Is your production schedule making you more stressed?

I know that the title of this post might raise a few eyebrows.

Anyone who has worked in events will read it and be confused. Your schedule (whether it is a production, build, run sheet – whatever you want to name it) usually is an event manager’s lifeline, the golden rope holding the whole shebang together.

Or is it?

If I had a dollar for all of the times I have noticed crumpled up schedules strewn around an event site, even when bump in has begun, I’d be a well-heeled man.

So many occasions I have seen a wide eyed event manager (and back in my early days, this person was me) exclaim “well this has officially gone to hell!” and toss a schedule aside, who is now flying blind because of one or all of the following:

  • One or more suppliers are running late
  • Two or more suppliers are trying to bump in and do their thing around each other and this has created chaos and gridlocked the event site
  • The AV guys haven’t had enough time to bump in and test equipment so tech rehearsals are delayed. No one likes a cantankerous lighting operator.
  • Models or performers aren’t on time and so hair and make up teams are sitting around twiddling their thumbs, practising the show make up on each other, at an additional cost.
  • The WIFI isn’t working. #realproblems
  • Mobile phones have run out of batteries (surely this won’t be an issue in the future?)
  • The presentation files aren’t ready to go because they are getting updated because the client arrived onsite early and wants to make last minute changes = the technical director and the event manager are huddled around a mac, faces glowing (literally) updating keynote slides in panic.

Event managers are trying to spin so many plates, keep morale onsite high, continue to smile even if everything is going horrendously wrong and at the same time, ensure that the client is happy. Basically trying to do everything perfectly, and quickly.

This saying sound familiar?

Perhaps more time allocated for bump in to allow for these situations might be your saviour. It is a small decision, and one that you need to stand by and defend when the client questions why.

This concept of more time will come at a cost  – the venue will most likely charge for additional bump in time, but isn’t that an investment in the outcome of your event? An investment to ensure not only that your suppliers are happy, but also the client is thrilled with the outcome, and you are not suffering a mild breakdown?

Consider these basic things, that in the greater storm of rushing, might get overlooked in order to make your run sheet less manic and more zen:

  • Does each supplier have a buffer time factored in for traffic jams, flat tyres and someone calling in sick?
  • Have you made sure your suppliers have somewhere to park and provided the venue with a trucking/delivery schedule?
  • Has the venue seen your run sheet and have you asked them to ensure they have enough time to prepare the venue ready for bump in?
  • Do you have portable mobile phone chargers onsite so your event manager can walk and talk whilst charging?

Sometimes it is a good idea to push back on the client to ensure that you, your team and your suppliers have enough time to deliver the magic in a calm, composed and less stressed demeanour, schedule and serenity in hand.

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