It’s hard to believe that Easter was over month ago already. But indeed it was. And if you haven’t taken the time to de-brief that week and discover what went well and what needed improvement, it may already be too late. Our memories fade pretty quickly, and we often forget things we need to fix until, well, the next time it comes around and we remember why we wanted to do it differently.
I know that I forget things after a big event, so I’ve taken to keeping a journal of any large event in Evernote. I like to use Evernote because it works on my phone, my iPad and my laptop. I keep jotting thoughts in there throughout the week, then go back and organize them later. Here are a few key thoughts from my notebook.
Don’t Start from Last Year’s Baseline
As we were prepping for Easter, my new ATD was just coming on board. As he was still learning our process, I thought it would be easier to just call up last year’s input sheet and work from that. Turns out that wasn’t a great idea. I forgot how many small changes we made to our setup over the year. We changed some channel orders, added a few things, removed a few things. So when we started to plug it all in and make it work, I ended up re-patching the rack, and re-assigning a lot of inputs on the M-48s. It wasn’t a big deal, but It took more time than it should have.
Lesson Learned: Start from the current baseline and adapt last year’s input list to that. Next year, we’ll use current baselines and input sheets when we build everything, even if it does look “mostly the same.”
Some times you just have to build stuff during the week of a big event. Maybe you can’t set the stage until that week, or there is something else going on. In my case, I wish I had spent more time building my show files and getting my M-48’s patched. We did have the foresight to hang the necessary pipe in the truss a few weeks earlier, but looking back, I wish I had pre-cabled more of the truss, made sure all my M-48 labels were printed and cut, all my power was run and my choir mics cabled.
Lesson Learned: In the weeks leading up to a big event, do as much work as you can to prepare for it. Pre-wire, pre-run, pre-plan and organize as much stuff as possible. That will make the week run smoother.
Plan For More Time Than You Think You Need
This was actually a win for us. On the “official” schedule for the week, it showed Monday as being a day off. I knew there was no way we’d be ready for Tuesday night’s rehearsal if we didn’t start until that morning so we came in and spent a full day on Monday (OK, it was a “full” 13.5 hour day). We got the set built, all the lights hung and cabled and all the stage platforms in place. Tuesday was all audio. And while we did end up running a little bit behind, it was only about 15 minutes, not 15 hours.
Lesson Learned: Forget the “official” schedule. Work harder earlier in the week and taper it off if you can. Or keep pressing on; you’ll probably need the time.
Enlist More Help
A while back I wrote, “Many hands don’t make light work; many skilled hands make light work.” I still think that’s true. However, I wish I would have had more of my team on hand. Even if that means planning more of the work to happen in the evening when I can get my volunteers there. It might mean working from 11 AM-9 PM instead of 9 AM-11 PM. Having a few extra people who know what they’re doing (or can at least create the illusion) would be a huge help. And if we can pre-cable as much as possible even people who don’t know what they’re doing can be helpful. Next year, my goal is to figure out how to get more people involved.
Lesson Learned: While what we do is highly specialized, there are ways we can enlist the help of others to help carry the load. It takes more planning and effort of front, but might get us home earlier.
So that’s my list. What did you learn from Easter?