Design. Photo © Misti Layne

Beautiful Car Bar by Global Gourmet Catering. Photo © Misti Layne

Our on-demand poet ready to craft verses for guests. Photo © Misti Layne

Project Pimento Band. Photo © Misti Layne

Once everyone took their seats, Natasha, Mindy and Sandy Hammer of AllSeated shared their thoughts on the significance of unique entertainment acts when it came to designing guest experiences. They also took questions from the audience, dispersing wisdom and bits of laughter throughout.

Mindy and Natasha discussing Entertainment and Experience Design. Photo © Misti Layne

After this intimate discussion ended, guests were invited to join the main party. Entering through the Battery Street Lobby, attendees cued up and waited as one of our retro flight attendants checked them in. Upon entrance, a 6-foot living champagne tower greeted guests with spirits, while our pilot for the evening, DJ “Captain” Cody brought guests back in time with Motown hits. In the PanAm-inspired airport Gateway lounge, Snap Fiesta captured passengers ready for take-off, while our Jewelry “Making” Bar encouraged attendees to adorn themselves with their own DIY mod necklaces.

Guests arrive in Battery Lobby with 6 ft. Living Champagne Tower. Photo © Jim Vetter

For veterans of our spring celebration, you’ll know that we love to create a sense of anticipation and suspense. We hold all of our attendees in the lobby until it’s time for the grand reveal. This year, our PanAm flight attendants led attendees into the main Banking Hall, welcoming all to Swing into Spring. As if preparing for take off, our flight attendants broke into their safety dance and were later joined by our dance band for the evening, The Klipptones.

Retro Flight Attendants dancing Safety Song. Photo © Jim Vetter

We brought in over 70 artists that evening – an unprecedented number for our company’s event. From the Giant Martini Glass with our beautiful go-go dancer to our colorful body-painted walk around characters, we not only aimed to engage all of our guests’ senses but to also inspire our industry to break the regular mold of event entertainment.

Photos © Jim Vetter

Our planning of this fete was almost as much fun as the mesmerizing evening itself. Almost.

We are so grateful to our incredible sponsors and artists whose generous contributions brought this event to life. We could not have done it without them and we hope you think of them first for your next event.


Producing + Venue Sponsor
The Bently Reserve

Producing Sponsors

A/V Sponsor
Elevate Productions

Catering Sponsors
49 Square Catering
Barbara Llewellyn Catering & Event Planning
The Hugh Groman Group
Ladies Who Lunch

Beverage Sponsors
Best Beverage Catering Company
Benziger Family Winery

Cake Bar
Global Gourmet Catering

Decor & Rental Sponsors
Napa Valley Linens
Suite Treatments
Classic Party Rentals
Event Drape Rental

Floral Sponsors
Amy Burke Designs
Kitani Floral Design

Photobooth Sponsors
Snap Fiesta

Photography Sponsors
Misti Layne Photography
Photogenic Events

Special Creative
VIP Bridal Suite Design by Glow Event Design
Mod Jewelry “Making” Bar by Very Mary Inspired 

The Party Staff

Graphics & PrintsS
ADMAC Digital Imaging

Media Sponsor
Modern Luxury

Give Away Sponsors:
Swift LLC
OTR Cocktails

If you joined us, we hope you were inspired. If you weren’t able to, make sure you don’t miss out next year. We’re already planning for 2018!


For more posts, make sure you check out our Facebook and our social media tag, #entirespring17.