So, you’re the new intern in charge of Odorama. Congratulations! Welcome to the team! It is a very interesting and unique series, and I have improved my skills even in things that I did not expect in the beginning!
First of all, do not freak out if some time periods will be really slow and you won't have much to do! Do not feel guilty or lost. Instead, use that time to familiarize yourself with the abundance of things going on around Mediamatic and make friends with your colleagues. That free coffee is there for a reason;) And believe me, it will quickly change and you will have loads of work and responsibilities closer to the event date.
But before I delve into the production details: Odorama is a monthly lecture series exploring different topics around smells. Normally, there are 3 to 4 speakers that give a presentation. They usually come from completely different backgrounds, so you will have to deal with artists, scientists, and so on.
The Odorama is curated either by Frank Bloem or Caro Verbeek. They’re both super interesting but are also totally different. I am sure you will enjoy working with them greatly, as they are really friendly and grateful for your help.
Note: my internship took place during COVID-19 and multiple lockdowns. Therefore, everything that I write on this page is affected by multiple restrictions and may differ a little bit from the standard procedures.
In a normal scenario, you will start working on the event around 5 weeks before. I have tried to summarize the steps and details in the following sections
1. Handling people
You’re the contact person for Odorama - that means you need to have all the answers. That might sound a little intimidating, but don’t worry, you have plenty of time to prepare all the answers. Everyone at Mediamatic is there to help you and make knowledge pages your best friend! We worked hard on them and chances are that you can find what you need there!
- The event is likely going to be written into Stager already.
- Bar staff/people who don’t work upstairs may have questions. This is generally going to be about timing, etc. Note: you don't have to do this when the restaurant is closed due to Corona restrictions.
- People (Colleagues, other interns, visitors, your family…) are going to ask you what the event is about. Have an answer ready! However, most of the time this knowledge will come quite naturally as you are the one working on it, communicating everything, and adjusting the website. Thus, just get excited!
2. Stager + Google Calendar
These are the easy ones - quick work. Although, do not underestimate the importance of updating them.
- Subscribe to the Events and Communication calendar.
- Check if a stager event already exists in the calendar. If not, create the event from template: click "Add new" --> "Event from template" --> "Odorama" and fill in the details (date, name etc). Here’s an example.
- Now go to the personnel tab in Stager and fill in the event manager (that’s you!), someone for ticket sales, an AV person, photographer, videographer, social media manager, and an aroma jockey. If you do not have them booked yet, find the people to fill those roles (by talking and email to fellow colleagues and interns) and then come back to schedule them in stager.
- Check the info under all the tabs! You know the event best - if something is wrong, changing the info in Stager is super important.
Note: if you change the date of the event of stager, the ticket link also changes!
When you are signed into email@example.com, you have access to the drive, in which you will find the Odorama drive folder.
- Create a new folder for the upcoming Odorama and name it "Name (date)", e.g. Happiness (2021.02.25)
- Within that folder create three more folders: "Media", "Presentations", "Press"
- From templates create new docs of "Communication/ Social Media promotion" and "Scent Script"
- Adjust "Communication/Social Media promotion" doc according to the dates of your Odorama and share it with the Communications Manager. This is your holy grail!!! Check this schedule every day and tick the tasks that have been done. Some tasks like "Meet + write Instagram and Facebook posts" is a meeting-based task with the Communications Manager + Communications Intern (if there is one). Thus, invite them to around a 2-hour meeting that day through google calendar.
- One of the most important parts of Communication is keeping in touch with the lecturers of Odorama. You will do this by sending a bunch of emails. Luckily, we have made it rather easy and straightforward for you. You will send this email on the day that you have scheduled an email on the "Communication/Social Media promotion" doc, thus if in doubt, check the doc. How to send the emails? Go to program gmail account and compose a new email. Then click on the three dots on the bottom and select "Templates". Then select the template according to the week (again you can check this in your communications timeline). The only thing left to do is to input the specific information according to the template. Voila!
- If the lecturers do not answer you or do not follow the deadlines written in your emails, do not hesitate to push them a bit and send them a private email with a new reminder. This will happen, so be prepared and always keep this on your mind. This is a rather easy task when you have time, but as the event approaches it will become more hectic and you will have to be quite strict with the deadlines.
