I hope that everyone had a fun-filled 2013 in SL, and for those of you who like to host parties, I’ve compiled all of my best tricks and tips from over seven years of party planning, building and hosting.
Now that social media has a presence in our second lives as well as first, we often share photos from parties on sites like Flickr and Facebook. A planned shot is a better shot than an unplanned shot- but what to do when snapping at a party? A few really nasty party photos can actually deter people from visiting your venue, so plan some attractive focal points. Rezzing a few eye-catching items in a theme will often lead the photographer’s eye to them and they will snap your guests in front or around them. Something that is not terribly ‘busy’ and has some height to it (not much taller than an avatar) will help disguise other less attractive photo elements like club signage (or sometimes other avatars) for the photographer. When spontaneously shooting moving avatars at parties, ask them privately to do the same animation for a few minutes (like a dance) or to switch to their AO for a few moments. This will enable you to know how their body is moving and view it on repeat- which then enables you to slow down and shoot that desirable split second of a pose from the best angle. Be patient, wait, watch.
I like to play games at my parties when possible to keep chat flowing. More people leave due to a lack of local chat than actually participate in local chat from my experience. Quiet guests? Ask them a question that they can safely answer without judgement, give them a chance to share something that won’t embarrass a shy person. Don’t ask them for the name of their favorite song or band- some people can’t name those things when put on the spot. Do ask them where they bought something if you feel that it’s polite and complimentary. Getting offended when complimented is ridiculous. Smile, giggle, laugh…but don’t gesturebate something like OMGSNORTZ every two minutes. Nobody likes that sh*t.
Speaking of interaction, give your party guests an alternative to dancing. Some folks are just too cool to dance. Some like to feel relaxed by a sitting animation and some don’t. However, standing stock still in the middle of any dance floor is not cool- don’t be afraid to ask them to move off the floor by politely offering them a chair or if they’d join you on the side of the floor. Don’t allow the cool kids who land at your entrance and never actually walk in to block the flow of traffic. If they are met with a small prim obstacle that they have to walk around to access the dance floor, they will, therefore leaving your entry more open. If they are afk, send someone (or do it yourself) over to ‘bump’ into them…repeatedly…until their av is out of the way.
Mind your textures! By this I mean, look at they myriad of textures you’re presenting in any one scene to rez. If you’re able to Photoshop, condensing signage onto one prim (even if that means having blank space between signs and spreading it out over an entire wall) will condense that into one texture to load.
Dance machines, oi vey. Do you still have the same old Bits and Bobs couples dances from 1980 in your machine? No one wants to do those anymore- take em out. Now that animations are longer and smoother, buy the newer ones ASAP and start updating NOW! While I’m no longer a fan of the Intan system, I have found reason to love the TIS dance machines like the Hybrid. It’s not 100% perfect, but it’s much better and user friendly than Intan. By using a TIS server, your guests who also own a TIS dance system or HUD, you can allow them to call up their own couples dances at your venue! Just think of the savings 🙂 Tired of sending your guests dance invites? The newest build of the TIS will feature dance floor collision interaction- which means- you’ll be able to offer ALL of your dances to anyone who steps onto a T1000 dance floor if you also have a Hybrid ball or otherwise from There In Spirit.
Last but certainly not least- clear lines of sight. Go to your venue and pretend you’re a noob. Can you see the dance machine without camming? Can you see the signs or jars or other essential items? Is it easy to find your dance floor? Can your remote satellites for the machines be seen in all corners? Make a mental ‘map’ of the venues outline and interior walls. Now place all of your assets (like dance machines or tip jars) as stars on that map. Spread things out a little, keep some at eye level for an avatar, look at where your ‘corners’ are at. Putting staff in the most visible spot is great, but that’s not the only spot your guests are looking for. Look at the scene behind your staff too, make it a focal point. Donation board? Host says: it’s behind me. Dj tip jar? Host says: it’s in front of (name of DJ). Little things like that go a long way in direction! And…It pains me to say this. Look at your floor. That’s one of the biggest mistakes most clubs make. If your floor is ugly- your club is ugly, period. Don’t tile your logo 300 times on your floor! For shame! Class, dismissed 😉
Now go out there and make SL more interesting with better parties!