Newbies, Divas, Absences and other difficult aspects of managing a fire group
One of the most difficult aspects of being a Shin is managing all of the fundamental duties needed to run a performance of this magnitude. As Shin, you are expected to wear several different hats, quite frequently at the same time. Here are just a few of the roles you are expected to oversee…
- Production Manager – making personnel decisions, determining disciplinary action, coordinating practice times and locations, etc..
- Choreographer – coming up with the overall theme and group routines, and making sure each unit is practicing.
- Secretary – tracking communications and relaying important information, attending meetings, writing reports, meeting deadlines, scheduling practices, tracking tickets, fb groups, etc…
- Safety Coordinator – developing, training and supervising all safety personnel with regards to fire performance.
- Therapist – assessing personalities and adjusting teams accordingly, acting as counselor when personality problems arise, administering disciplinary action as needed, and sometimes even managing break-ups within groups.
- Videographer – figuring out the performance layout for filming, as well as overseeing the filming itself.
- Costume Designer – overseeing the overall look of the performance, as well as individual groups.
- Prop Designer – creating or sourcing large fire props should your group choose to include them in your dance.
- Accountant – figuring out how to pay for group items such as practice fuel, costuming, cost for large props, practice spaces, etc..
- Location Scout – finding legal and appropriate places to spin fire.
- Cat Wrangler – coordinating rehearsal times, filming days, on-playa meetings, etc..
As you can see, there is a lot to be responsible for. What we would like you to realize is that although as Shin you are responsible to make all these things happen, you are not expected to do them all yourselves. In other words, delegate, delegate, delegate! If choreography isn’t your thing, find someone who does it well within your group or hire a professional from your local dance studio to come out and help throw together some ideas one night. The same goes for filming your submission video, and costuming. Find the people who do these things well and add them to your group.
Another difficult area is figuring out how to oversee different personalities. From the perfectionistic practice fanatic to the comedian who disrupts practices, seasoned divas and enthusiastic newbies, determining how to motivate all personality types can be a daunting task indeed. Talking to other, more experienced Shins may go a long way in these situations.
In the cases of dealing with extremely difficult people or situations, I usually source answers through the internet. Here are a few articles that might help:
This article published in Psychology Today entitled “20 Expert Tactics for Dealing with Difficult People” outlines the tactics that professional crisis intervention teams use, and covers defusing difficult situations including angry and unreasonable people.
Another article entitled “The 5 Toughest Personalities and how to Manage Them” looks at some of the more common personalities you may encounter in your groups, and how to motivate them to be more productive.
Absenteeism is a very common problem throughout conclave groups. How do you keep people motivated to come to practices without burning them out? Especially once you finish filming and have been informed that you have made it into the Great Circle (which is when you should be perfecting and polishing your choreography).
Some helpful tips that have been used in the past are:
- Setting a limit on the number of absences each member can have.
- Setting consequences for absences (ie: withhold performer tickets, replacement in group, etc..)
- Maintaining a wait list of potential members in case someone leaves (or is asked to leave!).
- Research each member’s commitment level regarding making practices up front and plan accordingly. If they know they cannot make practices on a regular basis, utilize them in smaller roles, or as safety personnel.
Remember, you are not alone. The Shin List and Discord are great places to further discuss ideas on how to manage your group with other Shins and find out what works for them.
Also, the Fire Conclave Council is here to help. If you have any questions or concerns regarding managing your group, feel free to contact us!
For more information on managing, refer to the Fire Conclave Handbook.
Next Shin Tip: Everything you need to know about the MayDay Review
The Fire Conclave Council,
Crimson, Tabasco, Wrangler, Scorch and Natalie
Photo Credit: Kevin LeVezu