In general, keep in touch with the Communications Manager and offer your help if you have time. Also, when anything interesting or useful arises for communication, send it to the Communications Manager and put it in the Odorama drive
4. Scents & Scent Script
Through the emails, you will collect a scent-script. After you have filled the full scent script, check again with Frank or Caro who is going to be responsible for bringing/making the scent. Normally one of them make/bring it or we already have something that we can use in the Aroma Lab. It is also possible that the speaker itself will bring something, especially if it is something that they make themselves.
Note: sometimes Odorama does not only include distilled scents but also powder, spices, or other physical blops that you can smell or taste. Mark this down in the scent-script.
5. Live stream
Since COVID-19, Odorama is no longer just a physical event but also a live stream. This is super exciting, as you have the opportunity to reach people all over the world, but it also means more work and responsibility. As this is still a rather new Odorama feature, there are lots of things that go wrong, thus really prepare and think extra critically here.
Firstly, an Odorama live stream is a format that includes a broadcasted video from the physical odorama event and a sample-kit that people receive to their houses.
There are several things to outline:
- Platform: normally we used Instagram live as our live streaming platform. Therefore, the live stream is technically accessible to anyone, even for those who did not buy a ticket. Then they can just watch the lecture without having the sample-kit.
- Set up: you have three main things to prepare: gimbal, iPhone, InstaMic and an extra Macbook. For each, there will be a responsible person who will operate it. Note: ask the person who has the role to make sure that the device is charged and ready. Usually, people do it anyways and it makes your life easier, as those last days leading up to the event are really busy.
- Staff & Roles: you will need to find a person for each setup device. Ideally, it is someone who has done it before. If not, schedule a meeting with that person and someone who has done it before, so that they can go through it. It is likely that they know it more in-depth than you do (Iines is your goddess!).
- Gimbal & iPhone - aka videographer. This person will film the live stream.
- InstaMic - aka audio. This person will connect the InstaMic to the iPhone and make sure that the sound in the live stream is clear and sharp.
- Macbook - aka social media moderator. This person will answer comments and give sample-kit (+ technical issues) instructions for the people joining IGTV. S/he is the person that connects the online audience to the lecturers. Thus, s/he will also read some questions from the online audience out loud.
- Things that can go wrong
- Audio: every single time we had some issues with the InstaMic. It operates on Bluetooth, thus as the gimbal phone moves, the connection gets choppy sometimes.
- Lenght of live stream: Instagram only allows a live stream of 1 hour. It is very important that you stop at 59 minutes and create a new one. If you reach a full hour Instagram will automatically stop you and the recording will not be saved (HUGE problem for postproduction)
Note: every role needs to be in perfect communication with each other. It is very important that in case of an issue, everybody knows what to do and acts as a well-oiled machine. Practice things going wrong beforehand.
The sample-kit requires a whole separate section! It is the most interesting and unique part of the Odorama live stream. The sample kit is a special plastic package with the scents/samples that we send to people's houses.
- Usually, a sample-kit is made by the Aroma Lab intern but if not - it will be you who's doing it. Honestly, it is SUPER fun! But VERY time-consuming. So, get help if you have a lot of other things to do. Also, it's more fun to do it together;)
- You have to send the sample-kits 2 days prior to the event. The sale of the sample-kits stops at 14:00 2 days prior to the event. Make sure to send the sample-kits on the same day before 16:00, as then they are going to be handled by the post on the same day.
- You can find the instructions on how to make the sample-kit here. After making the sample-kit, make address stickers with the Dymo printer and send the packages at the post-office at Centraal Station.
- Also, some FAQ about Sample-Kits.
Normally, Odorama is held in the Sluisdeurenloods (the barn). You will be in charge of the set-up that you will do the day before and on the day of the event. It is not difficult, however, it is a bit time-consuming. Set at least 3 hours for yourself and ask for the barn clean up to be the communal task of that week.
- Here you can see what the barn is supposed to look like when we have an event (pre-Covid)
- Due to COVID, the set-up of the barn has changed a bit. If people are not from the same household, you have to make sure that the chairs are placed at a 1.5. meter distance. Tip: it's about six feet one in front of another (I wear 39EU).
