Monthly Archives: April 2019

Why Event Staffing Matters

HighLife Model Hannah McKechnie

Too often we overlook what is most important. We fixate on things instead of people. It is the people who make every event memorable. Not just your guests but your staff. These individuals are the face of your brand, cause, event, company, and more. In this gig economy this aspect of part time work or the idea of “picking up shifts until something better comes along’ is looked down upon. Take for example that case of Jeffrey Owens bagging groceries at a whole foods and how he was job-shamed for trying to earn a wage. Just in that case many of the event staff at your party are artists, actors, models, singers, dancers who are between jobs.

Its this kind of dedication and hustle that makes the individuals behind a “gig” based workforce memorable. These people are the faces and voices behind major commercial campaigns, TV, shows, films, and your favorite magazines. They are also the people who work your event.

HighLife Model Adrian Gorbaliuk

The next time you plan your event, ask yourself that just like the food or the drinks or the music, can the staffing be better.

XOXO

HIGHLIFE PRODUCTIONS

How to make a Mint Julep or How to make a Margarita

Derby Day or Cinco de Mayo??

HighLife Productions April 24, 2019

Mint Julep

Next week the perfect storm. Whether you are from the south or the way south (Mexico) Derby Day and Cinco De Mayo back-to-back. The Mint Julep or the Margarita? Pick your horse and place your bets. No matted which side of the bar you are on these classic cocktails have stood the test of time for a reason.

THE MINT JULEP (MAY 4th)

The classic Mint Julep looks a little like this… beaded silver cup, crushed ice, sprig of mint and the bourbon…. Ahhh, can you hear the horses getting ready. Maybe its the excitement of the race or the festivities of the hats (oh derby hats) but a lot of ceremony surrounds one drink. The julep first got its start as a medicinal concoction used to settle the stomach. As a cocktail, it blossomed in the American South in the late 1700s, with a decidedly elite air, because not everyone had access to ice nor the silver or pewter cup in which the drink is served. Known as the unofficial drink of the South, the Mint Julep became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1938. Nearly 120,000 Mint Juleps have been sold at the race every year since. That’s a lot of silver cups (which people at the race used to steal, so now they sell them instead).

So if on Saturday, you are tuning in to watch the race, enjoy Derby Day with friends be sure to have the iconic, perennial, best in breed Mint Juleps on hand for if your event/party does that you will always be sure to win, place, or show!

THE HIGHLIFE MINT JULEP

The Recipe
8 mint leaves + 1 mint sprig for garnish
1/4 ounce simple syrup (Best made ahead of time)
2 ounces bourbon, such as Rebel Yell or Ezra Brooks, 
Crushed ice, Mint Bitters

Gently muddle mint leaves and simple syrup in the bottom of a julep cup, then add the bourbon and pack with ice. Swirl it all around in the cup so that it gets frosty, then add more ice to the top. Garnish with the mint sprig and dash of mint bitters.

CINCO DE MAYO — Sunday May 5th

If the all day drinking of bourbon on Derby Day didn’t wear you out then the quickly following of Cinco de Mayo certainly will. Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexico’s Independence (which is actually September 16th), but rather a celebration of Mexico’s victory in the battle at Puebla on May 5th, 1862 during the Franco-Mexican war. An unlikely victory but thank god they did or we all might be drinking French 75s instead of the classic Margarita!

One of the earliest stories is of the Margarita being invented in 1938 by Carlos “Danny” Herrera at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Baja California, created for customer and former Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to many spirits, but not to tequila. So its understandable that the limited ways to disguise the tequila existed. But how did the Margarita become so famous. Synonymous with spring break, Mexico, and wild nights dancing on the table. Why did the Margarita get cast into super stardom? It’s a perfectly balanced cocktail, and like the Mint Julep has its own glass! There are few other tequila cocktails as well known nor do they have as many variations. Spicy jalapeño, Cucumber, Prickly Pear, Strawberry, skinny… the variations are endless. Which is why we are going to pick just one to highlight today.

HIGHLIFE MARGARITA

INGREDIENTS

ounces blanco tequila

4 Ounces of homemade mix (thats lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, and water to taste) err on the side of less sweet here

2 ounces of prickly pear syrup (this is the best because it adds a level of sweetness without being cloying)

Salt for rim (optional)

Lime wedge, for garnish….

