HAS THE MUSIC STOPPED?

3 May 2020

An endless stream of articles, posts and conversations with similar questions dominate at the moment - "Is it all over?", "Will life ever be the same?", or... "Has the music stopped." Personal and professional challenges dominate at the moment, and it's easy to only see the doom. I don't have a crystal ball, but do have 200,000 years of human behaviour history to fall back on to see the enormous opportunities that lie ahead. Yes there will be turmoil, but what choice do we really have? Give up? Sit and wait? Or grab and create opportunities? If, like me, you're up for making things happen, I prefer practicality and creativity over mere wishful thinking - so some analysis and actual suggestions and ideas...

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Hi, I'm Will Glendinning. I'm a Producer, Writer, Designer, and Director.

Now, if you work in live entertainment, or sport, or events, or marketing or any live creative sector at all, you'll have seen all manner of articles and posts, and had numerous conversations with a similar theme recently, will life ever be the same again? Is it all over, or frankly, has the music stopped?

And for all of us, myself included, there have been all manner of personal and professional challenges over recent weeks.

The music has not stopped, though. It's merely paused, or slowed a little.

However, it's also easy to talk ourselves, life and the world down and only see the doom.

A common narrative at the moment is the need to pull together and work together. And I agree - wholeheartedly, but I'm a creator, though. So, practicality and creativity resonate with me far more than just wishful thinking. Let's look at human nature and human behaviour.

Elliott Waves.

If you're not familiar with Elliott Wave theory, Google is your friend here.

They're essentially a simple and largely accepted representation of human nature and often used to predict trading and financial cycles. First, there's a short flurry of interest, wave one. Then a nervousness, wave two. Then, the realisation it's all okay and a huge burst of excitement, usually the biggest wave, wave three. Then, the party seems like it's over, wave four. But no, there's still a little more to make, take or do, a final rally, wave five. And then, there's the crash, the party really is over. The market, sentiment and human behaviour and interest dive and retrace. And then, there's a period of despair and capitulation.

And then, we start again with that first flurry of interest, and the pattern repeats. The markets have been on a high for years. A crash of some sort was inevitable.

This is human nature, human nature never really changes. Habits, preferences and some behaviours, sure, but human nature, no.

People will always want to meet, greet, show off, perform, entertain and engage face to face, live. As long as humans have egos and emotions, and until every sense and emotion can be stimulated artificially, this is how humans will exist.

There is no evidence in the entire history of the human race, wars aside, that humans have stopped doing these things for very long at all.

Let's look at some recent or recent-ish history. The Spanish flu in 1918 was followed by economic turmoil and then, the twenties, a post-war period of economic growth and prosperity. The Asian flu in 1957 was again followed by turmoil, and then, the sixties, essentially, a decade of cultural revolution.

It would be easy to find reasons why those pandemics were in slightly different circumstances to where we find ourselves today. To do so, though, would just be wanting to find reasons why things will be different for the first time, in about 200,000 years.

Look at the waves again. For sure, we're going to go through a period of pain, potentially massive upheaval and anguish. It's just part of the cycle. And I'm sure, mass transit, mass gatherings, and mass anythings are going to take a while to return. I'm sure there will be massive transfers of wealth as the old world order is replaced with the new. And I'm sure confidence and frivolity will take time to recover, but it will come.

What will almost certainly come to an end, certainly in the short term, are pointless and poor value live events.

Exhibitions with questionable value, conferences with content that could have been delivered purely digitally, far more effectively, and events that could have just been photoshoots.

Live events and experiences with more value, though, more creativity and that are more worthwhile, will, or should be, the new normal, something I wholeheartedly endorse and look forward to.

And what choice do you or we really have? We can give up, we can follow or wait, or we can make things happen.

As I said, I'm a creator, someone who rarely settles, and someone who embraces change, whether it's of my own making or forced upon us.

If like me, you have no interest in giving up, or waiting or simply following others either, some ideas and suggestions.

Firstly, if you're a brand or government or event owner, if you want to make your live ventures more wondrous or worthwhile, improve your or your team's expertise. Look at how you can find better creativity or create it. And you have time now to fix how you conceive and procure live events and exhibitions. Whether you realise it or not, for the most part, this has been broken since long before the pandemic hit. More often than not, simply creating the illusion of finding you the best value or solutions. You have time now to improve all of this. And if not now, when?

If you're an agency, you have the opportunity to look at how you can be more agile. You can look at becoming more channel-agnostic and creative, or how to find and nurture more creativity and ideas and work out where and how you do, or could, offer the most value. Do you have staff producing, managing, creating or designing live events that have no stage or theater school training, or even basic knowledge of stage-craft, you have time, an abundance of time, to improve their knowledge and expertise. Which can only lead to better work, more ideas, and perhaps better value.

If you're a supplier, your knowledge and expertise is currently incredibly valuable as people look to do more for less and more creatively. Get your knowledge, one of your biggest assets, out there now, even if it's just the basics.

If you're an individual, a freelancer, for example, work out what you're good at and what value you offer. Previous job titles may become redundant, and the places you used to work may cease to exist or change. But if you have talent or expertise, work out where it's most valuable, or develop your own offers and ideas.

Wherever you sit, whoever you are, there's a ton of work that can be done.

How?

Well, to get you thinking, I've put out videos about how you can improve your knowledge and expertise. I've a video series, The Facts Of Live, an abridged version of my book by the same name, looking at how to conceive, procure, and produce live events and exhibitions to create the greatest value and impact. And I have videos coming out about how to find or nurture better creativity, and there will be more to come.

All this stuff is free.

And whether you look at my stuff or anyone else's, if you want to be more proactive, the opportunities to do so are immense. And the world is inherently going to value those offering the most value as we emerge from this crisis.

And as history has proven, emerge we will.

If you think anyone else would benefit from seeing or hearing this, feel free to share it.

The music has not stopped, it has merely paused, and will be playing at full speed again.