Drawn Together

Joe Patti published an intriguing article on 12/1/2014 about some similarities between being a professional in the performing arts field and the computer gaming industry. Certainly, the parallels between both career tracks is fascinating but it is spiked with rivulets of irony.

ADAPTISTRATION-GUY-148Specifically, even though both fields suffer similar ills, this common ground doesn’t seem to be encouraging much interaction; especially at the board level.

It brings to mind a quote from The Simpsons in an episode about Christianity and the separation between its religious sects.

It’s all Christianity, people. The little, stupid differences are nothing next to the big, stupid similarities.

When applied to the arts and technology sectors, it would seem that there should be a great deal of mutual interest based on nothing more than the intense creativity, hyper work ethic, lack of understanding from those on the outside, and continuous desire to push boundaries.

If nothing else, perhaps this is reason enough to refocus efforts on developing relationships across each strata; connecting more artists with programmers, more admins with project managers, and more board members with executives.

Granted, that’s a generalization but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. At the same time, it will take a concerted effort to begin making connections so capitalizing on the similarities Patti highlighted in his post is a good place to start and really, who doesn’t enjoy a really good communal bitch session with people you just met? All it takes to get the ball rolling is a few invitations to your next event.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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