The hardest bit first. Who are we? We all do things that inform, provoke, and make people feel. We help to change their perception of something. Sounds ‘lofty’, but it is true.
The Entertainment sector entertains and makes people feel something. Whether it is happy, sad, excited, or anxious, people leave an event having experienced emotions.
The Business Event sector informs and promotes thought and discussion. People, hopefully, leave business events having learned something, reaffirmed current knowledge, or with things to think about and work on to improve their business, career, or life.
The Exhibition sector informs, promotes, and hopefully generate sales for the exhibitors.
They are all ‘events’ the audience, guests, punters, presenters, performers all need to be ready at a certain time on a certain date or they miss out.
SO, why are we so different? I don’t think we are.
Skills and interests.
This is where it gets a little trickier. It takes lots of different skills to do what we do, and no one group does it all well. Fact.
We need administration – legal, financial, insurance people.
We need creative people – designers, graphics, video, music, choreographers, writers, directors, catering.
We need technical people – construction, staging, rigging, lighting, sound, vision, broadcast, transport.
We need services people – guest services, security, first aid, safety.
Not all on every event, but most.
It is because of all these different ‘interest groups’ that there are so many different associations, but this is also EGO driven. With no disrespect to any of the organizations, I know most will be offended; there are too many similar associations because of past differences of option between individuals. “If I don’t like your opinion, and you don’t agree with me, I’ll start my own group”. Reminds me of the Monty Python scene in Life of Brian, where all of the different ‘peoples front’ groups are at the coliseum.
Totally agree that there should be different groups for Creative, Technical, and Organisers. They do very different things but with overlap.
Gather together or stay apart.
So the BIG question. Would the leaders of any of these organizations join forces? In the 90’s unions amalgamated to have more say. Like unions joined forces, but had separate sub-groups to ensure special interest groups could deal with specific issues effectively. Businesses also formed associations with very broad scopes but had sub-groups within. Manufacturers for example, and mining or agricultural.
Who would be the first to host others for this discussion?
During the Victorian inquiry one of the main items of concern in the report was that there are just too many small groups, so government has no focused point of contact for consultation. If they ask they either get no reply, or hundreds of slightly different opinions. Governments are like small children; if it is not simple and easy they give up and move on to something else. Why did the airlines get so much support? Because they are good at asking and they have one voice. They put a very simple, easy to understand case together and presented it very well. We, unfortunately, didn’t. We never have. We don’t usually complain, we just get on and solve the issues ourselves. We as an industry are bad at asking for help, so when we finally did it, we did it badly. It was just too hard for our simple politicians to grasp who we are and what we needed.
So put up, or shut down. People often say, rarely to my face, that I am opinionated, forceful, and too direct. I have had a lot to say during this pandemic because I hate sitting on my hands and hoping it will just get better. If you don’t like how the industry is being treated, you don’t like what you read or hear, speak to the leaders of the association you belong to and change things. If you don’t belong to an association, do the homework and join one.
I am a member of three.
ACETA – because we provide technical products and services.
ESTA – because they develop technical standards most applicable to what we do, and Australian Standards would only replicate these but with much less resources and possible uptake.
Crew Care – because I believe in what they do for the people that need help and don’t know how to ask.
I honestly believe that this is STILL the time to change. Things will get better in the COVID19 situation but what about the next challenge, and the one after that? Pandemic, natural disaster, economic downturn, or economic boom, if we use this time to get our own industry in order, what have we got to lose?
Take care of yourselves. Call your mates, maybe someone you haven’t spoken to for a while. Look at the brighter horizon and work towards it.