I’m just coming off the Grand Opening Celebration of Yas WaterWorld in Abu Dhabi, yesterday. A celebration for about 2500 friends and family of the Royal Family, the event was spread throughout the 40-acre venue with just over 100 performers performing lush vignettes and teasers on a succession of stages throughout the day with a Big, Action Finale and Water Show.
But that’s not the subject of this post.
This was, without question, the most positive, productive, energetic, collaborative team of which I have ever been a part
In my own role as a Creative Director & Producer, when I accept or initiate a project, I gravitate toward the building of the creative concept and team; managing and inspiring and collaborating our way toward a goal of Compelling Brilliance…or as close to that as we can get. I produce much of my own product, often hiring a strong left-brainer with right-brain tendencies as Production Manager on whom to offload the bulk of the logistical and columnar responsibilities and free me to handle and manage the creative and show.
I am always seeking a strong Producer who understands, appreciates and supports Creative; one who holds the line, loves the Production side and embraces the Creative without competing. Further, one who can contribute to the creative without caveat; who can offer creative ideas without ownership, trusting the Creative Director or Director to make the best decision for the show or Experience…and mean it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have found this guy in Adam Proto, and take this opportunity to acknowledge and endorse this man. He puts the Pro in Producer.
This guy put together a broad and disparately-talented team from across the globe, creating an environment with not one, negative influence under his purview. All of us, after the drop of the proverbial curtain, repeatedly commented to one another on the simple fact of the positiveness of the production and the productivity of the collaboration.
Proto, while respecting the vision of a client, is not limited by it. He reaches beyond Grasp in order to create what may truly be possible (…or, what is a Heaven for?), developing the vision that has been expressed while seeking ways, means, tools and individuals who can possibly take that vision even further than imagined. This gives him a palpable, infectious thrill…it clearly fulfills him.
Too, the man is a clownish poker-player. He is far more adept at masking his true feelings in the face of the well-meaning-though-perhaps-misguided-or-downright-ignorant-suggestion than am I. (Though, I suppose that’s not saying much, knowing me!) He is a consummate diplomat and politician; with the patience and humour to massage a situation in order to bring about the best, possible result.
Most of us on the team had not met one another, before, while all of us gelled and made this show happen as smoothly as I’ve ever seen it. As is always the goal, though never before seen in my experience in the UAE, the show was done and ready by the night before; giving us the professional breathing room to make any and all the last-minute adjustments without panic, rushing or kerfuffle of any consequence.
While many “last-minute” changes came our way on Show Day, the response was more that of a well-oiled machine than anything else.
This goes to more than simply being well-organized, having a clear vision of what one wants (though, that’s often rare, here, as well!) and communicating; Proto shares a quality I admire and also embrace, that being the ethos of acknowledgement.
Many times throughout the days of production, Proto would take a moment to acknowledge a given tech team, group of stage managers or performers; sometimes quietly, over a sound board or in the corner of a stage, sometimes publicly during some announcement or other. Everyone on that set knew s/he was appreciated and valued. Money cannot buy the feeling and spirit of loyalty that such expression and authentic conduct can engender (though let’s not extrapolate from this that acknowledgement can replace being appropriately-paid, mind you).
He also trusts; handing off responsibilities without any hint of micromanagement – that Bane of the Creative. He actually hands it off!
Go figure. He gets results.
This translates and, by emotional, pheromonal osmoses, can permeate an entire production…ultimately showing-up in the product.
We have a very happy client and audience from yesterday’s show.
Which is not to say that there were no difficult times in this production; there were plenty. Mistakes were made, balls occasionally dropped. People did Human Things. Each was addressed. Each was over. All moved forward. Flare-ups were brief, rare, and immediately dissipated. (Even I was responsible for a rather egregiously bad call at one point, and I still have all my limbs!)
All of this, IMHO, primarily due to the attitude and style of Adam Proto. The man sets a great example for all [we] Producers.
So, I take this day to acknowledge a man who will one day be recognized and ranked highly in the worldwide Pantheon of Producers. He ain’t perfect, though he offered me what is probably the best experience I’ve ever enjoyed when working for someone else.
Keep your eye on this guy.
Feel “free” to download my eBook for iPad, “imho,” from the iBooks store.