Thursday, July 31, 2008

Artists and Managers Redux Pt 1

I was in an interesting meeting this week. There were a number of reps around a table meeting with an artistic crew who have a very fine project on offer. Well I believe it is a fine project but with what transpired I was taken immediately back to the discussions about artists in administrative roles and what they can bring to the process. {I am only going to deal with part of that issue right now}

The artists have done a huge amount of work on their project. Raised a bunch of money and pulled together a fine creative team. They were looking for a number of partners to get to the next level. And as they made their pitch I wished that they had taken the time to have brought on board a producer/administrator/GM type that could have made the entire session a whole less like watching the Rope-a-dope strategy gone bad.

Instead of a proposal that would have outlined possible time frames and critical paths, research on the best producing times, a clear and realistic budget and an overview of the current state of the industry instead it was an off the cuff presentation by people who were clearly out of their depth. The hard won knowledge and nuances of today’s producing issues could have been accessed easily by them but they choose not to do so.
And as a result instead of having a meeting that was about producing partners looking for ways to be a part of this project it was more of a …hmmmm is this something I want to really commit to, kind of session.

If ever anything cried out for the marriage of artists and administrators then this meeting was it.

Something to consider: Any good creative team should always include an administrator.


Michael Wheeler said...

Hey Phil,

I know what you mean from running a rehearsal space over the past couple of years. There is no hard and fast rule, but generally those companies who book early, pay their deposits, store their set and props in an intelligent manner, are also the companies that put up successful shows.

The ones that come in at the last minute and trash the place, their shows are rarely well received. There's something to be said for planning and organization. To bring it back to our earlier conversation, that doesn't have to be one person. If your organization is large enough to support one great GM/producer then the rest can fall into place with the help of a couple interns.

Obsidian Theatre said...

Hey Michael,

I think that there is an adrenaline management style that is really popular with people. If it isn't a mad rush with a deadline looming then somehow it isn't real. The idea that you finish a grant with minutes to spare is way too crazy making for me.
I think I sometimes sound like a corporate droid in the office. All that "critical path" and "don't jump to execution" kind of talk but I find that the smaller the operation the more precise you have to be.