VIVA LA MEXICO

No matter which side of the border you are on. There is a cocktail for you. Next weekend is one of the most exciting times to be in NYC and one of the most delicious. So wear that sear sucker and derby hat on Saturday and drink that Mint Julep! Then get up bright and early on Sunday and celebrate with sombreros and Margaritas in the streets even if you don’t speak Spanish, we all speak the language of great cocktails.

XOXO

HIGHLIFE PRODUCTIONS

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5 Things Every Event Should Have

What’s the most important thing when hosting an event?

HighLife Productions March 26, 2019

Is it the venue? Eh, maybe. Is it the lighting? probably not. Although, I did recently attend an event at Cipriani’s for the company “Moment Factory” and let me tell you it was definitely ABOUT THE LIGHTING. Incredible video mapping installation they have put in Cipriani’s Downtown. Back on track here. Is it the Music? Yes, possibly if you are hosting an EDM Festival, Bluegrass Concert, karaoke night music might be the most important thing but for the great majority of events out there the most important element is of course the FOOD & DRINKS.

Think about the last event you attended. What was memorable about it? The conversation, the people, you met, the laughs you shared (hoho) or how incredible the mixology was and the delightfully cute bartender. In most cases the food and the drinks are what people talk about for months after your event. This is what people come for. This is what they expect when attending an event ESPECIALLY if they guests have paid to be there. How many times have you heard people say “I’m not going if I have to buy drinks…” The importance of having solid food and drinks is probably the best investment of your money you can make. With many of our clients who are planning events here in NYC on a budget they say to me that they are spending $8,000.00 on the venue and therefore don’t have the money to spend on the catering… Here is a quick hack. In NYC the wealth of condo buildings that now come with STUNNING common rooms is overwhelming. These common rooms largely are empty 95% of the time and are FREE to the people who live there. All you have to do is inquire amongst your friends to see who has one of these common rooms in their building. Boom I just saved you $7k you can now spend on the food and drinks.

Events are a special time for friends to get together and celebrate so the food and drinks should be special too. If you want a jack & coke just go to the Irish pub on the corner. A jack & coke is not a cocktail. A cocktail consists of at least 3 ingredients. 2 ingredients is an emergency.

Yes, I will have another sustainable seared red snapper with creme fraiche in a crispy wonton taco… they are delightful.

Always say please and thank you.

Tyler Hollinger

HighLife Productions

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How to market your brand!

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The underpriced attention of experiential marketing and why its authenticity has 10x the rewards of paid digital advertising or why computers suck.

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HighLife Productions February 24, 2019

Have you noticed the growing presence of advertisements online? The computer or cell phone has become a device whose sole purpose is to show you ads. Wherever your attention seems to be an ad will follow. Marketing has corrupted email, Facebook, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and more. But I wonder sometimes about whether this pervasive advertising is damaging brand identity. How annoying is a pop-up ad when all you want to do is read the article from Variety or ESPN. How annoying is the now required YouTube pre-roll advertisement when what you really want to do is watch the video. Personally speaking I have never once purchased an online course about “growth-hacking” because it showed me an advertisement before a Casey Neistat video. In fact the overwhelming influx of digital advertising has just made me less and less confidant in what I am seeing online is actually true. (isn’t that appropriate though? Shouldn’t we take what we see/read online with a grain of salt? At what point did we start believing things that we read online?) In fact more and more articles, blogs etc are actually just written by computers with the sole purpose of getting key words onto the internet so that it will come up once someone searches them in the hopes of converting a sale, gaining a follower, or influencing a political ideology. Don’t get me wrong I feel some types of advertisements are wonderful and let your fans know what you are doing and to remind them of cool stuff that is up and coming. But most of the intrusive digital advertising is just that intrusive and makes me like that brand/person/company/organization a little less. Did you know there is a reason why those little “x’s” on pop-up ads are so small and hard to find. Because every time you click on the ad instead of the “x” the computers read that you clicked on the ad because you liked it. This kind of thing makes me believe the true value of online advertising to be declining. On the other hand if you read or see online that your friend, family, or someone you follow posted about something recommending it/praising it you are way more likely to consider it. Hence the rise of influencer marketing and mirco-influencers. This new ‘word-of-mouth’ is the next frontier (that is until we read that our favorite influencer was paid XXX amount of dollars to trick millennials into going to a ridiculous EDM concert on an island in the exumas.)

