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Author Topic: Host City Documentation  (Read 3702 times)

Syd Malicious

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Host City Documentation
« on: October 19, 2011, 07:22:17 PM »
What kind of records do we keep about past events?

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.?

BrianOmniDillon

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2011, 08:44:09 PM »
Can the body have access to these documents?

If not on a regular basis, can we see an example of a past tournaments post-event reporting? (i would suggest our last two events, nps11 and iwps11, as those events came in on both sides of the attendance fence, while both were wildly fun times for the poets. )
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Syd Malicious

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2011, 08:47:13 PM »
Oh, I didn't even think of it until Omni said that, but I could totally run stats on which of our efforts has been the most successful. Like, does college outreach have a bigger impact on attendance than TV ads, does a certain timeline appear to be more effective in a certain setting, etc.

Granted, I need a lot of data to be able to do that and a lot of time to sort through it, but if nothing else it's something I'd like to START tracking.

simone

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 09:10:51 AM »
There is a Host City Forum that the city hosts gain access to once they have been approved for a bid (1-2 years out, depending on the event). There are some threads there that are helpful, although there is no straight-up information posted; I had to read and glean on my own. I also have a collection of documents from past host cities (marketing plans, sponsorship packets, etc.) that Henry Sampson forwarded to me when I became the director for NPS 2011.

What we need DESPERATELY is a calendar; I asked for one of these when I started and there was nothing to be had... Inkera just asked me for one for NPS 2012 and I had very little to give. This is a project that I would be happy to get together with previous host city coordinators to form.
Simone Beaubien
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Syd Malicious

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 09:33:01 AM »
Awesome!

Simone, would you look at the thread about Poets as Resources? I want to put together a list of people whose skills might be useful, but... I don't know what skills are useful. I can think of some of the obvious ones but I'm sure there are a lot of nuances and details that only a past coordinator would think of.

BrianOmniDillon

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 09:54:48 AM »
Yes. Simone, anything you can offer in terms of insight as to what you really felt would have been helpful in your journey/what sort of documents or guidelines would have made your job easier, it would be an enormous help. We would love to produce some sort of warehouse of resources and assistance for future HC's. Counting on the past experience of folks whove done your job will help up sort out what would be useful and what wouldnt.

Syd perhaps we should reach out directly to the last six or seven HCs, and poll them informally on their experience, what theyd want to have had, what they felt was effficient or not? Maybe we put together a list of questions and email/mssg them directly?

Which will eventually beg the question, Scott, is there a simple resource for finding out who the host's have been for, lets say the last three years of tournaments?
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Syd Malicious

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2011, 10:00:55 AM »
I think reaching out directly is a great idea. If we could get a hold of several members of each of the HCCs we'd have a great working list.

BrianOmniDillon

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2011, 10:21:47 AM »
k. well we just need to know then who to contact. i can name a few of the past HC's but not all of them, and im pretty sure one of them is no longer affiliated with psi.
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Scott Woods

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 10:59:36 AM »
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.

*
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 11:17:36 AM by Scott Woods »

Syd Malicious

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2011, 11:11:44 AM »
Scott, thanks for the detailed answer.

Are these records available to general members?

BrianOmniDillon

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2011, 11:12:36 AM »
I have... lots of thoughts.

But...i have my own slam to run and need to get down to this venue early to sort out some scheduling issues while the owner is there. ill try and respond in length a bit later today.

thanks so much for being on top of this with us. the information is super eye-opening, and helping me see what exactly this all looks like.
lo the goddamn leaves.

Scott Woods

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2011, 11:16:54 AM »
Scott, thanks for the detailed answer.

Are these records available to general members?

None of the above documents are available to general membership, but this is as it should be.

Syd Malicious

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2011, 11:19:12 AM »
Why do you say that's as it should be?

(Curiosity, not snark.)

Scott Woods

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2011, 11:22:52 AM »

What we need DESPERATELY is a calendar; I asked for one of these when I started and there was nothing to be had... Inkera just asked me for one for NPS 2012 and I had very little to give. This is a project that I would be happy to get together with previous host city coordinators to form.

Timelines used to be in the contract, then they rolled into something HCs were to submit, then they turned into something EvCs and HCs were to compile together. In your case as I recall Henry thought you were pretty on top of things so one was not developed. I disagree with this practice on principle, but I trusted the impression of the EvC and stand by that trust. The event that happened shows it was not misplaced, but it is stress that is alleviated by such a document's existence.

But it's not like they never existed, so one should have been dug out for you to refer to if you asked for one. That is something I'll be pushing EvCs to compile with HCs moving forward just on general principle.

Scott Woods

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Re: Host City Documentation
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2011, 11:40:05 AM »
Why do you say that's as it should be?

(Curiosity, not snark.)

Understood and received.

Simply, I think it's paralyzing to this kind of work.

You can be too transparent...so transparent that you can't make a decision or a move without thinking of more about how it will be perceived by people who have no stake in the decision-making or the work than in getting the actual work done.  This isn't public office and these aren't laws; it's an event. Ultimately we all just want the event to happen. Some of us want it to happen a certain way and some of us want it to happen at a certain level, but most of us just want it to happen and we'll make our own fun when we get there. This is as it should be! The poet my venue sends to iWPS shouldn't have to worry about whether or not the HC has done enough marketing or what their cut of an eventual profit margin might be, or how much the HC spent on lanyards for poet passes. This kind of uber-transparency just opens us up to an immense amount of distraction. I don't say this to be evasive. I'm saying this to make the point that if people want a certain level of access in the most productive way possible so that they can genuinely help make the machine run better, why not just become a mechanic and get in the pit with the crew? I think it's awesome that there are some people who might care about these sorts of event details, but if they do they should be inserted into the machine to do the work themselves, not make us drive around with the hood of the car off so they can see how the engine works from the stands. At some point you have to let people whose job it is to do certain things do those things. I don't go behind Erik Daniel and look over his code for the website. I don't want you doing it either. I want to be able to go to Erik and say, "I think the site should do this" and he does his thing and I look at it a month later and go, "Thanks" or "Thanks, but can you fix this though?". Same goes for the Treasurer, the Executive Director, the Financial manager, the Development Director, the Video Lead and, yes, the Host Cities. ESPECIALLY the Host Cities. They have the toughest job of all, as far as I'm concerned.

So in the end, it's just a matter of too many cooks in the kitchen.