Welcome to the Bow & Arrow Blog.

In archery "The Nocking Point" is where the Arrow meets the Bow. Our blog is where we meet you — we tell our story, talk industry trends and share some laughs. Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you!

Bow & Arrow Welcomes New Staff Member

Chris Mars - Saturday, November 13, 2010
The Bow & Arrow Productions staff is proud to announce Ashley Ruetter as the newest addition to their team.  She will serve as the Production Coordinator and comes highly recommended in the event planning field. 

Ashley is a native of Boone, Iowa where she recently worked as the Event Coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce.  She is a 2009 graduate from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Communication and a minor in Mass Media.  Some of her past experiences include working for the ASU Event and Meeting Services Department, Marketing and Public Relations for St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center and Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ. 

Clients and Vendors of Bow & Arrow Productions will begin to receive information from Ashley immediately.  She started Monday morning in Adel and will be helping execute December events as well as planning the 2011 events.    

Why Not Widescreen?

Chris Mars - Friday, October 08, 2010
Throughout this year we have been using a mixture of widescreen format (9x16) and standard format (4x3) for our client's video projection screens. We offer both to all of our clients which brings up the question "Why not go widescreen?"

From an audience member's standpoint, the widescreen is much more appealing to the eye. As a presenter, this format allows more room for graphics and photos making your presentation more appealing. (See our previous post on visual appeal ) The 16x9 format is an increasingly popular choice and is said to be the "format of the future."

In the past, some of our client's have encountered some difficulty formatting their power point slides to accommodate the difference.  In our business, this can be frustrating for meeting planners as they have little control over what a speaker may produce.  We find this aspect has been the number one draw back to moving forward with the different format.

Lets keep in mind that Power Point did not catch on as quickly as some might have expected.  For the longest time we had presenters bring us slides on carousels and overheard projector sheets.  You all remember those days, right?

Learning and teaching the new technology took some time and, as a production company, we had to be able to handle all requests. Times have changes and thankfully most presenters are accustomed to working in powerpoint. Being able to produce a presentation in the wide screen is not too difficult.

The only real change to make is in your Page Setup.  Simply change the size to the "on screen production (16X9)" setting.  If you're working with an older version of Powerpoint you can set 8 Inches for the Width, 4.5 Inches for the Height and the Orientation to landscape. This will produce the same result.

Some of the pictures in your presentation may stretch so be sure to proof and resize the images if you are changing the slides after completing your build. 
It's that simple, just a few setting changes and your off and running. We see this technology as another effective way to deliver the client's message to their audience.  Hopefully, this post has given you some confidence when looking into using the 16X9 format.

Communication Fulfillment Company

Chris Mars - Tuesday, October 05, 2010
In most of our information you will see we label ourselves as a "Communication Fulfillment Company" and not a simple Event Production Company.  This may be a bit confusing at times because it seems we provide the same services as an Event Production Company, please let me clarify this issue a little.

A production company can provide the essentials to support your event needs.  These are basic show elements like lighting, audio and staging. In most cases, these services can be sufficient for a basic event. The trend we seem to find with our clients, or prospective clients, is always similar; they want to take their event to the next level.

Our clients focus on pushing the limits on the last year's events.  This has become extremely difficult in an economy with shrinking budgets, but it is our job to deliver a unique event.

So where does Communication Fulfillment come in to this scenario?

As Bow & Arrow Productions has evolved, we have refined our services and taken a different perspective on producing an event.  Our production is driven by the client's message and understanding what is happening within their organization. By making this our focus, we can produce an event that is specific to their current needs.

By having a genuine interest in the client's message, we become a Communications Fulfillment Company and separate ourselves from our competition.  This allows us to fully understand their processes and what it takes for them to be successful.  We normally find our relationships within their organization last longer than a simple working relationship and credit this to the time we spend taking care of their needs.

Sure, we could provide basic lights, sound, and a stage but that would not help our clients communicate their message.

Every event has a purpose, and at the heart of that purpose is a message.  It may be a simple 'Thank You' as we see in awards shows or an informative business meeting with messages for employees.

No matter the size meeting or venue, we take great pride in our role because our clients trust us in communicating their message.  By putting the interest of the client first, we allow ourselves to become a Communications Fulfillment company and better serve our clients.

"Leadership Now"

Chris Mars - Tuesday, September 21, 2010

 Last night, we had the opportunity to be entertained by "The Worlds Funniest Guitar Virtuoso," Mike Rayburn. Mike is an amazing individual and blends a unique message with his "Classically trained.... comically derailed" performance. His concert/comedy show was a huge hit with the audience and a great start to our client's 124th annual convention.

This morning we supported the Opening Session at the Polk County Convention Complex. Today's keynote speaker was Brian Wesbury, Chief Economist at First Trust Advisors L.P., giving us hope that the financial future will be profitable in the long haul. His message is one geared around positivity and optimism, which is something a little hard to come by these days with our recent recession and national debt being key topics.