To my point. The combination of a real experience with a carefully selected amount of micro-influencers of a specific genre/category creates the prefect storm of everything you hope to achieve with your marketing dollars and more. Creating authentic experiences around a brand that allow the consumer to taste/feel/see/understand and then share it with their following is the ultimate in marketing. Frankly it’s just good business. Being Authentic. Being truthful, Being real.

It’s my belief that as the internet matures we will see less of an ROI from google adwords, banner pop-ups, paid FB & IG and more of an ROI in experiential marketing and the importance of creating an ‘experience’ around a brand that can be shared and not just some staid photo of a brand on scroll endorsed by bots and fake followers.

Authenticity and integrity is always the best policy.

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Groomzilla

HighLife Productions February 9, 2019

Groomzilla: Breaking the mystique that a straight male groom cannot plan a wedding in 2019″ one event producer’s story on breaking gender norms.

By

Tyler Hollinger

Did you ever notice that in the movies the wedding planner is always gay? Or Female? Who could forget Martin Short’s charismatic turn as the effervescent Franck Eggelhoffer. Or the seminal classic The Wedding Planner staring an Oscar worthy performance from JLO and McLo (that’s McConaughey when he plays opposite Jennifer Lopez). In fact I have been planning and producing events for almost 10yrs now and out of all the wedding planners I know. I cannot name a single straight male. Is it because straight men generally aren’t detailed orientated, they don’t know the finer points of floral design, they can’t comprehend intelligent lighting or various levels of invitation card stock?

In the current marital landscape it is widely agreed that it is “her day.” I rarely hear brides to be talking about their wedding being ‘their day’ or even a non-gender normative “day of love.” Perhaps it’s the social media pressure heaped on females in our society to live their BEST LIFE, or showcase only the GREATEST MOMENTS, when in reality the pressure to always look your best, be your best, and show the world that your wedding is better than all of your “friends” whom you don’t really like that much anyway, is far too much responsibility for one day. Remember getting out of bed to put make up on and then getting back in bed and take a photo of yourself — yea everyone knows that’s fake. Or maybe “her day” is an archaic vestige left from a pre-#meetoo era where the wedding constituted a sumptuous dowry that went along with the bride. Wouldn’t that be nice for all us grooms out there.

It is my opinion that the role of “wedding planner” has always been played by a gay man or a woman because the bride would not feel comfortable with a straight man planning “her day”. Would a straight male planner be able to adjust the bust of a wedding gown on the fly, gab & joke with the bridal party, or supply emergency tampons?

There is so much more that goes into planning what many consider to be the 2nd most important day of your life (I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to the inevitable birth of a child…)? Not only is marriage permanent (right?), it’s a celebration of love with all your closest friends and family, and ultimately, in most cases, the most expensive party of your life. It is a culmination of your adulthood, a pronouncement to live your life for someone else, an invitation to defining what is important in your life and a chance for you to brag about how much money you have.

This brings me back to my movie metaphor. Did you see Crazy Rich Asians? For what reason is the entire wedding sitting in neck high field grass during the ceremony. To talk about over-the-top wedding celebrations for a moment; this pressure to show people how happy, successful, wealthy, you are has obscured the point of the whole affair. Marriage is a celebration of love and a chance for both families to converge and have a great time. Comparing your marriage, your life, your decisions to others is a death blow that only leads to unhappiness. After all comparison is the thief of joy; I think Kylie Jenner said that. Oh, and thank you Instagram for making it so easy for us to visually compare ourselves to each other before I’ve even had my morning coffee.

So why can’t I plan our wedding? Is it toxic masculinity for me to assume that a straight man could do this? Am I mansplaining to much what my design vision, detailed floor plans, and seating arrangements are? Are my color schemes to masculine on a date that in the history of the world has been regarded with adjectives like blush, whimsical, airy, delicate and gentle. Are men not capable of these adjectives or is it everyone around us who assumes this. You know what happens when you assume right? Good thing my fiancé don’t care what others think.

