Running a good event is a careful balance between aiming for perfection and making sure things still get done.
It’s complicated by the differing opinions of your writers. Everyone running the game will have different ideas in their head about what they want to achieve and none of them will get quite the vision they have. Everyone has to compromise somewhere.
Mandala are good at getting things done. We run events with a team of people that will do what they need to do to make the event work. When we’re at PD we will do what we need to do to make sure that the event runs. This does mean compromise. We know which compromises we’re willing to make and at what point it’s just not worth running it. We’ve postponed a plot because we couldn’t get the right coloured cassock, and we’re sitting on a pile of events that we won’t run because the sites we currently have available to us don’t allow us to do things that are important to us. We know our limits.
The pursuit of perfection can hinder your event as much as it helps it. In the same way that we’re not running certain events because we have conditions linked to them other people are sitting on a wealth of stories, events, props, etc that they won’t use because they’re not perfect. Alternatively there are a huge number of people who are undervaluing what they’ve done because they don’t see it as good enough. Sometimes… most times, it’s far more important to have something than to have something perfect. If you need a three headed dog, and your event has already started then a really high quality, well designed costume is no used to you if it hasn’t been built yet. You need to work out what can be built in a field, and you need people who can create that for you, in a field.
It’s well known that plot never survived an encounter with the players. They look at your carefully planned encounters, laugh and trample off (over the bluebells) to do their own thing. If people are protective of their plot they will find themselves fighting the will of the players to try and make things happen. Plot can easily be rewritten overnight. The first step is accepting that the careful plans you made have gone, and you’ve got to make new ones out of the ruins.
Players are generally a pretty obliging lot. Very few go to games because they hate them, and most of them will buy into the spirit of the game they find themselves playing. They’re a forgiving lot, as long as you’re working with them. They want your event to be a success as much as you do.
We always work out what we can realistically achieve, and then somehow do twice as much in half the time (usually for about 8 times the money). We work out what we want. We talk about aspirational things, and then we work out what we can do. When people order from us we typically want to know what they want, and what they’re using it for. Knowing what they’re using something for means we have a much better idea which compromises we can make.
Striving for something perfect can mean you never do anything at all. A lot of people have a perfect game that they want to run, a perfect book that they want to write or a costume that they want to put together, but because they can’t get it exactly right they haven’t started. They can’t have perfect so they don’t get anything. I do that with costume. I have an exact shade or pattern that I need something to be. I’ll want a certain trim that just doesn’t exist and unless I’m willing to learn the skills and buy the kit to make it it means that a really good bit of kit won’t get made because I won’t compromise on something minor.
This post is inspired by a weekend in which I have made two people redo an afternoons work because it didn’t meant my mental image of what it should look like, and yet have been annoyed when someone else suggested an afternoon of my work was not of the necessary standard and should be redone. Striving for perfection is only good as long as things are getting done. When things aren’t happening someone has to compromise somewhere.