Don’t Look back…..or to the side

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The past six months have been somewhat of a thrill ride for me – the “shut your eyes and jump” moment that is going it alone and the daily struggle of a different kind – to balance the where you are with the where you want to be.

One thing though has become clear – and maybe an important lesson for anyone, not just those who stand alone as planners.

Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing – and in a different way and as a famous man once said “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”

I know, it may be obvious to say but I hadn’t given it the right amount of thought until I really found it playing just a little too much on my mind.

No two people are the same – no two planners are the same. By that I mean that whilst we are all working in a creative environment, just how we work – how we deal with our clients and the relationships we build will all differ in any number of different ways. The fact is though, that for every second you give thought to what the other guy is doing, it is one less moment you are concentrating on what “you” could be doing.

I do my best to always give time to people that feel I am someone they want to talk to – you simply never know where it might lead now, or in the future. Twitter, Facebook – so dangerous for fooling you in to thinking that you are one step behind everyone else…..and yet – once you are at the top there is only one way to go and there is something for always having a goal in sight and striving to be the best you can be – rather than simply the best.

Impatient as I am, the last six months have brought me multiple opportunities, all of which I have done my best to seize with both hands. Concentrating on the here and now is good – but time has to be given to the what next – and it isn’t always easy to do that. Stick to the plan, don’t forget those that were there for you in the beginning, and always make time for people who are where you were.

Creative Overload – break it down!

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If you live or work in a creative industry, all be it on behalf of someone else, there can be times when in today’s world – with so much information available, you find yourself completely overwhelmed with one creative idea after another, and it can become extremely frustrating when trying to work out how best to incorporate these ideas in to the events that you are working on.

There will also be times of course, when the clients with whom we work don’t want an overly creative solution for their event, and there can then be a tendency to become bored with repeating the same tried and tested methods of managing what could be events with much more WOW.

So how do you take a creative overload and break it down, and stay motivated during those times where we are working on the more subdued events?

During the course of the day I try and be as aware as possible about what is going on around me and how I might be able to take things I have seen and incorporate them in to an event at a later date. What materials are people using to display things in shops, florists – designers – food and beverage….and these ideas get stored, written or otherwise, for another day.

Online and in magazines, seeing a photo shoot and how it has been put together, an idea turned on its head as the model in Guatemala is seen leading a goat down a rocky road, all dressed up and with everyone looking on…..just really interesting set ups for which only one small element might be useable – and in certain cases all of it – should the right event come along (I actually have that one stored for something I hope to work on….)

Taking photos whilst reading the Metro on the train, or of something someone is wearing – inspiration in whatever place, in whatever form – and knowing how to develop this idea further both with or without client and their input at a later date. There will always be the more “mono” type of event, but by adding a little “stereo” in the form of a different place card, welcome cocktail or starter serving plate – can still allow those creative flashes to have their place and who knows – just by talking to the client you may find they are open to a different approach for an event that has run the same way for umpteen years.

There is little point in becoming frustrated and embracing the ideas of others will help you become more creative yourself. With Twitter, Hipstamatic and Facebook – Youtube, Fliker and Pintrest there are so many ways to share your thoughts in a forum from which others can gain inspiration and you can highlight just how you think an idea can play a part in someone else’s design and creative process.

Love to shoot, love to share.

The Morning After The Night Before – Damage

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Sometimes things click in to place, and in cases just when you thought they would not – a difficult client, extended periods of back and forth and that niggling feeling that however hard you try it just won’t be good enough.

And yet, on the day itself and whilst not meaning to sound dramatic – against all odds, things come together and an event takes place that is almost faultless…….almost.

However good a party might have been, the morning after the night before is when someone has to clear up and in cases, find the damage that may have been hidden under carpet, behind false wall or underneath low slung cushion.

What to do?

Well as I am sure you are well aware, as supplier or venue, paperwork galore is filled out in advance of all works taking place and all the details required for method statements and risk assessments alike – page after page…..who is responsible for what and names required of just who will be on site and when – workers, crew, staff – you name it and in most cases the venue needs it – including in cases photos and what you had for breakfast that morning.

The point though is a serious one. Possible damage aside, most venues have to move from one day to the next through a series of events and time is not available to fix everything that might have been battered and bruised the night before. Even more though, is the point that in cases – although in my experience they are few and far between – some people just don’t care about the space they are working in. They find themselves more concerned with cutting corners and hoping a small scratch here and they may go un-noticed.

The advice then is simple. It doesn’t matter if the company is large or small, experienced or new – if they work with you time and time again or not, nor whether they are recommended by your most important client…..always make sure you are covered and all paperwork is completed in a timely manner and reviewed. If you are working directly with a client and you employ the company yourself on their behalf then in  most cases you will be held accountable for the damage (the paperwork they have signed is the best you can hope for in order to ensure they are accountable). If the company is contracted by the client themselves then it may be for them to start chasing for payment of the damage. In all cases it is a slow and possibly reputation damaging process.

Have you ever had a really tough time when having worked on an event the aftermath was something that you had to manage? How did you cope?