How To Construct a Run of Show for Your Next Event

Planning and executing a successful event is no easy feat. There are often several moving parts that must work together cohesively for the event to go off without a hitch. Whether it is an in-person event or a virtual event, chances are that it will require precise timing, smooth transitions, strategic tech assignments, and pre-planned backstage preparation. A run of show is a valuable tool to implement throughout your event planning process to ensure that your event is smooth from start to finish. Keep reading to learn more about how implementing an event run of show can help create a stress-free event and ensure that your entire crew doesn’t miss a beat. 

What Is a Run of Show (ROS) for an Event?

A run of show is a document that outlines the minute-by-minute items of an event, providing the entire crew with a detailed schedule that highlights what needs to happen for the event to run smoothly. This document is updated throughout the event planning process to include any necessary changes and used by the entire team on the day of the event for flawless execution. Some of the content that can be found in a run of show include:

  • Performances and speakers
  • Precise timing
  • Transitions
  • Cues for speakers and event workers
  • Equipment and supplies needed for each segment
  • Lighting, staging, and other visual effects for in-person events

A run of show is not to be confused with an agenda. They differ in that a run of show is detailed down to the minute and includes key details necessary for each item sequence, while an agenda provides a general overview of the event. This makes it beneficial for the whole crew, as they can each access what is needed from them in a centralized document. 

A run of show typically looks like a spreadsheet that has several columns and rows. The rows of the spreadsheet will outline the performances and speakers for each show segment, while the columns will provide detailed information on the audio, visual, and timing requirements for the segment. This can include transitional screens, pre-recorded videos, and other complimentary content. 

When creating a run of show unique to your event, you can begin by referencing an event run of show example. This will provide you with a generic framework, which you can then add to in order to fit your event. Once created, you will hand out a copy to each crew member so that they can refer to it throughout the event.  

Why a Run of Show Is a Key Element of Event Planning

Creating and perfecting a run of show can be a tedious task that often gets overlooked amidst other event planning activities. However, a run of show is crucial when it comes to executing a successful event that is free of confusion. First and foremost, a run of show allows everyone involved in the event planning process to be in the know. Since all event planning roles work together to create an unforgettable event, it is essential that each role is aware of what the other is doing. 

Most events are composed of several different segments that flow together to create a complete story, portray a message, or provide optimal entertainment. Preparing for and transitioning between segments can quickly become confusing, especially when multiple aspects are at play, including lighting and visuals and performer and production cues. A run of show allows everyone to follow precise timing for each segment, as well as what is needed to make that segment run smoothly.

Creating a run of show for your event is also a great way to see your entire event on paper, where you can assess the logistics and pinpoint any areas of weakness with your event. It will also serve as a way for you to plan ahead for any unforeseen circumstances that may throw your event off course. This ensures that, even in the event that something goes unplanned, your event crew is prepared to keep the event running with minimal interruption.

How To Create a Fail-Proof Run of Show for a Successful Event

A run of show is a crucial part of event planning and should be given ample attention to ensure that it is detailed and thorough. Although in-person, virtual, and hybrid events require different elements, every run of show should be sure to include a few key elements for optimal success. Keep reading to learn how you can create a fail-proof run of show and be on your way to executing a successful event. 

Develop a Seamless, Natural-Flowing Storyline

A strong storyline is a vital aspect of any event. Storylines are beneficial in many ways, as they keep the audience engaged, act as a catalyst for invoking emotions from the audience, and provide a memorable experience. Creating a run of show that outlines the storyline of your event will help you ensure a seamless, natural flow throughout the event.

Communicate Information With Your Production Team and Stakeholders

A run of show is a great way to communicate with your production team and stakeholders, as it lays out all instructions and expectations for the event. It will provide insight into what is expected of your production team and allow stakeholders to feel in the loop with the event they are involved in.

Color-Code Each Segment of Your Event

Proper organization is vital for any event, and this also applies to a run of show. Color coding each segment of the run of show document allows for easy navigation and greater focus. A run of show can get lengthy depending on the intricacy and length of the event, and color coding makes the document easy to follow.

Update Your ROS Document as Details Change

Your run of show should be created and adjusted as your event planning process matures. This will allow you and your team to stay on track and up to date with any changes made to your event. 

Organize Your Event With Event Management Software

A run of show is significantly easier when you organize your event with event management software. Event management software allows for all parts of your event to be monitored under a centralized location. This is beneficial to the event planning process because it allows for easier communication with team members, provides valuable insight into the event and its audience, and shows event progression in real time. When it’s time to create your run of show, you can easily access all parts of your event using your event management software and ensure that everyone is in the loop.

Keep In Mind the Visual and Technical Elements of Your Event

Your event run of show should include details on the visual and technical elements of your show, including things like lighting, stage setting, and any other visuals that will accompany your performance or presenter. These aspects rely heavily on a detailed timeline, as timing will dictate when these elements activate and change. Your run of show event document should detail specific instructions for these elements and seamless transitions.

Run Through Your Production Schedule Several Times

Events typically run on a tight schedule, allowing enough time for all of your speakers, performers, and entertainment to engage with the audience without rushing or running through other timelines. When creating your run of show, you should run through your production schedule several times to ensure that each segment of the event is allotted enough time to get through the material. You should also ensure that there is enough time between segments to include seamless transitions that help the progression of the storyline.

Plan for the Unexpected

Even the most detailed run of show cannot guarantee that an event won’t have interruptions, malfunctions, and other setbacks. Although you should plan your event with the hopes of avoiding these things, it is also crucial to plan for them. Your event run of show should provide detailed plans for managing any hiccups, as well as strategies for how to proceed smoothly.

A Solution That Helps You Avoid Pesky Setbacks

When you put time and effort into your event, you want to see it succeed. Although you may not always be able to avoid certain situations that threaten the flow of your event, you can do your best to plan for a seamless one and prepare to take on any challenges along the way. A run of show is a great way to document a minute-by-minute time frame of your event, as well as provide your team and stakeholders with detailed instructions and expectations.  

Take your efforts one step further by utilizing an event management software that puts all your event planning processes under one roof. Your event management software will give you the insights you need to create a meaningful event and provide updates on the progression of your event planning process. You can then refer to all of this information as you create an intricate run of show that is easy to follow and precise. At, we offer unmatched event management software that makes it easy to create, plan, and execute your event under one central location. Created with your needs in mind, our platform allows you to manage all of the moving parts of your event and makes creating a run of show easier than ever. Get started with our event management software today and ensure your next event goes off without a hitch.