This much hyped day is fraught with so many unrealistic expectations that every Bride should have a talented planner and a best friend behind them. Good thing I am both. Talented planners not only come up with the overall vision, the design schematics, the vendor negotiations, but they also offer the gray hairs of experience that only time can provide (my greys are actually natural blond highlights). Smart planning does not require big budgets. It requires thoughtful moments that are budget optimized for exponential impact. Spending money on the best bang for your buck and on your priorities. If having a dope AF oyster bar with 9 different kinds of regional oysters, giant Alaskan crab legs, and cockles that would that would make your mother-in-law blush is a priority for you; then go for it. (And invite me!) If you are more discerning in your budget spends then finding artful ways to achieve your vision is how you maximize your dollar. Did you realize that white carnations are making a comeback and white roses are significantly over priced (and a cliché). Since I have a wealth of experience in the events industry I am able to call upon favors from my favorite vendors. That’s just an “inside perk”. Here’s another secret. Every vendor wants to do your wedding and if you give them a budget they will tell you what you can get as opposed to them telling you what it will cost. Managing expectations is often times the hardest of mountains to overcome. That and explaining to your bride to be that the venue only holds 150ppl and your mother’s cousins cousin might have to get left of the list!

Ah, compromise. The cornerstone of our relationship. It is this aspect of teamwork and compromise I wish on all newlywed couples. Having the self-awareness to realize who is better suited for what tasks, is an important lesson that allows us to divide and conquer. Planning a wedding is part of the journey to getting married, it is a test of your relationship and a solid foundation for a lifetime of marriage. Patience is another virtue. I am still working on this one.

Tyler Hollinger

Lauren Maffettone

Wedding Date: 9/14/2019

Stone Harbor, NJ

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How to Make a Cocktail for a Drag Queen??

[SLAAAAAAAAAAAAY EDITION]

HighLife Productions November 6, 2017


Ahhhhhhhhh….the age old question “How to make a cocktail fit for a Queen?” a drag queen that is! HighLife Productions was selected by Kettle Agency (WeareKettle) to put together a hand crafted mixology program for their recent #digitalindrag featuring MILK (@bigandmilky) SASHA VELOUR (@sashavelour) and BIBLEGIRL (@biblegirl666) . Each queen was perfectly fitted for their own cocktail creation based on their own distinct fieeeeeerceness! boom.

drag queen is a person, usually male, who dresses in clothing of the opposite sex and often acts with exaggerated femininity and in feminine gender roles for the purpose of entertainment or fashion. … While drag is very much associated with gay men and gay culture, there are dragartists of all sexualities and the culture spans labels and qualifications. Each queen is truly unique to their own heritage and 100% authentic which is why the marketplace and their followings are entirely over the moon about them!

BIBLEGIRL

A relative new-cumer to the drag scene… Branding and image are very important to Bible Girl. Using the hashtag #BibleGirlSucks, she has built an impressive following of her own, on Instagram in particular. “I had just finished a performance and was talking to a friend when I got pulled away from my conversation by this person who tells me ‘Look, you’re beautiful, you’re funny, you’re great, but don’t perform. You suck,’ and I just took it and ran with it.” In addition one of her favorite beverages is the classic La Croix. These elements matched up perfectly for what we called the “Bless You Child”

HOW TO BLESS THIS CHILD

  • (1) La Croix Berry Seltzer. (pour out 1/3 of the can to leave room for the most important part! The Booze.
  • (2) The Booze — We used a dry london gin but substitute your favorite alcohol as you please. We created a blackberry and mint infused gin syrup. Take fresh blackberries and reduce over heat adding water and sugar to sweeten into syrup. Once reduced and mashed place in food processor and strain all the little bits out. Combine with gin for your syrup. You are ready to pour.
  • (3) The Garnish. We had a lot of fun here as you can see we choose three different types of berries, metallic straws, and of course the miniature rosary so you can repent after all the sinning you will be doing from drinking this refreshing concoction.
  • **** As a final twist at the very end we added a spec of dry ice to the can so it smokes and bubbles delighting the senses and perfect for the photography

SASHA VELOUR

Sasha Velour is best known as the winner of Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 9. She is the creative director of Velour: The Drag Magazine, and produces the critically-acclaimed monthly drag show Nightgowns. Sasha’s visual art has been featured in PostureQU33R, Cicada, The Nib, InkBRICK, Comics Workbook Magazine, as well as in several solo gallery shows. Often decked in pink, more delicate tones we created a floral inspired tequila based cocktail that still had a lot of muscle.

HOW TO SASH-AAAAAAAAY

(1) step one we infused a simple reposado tequila (Herradura) with rose watermelon juice and fresh agave.

