“Can you come to our event?”
There are so many car events around the world, I can’t imagine what it would take to do them all — so I can’t.
However, I have done quite a few in recent years. I’ve been to Sweden, Germany, Canada, Thailand, Italy and Japan for car events. I’ve also done appearances here in the USA.
As you can imagine, as a business owner, I cannot hop on a plane to go to a Saturday or weekend car show just for fun. Not only would my business suffer, but my wife would strenuously object.
Therefore, back in 2017, I committed to her that I would only make paid appearances.
That has worked out well. It works out to about 4-5 trips a year (not including the COVID debacle) and each trip has been amazing. So, with that said, I’ve put together an overview of how event promoters can have me appear at their event and how the most successful appearances work.
At shows, I interact with anyone and everyone. I answer questions, tell stories and occasionally autograph dashboards or collectibles.
I always bring 8×10 pictures of Fast & Furious cars that I autograph and usually, a box of 50 books to sign.
Ultimately, it’s about interacting with the fans. showgoers and sponsors.
I ONLY DO INDOOR EVENTS
First off, in case you didn’t already know, I sold my movie cars many years ago).
But if you are among the super fans who have been gracious by inviting me to their events in the last 10 years, I’m happy to do so. – under the right conditions.
This is why I do only indoor events only: If people are at an event for racing, having me standing in a tent does nothing for anyone. You need to get your money’s worth. Outdoor events are too noisy, not climate controlled and they only provide me the chance to talk 3-4 people at a time.
The best scenario is one where I’m giving stage time with a microphone and a set appearance time on stage (ex. Craig Lieberman Q&A at 11AM and 3PM) and then someone either interviews me, or I run a Q&A session and tell some stories.
Generally, the best scenario for everyone works like this – let me walk you through a common event setup. (a two-day weekend show as an example).
I fly to your city. I usually arrive in the evening, so I pick up my rental car and go to the hotel. In some cases, I meet the event promoter/staff for coffee/drinks.
If I’m flying to a foreign country, in some instances, I fly on Wednesday and arrive late Thursday.
Go to the event to set up a table for my autographed photos and books. This table is usually IN or ATTACHED to the sponsor’s booth.
Friday night, I usually do dinner with the sponsor and his/her special guests. That usually ends up being a private area of a restaurant with friends or clients of the sponsor.
Show day. Typically, I end up getting on a stage to be interviewed by someone (event promoter, event emcee, etc) and then I take questions from the audience. Often, we do two sessions of Q&A periods. During the rest of the day, I stand in the sponsor’s booth and sign autographs or I’ll walk the show to meet people.
Repeat of Saturday. Sometimes, there’s a post-event dinner to which I’m invited. Happy to do that, too.
MONDAY – Fly home.
Events should be booked 4-6 months in advance. Bookings are first-come, first-serve.
EXPENSES & FEES
While I do sell books and photos, because every event is unique and since shipping costs are prohibitive to where there’s no way to affordably ship enough product to the venue to cover my expenses and fees, I changed my structure in 2018.
EXPENSES: (Must be booked and paid in full at time of booking).
Premium airfare roundtrip
Rental car (I usually rent a compact car)
Hotel (Hilton quality)
$500 for each day of appearances. (An “appearance” is any obligated appearance consisting of two hours or more).
Sponsor dinner – no charge. ( I love sponsor dinners, so I’m happy to hang around with those who set up the appearance.)
ADDS VALUE TO AN EVENT
Typically, an event promoter will reach out to me and invite me to their event. This works best when they work with a displaying sponsor – a company that has a big presence at the show.
They usually pick up the costs, and host me in their booth. I wear a branded shirt on their behalf. I set up my table in their booth and sign photos or books throughout the show.
When I arrive the night before, sometimes, the sponsor will setup a private meet and greet dinner or cocktail hour (I don’t drink – never acquired a taste for it, but I have no problem with drinking). This is a good time to get some one on one with the sponsor or his/her special clients or friends.
On event days, I’m in the booth for much of the day, breaking away to do Q&A’s or sometimes, car show judging.
The goal here is to provide value for the sponsor – the person who group who paid for me to be there.