Event management is all about attention to detail, juggling multiple tasks and pieces of information at once, and good marketing.
It’s also about not feeling like you are 11 years old.
Unless you were popular when you were 11 and never experienced the terror an hour before the party your mom made you have about whether or not people will show up.
If that feeling never happened to you, it’s probably not worth your time to continue reading.
But, maybe you should consider going into event management.
Hosting events is both joyous and excruciating for me. Given that I just resigned from my job to pursue my dream of hosting film screenings, I need to work on increasing the joyous part of the ratio. Or, learn to endure the physical tension and mental stress embrace the excruciating parts.
Here are some of the things I came up with on my list, which I think is called:
“List of Things To Remember When Putting On Events So That I Don’t Forget That I’m a Well Loved Adult and the World Will Go On No Matter What”
1. At least you tried
My newish manfriend often says this phrase to me, and some wolf like part of me wants to bare my fangs and snarl each time he does.
Her directive? Kill anyone who suggests not being “the best” is okay.
Pretty vicious, I know.
If I’m not directing a feature length film going to Sundance, I’m not a filmmaker. If I don’t sell every seat in the theater, my screening was a failure.
Last fall, when my mother got diagnosed with cancer, I had a moment of lucidity. Four of my closest friends have had a parent die in the last nine years. In those scary moments of lack of information and certainty that is so common to the cancer experience, I developed such sincere admiration for those friends.
I think it is a triumph that they get up in the morning, much less that they get PhD’s or run foundations.
All of that is to say that I think we all probably could stand to celebrate just being alive more. Surviving. Anything else beyond survival is incredibly admirable.
I’m getting stuck in this feeling that I haven’t done enough publicity for the next Flickering Light screening. I’m pretty certain at best 20 people will show up (usually there between 60-100).
Can I be okay with that?
How much is actually enough for me to willing to forgive myself for not filling the house?
2. It’s not about you. Sorry.
If 20 or less people show up at the next screening, what happens?
- My friends and family feel differently about me? No.
- I lose money? Barely. For now, I’ve purposely set it up that I’d have to have this low of turn out at least three times in a row. In three more screenings I’ll have a bank loan (hopefully) and be working on this part time.
- I’ll taint or ruin my public persona of being so “together” and successful. Surprise! Sometimes, I’m not that together. Often, I’m a mess in fact.
Event management is so volatile and unpredictable. Yes, there are best practices for marketing. Sometimes weather or pure chance can drastically affect your turn out. Sometimes we stumble, evaluate, and then readjust for the next try. (Those were 11 incredibly challenging words for me to believe when I pieced them together just now.)
Ultimately, it’s not about you as a person, really.
3. It’s okay that there’s no sound.
What’s worse than event management for me? Relying on technology to function in front of a group of people (which is funny, since what I want to do with the time when I’m not putting on events is teach video produciton.)
Every screening, no matter what kind of sound and projection tests I try to do, there’s always some small thing that goes wrong.
Last month for about 30 seconds there was no sound.
I beelined to the back of the theater, cursing high level profanities under my breath.
My super calm A/V pal quickly switched out the lines and saved the day.
Afterward, I reflected on the moment. How silly of me to expend so much energy getting so stressed. So people were uncomfortable for 30 seconds. Maybe even frustrated or angry.
In that moment I was my 11 year old self.
It’s all old stuff. Feeling friendless and unloved. Scared no one will come to my party. Failing to be fun if they do.
I’m thinking that the key is remembering in those 30 silent seconds that there’s nothing but love for me in that moment. Nothing but love.
4. There’s nothing but love.