secular v. sacred: excellence

In my last post, I started the conversation about the difference between secular and sacred production, and that in my opinion it really boils down to the intent of the person doing the production.  The WHAT of the production might have content that could potentially be defined as sacred or secular, but the HOW of production is what we are talking about.

In this post, we’ll take a look at another aspect of the differences:  Excellence.

Whether it’s using excellent equipment or having a flawless production, any great technical artist cares very deeply about excellence and fights for it at every opportunity.  It is a key component to what makes each of us tick.  The motivation for why excellence matters so much are where things get differentiated.

There is no “I” in excellence.

I have worked with some people in the past that treat the work they do for a “sacred” event no different than the work they do for a “secular” event.  On the surface, this seems like it could be a problem, but if we dig a little, I think that this is exactly the way that Christ would have us be technical artists no matter our environment.

When you are looking at being a technical artist as a job, excellence matters because it is how you are judged.  It is what determines whether you get hired again.  How well you do your job defines who you are.  With that, the type of equipment that you speck in some ways determines how excellently you can do your job.  How you go after excellence reflects on you as a person…your reputation.

If I were to be bold, I would say that this type of drive for excellence is very selfish.  It is focused on the job you are doing and the equipment that you use or don’t use is then a reflection on you.  If you don’t have the equipment you need, it is then impossible to guarantee that I can’t perform my job with excellence.

On the surface, this is a great place to start:  a great work ethic.  However, I think there needs to be more to it.

Other-focused excellence

Excellence in the sacred sense, is more of a communal experience, which I know sounds a little bizarre, maybe even new age-y.  What I mean, is that our motivation for excellence is other-focused.  Excellence exists to support the content that is happening on the stage.  The push for technical excellence is based on creating a potentially life-changing moment for the people on the receiving end of what we are doing.  “Sacred” excellence takes into account the people around us and how we work together to create these moments.

For me, “sacred” excellence comes down to the real focus of my efforts:  Christ.  In the book of Malachi, God calls the Israelites to offer only the very best, because that is what He demands.  In the New Testament, God follows through on this idea of giving your best, by giving us His best:  His Son.  As a Christ-follower, I owe it to Him to give my very best at all times.

This goes way beyond the task at hand, but how I go about living life.  How I treat people.  Why do I stay late to finish off a task?  Why do I go home early to be with my family?  Why do I push to spend lots of money on the right equipment?  Why did I let go of the perfect equipment for the sake of the rest of the program?

It has way less to do with the type of event I am working on and the way that I work on any type of event.

Excellence matters.  What motivates your strive for excellence?  To be the best or to being your best?

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