(2) Fresh watermelon juice best as is with out alot of fuss. In a shake mix you reposado tequila, watermelon juice, hint of lime juice, and a whisper of agave. Shake vigorously until nice and frothy.

(3) Pout out over a cut crystal 2inch clear ice cube and garnish with edible pansy (hey who you calling a pansy) and gold glitter for that added touch of sparkle to say “Hey handsome. Over here 😉

MILK

Milk is the stage name of Daniel Donigan, an American figure skater and drag performer. He is best known for being a contestant on Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.He was a competitive figure skater, for like, ever.

Dan joined the Marc Jacobs International family in 2009. He loves clothes, like any teenage girl. Duh. He was the Merchandising Manager at Marc Jacobs in NYC. MILK can be seen tackling models at every “Marc” runway show.

Dan breast-formed a drag group called “The Dairy Queens” which is cream-based on the East Coast. The members are: MILK, Skim Burley (MILK’s Drag Daughter), Yoohoo, Linda Lakes, & Juggz.

Obviously no one likes a MILKY COCKTAIL EVER — — except maybe a pina colada or maybe coconut milk….. annnnnnnyyyyyyywayyyyyy!!!! We were able to do a nice little work around.

MILK & HONEY

(1) This lychee inspired vodka based cocktail is infused with fresh lemon juice, lychee pure-hey! and topped with a creamy white espuma (Vegan)

(2) a bit more complicated than the rest because of the espuma but here is your at home hack to make it happen. Dry shake 3 ounces of egg-white, Pour 4 ounces of citron vodka into your shaker with 2 ouces of lychee puree and 1 dash of lemon. Add lemon bitters and shake like a polaroid picture. Upon pouring into your glass you will have a supple viscous foam gently sitting on top! (non-vega)

Always drink like a queen……!

XOXO

Highlife Productions

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How to Plan a Bridal Shower

Bridal Showers Bring May Flowers and what do May Flowers bring… Weddings

HighLife Productions September 11, 2017

A Bridal Shower is an important tradition filled with excitement and fun. An excuse to get together with all of your besties and throw down. Here our chef RAPT took things to a whole nother level with some innovative farm-to-bar cocktails and delicious eats. A tropical themed escape in NYC that featured a Fig & Honey infused coconut water rum cocktail served in a coconut, a watermelon and vodka collins with grilled rose petals and finally the “Bea-llini” with sparkling rose’, green market peach, and lavender. Delish.

But most importantly here are 5 tips and tricks from the pros on how you can have a killer bridal shower without breaking the bank

  1. LADIES ONLY — this is a time to celebrate and tell debaucherous stories from the bachelorette party. This is a time to gather with a small group of friends during the day-preferably Sunday and relax. This is not a time to throw on the heavy EDM music, do tequila shots and take that last chance at flirting as your single life comes to a close. Fresh food and drinks are a requirement and if you are inviting 30 of your closest friends and family — don’t forget the mother of the groom! Then it’s important to keep it classy San Diego.

2. Decor and Design- The best events are those that you can call your own. This does not include renting out the back room of the local irish pub where the normal brunch crowd sips bellini’s and mimosa. FIND A PRIVATE SPACE. There are tons of great, effective, inexpensive ways to do this. Splacer.co is a great resource as well as peerspace.com and breather. All of these online space sharing/finding sites are like airbnb but for the hour. Hell! We have even done pop-up parties IN airbnb’s just go online and reserve the place for the day. Another fantastic resource would be a friends building with an event space. Like the one pictured here. If you have a wonderful space you won’t need need much in the way of decor. A few classy balloons. Some fun bridal toys and you are set!

3. FOOD & DRINK — As this is mainly a brunch type event the food should be light not filling. This is not considered a full sit down meal. But an opportunity to get together with friends and enjoy some company. The same goes for the drinks. they should be seasonal and light. NO LONG ISLAND ICE TEA’s. As much as you like them, now is not the time. Save that for the bachelor party. Pictured below one of our cocktails served in a coconut. FUN RIGHT!

4. THE FUN — Games and toasts and gifts. Bridal showers are perfect opportunities for gift giving and for games that involve the bride and the baby to come and all the fun of getting married. This is precisely the time to make it happen! The best stories come out between friends with cocktails!

