What kind of records do we keep about past events?
I'm going toanswer this question in a very odd way, but that's because I want to circumvent certain strains of discussion before they take root. I'm going to answer it plainly, but round it off with a lot of commentary ABOUT the answer so you get a better picture of what the tools we use actually do. Got that? Cool.
It depends on how you define "records", but largely it comes down to three "things":
- Documentation composed by agreement (contracts, timelines, pre-/working/post budgets, financial reports)
- Forum records
- Post-event report by Event Coordinator (EvC)
This is largely how every event is logged for all time, of which the forums designated for each event's HC are the largest.The forums
Backstage: There are three forums, one for each PSi event. These are HC forums that host reps and whatever crew they ask us to add have access to, and which the EC also has access to. There are a couple of key staff positions that also have access (web and Financial Manager).
KEY: These forums do not change from year to year; the same forum rolls over with new threads. You can go to the NPS forum and see all of the posts, threads and discussions between HCs and PSi going back to 2004 (St. Louis). Some events used the forums more than others, some more consistently than others, but basically these forums act as not only the office space for each event, but as a permanent record.
Because of the fluid, sometimes daunting nature of forums, it's not always perfect for easily finding some information. But if I or a future HC or EC needed to see what budget NPS 2011 had it's there with our commentary and adjustments. Same for venues, marketing plans...everything is there. There may be the errant email or phone call this doesn't capture, but what you need to know is there (and if it isn't, that probably tells you something else you need to know). Again, this goes back to 2004.Documentation by agreement
covers less ground, but it is largely material devoid of conversation and consists of only handful of documents (which is as it should be). Generally, these are tools that allow us to communicate in the forums, and these are constantly evolving documents not just from event to event, but whlie an event is running (not the contract usually, but the other stuff). The contracts used to look very official but were weird, and have gotten better in just the last couple of years. They're still not perfect* but we're getting to a better base document with every event. We learn so much from each event, good or bad, and changes usually start being reflected in the contract. No two contracts are alike and no two events are alike (even when they're in the same city in back-to-back years with the same crew), so this isn't always the entry level resource you think it would be. It's why we created the roles of EvCs: to shepherd HCs through the process, and it's why the Event forums are our best resource for gauging success, intent and error.
Which begs the question: why do some things go wrong? This answer is simple: every HC wants to do THEIR version of the event they bid on. Each city wants to do their thing with this awesome artistic vehicle we've created. And because we allow for that kind of input on veryfundamental levels, each city comes with its own set of values and navigation needs. Some cities can get grant funding, some don't even try. Some have very supportive scenes, some are still trying to find their way. Because we remain fluid in the types of scenes and cities we deal with, we are constantly subjected to potential problems, some easily rectified, some we couldn't see coming until we're all on site trying to make the train move. Let me be clear here: these are things that would likely happen no matter WHAT you planned for. Some things you just can't account for with any event, especially one that moves around year after year. If we grounded the event, things would be very different, but that's not The Answer.
The last tool, EvC post-event reports,
are really awesome tools but they're still kind of new, maybe the last couple of years.
These are reports provided to the EC, and if I'm not mistaken an HC may have been provided with one once or twice, but not as a rule. These reports lay out what was right and what was wrong and they do help the EC and EvC determine how to best navigate HCs in the future. Sometimes if PSi is the problem, that's in there too. These can be pretty intense documents, so we don't make a practice of handing them over to HCs.
So that's what we do.
Is there a report that gets submitted AFTER the events?
Do we have some way of keeping track of things that went well, things that needed work, wheels that were re/invented, etc.?
Yes, the EvC's post-event reports. As far as what HCs receive, mostly that occurs in dialogue with the EvC. The EC spends much of its post-event time thanking HCs and letting EvCs be the bad guys.