I have written about this before, so I’ll try not to sound like a broken record.
Going into any big event, as a production person, I would like to nail down every detail and then execute those details exactly. Having been at this for a while, I have come to appreciate the reality: we can only know so much about what is really going to happen and there will always be a certain percentage of unknowns.
I personally translate this to mean that I can probably only know 80% of what is going to happen…at best. The other 20% is just up for grabs and I need to let it stay up for grabs. Now that I understand that this is how things go, I want to plan like crazy for the 80% I can know. In my situation, this looks like asking who’s in the band? What instruments are they playing? What songs are we doing? What is the form of each song? What is the stage layout? If I can know it, I want to.
When I am fully prepared for the 80%, I am ready to handle the 20% that I can’t plan for. How many of you get to service time and then things happen that nobody planned on? Stuff just happens sometimes, and I would rather be ready to handle it.
So often, we do a bad job of being fully ready for the 80% and so can spend extra energy during rehearsal on that stuff, instead of working on it when there isn’t as much pressure. This looks like: inaccurate cue sheets, extra band instruments at the last minute, people not knowing all their words, disregard for deadlines, etc. When I am spending all my time during rehearsal trying to play catch-up, I don’t really have anything left for the changes that happen in the moment, and to me, those are the ones that matter. So many of our most moving moments are last minute and unplanned.
I can only speculate on what is behind all this. I have a sense that all this preparedness is difficult for people who want things to remain organic, in the moment, and not feeling over-produced. I also know that creativity and inspiration can hold out until the last minute. Unfortunately for the production side of things, we can’t really get our stuff rehearsed without there being a plan.
I realize that this has turned into a rant. What can I do about this? What will help me feel prepared for the 80%? Keeping after it. Not giving up. Continuing to push for being prepared as possible.
Helping to create a great service is the goal, doing it while not restricting the creative arts at every turn feels important…doing it while not dishonoring the needs of the production team feels just as important.
We all need each other. If you are a worship pastor, understand that your production team wants to create amazing services with you, but have certain needs that feel like handcuffs to you. They aren’t trying to paint your worship set into a corner, they just want it to be incredible, and can only do so much if everything is last minute or not fully prepared. If you are a technical artist, understand that asking for 100% accuracy in a production meeting isn’t possible. Figure out what can be figured out, then relax.
How can the creative arts and the technical arts work better together in 2012?