5. THE BRIDE — At the end of the afternoon this whole shebang is all about the bride. This is where you need a dedicated team of bridesmaids to swing into action and take the burden of decorating, hiring the caterer, finding the venue, and deciding on the menus and games. Here is where the bridesmaids step up and take control.

Message us on Instagram or hit us up via email and we can give you more tips and tricks to help make sure this ever important event goes off just right 🙂

xoxo

HighLife Productions & RAPT

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Branded Live Events

The Importance of Branded Live Experiences and FOMO

HighLife Productions August 22, 2017

or

NIKE, STOP COOKIE-ING ME AROUND THE INTERNET AND STALKING ME LIKE MY EX-GIRLFRIEND KAREN

by

Tyler Hollinger, Founder HighLife Productions

THE EXPERIENCE

There is nothing that trumps actually being there. Actually seeing, tasting, feeling, hearing, witnessing, — experiencing. “Feeling all the feels” as the kids say these days. The digital world has done so so much. The Internet is by far the most earthshaking revolution in modern history. It has revolutionized the way we travel, the way we choose what restaurant, where we stay on vacation and even the way we date. In many ways it has connected us with people through a computer or phone and in many ways it has distanced us from actually talking, seeing, interacting with people in real life. Remember the days when you went to a store or a restaurant or a pub because “they knew you” not because of their 5-star yelp review. There has been something lost in actually being there. Actually experiencing THE THING. Taking it in with all the senses and this is why we believe the experiential world to be all the more relevant. These live experiences are more important now, more impactful, more relevant than ever because of technology.!

DO IT FOR THE GRAM

So many things we do in today’s life we do are for social media. “Let’s go to this restaurant because the lighting is great for my pictures on instagram, or let’s go hiking and stream it live on FB or let’s go to this rally and tweet about it or this concert and put it on Snapchat or let’s go outside and look at the eclipse while doing a song on music.ly. Very few people just stay at home and share on social media (we all know who you are and please stop.) No more photos of you in your bed with a “case of the Mondays” no more shots of you on the couch watching GOT. NO MORE. All that pent up “social envy” when you see friends at “that concert” or “that vacation” or “that performance” or “that party.” Social media helps us share experiences. Which is just the point. Get out there and experience. Then tweet it, post it, share it. Show people you have a life that is filled with interesting, vast experiences.

NOT ALL IMPRESSIONS ARE GOOD IMPRESSIONS

Now more than ever experiential marketing is on the rise and should be on the forefront of all brands marketing spends. Yes the digital world has (x) many impressions and (y) many views. But not all impressions are good impressions and not all views are actual experiences. How many times have you seen a pop-up ad on a web-page and you have tried to click that tiny little “x” in the corner to close it as it literally gets in the way of what you want. Well in doing so you have clicked the actual add 4 times telling “Samsung” that you love their phone and their “click-thru” data is miraculously working because you are clicking on it all this time trying to close the damn ad!~ Literally SAMSUNG or whichever brand you prefer is standing in front of what you are trying to get. How many times have you scrolled past a facebook ad that plays a video. You didn’t watch it but the video started playing. Congrats you have “viewed” that video and the marketing people on the other end go back to the brand and say “Guess What”! We are doing such a great job because your video has 8 trillion views! Even though 8 trillion people ONLY SCROLLED PAST IT. Don’t believe the hype the digital marketers are selling you. The last time you bought a shirt or a computer or a television or furniture you did so because you liked it. Not because the brand paid millions of dollars to cookie you around the internet showing you pop-up ads on every page you visit. I don’t know about you but when I google a brand to read about it, then a couple hours later that brands ad pops up on FACEBOOK saying “BUY ME” it doesn’t make me feel good about that brand. No. It’s makes me feel like NIKE is my ex-girlfriend stalking me around the internet lurking, spying, just letting me know “Hi. its me. Karen. I’m doing well. How are you?” How about you not stalk me on the internet Karen. K. Thanks. Why are these brands spending MILLIONS of dollars on internet advertising that do nothing but create the wrong impression.

