Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Juggling Act

Hello all. I’ve decided to deviate from my usual topic to reflect upon the last 5½ months.

February 7th marked the end of my involvement with ETD’s production of Finding Peace in this House. I served as Production Manager and Sound Designer. This process started back in August of 2010. I transitioned from my staff position of Touring Production Manager to Production Manager of the inaugural artistic season. It was an exciting and busy busy busy time.

I met with various ETD staff members throughout late summer into early fall. The planning was immense. We needed a performance and rehearsal spaces, lighting and sound designers, custom mental health resource materials, creation and coordination of mental health trainings (for staff), and event volunteers, just to name a few.

This was my first time production managing a play from start to finish. I learned more than I ever thought possible. The biggest skill I walked away with was juggling. You, literally, have 5+ aspects of the production up in the air at any given time: contract negotiations, phone interviews, volunteer conflicts, mental health resource material approvals, etc. If you step away from anything, upon return you need to work twice as hard to get it back in the air. Another aspect of juggling was who to connect with which staff member when. I was making a great deal of new connections and discerning when and where to direct them within the organization. It was daunting.

I found it was almost impossible to set aside specific time for production management work. You are constantly emailing and calling people for various reasons, and you have to be available when they are. It’s a VERY subtle and complex game of give and take. This, by far, was the hardest part of the job.

The production itself is when I saw the most amazing thing of all...the professionalism and support of Erasing the Distance. Each staff member did their part, and had each other's backs at every moment. It was a joy to witness, and to be deeply involved in such passion for truly a vital cause. The volunteers went above and beyond, marketing was brilliant, acting was wonderful, tech was poignant, reception was a hit, post-show discussions were profound, and the overall execution was smooth. We got QUITE a delightful review.

The coming to fruition of Finding Peace in this House was beyond rewarding for me. I gave myself some space before I wrote this post. It's always a good thing to let important experiences sink into one’s soul.

I walked away knowing I can accomplish and excel at tasks I had never considered previously. I was a member of the most amazing staff of professionals I have ever had the honor and privilege of working with. I am forever changed because of Erasing the Distance and Finding Peace in this House.

Thanks for everything. I'll miss you.

- Chris Weise

NEXT - I return to looking at popular culture and mental health issues with a look at the sound design for Finding Peace in this House.      

Chris Weise is a member of ETD's Ambassador Council and has previously designed, production-managed, directed, and told his story for ETD as well. His blog posts usually focus on the connection between mental health issues and pop culture. Click here to check out all of Chris's posts.

1 comment:

  1. You're so wonderful, Chris! I really appreciate how you described the whole production management process. It was truly an honor and a pleasure to work with you over the past year. You'll definitely be missed (though hopefully not too missed, since you'll be engaged with ETD in other ways :-). I look forward to your next blog post.