Friday, July 15, 2011

Big City Plans, Small Town Results.

So Bend Film, according to a story in The Source, seems to be having trouble.

There seems to be a bit of pattern here.

First of all, any art festival in Bend is going to have trouble reaching critical mass. Cascade music is gone; Bend Film is struggling -- even some sports events have trouble, for instance the big golf tournament (The Tradition? Oxymoron, eh?)

Cause we in Bend seem to forget we are a small town in the middle of nowhere.

The thing to do in Bend is to go ahead and try to present yourself as a big city kind of deal -- but never lose sight of the fact that you aren't.

Don't just ask yourself what will happen if everything goes right, also ask yourself what will happen if everything goes wrong.

You ask yourself if the event can survive the "founder" moving on. Or whoever is the motivating force.

Try to take into account the normal up and down cycles. For a small group, for instance, a good rule of thumb I once read is to have 3 times more regular members than the number you need for a meeting. So if you need 8 people for a meeting, having 24 members is safe. So there will be times you'll get 15, and times you'll get 5, but you average out. I'm sure bigger events have similar rules of thumb.

You have to remember that the newness wears off -- the excitement of the new.

By the way, all this applies for small businesses, too --- maybe more so.

The interesting thing about the article about Bend Film is that most of the boosters seem to feel that the organization isn't thinking "big" enough. While it struggles for cash in the real world.

My sister, Betsy, who runs a longtime non-profit choir in Seattle, says that lots of arts organizations are having trouble raising money these days, which stands to reason.

But unless one of these big thinker boosters is willing to step forward with a cash infusion, I think Bend Film is probably settling into more realistic aspirations.


H. Bruce Miller said...

Bend is, indeed, a small town in the middle of nowhere, and contrary to the propaganda it is not a rich town. The grandees living up at the top of Awbrey Butte and behind the gates of Broken Top get all the attention, but the ordinary working stiffs on the Eastside are far more representative of "the real Bend," both economically and culturally. Planners of these events tend to ignore the real nature of the market, I think, and go off in pursuit of a small (and diminishing) cadre of "upscale" potential contributors and attendees. And of course the more such events there are, the greater the competition each of them faces. But that never seems to deter anybody from trying to launch yet another one.

Duncan McGeary said...

I just think people get fooled. They come to Bend and say, "Hey, the town I come from isn't any bigger and we have THIS!"

But the "small" town they are talking about is usually a suburb; which is a different animal.

Changes are the population around that "small" town is much larger than ours. (Got 100 miles in any direction from Bend and you hit sagebrush or pine.)

Changes are they have a four year college nearby, and an interstate and so on.

But Bend seems to look bigger than it is.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"Go 100 miles in any direction from Bend and you hit sagebrush or pine."

Hell, you don't even have to go that far. But if you want to get to another city of any size you've got to drive at least three hours.

Another point: Many of the affluent people who "live" in Bend only reside here part-time. They have a second (third? fourth?) home here and use it for only a few months. They don't have the same attachment to the place or sense of community spirit as year-round residents.

Anonymous said...

"In this period of competing debt crises, America and Europe are looking at each other in amazement, with each side understanding less and less about what is happening on the other side of the Atlantic. While Europe's chaos is obvious to the Europeans and the rest of the world, there are few signs of self-doubt or self-awareness in the US. In the middle of the poker game between the two political parties to prevent a national default on Aug. 2, polls show that 77 percent of Americans believe that they live in the world's greatest system of government. Just as many are convinced that life is only worth living as an American."


Fascinating that the majority of Europeans know what is going on, but 77% of USA public still think US is a great nation. Fascinating. It's going down and hard folks.

Anonymous said...

It's all about enforced DUI laws.

The kids live in Redmond because they can afford, but they work bars in Bend, there is no public transportation for such workers.

Forever kids worked in Bend, and lived in LA-PINES & REDMOND. But back in the day driving home at 4am drunk was nada a problem. Today with Bend Fasicism FULL-ON people just go home after the shift. This is why NOW redmond is the place to be at night, and BEND is Bend dead.

Anonymous said...

Bicycling events are thriving in Bend. Lower overhead?

Anonymous said...

Sorry dunc but you are one of the 77%. Just maybe you can rise up to the occasion.

Like our great-debate a few years ago pre-OREO, most of us warned you that OREO is-was BUSH-1-2..3 this was a fact.

The OREO is MORE SHRUB than BUSH 1or2. He's already put Social-Security on the table, at stake is the tea-party people aka Ron-Paul want to shutdown government end the wars and TSA. Thus the call to shut-down payment to federal employees. Pol's like OREO are scarred as hell that if secret-service don't get a check where will the Pol's hide? Thus the fascist police state lives on, but please understand that beyond ALL the 'tea-party' rhetoric at stake here is putting the stake in the heart of the USA Fascist Police State.

The Supreme Court long ago in the 1950's ruled that the only purpose of the USA police system was to protect the Pol's. Contrary to popular myth, they're not 'here to serve you'.

Anonymous said...

'bicycle events' are cheap, but lets be honest here, its all about marketing and bring fresh young fish to town,... how in the hell do you market a bicycle in event in Burns or Prineville or Redmond? You can't, but everybody has heard of Bend, ... but at night they'll all go party in Redmond, cuz that is where the best cheap eats and booze are late at night, ... and thus 'tomorrow' when REDMOND is INFAMOUS for the YOUNG, ... then you'll see bike events there, ... that said as a bike rider we do lots of riding up on METH-HILL SW of Redmond, some of the best steep riding is up there.

Anonymous said...

Dunc, I don't know why you continue to let that idiot comment. But anyway...

I agree with some of your posts and disagree with some, and some I just roll my eyes. But this one is as on the money as any you've ever published. Every word is spot on.

Frankly, I'm surprised Bend Film has made it this long without showing significant cracks. Once Merritt (the founder/driving force) left town, I knew it was just a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe most of the the biking event participants and fans head 20 miles up the road to podunk Redmond. For the most part Redmond is where one lives if they can't afford Bend.