August is just around the corner which means the booking season is about to begin again! With the upcoming WAA conference in mind, allow me to share a few suggestions for maximizing your investment.
It was twenty years ago when I attended my first WAA conference and actually my first like gathering among the field. I was fortunate to work with Lula and Erwin Washington who had the forethought to arrange formal mentorships for me with Darleen Neel as well as others to prepare me for my role as company manager. Having mentors and since serving in such a capacity myself, is truly rewarding and the relationships formed through WAA’s New Colleague program can continue to be beneficial way beyond the conference. I strongly recommend contacting your mentor or new colleague if you have not done so already. Work to establish that rapport before being inundated by the convening.
We have all noticed significant changes in the role of the booking conferences. In addition to a renewed value in face-to-face networking, there is now far more pre-conference preparation and meeting scheduling. I still remember toting a 13 inch TV /VCR set and standing in the booth just waiting for someone to stop and inquire. While that might still occur, I encourage our exhibiting colleagues to research (I can’t stress that enough) and reach out to key presenters in a variety of ways prior to the conference with strategic messages and meeting requests to discuss new projects or learn more about a presenter’s program.
I hope everyone makes room in their conference schedule to discover, whether it is new artists, new approaches, new relationships or Los Angeles itself. If you haven’t made your travel arrangements just yet, I recommend arriving early or staying through the weekend to explore what is the creative capital of the world. Many of our fellow WAA members based in greater L.A. have active programs during August, including the Hollywood Bowl programmed by the LA Phil, the Ford Amphitheatre which just completed a seating renovation, the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, and Grand Performances in Downtown Los Angeles and Grand Park programmed by The Music Center, just to name a few of our renowned venues.
I hope these few pointers prove helpful to ensure a successful WAA experience in Los Angeles’ bustling and chic Century City!