Thursday, August 27, 2009

Looking forward

Yesterday was a day of quiet reflection. The world's greatest wife was home with a headache, so I spent most of the day tending to her and trying to keep the flood of worried callers pacified (she has quite a loyal fan base). I didn't really want to do too much work for fear of disturbing her, so it wound up being a day for some forward-thinking about where I'd like to go from here.

And think I did. I'll spare you the fantasies - they were fun to indulge in, but ultimately well over the line into technically impossible. But once I got that out of my system I did manage to come to some fruitful conclusions:

  1. It's been a rough year. I can't stand it when other people blame the economy for their woes, and I don't feel right in saying the Great Depression of the 21st Century has been the cause of our malaise these past few months. Nonetheless, I am forced to admit that it has played a part, if only in people's mindsets. In 2010 though I don't think this will weigh so heavily upon so many people, including me.
  2. Next year will be better. I'm already further ahead on many of the shows this year than I was on some of the shows this summer. The 2010 season has been selected, and now I'm working on securing venues, directors and rehearsal drafts of scripts. By the time our open auditions roll around in January we'll have the people and the resources in place to cast every show in the coming year.
  3. It's time for a fresh approach. Between now and January 1st I'll be working on an overhaul of our operating procedures here a Grinder. It's a process that I've already had underway for some time now, as soon as it became clear that I was doing too much of the "rescuing" of shows that had been abandoned by other people. I'm in the process of compiling a step-by-step "workbook" for myself and other directors to use as production aides on shows, a move that will hopefully help keep us all on the same page and ensure each show is a quality production that reflects the best efforts of everyone involved in the company.
  4. We can do this. I'm sure that somewhere out there someone has written Grinder off for dead, or at the very least a lost cause. In fact, there are probably legions of people who have long since given us up for dead. But we're not dead. The beauty of such a large, diverse group of people involved in a large, diverse group of projects is that when one falls down there are many more in place to help pick things back up. So this summer wasn't so hot - the fall shows are already starting to pick up steam. So someone might think we're a joke - not two weeks ago an actor told me it was an honour to be working with this company.
I thought about a lot of other things yesterday, and I'm still thinking today about where this company needs to go in the next six months, the next 9 months, the next year, the next ten years and the next 30 years. We're still at the beginning of what I hope will be a very, very long journey, and while I won't be able to spend all my time looking forward, it will sure beat the wondering "what if" that I'd be doing if I spent all my time looking back.

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