Last year, I put out a post reflecting on the work I had done for a recently completed film festival. Then I left the film commission I had been managing. With that, I thought I was finally out of the game. Both the festival and the commission were a lot of time, and a lot of stress, and I had never really had the passion for film that’s pretty much required to thrive in the industry. I had left that behind me, happily so, and moved on with my life.
But just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.
I have a hard time saying no to people who need my help. And the festival it seemed, was not quite ready to stand without me. Still, I was adamant that I was not going to be as involved as I was last year, basically working another job towards the end of it. And that was fine. Last year, we had a problem with having way too few people involved to cover everything, the year before we had way too many to get anything done efficiently, this year, we seemed to hit the sweet spot. We had few enough people there that we weren’t bogged down in multi-hour long meetings revisiting the same things we did in the last several, but enough of a team that nobody was really overworked. As opposed to last year, when I managed the money, did most of the fundraising, led the marketing, as well as all the other odd jobs on my plate, this year, I limited my main activities to just handling the finances. I helped out with other stuff as well, but that was all I was really in charge of, dedicated to. Everyone else had their own areas, but there were enough people going around, that everything went smoothly.
Until the day before the festival.
And that’s when everything went bottoms up. First our festival director had a situation suddenly come up, and he couldn’t make it to anything. Then another member of our committee had an emergency, and she couldn’t make it either. Leaving our decision-making group cut by half, leaving only myself and our programming director.
But you know what? We handled it. We were in a situation where both of us were having to completely adjust what we were doing on the fly, and we made it work. We had volunteers to help us, some of which were pushed into roles a little bit above their heads, and we both had to take a lot more ownership of the festival and its activities, but we made it work. I learned things about myself, too. I learned I do pretty great at quick, casual presentations, given that I had to keep ad-libbing things in introducing or closing out the films, which is one thing I hadn’t been expecting to be charged with. I learned that I’m able to pretend I know something about a subject matter when talking it over with an expert enough to hold a good public discussion with my only knowledge being the twenty minute film I just finished watching. And I reaffirmed that people just really enjoy looking at me. Good times.
I also learned I’m really good at marketing. Last year, I took over most of our marketing activities. Our attendance doubled. I figured I couldn’t claim responsibility for all that at the time. This year, I left the marketing to others. Our attendance halved, back down to what it was before I got involved. It still might be too soon to claim that’s all me, but I think that’s enough evidence to determine that I was at least partially responsible for the boost.
So yeah. That’s what’s been going on in my life. Just got through a really rough weekend. Have a number of strenuous times ahead of me, so posting might be a little slow, by the way. But still, I learned through it all. I really need to respect myself more. So does everyone else. After all, as this weekend proved, I rule.