So Much Life Lived

I have spent the day preparing for my interview at Wayne State next week. The process reminded me of a For Better or For Worse comic strip where the daughter, Elizabeth, is filling out an application form and realized how much she has accomplished in her life. I spent most of yesterday and all of today reviewing old papers and things I had done during my last university teaching experience. In the process, I discovered the reactions to the Chris Lavin article on covering the arts like sports that I was seeking a couple days ago.

I found I had forgotten many of the things I had accomplished and was honestly surprised I had actually thought up the things I did. I also realized that if I had forgotten so much, how much more had my former employers, now references forgotten of the dazzling things I had done? It goes without saying that they never appreciated my full genius as I had, but how much of the things they had appreciated have they forgotten as well?

Of course, I have had instances when people have said my references said I was given glowing recommendations so perhaps my references did remember…or they were fond enough of me to make up extravagant lies.

Most of the work I did today was in preparation for a class on theatre management I will be teaching. My only worry is that it is 2 hours first thing in the morning on the first day I am there. I will probably leave me brain dead for the rest of the interview.

It was very interesting preparing for the class. I had quite a bit of material ready to present from my prior teaching experience. But I have done a lot of reading and rethinking of my ideas since then so it was rather exciting to be able to integrate ideas I just formulated earlier this week into a presentation I will deliver next week. It will be interesting to see how my theories stand the scrutiny of the faculty and students.

Interesting Happenings

I am very happy today having received a call to interview for at the Wayne State University Dept of Theatre. The position is the Director of Theatre Management, Marketing and Public Relations. Obviously I am pleased at the prospect since this is a direction in which my passions lay.

I won’t be able to blog as completely as I have since I will be gathering materials and information for presentations during my interview. I had taught Theatre Management at the University of Central Florida as a visiting professor so I have a fair bit of old information to sort through as well as some of the new ideas that I have been distilling from recent reading and blogging.

On the other hand, the whole process will get me thinking even more than I am and should yield some interesting blog subjects. I will probably use this opportunity experiment and write a little bit everyday about my process as I suggested yesterday that production staff and actors do while preparing for a show. Over all, the interview experience is a chance to talk to people about something that really excites me so it promises to be a lot of fun overall.

Unfortunately, the process of preparation will also means that I will have to suspend my search for a different blogging service provider. I am not quite pleased with the design and updating options I have available here and am considering moving somewhere else. But, that will have to wait until next week.

One last thing–when I wrote yesterday about the potential for embarassing things to appear on any blog an arts organization sponsored, I didn’t realize how timely the comment was. When I wrote my comments to the Artful Manager blog I tried to have a degree of professionalism, but did engage in some side commentary to add some humor. When the text of my email appeared on the Arts Journal letters section, I was surprised and also honored that it was regarded to be interesting enough to be placed there. I hadn’t intended it for consumption by a wider audience and had I known it would appear there, would have been more polished in my writing.

Then I read my letter again and had an “eek!” moment. I had forgotten one of my little comic comments referred to me picking up veneral disease pamphlets in the doctor’s office for the illustrations. I had to groan thinking about how many people in the arts community, including prospective employers were reading that.

Still, blogs are becoming a tool for the success of businesses these days according to a recent Business 2.0 article. The rules and etiquette of their use still need to be established.

A Beginning…

The title of the blog is no mystery to most arts people. The periennial effort of most arts organizations is to get butts in the seats–people attending your event.

As mentioned in the “what’s this all about section,” I am an out of work theatre management person seeking to keep his skills relevant, etc. (Though I certainly plan to continue with this project once I become gainfully employed again.) I do a lot of reading already and visit http://www.artsjournal.com/ regularly to keep up on the state of the arts all over the country and world. I avidly read many of the blogs there, including Terry Teachout’s About Last Night and Andrew Taylor’s The Artful Manager.

It is actually Mr. Taylor’s writings that inspired me, in part, to start this blog. I really enjoy a great deal of what I read in his blog and give it a lot of thought. A good deal of what he mentions is theoretical about how things should be done and how concepts that weren’t necessarily created in regard to the arts have implications for the arts.

It all fires my imagination and I try to figure out how I might apply these things in any of the arts organizations I have worked at or may work at in time. Honestly, my first impulse is to email Mr. Taylor and run my thoughts by him. However, he has an Arts Adminstration Program to run and I am sure it wouldn’t be long before he started taking out restraining orders.

So thanks to my internet provider, I remain in Mr. Taylor’s good graces and have an outlet for my thoughts. My real aim is to get some well considered feedback from other folks out there. Some things I will mention in the course of the blog, others I will place in another section as a practical resource of ideas that worked (or didn’t work, but might work for someone else).

My thought is that most arts managers are often too busy thinking about keeping the organization and budget afloat that they don’t have a lot of time to individually do strategic thinking about the future of the organization. When they do recognize that there is a need for change, they often don’t have the luxury of time to think about new approaches and instead fall back on slight variations of what they have done before.

By providing a place where the contributions of many arts managers may be listed and easily accessed, I hope to simulate a sort of communal strategic thinking that will enable people to make a wider variety of choices. If you have a day open to generate new solutions, this may be a place to come find options you may never have devised in a day so that you can spend that day assessing your choices. The danger is that it will become a place to find a quick fix to a problem in order to free up that hypothetical day to deal with other things instead of utilizing it as resource of options due long contemplation and consideration.

As of this writing, that section is empty and these fears and hopes premature. I hope to add some content shortly. If anyone has some ideas, stories to share, or feedback on what you see here, I would like to hear from you at buttsintheseats@mindspring.com

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