Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Last night

Well last night was my official 'gut check' night.
That would be when something goes wrong and your buttcheeks tighten up. It is at those moments that you find out how you are at handling pressure and getting things done.

But...normally that means only one or two things go wrong.
Last night?
EVERYTHING went awry.
And you know what? It was still a very cool night.
THAT spoke volumes to me.
The crowd I am getting is a group of lovely, beautiful and understanding people. And they are learning and growing. You can hear it. Very cool.

So the wrong last night?
Got there later than I wanted.
A group was having an event on another floor. No problem, right? Wrong. They demand to be placed downstairs ON MY FLOOR. Ouch.
They are told to wrap up by 7:30. Okay, tight, but I can work with it.
But they don't WANT to leave. No problem.
I cut on the music to signal the switch in events. LOUD.
They just TALK LOUDER.
I mention they gotta pay to stay?
Out like OJ on the highway.
But now I got dirty tables, and leftover food buffet stuff everywhere and only one cat down there cleaning up. (bless his heart though since he was really doing it)
Add to that my door person is late. I call them and they say they will be there in15 minutes. It is 7:45 at the time. We START at 8. Geez.
And the sound equipment that should be set up? Not.
No problem, I'll just go get it and...what do you mean no one knows where everything is?
So the mics are on one floor, the speakers on another, the cords somwhere else, the stand is gone, etc.

And my crowd was thin for the first time.

But in the end, it all panned out.

Had 15 people read on the open mic list.
Had a GREAT feature in Mrs. Kim Brazwell
Had a GREAT vendor in Miss Gina Blaurock
Had a GREAT surprise feature in Deep Cobra. (this last one was cool. the brother came in from ENGLAND-THE COUNTRY, not the state of New England and got down for us Americans)

One of the groups upstairs for a private event was a group of students from Ohio Weslyan. I told their liason that if they wanted to they could come down for FREE and check out the night. And did they ever. Rolled in like 40 deep and suddenly the place was packed! they were heated when their leader told them they had to leave. Some had signed up on the mic and others wer busy scribbling away trying to write a poem real quick to read. I look forward to seeing them in the future.

So in the end it all worked out.
Someone covered the door for me till my person arrived.
The people who came got a real treat with all the features and vendor and free gifts.
The bar did decent.
People ate good food and laughed about good things.
I found all the sound equipment.
My feature got paid nicely and sold alot of product. Ditto my vendor and my special guest feature from England.
Almost everyone who wanted to read got to.
The crowd eventually came but still not the 50 deep i was hoping for.
The room go cleaned out and was set up nice by the time people showed up.
we only went over time by about 10 minutes.
I delayed the start time so as to have a tight, compact show.

all in all it was about as bad as it could have been to start off. but the people there and my features made it a wonderful night. and i learned ALOT.

1) have weekly meetings with people involved with night face to face if possible. (i hate those who live by email only. you can hide too much that way)

2) get there on HOUR early. 30 minutes to fix anything and put out fires, 30 minutes to make it look like nothing was wrong in the first place. (never let them see you sweat)

3) marketing is KEY. This means not just plugging what you do, but staying in tune with what ELSE is going on in your town. Can't just look at poetry scenes, but all events to better gauge your potential crowd and what else might be enticing them that week. (like when someone sends out an email telling girls to go to another spot because they have good happy hour drinks-need to work around that)

4) I am doing a good job and will only get better

5) keep my foot up my own ass (this way there is no room for anyone elses)

6) Do a final call for all vendor applications. Getting too many and want to set up a rotation schedule.

7) People will spend money if they feel the event and situation are worthy of their dollars. And that is exactly how we should look at it. Like we need to be worthy of their time and money.

well enough of that.