Tomorrow, we have the opportunity to hear Commander Kirk S. Lippold, USN (retired) and his message "Leadership and Accountability When It Matters". Commander Lippold was the commanding officer when the USS Cole was attacked by al Queda in the port of Aden, Yemen. Through his experiences as a commanding officer, Commander Lippold can give us all some valuable insight to becoming more effective leaders.

New Trend in Trade Shows

Chris Mars - Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Today, webinars are growing quickly,  and possibly taking place of trade shows. This is for good reason, they cost significantly less and are much less time consuming than a traditional trade show. With the increase in web technology and user friendly applications, our clients have expressed their concerns when discussing the lack of energy and interest for their trade show.

Normally, selling space in a trade show would provide funding for the national seminar. As we've seen a decrease in the effectiveness of the trade show, the funding they generate has started to slip. The new challenge is to draw the advertisers and create energy and interest within their trade show and ultimately, their meeting. We found a solution in a new Virtual Expo format, a hybrid of sorts.
The hybrid trade show consists of a smaller meeting room conveniently located away from the general meeting sessions. Lets face it, the new library is your local Starbucks or coffee shop. It's the place where people go to relax, surf the web, study and connect with others. These are very important elements because they provide many different things but relate so closely.

At your typical trade show, you have a large space with cold looking booths dressed up in an attempt to make you feel welcome. We flipped that idea on it's head and put the consumer first. Our goal was to emulate the inviting atmosphere of a Starbucks, allowing the consumer to be relaxed and the seller a comfortable setting to pitch their product.

To the right you see a rendering for an upcoming show.  This set up was designed to emulate the client's branded office. Upon show day, we brand the rest of the room with advertising material.

The vendors benefit from video screens around the room playing their videos as the consumer sips coffee and reads the latest trade journals. The walls are decorated with frames of the vendor's latest poster, graphic or other artwork and when the consumer sets their coffee cup down, it's on a vendors coaster.

To cater to the consumer we provide tables and computers with internet access along with couches and chairs. Of course, when they open the web browsers they are directed to the vendor's homepage. This allows the consumer a chance to search on their own terms and the consumer a chance to see what works on their web page.

The most important aspect of this hybrid trade show is the consumer doesn't know it's all a sales pitch. They believe they're getting a free cup of coffee and a break from the meeting. All the same information from the vendor is strategically spread around the room just as you would find in a normal trade show.  But this set up allows a more comfortable atmosphere in a condensed area, costing the vendor less and making the consumer more at ease. It may not work in every application, but our clients are raving about this new concept.

Jim Cathcart inspires at the Opening Ceremony

Chris Mars - Tuesday, August 24, 2010

As we began to prepare for the 2010 USA National Games, we wanted to highlight the accomplishments of some of the Special Olympic athletes. We selected four athletes who have not only excelled in their sport, but also impacted their communities.

After talking to each family on the phone several times, we began to storyboard each athlete’s journey. We quickly realized the huge impact each athlete has on their team, friends and community.

The long hours traveling, missing planes and losing baggage couldn’t dampen our spirits after spending a few days with the athletes. I quickly realized all the great things we had been writing about were true, these athletes are truly inspiring. They bring a joy and passion to life that is unmatched by any and leave a lasting impression on every life they touch.

We needed to get someone to could convey these messages and capture the true essence of each athlete. Call if fate, or good luck, but we happened to get a contact from Jim Cathcart that week. He’s a motivational speaker and one of the best in the business.

Jim had done some work with our Producer, Mike Mars, some twenty years ago at a little convention in Des Moines. It just so happened that Mike ran across Jim’s website and contacted him asking if he remembered working together. Sure enough, Jim knew exactly who Mike was and said he would love to work with us in the future, we had the perfect role.

After sending a few scripts over, Jim gladly accepted the role of Video Emcee for the Opening Ceremony. This was the finishing touch on the videos, a genuine voice and personality who could appreciate the accomplishments of these fine athletes.

When Jim arrived in Lincoln, it became evident he was there to offer his services to the fans. It wasn't about Jim being on stage and getting his name mentioned as a headline speaker. Instead, Jim used the stage as a platform to do what he does best, inspire.
People who put others in front of their own personal successes, are the ones who have lasting impressions. Jim is a truly inspiring person not only because of his unique messages, but also his genuine care for making a positive impact on others.

We are truly lucky to make a great contact and start a new relationship with such an amazing person.

An Adel Update

Chris Mars - Wednesday, August 18, 2010
It's a rainy day here in Adel, Iowa and most of our staff is taking some much needed time to relax and recover. Since the beginning of the new year, our 2010 production season has been like the world's longest roller coaster ride. As you can see, I finally have some time to update our blog page with some recap and cool pictures thanks to Pat Tierney. I apologize as some of this is old news, but we have been hitting the ground running after each show.

