Thu | 19.07.2018
An interview with our Executive Director: Maurits Dohmen.
1. What is your approach to events and why?
I have been attending many events that you could consider dinner events. And they are basically just that, a dinner. There is nothing wrong with that, but it's hard to detect a difference in identity. I could not tell you specifically what events I attended from who anymore, mainly the locations I remember. We try to make sure every attendant remembers our event, to experience a special night out. Therefore, we try to up-scale the experience and provide a mixture of going to a dinner, which has a bit of concert in it, and a bit of going to the movie.
2. How long does it take to create an event and what are starting points?
It is an ongoing process, as we always try to make it better, not necessarily bigger, although it tends to get bigger. But it all starts with the songs. I spent an awful lot of time in my car, driving through Romania. Doing so I listen to a lot of music (mainly Pink Floyd). And then for whatever reason there are songs that I imagine work well to set an atmosphere. Those are usually 4 songs, and then while (constantly) listening to them I start imagining what kind of video animation would fit, what kind of light effects we should use. Once I have this in mind, I start making sketches of the set-up of the stage, lights. I pass that on to my wife (Iulia Iuga-Dohmen, InspiredDesign) who then upgrade these sketches into realistic 3-D drawings that result into a Story Board. With that Story Board I then go to the Event Production Partner (Bestevent or Five's International). Then I get to hear what it will cost. Always difficult talks, because I want all the time more spectacular things which cost money. So, the songs are the starting point, as well as the center point of the event (for me that is). This is all happening 7 to 8 months before the actual events.
3. Talking about songs, you have musicians performing during the events that are not visible for the audience. You hide them behind the screen. Why is that?
One of our trademarks at events is the use of a large (very large) LED Screen where we display animations etc. People in the sala enjoying their dinner should not be bothered all the time with instruments visible on stage and people walking up and on stage to perform. So yeah, I put them behind the screen. Occasionally if we have a special moment one of them gets a spot-on stage in front of the screen. But mainly they are behind the screen. They shine through their music so to say. Sometimes there are so many musicians cropped behind the screen they hardly fit.
4. How do you find the musicians?
There is this lady, Norela Liviana Costea, who was a member of our Chamber. She is a singer (classical music) and arranges classical musicians for events. Well, we don’t do classical music but more rock music, but she finds those as well. You know, I go sit with her, open my laptop and show her on You-tube the songs I selected. And then we listen to them together and she then finds the musicians that can do this. These musicians then rehearse the songs note for note. This is needed because the person designing our nice movies also gets the same recording, in order to create visuals matching the song. And only on show day, the live performance gets tried out with the visuals. If the musicians do not play the note for note version the visuals will be off.
5. You mean you do not see the musicians before-hand?
No. They rehearse themselves, and a few days before the event I receive a video recording of them in the studio plowing through the songs. And that is also the only time I can give feedback for them to adjust. For the rest it is on Show Day where all of us get to see how it works, the visuals in combination with the performance and lights. Well, I say all of us, but that is minus the musicians, as they are behind the screen. In effect, they never get to see how it looks when they are performing. They miss all the lights, lasers and what else effect we use. Poor them.
6. The videos are done very well. Who is doing that?
Eikon7 Bucharest. It’s a marketing company. At this company works a girl (Ioana Baltesiu) that I have been working with for 6 years now. She knows very well what I like, the style I am after. So, I meet her, give her the songs and we talk a bit on what I want as visuals. And always the result is better than I hoped for.
7. How about the food at an event?
We try as much as possible to have high standards and variation. We do many tastings, and make sure that everyone enjoys. We insist also that the vegetarian food is of high quality. The days of oil fried vegetables are gone. There is no food served at the events that we not thoroughly tasted and approved in terms of presentations, quantity and quality.
8. How do you pick the locations for events?
We try always to put our events at one of our members, therefore our big events are at Radisson Blu, Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest, JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel. They can deal with the amount of people and of course our outrageous demands. And in all fairness, they do that very well.
9. So, the events are very much a member collaboration?
Needless to say, that as a business community we try as much as possible to work with our members. So, when we can we do it. And it is an army of people: think about it, stage design, event production, printables design, actual printing, location etc. It's all pretty much a joint effort between us and our members.
10. Any last words to the members?
Yes, join our dedicated events!