We had the good fortune of connecting with Derek “Red” De Vette and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Derek “Red”, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
The key advice I use came from fellow producer and TEDx speaker, Lauren Selman. She told me you take a gig for three reasons: 1. The money 2. The experience 3. The connections. So long as you’re hitting TWO OUT OF THREE of those, take the gig. It almost always results in the third later on too. This is a determining factor for me as to whether I’ll continue or give up on an event or activity.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
HOW DID YOU GET WHERE YOU ARE TODAY BUSINESS-WISE? I spent decades doing PR and events in the corporate space. I took that experience and launched my event production agency, IN RED WE TRUST. The name comes from the professional moniker handed me of “Red” due to my fiery colored hair and personality. As I like to say, LA is a big industry but small town. If you deliver for someone here, word gets out. I soon landed gigs with the Harley-Davidson Love Ride, Foo Fighters, Jay Leno; fundraisers, markets, street fairs, music and film festivals, salons, awards galas.
WAS IT EASY? IF NOT, HOW DID YOU OVERCOME SOME OF THE CHALLENGES? Events are hard work. But if you love it, the struggles and challenges are a part of the adventure and what make you feel alive as a human.
WHAT DO YOU WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND AND STORY? Well again, my orientation to event planning came from the corporate space. I was a direct report to CEOs—who one for one had ZERO tolerance for errors and noticed every little detail. So I tend to run my events like military operations. Hollywood A-listers are no different. This attention to detail has served me well as an events professional. “I hired IN RED WE TRUST to produce my foundation’s Human Rights & Hope Speaker Series. From start to finish—the design, layout, planning and show execution ran like a finely tuned Stradivarius. Red is my producer of choice. “ -Anne Archer, Oscar Nominee & Golden Globe Winning Actor / Founder Artists for Human Rights.
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHERS?
Most event producers serve their sponsors. And you need to do this. But I view my true boss as the attendees. If you plan, design and deliver to the attendees—the client is always happy in the end . It’s a bit controversial at times. I will fight a sponsor to have or not have something if I feel it better serves their attendees. But this is a North Star rule that I live by—and clients trust me because of it. Serve their attendees and the event will come off a huge success. “As Chairman of the Harley-Davidson Love Ride, I secured IN RED WE TRUST’S services to handle our Grand Finale festival and Foo Fighters rock concert. We went from 2,700 attendance the previous year to a sold out 14,500+ capacity event and $1,000,000 in charitable donations raised for United States veterans. I trust in Red!” -Oliver Shokouh, Founder and Chairman Harley-Davidson Love Ride
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF OR EXCITED ABOUT?
I make big promises and push my team and clients a bit out of their comfort zone to make sure an event is unforgettable. We’re currently planning a fundraiser at a mansion in the sky. This is to benefit the John Dau Foundation’s Duk Peace Hospital in war-torn South Sudan. I’m also mid transforming the Delphi Academy of Los Angeles into a future outdoor movie screening venue and fireworks-laser light show under the stars. That one is called, Moon Monkey Theater. Keep an eye out for it. Some of these events are owned and run by IN RED WE TRUST. Others we are called in to produce or execute on behalf of the client. We put the same amount of care into both. Our company ethos is: “History is marked by unforgettable Events. Leave your mark.”
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
For an authentic but casual experience, take an afternoon hike at Los Liones Trail in the Palisades. The summit is nothing short of majestic and overlooks the Pacific Ocean and blue sky. From there, grab an organic lunch at Erewon. Go home, relax, clean up and have a nice dinner with wine at Cliff’s Edge in Silverlake. From the outside, it looks like the parking lot of a car repair garage. Step inside and you’re transported to a small rain forest with a unique array of gourmet food. It’s these little Easter Eggs known by locals only that makes LA special. Go discover and enjoy them.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
For mentorship and outright inspiration, I would warmly thank and acknowledge fellow event producers Michael Shreibman of the Sherman Oaks Street Fair, Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix of Cirque du Solei, Natalie Nagengast of Markets for Makers, Heather Hope-Allison of Street Food Cinema and John Wyatt of Cinespia. For invaluable branding advice for my company and festivals, David Brier of Rising Above the Noise.
Alex Lake Photography, Bryan David Hall, Chris Gibson, Ray Kachatorian