4 WAYS TO ENSURE SUCCESS IN PRODUCING YOUR FIRST EVENT
Have you often wondered, if there is any advice that will get me those extra 2 Metres Closer to Goals?
Well, wonder no more. Will Amott shares the 4 ways to ensure success in producing your first event.
Hey, I’m Will. I am a producer for 2 Metres Closer, a digital festival celebrating key workers and community helpers based on Facebook and Instagram (@2metrescloser), organised through Beatfreeks’ Southside Producers course. Southside Producers brings young people together to teach them how to make it as producers.
Beatfreeks have asked me to tell you a little about myself. I think that anyone over the age of 18 who has a favourite animal is weird. I, unfortunately, have a favourite animal. It’s the wombat. Have you seen them? They’re adorable. I met my first wombat in Australia, on my gap year.
I only found out what a “gap yah” was months before I got a job to fund one. Being on a full bursary in a posh school often meant being blown away by something all my friends saw as normal (and maybe vice versa). I’m from Bristol and moved to Birmingham for university.
2 Metres Closer ran for 3 days and turned out to be a bigger success than any of us expected, so much so that the team plans to revisit the project in the future. So Beatfreeks asked if I had any advice on achieving your goals.
4 Ways to Ensure Success in Producing Your First Event.
Everything Is Experience
Being a producer? Too far out of my wheelhouse. Southside Producers? Never heard of it. Now I find the idea mad, but when my friend Shantel first sent me over the link to the application process, I wasn’t sure what Beatfreeks was, or if I was right for the Southside Producer course.
I’d been in academia most of my adult life outside of nightclub jobs and a phone support job where I brought the average office age down considerably; I did terribly in my first year, turned it around, and left with a First. I stepped away from my PhD when its impact on my mental health grew too large and took a zero-hours contract as “games master” at an escape room to find my feet.
Why any of this is relevant may not be clear, but if there’s one thing SSP has taught me, it’s that it is all relevant. What you have done before will help you now and in the future. You just have to contextualise it – and do the same for your peers! Your soft skills are still skills. Your past, whatever it may be, can help you in producing. Our Southside Producer cohorts include curators, dancers, radio journalists, and horror aficionados, and we have enabled one another to see our individual talents.
Do not discredit or dismiss where you have come from. That is self-sabotage.
“You want to be flexible, durable, and relatively resistant to the elements. Being plastic is key to throwing a successful first event”. Coronavirus’ arrival and it’s global spread has changed the world in many huge, era-defining ways. As producers, we had to switch our event from live to digital much like the rest of the world. All production meetings had to take place online. Our contacts with artists and volunteers moved to platforms like Facebook Messenger and Zoom. Selecting a wall for the mural had to be done at a social distance.
I joined Southside Producer to gain experience from industry experts, professionals, and my fellow newcomers in what can seem an intimidating field*. Then, the pandemic put the UK arts scene in a precarious position, with funding cut, jobs losses, and a mountain of new mandates to be followed. While devastating, it has also meant that we as producers are joining an industry learning new necessary skills – particularly around digital event delivery – simultaneously with a lot of folks already in said industry.
This year has done nothing to disprove that. Honey, you have to hustle to be a producer!
Fill Your Heart, Not Your Plate
Does what you’re doing contribute toward your vision for the future? Does what you’re doing contribute toward your vision for your future? My production mentor, whose sessions have been organised through South Side Producers, told me to graph my projects and not to engage in those that are neither benefiting my vision or my bank balance, and that makes sense.
Don’t do everything just to feel like you’re doing something. Being the busiest person does not equal being the most successful. If you feel that each and every calendar entry is beneficial, amazing, go ahead, but generally, try to focus on what’s enriching or kerching £££.
2 Metres Closer feels like a success because, from the very beginning, we knew what virtues our ultimate event had to have. “Hopeful. Joyful. Communal.” The actual content went through multiple iterations (not least because Covid-19 said “hey, 2020, I’mma let you finish but—”)
and the end product isn’t’ what we’d have imagined back in February, but the heart is the same.
Your Company Is Your Company
Teamwork is surely mentioned in any list like this. It’s vital to foster good working relationships. What that translates to can depend on the individuals involved. Jane may work with you one way, John another. Try to spot that early on.
“You’re going to be in each other’s company a lot.”
We were split into production teams – so there’s a group of people (Janes, Johns, Jinxes) who need to be heard equally and feel comfortable with decisions made. We did that by forging friendships and laughing alongside the hard work, but that won’t work for everyone.
So long as you centre empathy, active listening, and creative encouragement, and come clean when you are unhappy or unsure of something, you should be fine.
Notice the skills and strengths of your team and play to them. Can someone caption videos? Is someone a photographer? Are there ways to utilise these talents, and save on your budget?
Be mindful of the company that you keep because they can and should be your greatest assets.
These tips are brought to you by beatfreeks to help further you on your journey as a creative. Being a producer isn’t easy and as you can tell from Will’s story- there is so much to learn. Hopeful these tips are helpful and give you guidance on how to produce your own event. If you want more content like this comment below