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A Deck Manager, often called an Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) or Backstage Manager, is primarily recognized for managing on-stage logistics. They cue presenters’ entrances and exits, mark the stage for props and chairs, coordinate furniture movements, and so much more.

But does your specific event NEED a Deck Manager?

While a Deck Manager can be particularly beneficial to large and complex productions, they also act as the glue in a team, improving communication fluidity and being able to support a variety of different departments throughout the event.

Factors to Assess When Hiring a Deck Manager

As a leading agency in event production, it’s crucial to evaluate whether your event would benefit from the expertise of a Deck Manager. Consider the scale and complexity of your event, including the number and types of stages, technical requirements, and level of coordination needed among various teams. Reflect on whether your current team can handle last-minute changes, high-profile presenters/performers, and intricate logistical challenges without compromising the event’s quality. Virtual events with streaming components or specialized requirements can also benefit from hiring a “Deck Manager” often referred to as the “Green Room Manager” to work with your talent behind the scenes to help keep them informed of the video process and timing, make sure their technology is working correctly and to insure they are framed up beautifully for the cameras. 

Event Types and Benefits of a Deck Manager

Large-Scale Events: For events with a substantial number of elements, such as multiple stages, several presenters or panelists, diverse performances, and numerous technical components or furniture moves, a Deck Manager becomes essential. They help organize and coordinate the various activities happening simultaneously on the event “deck” ensuring that paths are cleared, cues are executed on time and talent is well prepared.

Multiple Stages or Areas: If an event involves multiple stages you will want more than one Deck Manager to oversee the coordination of activities on each stage while communicating across teams. This is common in festivals, conferences, or multi-venue events where simultaneous or back to back performances or presentations occur.

High-Profile Presenters/Performers: Events featuring high-profile presenters, artists, celebrities, or intricate performances often require meticulous coordination and communication. A Deck Manager will act as a liaison with the presenters/performers, enhancing their experience by supporting their needs while ensuring the talent is in the right place at the right time and that all technical requirements are met.

Complex or Multiple Stage Moves: When the event involves complex or multiple stage moves (furniture, demos and props) you will also more than likely have a larger production crew, including multiple Deck Managers, stagehands, technical staff, and other support personnel. A Deck Manager can provide effective leadership and communication to ensure everyone is on the same page. They will be able to act as a cross-functional resource for the entire team.

Challenging Venues: Events held in unconventional spaces or locations with limited access are likely to benefit from a Deck Manager who can navigate logistical challenges and coordinate the “backstage” areas.

Time-Sensitive Productions: Events with tight schedules and quick changeovers between presentations require meticulous planning and execution. A Deck Manager can maintain an event’s timeline by ensuring talent needs and technical challenges are addressed early on, providing smooth transitions.

Live Broadcasts or Streaming: In events with a live broadcast or streaming component, a Deck Manager/Green Room Manager can work closely with the production team and talent to coordinate live feeds and camera shots and ensure a seamless viewing experience for virtual or remote audiences

While the decision to hire a Deck Manager can depend on the scale, complexity, and specific requirements of your event, the human element of the role has an impact beyond technicalities and stage logistics. What happens backstage is a large part of what your client/presenter will experience and remember. Much of this will be their interactions with your Deck Manager. 

So, next time your event requires coordinating multiple elements, stages, or presenters, consider hiring a Deck Manager – but if you run an event agency that wants to also provide an emotionally impactful and memorable experience for your client, plan on it.

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