Depth not Width

The experience is everything. You know what creates a good impressions. The actual act of doing it and doing it well. When we have an experience with a brand, a person, a company — anything. It is how we perceive this to be key. How was it? How did it make you feel? How did it affect you.? As wonderful as Kylie Jenner’s photos are on instagram do they affect you? Do they make you feel great as a person? Odds are they actually kind of have the opposite effect right? Wow like “I wish I had her money” or “Wow I wish I was a thin as her” or “Wow I’m not as pretty.” So it kind of puts this idea of “Followers” “Likes” into a bit more of a context. I argue that not a ton of followers is amazing and not all likes are the same. If someone has 1 million followers and sells ZERO tickets/sales I’d say those followers are worthless. If someone has 200 followers and sells 2 tickets I would say those followers are worth a lot more. It’s all perspective. It’s all situational.

Secret Summer NYC

Depth not width. What I mean by this is having an actual impact not a perceived one. Having followers that actually want to be there. that are actual fans, that actually care! — which in the end is what it boils down to. Engaging a community that really cares, that wants to stay up to date or in the know with the latest and greatest. To cultivate this kind of DEEP relationship takes time and attention to detail. Making sure your customer/followers/ticket buyers have the best possible experience.

IN CONCLUSION

More and more the millennial attitude is to spend disposable income on experiences not things. Less and less people are owning homes because of the ridiculous costs of mortgages, insurance, taxes, maintenance. This lack of permanence attitude means the next generation is not having as many kids and has little desire for permanence. In place they are spending their money on experiences. Travel, concerts, shows. Entertainment that is experienced based. Nowadays people do things for the social media post. To show their friends they are cool, have cool friends, and do cool things. So get out there. Do cool shit. Just make sure you tag us in the photo 🙂

Tyler Hollinger, Owner

HighLife Productions

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5 Ways to Plan a Party

How to Stop Your Party From Going Haywire

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HighLife Productions March 29, 2017

My Mom loves to tell the story of the day she got married. She had planned for the perfect wedding but after rain, catering mishaps and even a very important person in her life telling her that they didn’t approve who she was marrying, because of religious differences, everything seemed to be falling apart; however, my mother told herself “nothing will ruin this day” and ignored it all.

When we host a party that does not go as we planned we ask ourselves “why me, why my party?” What we don’t realize at the time is that something is bound to go wrong. The more you plan for your party the greater your expectations are for how it will turn out; you expect your party to turn out exactly how you picture. With higher standards in mind, when something small goes awry, it has a larger impact on how we view our party than it should. We see the party running off track; however, all the guests are perfectly content.

An easy way to solve this issue is taking a quick survey or judging the conversations in the room. If you, as the host, ask a guest “how are you enjoying everything?” your guests will appreciate your taking time to speak with them and you will also gather key information. Look for tone in their answer rather than the answer itself because guests are inclined to give you a positive response; no one will tell you “this party is going terribly”.

The truth is that guests don’t have expectations of your party in mind until after they are there, at the very least their threshold for a good party is a lot lower than yours. While you may see your party as going terribly, they may see that it is running smoothly. The pasta didn’t come with your catering even though you made it explicitly clear what you had ordered? Your guests do not know that, just work around it! Honestly, the guests usually could care less about the things you see as problems. Further, these flaws may actually be enhancing the experience and may be a primetime to make memories. Be spontaneous! Oh, it is raining during your wedding? Why don’t you dance in the rain, I am sure that it will make for a great memory to put in your photo-book.

At this point you may be thinking that the title is misleading, but it’s not. The solution to stopping your party from going haywire is to expect things to go wrong. Once you start seeing flaws in the party, it will lead into a downward spiral where everything seems to be going poorly. However, if you are not satisfied, here are some tips to fix common mishaps:

I. Rain: It is very easy to plan and book around the weather if you are planning a party a week or two in advance. Parties that require long term planning cannot do this. In these scenarios be sure to notify your guests of the weather as soon as you can . An easy solution is to move your party inside if it is outdoors. You can also set up tents and umbrellas to avoid everyone from getting wet. With the accuracy of weather forecasts in modern times rain should be pretty easy to work around.

II. Important Guest is Late: If someone important to your party is late, your guests may be growing impatient. An easy solution is to distract them. Tell jokes or a funny story about the guest being late in the past. Survey the audience, ask them to tell jokes, play a game, there are so many options! The key is just to be prepared when the moment comes because being spontaneous may sound easy but can be very hard for some people . Therefore, planning ahead with some activities that could help pass time is a key.

