The Needs of a Production Manager: Peter Feuchtwanger

Colleague Peter Feuchtwanger recently shared some great comments about his needs as an off-Broadway production supervisor. It got us thinkng about how we might be able to address this as we develop our platform.

“As production supervisor for The New Group, Primary Stages, and many other off-Broadway shows, I need to be able to create labor estimates, scheduling, do departmental payrolls, and receipts. I also have to do side-by-side comparisons of bids to be sure a shop hasn’t missed anything and assess whether it makes economical sense to break up a build between different shops. Not only is there not a software program that can easily cover these things, more importantly, there isn’t an app. Trust me when I say that my iPad has become an important tool in production management. It’s quick and always at hand so it’s frustrating when there are things I need to open my laptop to deal with. I’m not sure that this is in the purview of the program that you’re working on, but if it was, there are certain things it would need to do, like PDF results, and have payroll compatible with programs, (Excel, QuickBooks, etc.), that general managers use.”


Apps. Integration. Specific workflows. All of these are impactful, necessary points that affect so many other event professionals like Peter. What we took away from our conversation was a larger point, one that over the past several years has become one of the industry’s biggest needs. It is one that we see on a daily basis. Managers must have the ability to accomplish their work while on the move. We have fully become a mobile industry. We rarely sit behind desks. When we do, we feel as if we’re missing something. We joined this industry because we are creators and creators don’t sit idle. We attend site visits, we visit shops, we supervise installations, and we execute events.

The quick shift in available technology now illuminates for us what is possible. We recognize how much more efficient we can be by employing specific tools for production managers. Yet the live event industry has been slow, certainly slower than the corporate world, to fully explore the potential of integrated tech, mobile apps, and automated systems the likes of which Peter has identified. Here’s a short list of the many challenges and tasks calling out for smart, efficient solutions.

  • contact management
  • staffing
  • scheduling
  • budgeting
  • hour tracking
  • file management
  • purchasing
  • Existing systems integration

The next step is thinking about how managers and supervisors like Peter need to disseminate relevant information to their teams. We want to create a tool that every member of a show will be able to use to access production-related information. Rather than constantly pushing out information, a substantial portion of which may become obsolete within hours or minutes, managers will be able to provide every member of a production with a dedicated platform to access the information they need to do their jobs.

What about you and your work? What specific integrations or tools would complement and hopefully improve upon your current systems?We would love to hear more about what your biggest challenges are and what would best solve them.

 

Thanks again for the thoughtful comments, Peter!

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