how to become an event planner

Matt James

Matt James is an award-winning event planner, author, and owner of Left Field Productions. With 20 years’ experience in corporate, charity, brand experience, and special events, Matt has produced events for celebrities, including Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, Stella McCartney, Kevin Spacey, David LaChapelle, John Waters, Elvis Costello and Diana Krall, and a range of brands, corporations, and charity clients, including Canon, Barbie, Montblanc, Chopard, Credit Suisse, Christie's, Selfridges, and The Red Cross.

The winner of 30 industry awards, Matt is often invited to speak at industry events, such as ILEA (International Live Events Associtation) conferences and lectures, International Confex, BNC Event Show, and RSVP; judge awards and competitions, including The Eventice, Corporate Event Association Awards, and Incentive Travel & Meetings Association Awards; and guest lecture at university event-management degree courses.

Prior to founding his own event company, Matt worked for leading Middle East advertising agency Publicis Graphics. He began his event-planning career working on fundraising events for AIDS charity London Lighthouse, before joining the corporate events team at the investment bank Credit Suisse.

Matt is the author of Become an Event Planner: Secrets for Getting Hired from Employers, Recruiters, and Event Professionals. For more information, check out the book here (USA Visitors). UK visitors see here.

matt james

Left Field Productions

Left Field Productions is an award-winning event management, design, and production company with a client portfolio spanning leading brands, charities, and celebrity clients.

Past events include:

  • Elton John’s Annual White Tie & Tiara Ball
  • Stella McCartney’s Wedding
  • Launch of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Work of Art
  • The Art of Barbie for Mattel
  • Canon Designs for Life for Canon UK
  • David LaChapelle's first UK exhibition
  • Launch of Montblanc’s first collection of fine jewellery
  • Launch of Superbrands for Selfridges
  • La Trophee Chopard and La Fate Noire for Chopard at the Cannes Film Festival
  • Elvis Costello’s Wedding to Diana Krall

For more information see www.leftfield.productions.

Elton John's White Tie & Tiara Ball
Elton John's Fifth Annual White Tie & Tiara Ball; African Safari

D&AD Awards
The D&AD Awards


awards

Corporate Event Association (CEA) Awards


  • Production Company of the Year
  • Victor Ludorum Award for Most Outstanding Entry
  • Best Party for The Launch of Superbrands for Selfridges
  • Best New Event for Christie's Contemporary Collectors
  • Best Party for Elton John's Seventh Annual White Tie & Tiara Ball
  • Best Awards Event for Trophee Chopard at the 58th Cannes Film Festival
  • High Commendation, Production Company of the Year
  • High Commendation, Most Effective Use of Budget for The British Red Cross Ball
  • High Commendation, Best Product Launch for The Snowflake Collection for Chopard

Matt James Left Field Productions ITMA Awards

Event Awards


  • Best Celebration Event Silver for Campaign Press Awards
  • Best Launch Event Silver for Christie's Contemporary Collectors
  • Most Improved Experiential Campaign Silver for Campaign Press Awards
  • Best Outdoor Event Silver for Elton John's Fifth Annual White Tie & Tiara Ball
  • Best Celebration Event Gold for H20: The Element of Life, The Red Cross
  • Most Improved Experiential Campaign Gold for H20: The Element of Life, The Red Cross
  • Best FMCG/Pharmaceutical/Healthcare Event Silver for H20: The Element of Life, The Red Cross
  • The Event Award for Live Event Activity for H20: The Element of Life, The Red Cross
  • Best Travel/Tourism/Leisure Event Gold for La Fete Noire for Chopard at The 58th Cannes Film Festival

Matt James Left Field Productions Event Awards

INCENTIVE TRAVEL & MEETINGS ASSOCIATION (ITMA) Awards


  • Best Overseas Event (Short Haul) Gold for Trophee Chopard at the 58th Cannes Film Festival
  • Best Media & Entertainment, Travel & Leisure Event Gold for Campaign Press Awards
  • Best Consumer Durables & Technology Event Gold for Trophee Chopard at the 58th Cannes Film Festival
  • Best UK Event Gold for Elton John's Seventh Annual White Tie & Tiara Ball
  • Best UK Event Silver for Campaign Press Awards

RSVP Awards


  • Most Creative Use of Theming & Props for The Secret Garden, The Red Cross
  • High Commendation, Most Creative Event of the Year for H20: The Element of Life, The Red Cross

Matt James Left Field Productions Event Awards

EVENTIA Awards


  • Eventia International Awards: Most Effective Use of a Small Budget Gold for Love You To Death TV Launch for FremantleMedia Enterprises at MIPTV, Cannes
  • Eventia International Awards: Best Promotional Communication Bronze for Love You To Death TV Launch for FremantleMedia Enterprises at MIPTV, Cannes
  • Eventia UK Awards: Best Celebratory Event for The Secret Garden, The Red Cross
  • Eventia UK Awards: High Commendation, Party of the Year for H20: The Element of Life, The Red Cross
  • Eventia UK Awards: High Commendation, Production Agency of the Year

Matt James Left Field Productions CEA awards

Judging / Speaking Engagements

Matt is often invited to participate in industry events, initiatives, and educational programs including:

  • 2018 Guest Lecturer, University of Brighton Event Management Degree Course
  • 2017 Speaker, BNC Event Show
  • 2014-2017 Guest Lecturer, Southampton Solent University Event Management Degree Course
  • 2013 Judge, The Eventice (Apprentice-style event industry job competition)
  • 2013 Speaker, International Confex trade show
  • 2010 Speaker, Academic Venue Show
  • 2009 Speaker, RSVP trade show
  • 2006 Speaker, ILEA (formerly ISES) Conference
  • 2005 Judge, ITMA Awards
  • 2005 Speaker, International Confex trade show
  • 2004 Guest Lecture, University of West London Event Management Degree Course
  • 2004 Judge, Corporate Event Association (CEA) Awards
  • 2003 Lecture, International Live Event Association (formerly ISES)
Matt James Left Field Productions ISES Conference
Guest Speaker, ISES Conference

Media

Matt has contributed to both consumer magazines, such as Instyle, Esquire, Sainsbury's Money Matters, and Ocado Life, and trade publications including Conference & Incentive Travel, Event, and his own monthly column, Matt's Planet, in RSVP Magazine.

Instyle magazine
Esquire magazine
Ocado life magazine
Event magazine
Conference & Incentive Travel magazine
RSVP magazine



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Meet the Professionals

Learn about the employers, recruiters, and event professionals that have contributed career advice to this site.

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christoper lee
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charlotte woolseley brinton
sharyn scott
nathan homan
lisa simmons
marie davishieser
jennifer miller
rachel vingness
liz sinclair
nicola mosley
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grace nacchia
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