Technical directors will find some of their best customers to be churches and religious organizations. How can these leaders and their respective teams be the most useful to these organizations? What can they do to ensure a satisfied customer again and again? Todd Elliott, technical arts director for Willow Creek Community Church just outside of Chicago, shared his thoughts on this very topic at a recent WFX event.
Above all else, Elliot says that a technical director and his production team must own the show when it comes to running programs for churches.
"If you don't work on it as your own," Elliot says, "Then you'll likely not give your best."
Elliot said that this is true for every stage of the production. If there are any problems or shortfalls along the way, he encourages technical teams to fix them as soon as possible before they ruin the project at large. Not fixing problems as they arise will only leave the director and his team embarrassed. Not only that, but it could cost the team its reputation in both Christian and secular communities.
"Act responsibly towards your job and work on a project as if it's your own," Elliott said. "Only then [will] you be able to achieve success.
Of course owning the project is just the beginning when it comes to fostering success as a technical director working for a church. When technical and creative teams plan, formulate and execute programs for churches, Elliott says that they should break the job down into individual roles and responsibilities to ensure that every facet of the production goes off without a hitch. One of the first things that need to be correctly in place for projects to go off seemlessly is production support. Are the microphones on? Is the monitor working correctly? How about the sound and lighting? These are all imperative to a successful show.
"[None of these] things have anything to do with the actual content of the show," Elliot said. "But they are all a necessity."
Elliot says that creative teams generally are excellent at coming up with quality, innovative programs, but sometimes they still do not satisfy their church customers because they did not run these ideas by the pastor before they put them in action.
"You need to get a heads up from the authorities [first]. Only then you can present your idea," Elliott said. "If the pastors are not happy, your idea and time goes to waste."
Through the use of collaboration technical directors can be sure to obtain the pastor's blessing. After this happens, technical and creative teams can feel free to make the project as great as possible as long as they know what it is that the pastor wants communicated. Elliot warns tech directors to keep the plans realistic and consider the time frame and budget constantly while formulating them. Also, technical and creative teams have to be happy to use the resources that they have. They may be older, smaller or what have you, but these are the tools that the team has to work with, and they are being paid to do so. That being said, Elliott also urges the extensive use of technology wherever possible to draw in everyone's attention and give the audience an unforgettable experience.