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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
As marketing and sales professionals, we all know that the experience of your attendees is critical. Businesses need to differentiate themselves more than ever, and in-person events are still a great way to do this. For the fifth consecutive year, “in-person events” tops the list of most effective marketing tactics! However, for event attendees to get the most out of their experience (and for you to get the most out of your money!), it is critical that the event be planned well.
Communication is one of the most important parts of a manager’s job. It's also the most time consuming. You need to deliver information clearly and in ways that make sense to people in order for it to be effective. Not an easy task.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of things working against you. Effective communication is tough in any situation, but the immediacy of live events - the stress, the crunched timeline - can compound issues that arise. The best way to combat such challenges is to first recognize what causes them. Once you do, you’ll be well on your way to designing an effective communication plan for any event.
Event planners aren't perfect. Despite our best efforts and experience, sometimes we screw up. We forget to check parking and delivery street signs near the venue. We underestimate power needs or forget to plan for inclement weather. We recover from most of these mistakes quickly. It might cost some time and money but in the end, the event goes on as planned.
But sometimes, the fix isn't so easy. Sometimes, the mistake is much bigger. You know what I mean; the game-changing, face-palming, ruin-an-event blunders that make you want to crawl inside a storage closet and stay there for days. If you've experienced this feeling before, we feel your pain. We've compiled seven of the biggest mistakes we've seen and ways you can address them. If you do, we bet you won't have to go searching for a storage closet anytime soon.
Event managers work in stressful environments. In an industry that cannot function without the efforts of hundreds to carry off an event, conflicts are bound to happen. Here’s a few thoughts about how to resolve conflicts at work when they happen and some tips to reduce the likelihood of them occurring again.