Lessons Learned…

Well, this past week, I was involved in a lot. I mean, a LOT. And I chalk it up as paying my dues and learning a few lessons in two of the fields I now pursue. Basically, nothing in the past week went as I had hoped, really.

First of all, I was entrenched in a freelance project that I had been on and off with, and finally had a deadline, but just recently had all of the scripts and materials I needed to complete. So what was to be a month long project became a week long project. So from Saturday through Friday, I was working two jobs. My day job, staying on top of my training video projects, and then skimming through some atrocious organization and attempting to cobble together a half hour long documentary. Truly my skills were put to the test. As were my tolerances to caffeine and lack of sleep. Nothing is more defeating than realizing you have to be at work in three hours and ou’re still not even home and not going to be able to finish the tasks for that “evening”.

But I digress…Here is what I’ve learned from this experience.

  • Set goals for your client. If signing up for a video and there is no script yet, I’d hope this is rare occurance, set a deadline for the client on when you must receive materials vital to you making the deadline they set.
  • Organization is key. I have never seen the importance in the organization of the hundreds of videos from over the years at my day job until I had to deal with about 60 tapes that were NOT organized as effectively. Poorly done, hand done, log sheets are not as easy to deal with as an online searchable database of the same material.
  • Projects like this are bad for your health. How many of the freelancers I’ve heard of are hopped up on energy drinks and coffee, and who knows what else, trying to get projects done. Yes, this is necassary to get something on this insane scale done in time, but in general, eat better. My director has been on this project in some fashion the two years she has been at this job, and contends it’s been the worse thing for her health. I’m attempting to return to some level of fitness, now that this is done. It does offer that one should see what their profession, and the habits entailed, may be doing for your body and wellness…

This is no bearing on the people I worked with. They were all fantastic, though inexperienced, and that’s where I came in. I am happy to have been there to help smooth things further along with my expertise (of which I realized might actually be valuable to some people.) and hope to work with them in the future. I just wish I was involved much earlier in this particular project.

Then, of course, we go straight from this project of all projects, to the event of all events, Sorgstock. The wrestling was great, performances amazing, but there were more people, and more craziness at the Spring Edition, which had been plagued by rain! But there were lessons…

  • Own your schedule We ended up doing this one on Labot Day weekend. Which was of course a mistake. People have plenty of stuff they’d rather be doing on a three day holiday than attending you event. Count on it. But with everything I had made reservations for, the Sauce Storms, Juggalo Days, Gatherings, Podcamps, and who knows what else I moved both of the ‘stocks around for this year, we suffered for it. So next year, I plan to announce both dates early and loudly, and do what’s best for what we’re doing.
  • You can’t accomplish as much without others. The ability to look at someone and have them accomplish something you would have done yourself, and never gotten everything done otherwise, is invaluable. Sending someone to get ice, food, supplies, so that I may setup the PA system I’d never looked at before cuts time in half. And maybe, just maybe you’ll get five minutes to take a breath before having to go straight into your set.
  • Don’t count on anyone This is a long time lesson that I’ve learned in advance. But this isn’t the type of event I require people to sign contracts over, but when you put several names on the flyer that no show, it only hurts them in the long run. But things happen that are out of everyone’s control, and this is just something we have to live with. But much of what we do and accomplish is from knowing who to depend on and who not to.
  • This is a lab More and more, this gets easier. While we don’t do anything but put on a show, hope people attend, and otherwise party, Sorgstock is a proving ground and experimentation lab for ideas and attempts at setting up shows. What we learn from our mistakes doing this in a backyard in Jamestown, PA, we can apply to setting up shows in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and beyond.

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