a production nightmare, literally

I can tell the Global Leadership Summit is about to happen.  The nightmares have started.  Anytime a big event rolls around, I start having trouble sleeping and my dreams take some pretty interesting twists.

One of the bigger names at this year’s Summit is former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  I just read her book, and it turns out she is an accomplished pianist.  With that little bit of information tucked back in the recesses of my brain, it made for an interesting Summit session during my REM.

My good friend Condi was playing some Brahms for the Summit, that just happened to be taking place in an old high school auditorium, crewed by a bunch of very novice high school techies.  Needless to say, mayhem ensued.  The funny thing, it wasn’t like crazy weird dream mayhem, it was mostly just normal production mayhem that comes from an inexperienced crew.  It reminded me of a few keys to a successful production:

Test everything beforehand.  This might see elementary, but is so key.  Making sure stuff works before the service or performance helps to minimize potential distractions.  At Willow, we do a line check, we test each mic, we walk through all the graphics, we test every video (and watch the whole thing), we walk through lighting cues.  This makes sure that we have done everything within our power to make the service go smoothly.

In the case of Ms. Rice’s performance, we didn’t have the correct piano, it wasn’t tuned and we had put it in the wrong spot on the stage so the lights weren’t aimed properly.

Don’t assume everyone knows what the production values should be.  In my dream, I spent quite a bit of time pulling my hair out over things like people not having their com headsets on during the performance, eating food in the green room during the performance instead of being backstage, and it seemed like one of the crew members was like the phantom of the opera and lived in the depths of the basement.  That guy was not helpful at all.  All of this was a good reminder that just because I have production values that I hold to, doesn’t mean that everybody has the same ones, or even knows what they should be.

In the dream, I spent a lot of time talking with the crew about production values after it was too late, and the session was over.  In the dream I remember thinking that there is so much I take for granted with the team I have now.  The staff and volunteers are so amazing at what they do, that we very rarely talk about the basics of production, they nail it most every time.  (Way to go Willow Production!)

Having production values that the whole team follows matters, and if you are a leader in the technical arts at your church, make sure you are telling your team about them before Condoleezza Rice takes the stage.

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