Remember all those annoying emails you sent about them sending you the slides (in 16:9, please!)? They’ll send them not on time, and in a confusing array, but hey, you still have to put it together. Here’s an example of a final presentation we used.
- Try not to change any of the pictures they send you! What you can do, however, is make it prettier. Try to find higher resolution pictures if they’re bad, or just edit out any ugly bits and bobs.
- Make sure there’s a slide that says ‘break’ in the middle and a slide that says ‘questions?’ after every speaker’s last slide.
- Include the last slide promoting the upcoming Odorama
9. Food & drinks
Mediamatic is definitely a very hospitable place. But in order to ensure that, you have to take care of a few things before and on the day of the event.
- 2 days prior to the event tell the kitchen staff how many guests are eating. Make sure they know how many plates to make and at what time dinner is expected (18:00)
- You need to eat too, you hard-worker! You don’t eat with the guests, but with everyone else who’s working that day. This is generally served at 17:00, before the guest dinner. TELL THE KITCHEN! They need to know how many extra ‘intern plates’ they need to make. Count yourself + photographer + ticket salesperson + aroma jockey + AV support + all people involved in the livestream.
- Speakers and staff get coins for the event. 1 coin = €2. Speakers get 10 coins each, staff gets 5 coins each. Staff does not get discount when using coins! So if you want a glass of wine, that’s €4 = 2 coins!
- You make the coin bags. Make sure you write on the bags: i) the name of the person getting them and ii) the value of the coins (1 coin = €2, remember!)
Note: during COVID the restaurant may be closed. This means that the staff does not get the coins and most probably the dinner. However, you can organize together with other interns something nice, even if it's just a simple pasta or frozen AH pizza.
10. Set up!
- Dyson Fan: download the app (it’s called Dyson Link), you need to make an account and connect it to our device, with the app you can control the Dyson it up and making it rotate. Note: during COVID we don't use the Dyson
- Do a light and sound check! You want to ensure that the light doesn’t shine directly on the screen, that the beamer and sound is working, and set some presets for yourself, especially if there are video/audio material in the presentation.
- Do a cleaning check - how does the floor look?
- In the barn, make sure there are heaters set up. During colder months, turn them on around 15:00, so that there is time for the barn to get a bit warmer. If it's really cold, place blankets some blankets on the chairs
Adapt and be critical! It is impossible to put every single detail into a knowledge page. But even if it would, you will experience your own challenges and unique set-ups. Don't panic and look for solutions! One of my favorite things to say: think about what can go wrong (something always will) and go from there.
11. Day of the event
So this is how your day will go at the event.
- You come to work, you expect there to be lots to do, but there isn’t. Because you took care of everything. Good job! Grab a coffee!
- After lunch, suddenly it gets busy. You start a space check, sound check, kitchen check, last-minute presentation check, and then suddenly it’s like, 1700h.
- You eat dinner at 17.00(ish) but it’s rushed because you feel like there’s a lot to do. Take a deep breath and try to enjoy it!
- Speakers start to come in at 18:00. Go and introduce yourself! Get them comfy, tell them when to expect dinner, give them the coin bags and inform them about the rehearsal. Have a chat or let them have their space, up to you.
- Keep an eye on them - when it looks like they’re done eating, around 19:00, take them through a rehearsal of the presentation. This is also a moment for last-minute changes. Don’t panic! You can handle this. Also, make sure that the other Odorama staff is there too.
- At 19:45 you open the door and start scanning tickets. Things are starting, and from here it's up to you! Observe, breathe and be proud of this whole big thing that you have put together!
Unfortunately, the rush of the event dies down, a bit of tiredness kicks in and the post-production gets forgotten. However, the event is not finished for about another week or until the following tasks are done:
- Barn clean up
- Post email (sent through stager template)
- Thank you email to the lecturers (also including invoices)
- After event Instagram post (also see Communication timeline doc)
- Live stream edit and upload on YouTube and Instagram
- Photographs are uploaded to flicker and website
Even though I only did a few Odoramas and in very uncertain times, I have learned a lot and had so much fun! Made many connections, got closer to colleagues and developed an undiscovered love for the olfactory arts! And you know what - the busiest, craziest times were my favorite and the ones that I will always remember!
On the last note, enjoy this because your internship will fly by! You are ready and you are going to do an incredible job!