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Weird musical opportunity... need some help.


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I have a few musician friends who are starting to get into the production of musical performances (musicals, etc). I actually wanted to get involved with them, but didn't know how (I certainly don't have the music skills for it, frankly).

 

Well, these guys know nothing about the organizational aspect of these things, budgeting, scheduling payments, resource management, things like that. And this is something I know (I work with project management in engineering).

 

Well, last week I bump into a friend of mine, and these guys are doing the budget for the whole project on a piece of paper, and getting their asses kicked with the number cruching. I told them I can solve their problem in about 2 hrs with a laptop and MS Excel - which I did the next day. Plus, I set up the whole package for them, preliminary agreements, cover letters, etc. Nothing fancy, but enough to get them started.

 

These guys are compleletly relieved - and fascinated. They want to hire me for this, and other projects. The problem is, I'm trying to figure out what the scope of my involvement is!

 

The money is pretty good (not getting rich, but I could make a living out of this among other activities I'm involved in), and I'd love to get involved with music, one way or another. What I'm thinking is to basically be the project backbone, taking care of the paperwork, logistics and serving as liason to the accountant and lawyers.

 

The three main guys involved with this project are:

 

- Artistic Director

- The singer (who is the guy who started the project, and is doing the research for the material to be included in the show)

- The arranger / pianist (the guy doing all the musical arrangements, selecting musicians, and playing piano)

 

And none of them really know - or want to get involved - with the logistics / management side. This is where I'd come in.

 

Does anyone have any experience with this and can offer any tips? ANYTHING is helpful at this point, links, articles, etc. I want to define exactly what I will do and won't do - this is how I work.

 

I have a few weeks to think this through - I really don't want to jump into this blind, but it looks like a good opportunity and I don't want to let it slip through...

 

Thanks...

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

MBP-LOGIC

American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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Can't give you a pro response regarding music management, but it seems like you have the skills they (and others) need to manage a project. In film, this is part of the producer's job. In music, it usually falls to the record company and is administered, to a point, by the producer.

 

I would love to be in your shoes about now....

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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People who can do what you do, like to do it, and are available, are extremely valuable to creative types.

 

Your title should be "Business Manager" or "Business Director" -- covering budgets, bookkeeping, development, organization and management.

Dooby Dooby Doo
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Know what you do not know, hire people with capabilities in those areas, and stay out of their way while they do what they do.

 

Here is something for you to think about: A friend of mine books his artist into a studio. They already have a great relationship with the studio, and they are being very flexible as to available hours, taking the nights and odd times that others don't want. Consequently, the rates reflect their wilingness to be flexible, as well as their long standing personal relationship with the owner.

 

Management books another famous artist into the same studio. Goes for lockout, at lockout rates and full star treatment. So far, so good.

 

Management gets the bills from by buddy's sessions. Knows what he is paying for his major artist. Calls the studio owner to bitch about the difference.

 

Now, what a stupid way to cause nothing but grief for everyone involved. If he had taken the time to talk to my buddy, he might have seen the difference in the circumstances. He might have prevaled upon my buddy, and through the friendship, gotten a better rate for his star. Instead, he pissed everyone off.

 

Know what you don't know. Trust the people that you hire TO know. Pick their brains. Learn from them.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Hey Bill -

 

It's funny how people ignore the fact that the only thing in common between artist #1 and famous artist #2 is location. They're paying for different services entirely. Only a moron would get into a hissy with a service provider based on two vastly different packages.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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Rod, I think your PM skills will serve you well here. If you just follow the same rules of engagement in a musical project as you do in a consulting project, I think you'll be fine.

 

1) Avoid scope creep at all costs. I think this will be more important in a creative endeavor, since many parameters will be enigmatic. Be sure you are not slowly taking on more than you should, and make sure everyone is expecting exactly what is going to be delivered. Remember the Stonehenge replica in Spinal Tap...

 

2) Establish a clear hierarchy. Call it "chain of command" or "where the buck stops", but be sure you have someone you can go to if things get funky...someone who can either bend the rules or kick someone's ass. And if that person is going to be you, get a verbal commitment from everyone involved that they will trust your ultimate judgement on matters that fall under your sphere of influence.

 

3) Make sure you are being paid for everything you are doing. Establish that before you start, because after you're in the gig, everything essentially locks down.

 

I think it's cool that you can find a niche in music that you enjoy and is a true benefit for others. I wish you the best of luck!

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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Thanks for the reply, everyone...

 

Originally posted by zeronyne:

Rod, I think your PM skills will serve you well here. If you just follow the same rules of engagement in a musical project as you do in a consulting project, I think you'll be fine.

That's pretty much my take on it. The more I think about it, I can apply the same concepts. Scope creep is certainly the biggest problem, but I find it always is.. ;)

 

The project is still in the approval phase, and I accept the risk that if it doesn't go through I won't get paid for the work so far (roughly an afternoon, no big deal). But I WILL make sure it's laid out how I am getting paid once it does go through, as well as for the musicians, who will need to start rehearsing.

 

I think it's cool that you can find a niche in music that you enjoy and is a true benefit for others. I wish you the best of luck!

 

I'm excited about this - I hadn't thought about it before but there is certainly a window of opportunity here. Just how big this window is remains to be seen, but that's part of the challenge. I am going to do some research this weekend to start getting my head focused on this direction.

 

Thanks again.

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

MBP-LOGIC

American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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Originally posted by Duddits:

People who can do what you do, like to do it, and are available, are extremely valuable to creative types.

No kidding - the look of relief on the guys' face was priceless.

 

Your title should be "Business Manager" or "Business Director" -- covering budgets, bookkeeping, development, organization and management.

Nice summary - my homework for the weekend is starting to get a better grasp of all this.

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

MBP-LOGIC

American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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Sounds like this could be a very rewarding situation. Best of luck to you Rod.

 

If it does work out be sure to keep us updated on a regular basis.It should prove interesting and informative for all of us.

 

Cheers

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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Man, could we use one of you. Excellent to bring your practical/logistical/financial skills to the table- lots of us artiste types are hopeless in that regard!

 

Good luck!

A WOP BOP A LU BOP, A LOP BAM BOOM!

 

"There is nothing I regret so much as my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?" -Henry David Thoreau

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