Nothing can be more satisfying as an event planner than to see your event run smoothly just as you planned it, especially when the world is watching.  Making sure that over 1,200 guests, most of which are on the A-list of Hollywood, are enjoying themselves and the food and beverage that is provided can be quite challenging.

As the Awards Event Supervisor for the SAG Awards, we start the event coordination and planning process about four to five months in advance.  We meet with the SAG Awards Committee and the producers of the SAG Awards show to discuss not only their guidelines but also their expectations for the upcoming show.  We then look to the television set’s art director, Joe Stewart, for inspiration and design ideas.  We actually extend his vision into our dining room.  This year, in celebration of SAG’s 75th anniversary, our charge by both the SAG Awards Committee and SAG producers was to create a regal yet classic and elegant dining experience.  We used two-toned golden linen designed by our art director, Keith Greco, and extended this look with our china, glassware and flatware all of which had gold on them as well.  Even the flowers, designed by C.J. Matsumoto, were golden.  

For our dinner, we served an antipasti plate so that our guests can have something to hold them over until the after-party sponsored by People Magazine and Entertainment Industry Foundation.  For our dinner this year, chef Alan Jackson created a Mediterranean styled plate of four food items – Tuna Nicoise, Chicken Bisteeya, Poached Lamb Loin and a Grilled Vegetable Terrine.  And of course no dinner can be complete without wine and champagne provided by both Dry Creek Vineyards and Taittinger.

This dinner gala is especially challenging since we are working with a live television production.  Thus, it is essential that we coordinate our serving times with the actual show and its commercial breaks, and we must work quickly since we only have two to three minutes during each of the television show’s segments.  In this instance, timing is everything!

Finally, after the telecast we strike the event that evening.  Close to 6,000 stems of glassware, 2,400 pieces of cutlery, and over 1,200 gold chavari chairs, black satin napkins and gold-rimmed china must be packed up and loaded out that evening to make way for the next event to be held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.  Then it is back to the drawing board for our team to top this year’s event and create an even more spectacular evening for next year’s SAG Awards to be aired live on both TNT and TBS on Sunday, January 25, 2009.

Andrea Wyn Schall

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