In one of my recent freelancing gigs, I am working on an event. A full-fledged event with 400 guests, spread over 3 days. Though not as elaborate as events I did while I was with Gravity, this one is bigger than what I have managed, since I've been owner of an events agency (yes I own one - please give me work!). And I am doing this big an event after almost two years. And I can NOT begin to tell you how much I am loving it!
I had forgotten what it was like to have the adrenaline pumping in your veins. I missed juggling all the balls in the air while keeping in mind about a million things that you had to do. I realized I craved for airtime with the CXOs of big companies where I get to see how they think and take decisions. I longed for the informality and long meetings and indecisiveness and funny one-liners like "when in a large group, the IQ of an individual drops to their shoe size!"
Thing with the events business is that you have to be super hands on. You may have a large team and you may delegate everything but end of the day you have to stay hands on. Plus, you get to learn the ins and outs of so many industries that you could give competition to WEB. There is no corporate bullshit that is passed around and there is a lot of action. In fact, there is action all the time. One of your vendors will inevitably miss the deadline, another one will do a shoddy job, third will switch off the phone, the client in the meanwhile will have twenty new weird requests that you wont have the time or resources to pull off, tons of people would simultaneously chase for money, money that the client hasn't bothered to release. And so on and so so forth.
Of course there is the flip side - that you get treated like shit. Since you are not a marketing consultant or a brand manager with Widen or Ogilvy, you are treated like an adopted child. But then thats ok because deep down inside you know apart from this unfair treatment, you enjoyed the ride that it took to conceptualize, plan, run and execute the event was totally worth it. The high you get while you are at a show is like no other. Of course you remain the unsung hero while the world sings praises of the perfomers on the stage - and they deserve all the applause - afterall if they werent around, who'd hire a stage manager?
So, all in all, its a great package and I love it. May be, just may be, this is my calling? Putting up shows for people that entertain them? That allows them to send a certain message to their audience? That makes them happy? That solves a business purpose for them? May be I need to do something like the Cirque? Or like Dataton? Or like Bart Kresa? Or something similar?
Need to think more on this. I am sure answers are around the corner. Till then... over n out. And, in the meanwhile, do read my confessions of an event manager series of posts.