Bridging the Gap between Creatives and Administrators

15Nov11

“Artistic creativity is a complex, multifaceted process – and more often than not a social process rather than an individual one – taking place within certain boundaries and constraints imposed both by the field or an art world and by the artist’s own decision making.”1

It occurred to me that I have been taking for granted the managerial skills that I have learned and developed through working in a theatrical environment.  I just assumed that the collaborative managerial process was common knowledge but from the readings, I gather that it is not.  Mind, as I stated coming into this program, I am still looking to learn more of the skills required to raise finances in order to manage any artistic endeavor but isn’t that the million dollar question.

“…the creative industries require creatives who can manage and managers who can be creative.”2

The way I approach any production is as a collaborative artist, I try to build a team to manage the production.  I try to know each person individually and once I find someone that I work well with, I try to continue to provide them an outlet of creative opportunities.  This also means that at times I must put my ego aside and not focus on my own work but focus on nurturing a fellow collaborator’s passion or project; in the end the investment of time balances out.

Ed Creech, the managing director and founder of the What A Do Theatre has this to say on the subject of nurturing a collaborative team, “I brought my artistic team from Kalamazoo and offered them staff positions. We have a strong history together. If there’s one thing I want to stress, it’s that we have a strong sense of family, and each individual’s input is valued.”3

The fact is that to create a cohesive production, it is good to have core group of artists that you may come to rely on and grow with through each production.  Another key element of any cohesive production is regular production meetings with all of the design team.  This enables the team to make sure that the color of the sound matches the texture of light that illuminates the costumes and setting so that each artists’ efforts helps to emphasis the emotional impact of any given scene.  I know that is a lofty idea but managing a production is a balance of artistic give and take between the design team and the director within a set budget.

“A media organization needs to…provide small-scale autonomy to those tasked with creative projects.”4

A director has to be open to the artistic needs of both the cast and crew while still remaining faithful to the concept of the production.  That concept also cannot be imposed on a story and must be rooted in the text.  In reality, the process of directing isn’t about the director; a director cannot impose a vision on a production.  A director must shape the vision with the talent of the cast and crew.  I feel a good director is a coordinator of talent as it has been often said that the majority of director’s work comes in casting the production…that includes both cast and crew.

“…the Royal Shakespeare Company has launched its own model of creative organizational culture…By treating the organization as a project among all members of staff…the senior managers hope to bridge the gap between creative and administrative staff…with its emphasis on shared vision, flexibility, and creativity.  The project appears to be bringing the organization closer together and building a genuine sense of rapport that extends outward to a new sense of connection with audiences and local communities.”5

I really don’t think that the Royal Shakespeare Company’s model is a new one, I just feel that most administrators are not aware of the managerial process of a director and their cast and crew.

Russell McGee

1M. Deuze, Managing MediaWork, (SAGE Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, 2011), pp. 35.

2M. Deuze, Managing MediaWork, (SAGE Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, 2011), pp. 39.

3 J. Sherwood, Treating the boards, WWW Document, http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20111115/NEWS01/111150301/Treating-boards

4M. Deuze, Managing MediaWork, (SAGE Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, 2011), pp. 54.

5M. Deuze, Managing MediaWork, (SAGE Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, 2011), pp. 40.

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