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Propared Blog

Tips and Advice for Managers, Planners, and Event Production Professionals

September 5, 2017

Propared in the Classroom: Theatre Management Education

Lately, we've talked with a lot of students eager to get their hands on Propared. We love this enthusiasm (and secretly blush a bit!).

However, simply exposing students to new technology can miss the bigger opportunity. Technology, used correctly, also has the ability to reinforce underlying core techniques and skills being taught. This means that it's important not to simply teach technology in a vacuum but rather to incorporate it into the larger curriculum.

This can be a challenging thing to do.

Inspired by these discussions, Melissa and I are working with educators to incorporate Propared's management platform into theatre, arts, and event management curriculums.

June 16, 2017

How to Not Screw Up Hiring Theatre & Event Managers

If you’ve ever had to hire a manager before you know how hard it is to find someone who is a good fit for your organization. Everyone dreams of landing that magic combo of skills, personality, drive, and teamsmanship. However, even when you think you’ve asked all the right questions and found the perfect person, the honeymoon doesn’t always last.

When hiring for management positions here are some considerations that will give you a better chance of hitting a home run.

May 10, 2017

How to Keep Your Head While Onboarding Seasonal Staff

It’s that time of year again! Summer theaters and festivals all over the country are gearing up for their seasons by adding loads of seasonal employees.

Onboarding new staff is not unique. Every company hires new people. What IS unique is the time we have available and the number of people we have to simultaneously onboard. Year-round management teams balloon from just a few people to a full troupe of technicians, managers, designers, and cast almost overnight.

May 2, 2017

Season Planning: I'd Rather be Sailing

 

Last month we spoke with a number of major theater companies across the country about their challenges in planning an entire season. No one really seems to like the process. It’s stressful, unwieldy, and fraught with miscommunication. Everyone is trying to represent their specific departments and needs, which leads to an inevitable collision of interests. If everything is important, how do you prioritize?  

April 20, 2017

The Complicated Love Affair between Business and Theatre

Approaching art as a business can feel anathema to our creative process. In fact, I've heard people say that business gets in the way and harms the art being made, especially in reference to not-for-profit theatre.  This line of thinking is horribly detrimental to our industry.

April 6, 2017

Improving your Production Process is Totally Doable

We all know that it’s smart to continually examine and improve our process. After all, there’s always room for more growth, increased efficiency, and better use of resources - especially in the Arts where budgets are tight to begin with. We know that doing these things can lead to reduced costs and fewer hours worked.

So why don’t we do it more? Or if we do try, why do we often give up before meaningful change has occurred?

Because it is really intimidating to get started. It feels like it takes more time than we have (because let’s face it we already pull magic out of thin air every day). But the reality is we often emotionally sabotage ourselves in this process before we even begin.

March 22, 2017

When Managers Should Avoid Email

Not too long ago, a friend of mine was stage managing a dance performance at a university. During one of the final rehearsals, the lead dancer had to leave the show.

The director, who was also a faculty member, sent an email to the dancer expressing her sympathy and telling her not to worry and that they’d replaced her and gotten the show back on its feet. Understanding it to be a sensitive moment, the director even had the stage manager proof read the note.

All looked good, and away it went.

January 23, 2017

5 Life Hacks to Make You a Better Event Manager

January 19, 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Labor Management Right: Part 1

Whether you work for a production company or any other organization responsible for managing events, you have probably found yourself in charge of booking and/or paying people.


Over the coming weeks we’re going to bring you a series of blogs that address the process of labor management in live events and how to get it right! Today, we’ll start with an overview of benefits and challenges and from there move into the two major parts of labor management: Booking Labor (everything before the event) and Tracking Actuals (everything after the event).

January 10, 2017

The Production Manager's Crash Course to Mastering Event Rentals

It wasn't so long ago that "managing equipment" for an event was pretty straightforward. Lights? Check. A/V? Check. Set pieces, tables, chairs? Check, check, and check. But the emergence of interactive tech (VR, large touch screens)  has made inventory tracking much more difficult. The basics are still around. But now clients are demanding more custom products. Production managers need to address how to source, transport, and store gear they may never have worked with before.

Truthfully, most of the production managers I know can roll with anything. Just tell them what the client wants and they are pretty resourceful in designing ways to make it happen. That said, as events become increasingly complex, the process of sourcing gear gets more complicated as well. The best production managers apply some basic rules to every build, no matter how intricate. If you're stressing over renting a lot of gear for your next event, find some comfort in this guide. You'll be able to meet any challenge thrown your way.  

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