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Propared Blog

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

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 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.

November 29, 2016

4 Pro Tips from LDI for Production Managers

At the end of October, I attended LDI Conference in Las Vegas. I usually attend as a Production Manager with the intent of scoping out new gear and tech toys. This year, I also had the honor of being invited to join Mark Randel as a presenter in his 2-day class “Production Management 101”.

Mark’s goal for the class was to examine the critical components of the role of Production Management when managing events. We had an incredible audience full of experienced production managers and venue managers. With that much knowledge kicking around the room, what started as a “back-to-basics” presentation turned into a massive roundtable.

I had trouble keeping up with all of the amazing ideas floated over the two day intensive. But I managed to grab some of the most important ones and I’m excited to share 5 of them that will really boost your production management skills.

April 29, 2016

7 Ways a Production Manager Can Nail the Next Event

Being a production manager is tough. No matter the circumstances of a project, you are constantly juggling the demands of multiple stakeholders - the crew, the client, your suppliers and many others! - while trying to keep everything on task and moving forward.

A few weeks ago, I was thrilled to share some of my tried and true event management tips with the good folks at Vectorworks. As I finished writing that article, I realized I had so much more to share on the subject! So this post, in a way, is my Part 2. Here are 7 tips to help you successfully tackle your next gig. 

March 29, 2016

7 Budgeting Tips for First-Time Event Production Managers

One of the hardest parts of planning an event is budgeting. How do you build estimates and set targets? How do you keep on those targets once things get going? And most importantly, how do you engage the client when things aren’t going as well?

The fact is, most event managers get very little training before having to build their first budgets. In fact, many universities don’t even broach the topic, especially coming from the technical theatre side of things. Suffice it to say, learning on the fly can be an expensive endeavor.

November 24, 2015

Planning an Event? Here's how to Make Venue Managers Love You

As an event planner or a production manager, your relationship with the venue manager is incredibly important. Often times, they are responsible for just as many moving parts as you are. But unlike you, they are married to their spaces. Especially if their spaces are in demand, they meet A LOT of planners and managers. Like it or not, that means how you conduct your business gets weighed against every other planner out there. Having them on your side can make you look EXTREMELY good in the eyes of the client. It might also lead to other referrals or opportunities, especially during the busy holiday party season. You never know how other professionals may be connected. Every project is a chance to grow your business.

Recently, I sat down with Leahann Miller, a veteran venue manager from New York City. She’s currently the acting Events and Catering Manager at Barney’s New York, responsible for managing all in-store events. Yesterday, she shared some thoughts on how you can make your space standout. Today, she offers some tips for event planners to make the people who run the venues your new best friends.

November 19, 2015

Beyond Price: 5 Factors To Help You Choose the Perfect Event Venue

Choosing a venue can be difficult. Every event is different, which translates into a new set of priorities every time out. So to make the process a little less cumbersome, event managers often turn to the two “Big C’s.” Capacity and Cost. That still leaves a lot of leg work to match up the perfect spot for your client’s needs. Thankfully, there are a few other factors to put on your planning checklist that can be just as critical and really help to secure the perfect spot for your event. Spoiler alert: most of them have very little to do with the “Big C’s.”  

November 5, 2015

3 Steps Successful Event Managers Take to Maximize Their Efficiency

Factory #1 and Factory #2 both make chairs. Everything about them is identical: the materials used, the design, even the sale price. There’s only one difference. Factory #2 can make the chairs just a little faster, cheaper, and with fewer mistakes. It doesn't take an expert to see which factory will succeed over time. Businesses devote massive resources in the never ending quest to maximize efficiency. Being more efficient can make a business more competitive. In some industries, it might be the only way to stand out in a crowded field. Event production and planning is no different.

September 23, 2015

9 Things a Production Manager Can't Live Without

Electricians have wrenches and meters. Carpenters have saws and screw guns (and sledgehammers if it’s an especially fun day). But what are the tools of the trade for a production manager? True, your goal is to remain as hands off as possible but surely there are a few fun toys out there for us aside from Propared (apologies for the shameless plug), be it an event planning checklist or a handy template for budgeting, or note taking. Here are a few tangible and not so tangible things I can’t live without as a Production Manager.

July 21, 2015

Event Budgeting: 5 Ways to Make Events Exceptional When Money is Tight

I can’t tell you how many times in my career I’ve been approached to manage an event where its scope significantly outpaced its budget. We spend the majority of our careers making incredible events happen without enough money.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know where to start. How do we do it?  What are some ways we can control the costs without sacrificing quality and experience? Here's how to create a budget for an event, think creatively about ways to marshal your resources,  and produce successful results even when working on a tight budget.

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