Guest bloggers – NMP… UK producers Mark Daman Thomas and Sebastian Reynolds

Last month, our New Music Plus… producers gathered at Derby Quad for two days of training delivered by hubsters, Adam Jeanes and Jenny Harris. We invited Mark Daman Thomas and Sebastian Reynolds to give a bit of insight into what the training at Derby QUAD involved and what impact New Music Plus…UK is having on their professional and creative lives.

Here’s what Mark had to say about our training…

Jenny Harris led Day 1 of our training residential, which focused on Strategic Marketing Planning. As with much of the training, one of the strongest messages which came across is to have a mission and to plan, plan and plan.

Fellow NMP producer John Stevens gave us all tips on PR as part of this work involves running a PR firm. He has also been a journalist & an in-house pr person at a record label so his tips were valuable to everyone.

One of the guest speakers, Adam Buss (the Director of Audience Engagement at Derby QUAD) was very enthusiastic about Gamification – the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context in order to engage users and solve problems. It was cool to hear about this theory and something I’m going to look into.

Over the course of the two days we had excellent presentations from fellow New Music Producers: Danielle, Fielding, Kate & Jordan. We’re asked to do this in order to give everyone else an idea of what we do & what we plan to do. I have found them hugely interesting as it is fascinating to hear everyone’s different stories as to how we ended up in the same room doing this.

One of the most useful sections of the day for me was “No Time and No Money – Where to start first”. This is the situation I have usually find myself in so it was handy to get a few tips! I think the most important point is branding wise to keep a strong, consistent brand throughout everything you do.

We were all challenged to sum up our brands and brand values in a short concise sentence – a positioning statement. The blurb that comes out of this type of activity can be quite amusing with people using words like ‘nourishing’ whilst trying to avoid over used words such as ‘passionate’.

It’s also worth noting that Derby QUAD was a great place to visit and we were very well looked after. Thanks!

And here are Seb’s reflections…

As a self taught, freelance events producer who has never been on any formal training courses and hasn’t sat in a group to learn since school it’s taken a bit of acclimatizing on my part. But, I never thought I’d hear myself say this, I have actually enjoyed almost all of the training sessions that we’ve had from the team at the Hub, and Derby Quad was no exception. Day 1 was a fascinating insight into various worlds of marketing, including the corporate world, which was hitherto a mystery to me.

Day 2, led by Adam Jeanes, a day on finance, was illuminating, insightful and pragmatically useful. The day as a whole made me realize that, in some ways, a decade of practical experience had given me a very good basic understanding of certain aspects of finance management, particularly budgeting to minimize the financial risk involved in an event.

I also found the training useful as it really made me consider how I need to improve my cashflow monitoring and general awareness of what money is coming in and out and how useful having much better organized accounts will help me make the most of my business, and help me to make it grow.

Fellow NMP producers Danielle Rose and Jordan Bell gave engaging, humorous descriptions of their backgrounds in live music events, including some very amusing anecdotes from Jordan about his experiences growing a music scene in his home area of rural North Yorkshire, quite an achievement! Danielle has contributed a serious amount of effort to developing the music scene in the south west of England.

I left the day feeling inspired, inspired to organise my finances better for my PinDrop PR and events company, and to get cracking with my co-production with my host organisation The Junction in Cambridge. A healthy bi-product of spending a couple of days with such an inspirational, amusing bunch of people!

Thanks to Mark and Seb for their blogs. Our next training two dayer happens at Plymouth Museum and Gallery, where we’ll be looking at working internationally and all things legal.