The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Giant Productions Attends National Convention

3 min read


Heartbroken from not getting to meet one of my idols, I walked out of my hotel room. And there he was, staying on my hotel floor. DMC himself.

Never again will I get a chance to meet so many performers face to face as I did in St. Louis this year.

Thanks to NACA, or the National Association for Campus Activities, which held their National conference I attended in February, I was able to meet a legend.

This conference, one of several conferences held by NACA every year, is an opportunity for students to view and book entertainment to bring to their schools.

UMW sent me along with some fellow Giant Productions members to St. Louis for Nationals. Representatives from schools partake in showcases and meet-and-greet areas to see a huge variety of acts, ranging from comedians to musicians to drag shows. Then they go on to decide what to bring to their campuses.

The club showcases and main stage showcases both gave acts fifteen minutes to perform for over 2500 delegates at the National Conference. In a carefully laid out book was their name, a summary, and their price for booking.

Lecture series (which featured DMC and Lance Bass) went on at the same time as a showcase emceed by the much-loved comedian Baron Vaughn, a huge hit at the UMW campus.

For those of you who live under a rock, Mary Washington has a club called Giant Productions. Giant brings you entertainment, such as musicians and comedians, under a set budget each year.

Booking a musician that is well known is a very pricey venture. Many well-known artists range from $25,000 to $200,000 depending on their name and their pretentiousness. Example: Mute Math goes for $20,000 while Panic at the Disco goes for well over $100,000. Judge for yourself.

Since the budget for Giant usually encompasses two large shows every year, many smaller acts are brought to school. But finding these acts is not an easy process.

By having a conference like NACA Nationals, representatives from schools and clubs, such as Giant Productions, are able to see what they are paying for.

Instead of looking someone up or trusting word of mouth, comedians and musicians can be judged based on their material and stage presence. We even got to talk to a rapper, A.D. “The Voice,” about how he was a Rhode Scholar and left the workforce to pursue his dream, all before we saw his phenomenal performance.

Marketplace, or the meet-and-greet area of the conference, was where all the craziness occurred. Booths crowded a huge Convention Center room. Each booth was a different act or company that wanted your attention.

The Marketplace was also an opportunity to meet some big name people. As I mentioned, Darryl McDaniels (DMC) was there for a lecture. I did not meet him in the Marketplace because of the ridiculous line. It was pure luck he was on my hotel floor.

Among others there were Lance Bass, who gave a lecture that was basically his life story and managed to pack in a gigantic lecture hall; Dennis Haskins, or Mr. Belding from Saved By The Bell as we all know him; Finesse Mitchell from SNL; and Reno 911! cast members.