III. Food Mishaps: these scenarios are why it is so important to have a backup plan and to be in contact with your catering constantly leading up to your event. It will be hard to find a backup for good quality food if something goes wrong. If the food was mis-delivered or destroyed in some fashion, the catering you use will usually provide a backup, but don’t count on it. If your food never shows up, or they are not able to provide a backup, you need a plan. Have somewhere in mind that will be able to provide food on the spot (although not very luxurious pizza is always a decent option). A way to avoid this entire scenario is to confirm with the food service repeatedly before your party, especially a week in advance and the morning of. If an un-replaceable item is destroyed, say a wedding cake, it may seem like a big deal but the faster you move on the less likely it is to ruin your day. Your guests won’t care if you serve them backup deserts and it is sure to make its place in the memory books.

IV. Silence: This is one of the scariest scenarios, if no one is mingling all eyes are on the host. This scenario is rare and usually only occurs when your guests have some hostility between them or a crowd of introverts. It becomes your job to spark conversation and introduce people. Meeting people is always the hardest part, talking with them after is the easy . If your guests are hostile toward one another try to do something to to draw their attention away from that hostility. Some of the techniques from part II should do the trick or introduce them to other guests at the party.

What do you think? Would you handle these situations in the same way? If you have any other inquiries about party mishaps please let me know below!

Author: Paul Erlanger, Intern for Highlife Productions

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HighLife ProductionsApr 13, 2017Always solid advice!!

How to Throw a Great Party

The 5 Senses

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HighLife Productions March 26, 2017

The primary goal of any host is to maximize the experience for their guests. All other objectives, including revenue, come second because if the party fails so does your reputation as a host and all future profit. However, “experience” is a very vague term and most people have a different idea of what a good experience looks like. A very easy way to maximize the appeal of your event for your guests is to put yourself in their shoes. To do this you must contextualize your party’s theme with all the ways your guests will perceive it.


Part I Sight:

This is where first impressions are made, the make or break moment. For this reason, focus on the entry point. How people view the party when entering will strongly influence how they view the rest of the experience. If you are throwing a party at night be sure to have quality lighting to set the tone of your event, the dimmer the lighting the more romantic the mood. If you are going for a club-vibe make sure the room isn’t pitch black, throw in some flashing lights or colored beams. If your party is in the day utilize natural lighting. Phillips makes a bulb called the HUE, which allows you to control the color and dimness of the bulb through an app, you can also let the lights change to your music!

Watch out! Be sure to decorate but do not overload the senses, if the space looks too crowded it will turn people off.


Part II Sound:

If anything takes the constellation prize for first impressions it is sound. The music you play can change the entire atmosphere of the party. DO NOT just throw your favorite songs into a playlist, be thoughtful and craft a playlist to the experience of your party. If you are looking for speakers, Sonos makes amazing home entertainment systems that will deliver a high quality booming sound for a good price. The speakers stream directly from the speakers to maximize sound quality (I promise this is an unsponsored endorsement). If you hire live musicians even better, but still keep genre in mind! If you are too lazy to make your own playlists we have you covered. Spotify and other music streaming services have pre-made playlists based on genre.

Don’t let the music overpower discourse, so be sure that you are able to understand others at a normal speaking volume with the music on. A good idea is to have rooms dedicated to louder music for dancing and other rooms with quieter music primarily used for talking. Silence is also an option but only in very specific situations because even faint background music can dispel any awkwardness from conversation.


Part III Smell:

This one is pretty obvious, make sure your party doesn’t have an intolerable stench. Keeping the doors open to the kitchen can be an easy way to spread delightful smells throughout your house -or- just buy some Febreze defusers to place throughout your event, make sure they are not overpowering though. If your party is centered around the smell, like a perfume advertising event, then smell becomes all more important. A pro tip is to put a bottle of cologne/perfume in the bathroom to keep everyone smelling nice.


Part IV Feel:

Just make sure everything is clean, plain and simple. Not just before but throughout the party also.


Part V Taste:

Everyone’s favorite food! If you are serving food at a party make sure it matches the theme of the party. Try to serve clean fresh ingredients, not only will they taste better but they look beautiful. If you are not a chef and cannot afford to hire one, catering is always a great option, it is quick and easy. Don’t leave the food in the catering containers, switching them over to a decorated plate is so easy and makes all the difference. Also, have options for everyone, don’t forget the vegan.

Author: Paul Erlanger, Intern for HighLife Productions

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