So what's new in Adel? Well, we've continued to settle into our new office and are making some great technological improvements to our historic building. Most notable, is our new Production Room here in our office. This room gives us another creative space to cut video, storyboard, and build graphics for our clients. A pretty cool resource for the Bow & Arrow staff.

Now that we have some time to reminisce on the year thus far, I can't believe we've pulled it all off! We've had our struggles and our mountains to climb, but we always got the job done. Looking back, what we realize is that we work with some pretty amazing people and would could not have done it without them. In the next few days I will feature just a few of these amazing people who have made a lasting impression on us as an organization.

The important thing for us to focus on now is how to streamline our processes to make our events more enjoyable for our clients. It's always been our goal to take care of all the details and let our client focus on their message. This is something that takes planning, preparation, and most importantly communication.

Photo Credit: Adel Partners

Visual Appeal

Chris Mars - Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Lets be real, smart phones and laptops make it way too easy for audience members to space off during presentations. What we have found is that it's important to keep them moving, not physically, but mentally through different mediums. We combined this set with the Encore Edge Blend video system and six smaller viewing screens on stage. Talk about giving your audience something to look at!

We combined this set with an interactive meeting format and panel discussion. The key is in weaving video elements and advertising material the client has already created to give breaks in the action. We've only scratched the surface with the potential of this meeting medium but have had great success thus far!

Special Olympics 2010 USA National Games Opening Ceremony

Chris Mars - Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This summer we were invited to be a part of the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln, Nebraska. Some of you may know, we produced the first ever 2006 USA National Games in Ames, IA, one of the most fulfilling events we have ever produced. So we jumped at the chance to come back for the 2010 games.

Although the planning process started over a year ago, it took every last minute to bring all the different elements of both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies together.

The Opening Ceremony began with a 'Parade of Athletes' from 47 Special Olympic State Delegations. Each state was introduced and paraded through the Bob Devaney Sport Complex on the University of Lincoln Campus.

Hosts for the evening were Actress and Model, Brooklyn Decker and Actor and Special Olympics athlete Eddie Barbanell. Both have become great spokespersons for the Specil Olympics movement.

The night's musical talents featured the legendary Sandi Patty, Americal Idol finalist Michael Sarver and Grammy Award winning Jars of Clay.

Jim Cathcart, one of the best known speakers in the world, served as the Video Emcee, highlighting four athletes from around the nation. These four people are not only amazing in what they can do on the athletic field, but amazing in what they do for their families, communities and the United States. Be sure to check out the Bow & Arrow website to view these wonderful highlight videos. We also want to thank Jim for offering his time to come participate in the Opening Ceremony, he is truly inspiring!

The night featured a special music track and video dedicated to the late Eunice Kennedy Schriver and her work as the founder and supporter of the Special Olympics movement. Michael Sarver performed the custom song titled "Carry the Torch" which ended in the lighting of the 2010 USA National Games' torch. (Check back later as we upload video)

The evening ended with inspirational words from Tim Schriver, Eunice Kennedy Schriver's son and new face of the Special Olympics. The legacy of Eunice Kennedy Schriver is in good hands and will be carried on by the many lives she has touched over the years. This has been one of the most cherished events we have ever be a part of in our 20 years of experience and we cannot thank the Schriver family enough for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful organization.

Special Olympics 2010 USA National Games Closing Ceremony

Chris Mars - Tuesday, August 17, 2010

As the week's events came to a close in Lincoln Nebraska, the energy and excitement of the nearly 14,000 people attending the USA National Games Closing Ceremony was just beginning to build. As the doors opened for the Closing Ceremony, we quickly realized the athletes, fans, coaches and parents we not ready to go home just yet.

Hip-hop sensation Small Change, three young men from Atlanta Georgia, added fuel to the fire as Fans danced in the stands during the walk-in. This was a fitting start to the Ceremony which doubled as a Youth Rally for Special Olympics.

The musical talents for the evening were pop stars Kristinia DeBarge and FeFe Dobson, Small Change, LaShell Griffen, and Special Olympics athlete/Musician David Steffen.

Upon seeing 14,000 fans ready to rock and roll in the stands, all the artists got a real taste of what it means to be a part of the Special Olympics organization. It's not about who is number one or who has the most recent pair of Nike's, it's about celebrating the athlete's accomplishments throughout their journey.

These shows are some of our favorite to produce because you never seem to get tired or frustrated not matter the obstacle. Instead, you feed off the energy and inspiration of every athlete, coach, volunteer and fan you encounter. If you haven't yet, make sure you make it out to a Special Olympic event as a volunteer or fan, you get more than you give. Be sure to check back as we post video of our two week trip to Lincoln.

-Chris Mars