Ten years ago, in about 2004, I got a call from a prospective client, a newly hired director of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences museum project, asking if I would be interested in conducting some market research for a new attraction/museum themed on the Academy Awards.
Would I Ever!!!
I had been the one lucky enough to do the work for the Dolby Theater at Hollywood & Highland where the ceremony takes place, so it seemed a good fit and logical that I continue on to do the museum feasibility. But my joy, my heart, for Hollywood, no one knew that!
No One Had Ever Known That:
- My family had always been in the entertainment business, with my father involved on the business side, having been a pioneer in the cable television industry.
- My aunt always working for this or that movie star as an executive assistant.
- I was lucky enough to visit the back-lot of 20th Century Fox before it was Century City!
- I spent countless hours watching movies being filmed, then sitting in theaters watching them roll by me on the big screen.
Would I be interested? Heck, yea!!
Since that time, I have been the consultant called upon to do the background market research, analysis and financial projections for the site selection, sizing and operation of museum.
I learned a thing or two during those years like:
- I gained a deep knowledge of large museums and what keeps them thriving.
- How an endowment can shrink during a deflation.
- Money earmarked to never-be-touched has a way of disappearing in hard times.
- I learned about the conundrum of keeping things fresh so that resident visitors will keep returning, time and again.
I am thankful that my job always changes and that I always learn, no matter the engagement.
Over the years, we have wrestled with all the issues associated with new development including disagreements about what it should look like, what its mission should be, where it should be sited, who is its targeted audience (please, don’t say everyone!), and what’s the best way to keep the project on-time and on-budget. To be clear, these issues are complex and are made more difficult when there are many masters to serve. Still, when the project is to reflect the points of view, hopes, dreams, and legacies of America’s most important cultural export, (which I believe is cinema) there must be the most careful consideration to each one.
This was my best job ever. Write and tell me about yours in the comments below.