Lessons learnt so far from Fame: The Musical
*Names removed to ensure total honesty.
“Not knowing what you’re doing is not an excuse. Dive in, participate, and discover what you can do. To paraphrase a mentor “Do something. Something turns into something else.”
“Working with artists is unpredictable and awkward. I was expecting him to be grateful for our help and input, but we seemed to just be a bitch to his whims. I hope this isn’t standard practice!”
“It’s always difficult when you feel your artist isn’t interested or willing to put in the time or effort to help you. There’s nothing we could do about this, we have never met him in the flesh. However, he seemed open to most of our ideas which left us with lots of space to have our own creative input. The biggest lesson for me is to always communicate with your artist.”
“It has been a really frustrating experience. We didn’t had a lot creative freedom on this project and the client didn’t really care about it anyway. I guess the lesson from this is that you won’t always have a chance to shine with a project. But do your best to save it anyhow.”
“Make sure the client/artist is on the same page as you every step of the way. Lose your shared goal and you might as well start speaking different languages, but most of all, make sure before you take on the client that you can do good work with them. If they don’t want what you can offer, then its going to be disappointing no matter what.”
“Know your product, and know it inside out. We were assigned an act with – arguably – the most abstract sound of all of those on the table. With this came a real challenge to anchor a concept, or even an attitude, look, feel or tone. That said, once we really got under the fingernails of the lyrics, all of that fell into place, and the relationship with the artist seemed to blossom as a result.”
“At times I wanted to kill my artist and was willing to commit creative suicide to rid myself of this project. This resulted in a poor music video and as Bob Dylan said “He (or she) not busy being born is busy dying.”
“Working in such a big group can be a rewarding or draining experience. We found that it is so much easier to split into smaller groups and work on different aspects of the brief before coming together with something concrete to discuss. At the initial idea stage you can spend weeks talking about possible solutions and ideas without ever moving forward.”
“Embrace your limitations.”
“An army marches on their stomach. Catering. Always have good catering. Having cold beers on hand & fruit etc was a small touch but it just made things flow so much smoother. Other than that just having a shot list/storyboard so you know exactly what material you need to get is essential.”
“Have an idea. If you’re trying to come up with one in the edit, it’s too late.”
“What I learnt is that you should always have an idea of what it is that you want to do, even if your client is set in their ways about what they want. Chances are you can make a compromise which will be better.”
“A mentor told me that 5 is never a good number to work in, I would have to disagree for this brief, at no stage did we let the fact we had no experience get in the way and in many ways I feel like it helped us be more creative using our restrictions to our advantage. I definitely had the most fun on this brief.”
“You can’t do good work, without a good client relationship.”
“Even if everything seems to fall apart at the last moment – just create something. It’s easy to be defeatist when the deadline is rapidly approaching, but ultimately it will feel terrible if you have nothing to show when the final day comes.”
“I learned two important things. The first was to trust my gut a bit more in the decisions making process. Instead of trusting my gut this time I listened to the other team members and we all had the impression that the client was great. The second thing is when you are working with a client don’t let them do your work.”
“You can’t always get what you want.”
“The key is to have a good communication with your artist. Although, it can be a bit tricky when they don’t seem to give a shit about what you have to say.”
“Never trust a guy with dodgy hair.”
“If the artist doesn’t want to be in the video- be creative, focus on the music and audience instead and make do without.”
“I learned that clients can be very difficult to work with and it’s very important to communicate with them all the time and let them know exactly what is going on. I also learned that it is a good idea to delegate specific roles to different members of the team; that way we were able to focus on our own task and get more work done as a whole. Communication is key. “
“A name can be so much more than just a name when you have chosen it for yourself. If I ever meet a man named Stealth again, I’ll be less naive.”
“Sometimes, even when it seems obvious, you should not trust what people say about the abilities of others but trust your intuition and listen to your gut™.”
“Pick your battles and know when to let a brief go: It was difficult for my group to take the decision to stop pushing. None of us wanted to admit defeat on our first big brief even though we had a gut feeling that it was very unlikely to work out from the very start. By the time we took that decision we were drained and busy with other projects.
Be tenacious: It’s a double edged sword. We might have been stubborn at the beginning, but after we decided to stop collaborating with the artist we picked ourselves back up and ran a tenacity relay race.
Declare your love to your team. And something I learnt from other teams: respect your team members and communicate even if you don’t like working together. No one works well with everyone and we are bound to clash with some people, but we should be able to share a pint and a laugh after the project is done.
Some people are just interested in free stuff. They will use you instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to collaborate and make something good.
A lot of people will be happy to help out for free if they like your idea. If you don’t ask you’ll never know.”
“If you want people to listen to you and take on your ideas, you need their trust and respect.”
“The best artists don’t behave like spoiled brats.”
“Hold on tight to anything you want to have your name on. If you allow others to take creative direction it probably won’t be an end result you’re proud of.”
“Be willing to say no to the client, as much as you want to please them, do what’s best for the project.”
“Always be willing to make yourself look stupid for the greater good.”
“It is often said that you should never work with children or animals. In my experience, musicians are both.””
“My biggest challenge was about team work and the challenges that come with it.
1/ Listening and understanding
There is a difference between listening to others people’s ideas and trying to fully understand them. Understanding allows to create bridges with your own ideas but understanding requires effort and patience.
Group work is about combining people’s views and ideas.
It’s the process of 1+1=3
This requires compromising therefore accepting to let go and accepting what might not seem obvious in the first place.
3/ Forward Planning
Lack of planning and agreeing clear actions, deadline and ownership leads to inefficiencies, stress, breakdown of communication and therefore degradation of the power of group work.”
“What I learnt from this brief? Well, I would say that I learnt more about people than about artist management. And I remember someone has said to me : we are in people business.”