Last week, I told you a bit about being the organiser of IMPRO Amsterdam, and promised you more details. Thinking about it, I realised that it actually encompass more than just the festival, but actually all of the projects I’ve organised so far.
Read below for some of my a selection of 3 of my personal experiences, tips and tricks about organising, some more food stuff and even the picture of a dog called bear—Beer in Dutch, which doesn’t mean beer, but bear, because beer would be bier (not Bieber), I mean, wait, what?
That’s at the core and the base of a lot of my projects. I don’t just get a tremendous joy out of being the pal that works for 8 months in the shadows with a bunch of Excel sheets—even though it’s true, I like Excel sheets. Organising things, initiating projects, making them happen is a way for me to be part of the fun!
If we wanted to do some kitchen-counter psychology, we could probably observe a direct correlation between my lack of self-esteem and the number of new projects I’m starting. But however healthier mentally you are, the lesson to take out of this is that if you do it, you’re in it!
That’s how I found myself organising a bunch of weekends and activities when I was younger. That transferred to my improv, for which I always took on a whole lot of responsibilities—with la Lolita, La Carpe Haute and then A&P, with the shows I tour, the Improv Learning Center, and so much more on the way. And it is still true today for a lot of my current projects.
If you want to be in something cool: create it! Organising is scary but it’s possible, and often not that complex.
You would like to play more? Rent that space, invite people you like to play with and organise a show! I don’t know a lot of people that refuse to perform for a new project.
You want to study with that amazing teacher? Send them an email, and set up a workshop with them! Usually other people around will like to follow that workshop too.
You wish there was an international festival in your city? Start talking about it and set a first meeting with the people that are interested! Or send me an email and ask me for a Zoom call. I can give you a ready-to-use festival plan with a program of shows and workshops adapted to your situation, and cool people to fill it if you get excited about the project.
It sounds silly, but at the end of the day, it matters. The advantage of starting projects is that you can choose who you want to collaborate with!
Chris Mead often quotes Neil Gaiman:
Most people get work because their work is good. They are easy to get along with. And because they deliver the work on time.1
Apply that to yourself: Do good work, deliver your work on time, and be nice to work with. If any one needs to stick around when the two others go to shit, stay nice to work with
Apply that to your collaborators: First and foremost, pick people that you find nice to work with! At the end of the day, when the Excel sheets will kill you out, you’ll need some fun people to vent to about that automation that didn’t work—yeah, I’m obsessed with Excel sheets.
Work with a dog around: Just because you can.
Beer the dog, being a great partner for IMPRO Amsterdam
There is no one way to organise yourself. But let’s be honest, there are a couple of pointers that are helping.
Answer your emails. And your messages, WhatsApp, Slack, phonecalls, etc. To do so, find your way to make it work: reminders, daily check of the inbox, post-it, etc. Even when it’s uncomfortable to answer, answer.
Use a second brain. Or a to-do list, a Trello board, a stack of papers, up to you, but it’s impossible to remember everything. So use a tool that works for you, and use it consistently! I personally use OmniFocus2, and it works for me, but I’ve tried dozens of methods before finding my way, so don’t be afraid of trying!
Say ‘no’ to things. Weirdly that is the most important advice I’d like for you to take with you: in order to do things, you need to be able to say no. That’s the best way of being reliable for the things you will say yes to!
Bonus: do Excel sheets. Yeah, I mean, I love Excel, and it’s also just a good way to have an overview of your budget for instance. Which is pretty important for most projects.
Overall, the most important is for you to feel like you work in a way that fits you, that makes you happy, and with people that are good for you. Believe. Believe that you can do it. And then do it.
And when it has started, remember that there is no should have anymore, but only being in the moment to enjoy what you just created to the fullest.
If you ever doubt that you can do it, give me a call, and I’ll pep-talk you into organising your own project!
Love you all, feel free to reply if you want to share anything with me on any of these topics!
I recently watched my friend Bertrand make home-made noodles: it was fascinating AND yummy!
The result: sautéed noodles with veggies, tempeh and tamagoyaki