THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD
Last week, I had a taste of the red carpet as I was invited to the premiere of the film ‘Morning Glory’ by Corporate Events Management. As the Celebrities gathered on the carpet, posing for the paparazzi in their elegant designer dresses and suits, I was feeling overwhelmed and more like a a deer in headlights rather than keeping face with the personalities that surrounded me. As they gracefully walked the carpet, I did my best Usain Bolt impression and sprinted down the aisle, breaking the 100m record in KG by Kurt Geiger high heels. As I nervously found my seat, I absorbed the atmosphere around me. It was soon apparent that the world of events is very different to the edited photoshop finish we tend to see in the magazines and on TV. There is a whole lot more to these events than meets the eye. The preparation and hard work that goes into each event, high pressured deadlines, organising the after parties. So who organises these wonderful events?
Meet Lord Jason Scott, he is an international events consultant and A-list specialist, based at the spectacularly revamped venue, The Penthouse, at Number 1 Leicester Square. Jason started out with the Novus Group in 2006, following a career as a radio DJ and writer in his native South Africa. Based in the groups flagship, Ruby Blue, Jason soon earned a name in the fierce Leicester Square market, returning the category of top hub to the ailing club. He has raised celebrity attendance by more than a third and secures the parties for top film premieres, including Sex and the City 1 and 2, Mamma Mia, Avatar, The Dark Knight, Eclipse, Narnia and many more. He rubs shoulders with royalty, and has a little black book full of A-List clientele that would make any PR company go into a frenzy. BSF took time out to ask Lord Jason Scott what goes on in his line of work.
When did you first realize you wanted to get involved in the events industry?
I think I have always known I wanted to be a part of this mad industry as I used to organize events as a child putting on cinema Sundays in the council estate I grew up in, or organising a circus with all the kids in the neighborhood of Brooklyn and charging the parents to come and see it.
You used to be a DJ, so what attracted you to change career?
I loved being a DJ and speaking with people every day and communicating through music to the masses. At one point I had over 6 million listeners but still felt as if I wasn’t experiencing the full gambit of life, I felt separated in my little booth so one day as a favour to a friend, I organized an event for him and it grew. That is to say my passion for events, organizing a party and sharing in the joy on the night grew and it became something that I wanted far more then what I was doing. I had just met my wife, Lady Grafton who was English and she convinced me to leave the African shores behind me come to England and start again. Â I figured if I was going to start again why not do it in a career that had my heart and mind intrigued.
Do you remember your first ever event and what was it for?
My very first event was as a child, but my first event in my own company was my own wedding. Our wedding was all about music and people, as I was a DJ, I knew how important it was to have the right music. Music created the mood and food was going to be where I stood out. I created food stations in different themes throughout the area. Our wedding is still spoken about and to be honest it’s the last wedding I ever organized.
Where do you draw inspiration for your events, concept and ideas, as your probably not always given a brief to follow?
It really depends. Sometimes the film company or corporate decides the theme and I am brought on to do more execution. For example, with the Pre and Post Premier of The Dark Knight , the first part of the event was very celebratory and the film company had ideas on art and effects, whereas after the film it was more a remembrance of the late and great Heath Ledger. At that time, Warner Bros was very cognizant of what the public had just gone through with the loss of one its leads. My job as the planner was to figure out how to translate the loss as still a time of celebration through his work while adding a theme of family and camaraderie, a kind of looking ahead. I find just spending time with the company or client allows for concepts and ideas to find birth.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most rewarding part of the job is realizing that you have created a moment, a moment in time that will ( if done correctly ) always be in their minds and be a part of there history. There is something amazing about being a part of that and sharing in the joy when everything goes according to plan.
Has anything gone wrong at your events?
This is a tough one, I once had a fight with a manager of a venue where we had a big Premier Party for Mamma Mia. We had organized for a lot of champagne to be ordered by the venue, only the manager felt I had asked for too much and only got half of the required Champagne. We ran out in the 1st hour. He was replaced but I learned a valuable lesson about communication with the venue and management as much as possible, verbally and in writing at all times to avoid any confusion on the day. No matter what, the client will always blame you, you need to take full responsibility of every detail and outcome.
What will be your dream event, if you could be contracted to any event in the world?
After the party are the after parties, and none is more exclusive than the Vanity Fair Oscar party. This is the one event I want to organize more then any other. Every year I watch and grimace as I think of what I could do better , although what they have is spectacular I know I could do something that is simply legendary.
Is there any plans to branch out and extend your company in other countries?
I currently do events in London, Cape Town and LA and I am looking at a few events in Spain and Dubai this year but as I have to be involved in every aspect that carries my name I have no plans on opening satellite offices at present.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
I think I will be doing the same thing only I may start having events with my name attached as opposed to doing so many for other companies. Lord Scott is proud to present….
Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for students studying event planning?
As a planner, once you get involved, you start to love it “ really love it ” and you want to do more. But to do more business, you have to learn more. And that’s when the passion flourishes. You start to sit through events so you can analyze how others have done it. The hit series ‘X Factor’ sparks a whole Karaoke theme party idea. The 2012 Olympics has you scouting local bands and checking out ways to re-create the games. Every event you attend becomes a free education to see first hand how things are done. Â Inevitably, you find yourself thinking of how you might improve upon, tweak or change something all together. You’re always looking for new ideas, everywhere, in everything. That’s part of what makes being an event planner such a great job. In this industry, you don’t have to have a formal education or even a college degree. You don’t need to rent a fancy storefront or office space. It’s not necessary to start with inventory, equipment (except a phone) or staff. This is one of the few businesses you can get into without a penny of capital. As long as you have the natural talent, integrity and sheer determination to do this, you can, and will, deal with the rest. You decide you’re ready, and you are! It may be hard to believe, but without so much as a business card, a fax machine or a NI number, you can easily land your first client. Or, how without a formal education or experience, you can easily land a job in the field.
My final words would be good luck and make your mark, and remember no matter how hard it getsâ€¦its just a party !