You sign on for one thing, and by the end, it's turned into a whole different beast. Whether you're starting a new role or managing a production, you might be on the verge of what we refer to as Scope Creep.
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.
It’s hard to believe that a mere 18 months ago, Propared was nothing more than a shared thought - a hope for something better. It was something to make our live event colleagues and us happier, a little less stressed, more efficient. It was an idea for a system that could empower us all to be better managers and teammates, to help raise the level of performance for everyone. Truly, it was a desire to provide whatever support we could to the people who work so hard in our industry in reaching their full potential.
Now here we are, at the realization of that idea and a mere prelude to what it will become. It has a name, a mission, and a platform. It boasts a dedicated and enthusiastic team. And we keep pinching ourselves that this day has finally arrived.
The picture above was taken in Stari Grad, a tiny, sleepy port town on the island of Hvar in Dalmatia, Croatia. It was the perfect place to breathe and reset. Two of us, Mel and Ryan, had been running Tinc, a live event production company, for 6 years and the work was crazy. In all that time, we hadn’t really been able to separate ourselves from the day-to-day operation of our company. Finally, the moment came when wepractically pushed ourselves out the door, forcing each other to step away and clear our heads.It was this time away that allowed us to look at the bigger picture, see everything we had done and everything we both needed and wanted to do. We were able to see the genesis of Propared in bits and pieces, choices we made to make Tinc's operations more efficient. And we saw an opportunity to build something more robust and unique for our industry, rather than continue to rely on a Frankenstein's monster of programs that each solve one problem but create a whole series of others. When we returned, we pow-wowed with Derek, passed some ideas back and forth, and Propared was born.
What's amazing is that the very idea of us stepping back and looking at the big picture is exactly what Propared is now designed to support. Managers, have the ability to see all the information relevant to their work in one place and can make important decisions quickly and confidently. They spend more time actually managingand less time moving from daily task to daily task.
This is the conversation we want to have with all of you. What does it really mean to be a manager? When we all take a step back and strip away the clutter, what will help us all perform better for our colleagues, our organizations, and ourselves? It is asking those questions and hearing your answers that have got us to where we are today. And it is what will continue to drive us forward.
On behalf ofour team, welcome to Propared. We are here and ready to revolutionize the management of live events. We are here in support of you, fellow stage and production managers. We have your back, designers and event planners. Theatre and dance companies and film production houses, our lines are open. Let's make our industry even better than it already is.
-Mel, Ryan, & Derek, cofounders
Its hard to believe that just a short 14 months ago, a bunch of theatre folk embarked on this crazy journey of becoming software developers. And yet here we are, just a week out from finally making Propared available to the public and we can hardly contain our excitement. It gave us this wonderful opportunity to sit back and reflect on exactly what drove us down this path. What are the core values and beliefs we have that made developing our application the answer? Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing a lot of those values with you and we wanted to start today with one that was echoed, albeit in a slightly different context in a beautiful New York Times interview with the actress Frances McDormand this past week. More on that shortly. First, we want to dive in to what drives us.
If you manage live events, you've likely heard of Blizzard Lighting. The LED manufacturer and distributor is one of the leading companies in the industry, providing high quality equipment for bands, production companies, clubs, theaters, churches, and more.
But what you might not think about is that Blizzard, like almost all event production companies, works hard to establish a consistent framework for logistics tracking and scheduling. An event planner might be concerned with getting everything delivered to a single venue. The Blizzard team has to coordinate equipment shipped out to hundreds of facilities across the world. That takes a high level of management efficiency.