5 Productivity Lessons Found in a Quick Change

5 Productivity Lessons Found In A Quick Change - Melinda Massie Blog

People often say they don't know how to fit marketing into their already packed schedule and ask how they can be more productive to have the time to execute their marketing plans.

Truth is, inspiration on how to do this is all around you, AND the best part is that the proof you can do it is found in things you're already familiar with.

The quick change.

For the uninitiated, it's better to see than say what a quick change is so here's a kick-ass example:

This Kelli O'Hara quick change during the King & I performance in the 2015 TONY Awards is the perfect example of organization and efficiency.

I love a good quick change and have had my fair share. My most recent was in Fort Worth Opera's Old Hollywood-based production of Don Pasquale at Bass Hall.

I had 11 minutes to this transition from black-and-white movie to full color:

In addition to my quick change, I also helped our star soprano with a quick change that took place onstage behind a screen.


Gotta admit, I was always a little sad to have to so quickly jump out of the black and white when it took over an hour to get into it...but that’s the ephemera of the stage.

Also, here's a gif of me getting into the black and white.

Becoming Black and White - Melinda Massie

I'm digressing...and reminiscing...


What can we learn from a theatrical quick change?

Lesson 1: Have a plan.

This is not the time to “wing it” if you want to succeed. In a quick change, this may look like layering pieces to save time or assigning certain duties to certain people.

In productivity so that you can execute your marketing plan, this is deciding what needs to happen and when. This is your to-do list.

Make a plan. Embrace the plan. When the plan goes awry, don't be afraid to tweak the plan and keep going. 


Pro tip: if you need a system to track and manage your to-do list, I am a huge fan of TickTick. Here’s my tutorial on how to get started with it.


Lesson 2: Get organized.

For things to flow, you need to set them up how you need them to best function.

As you'll notice in the above video, the second dress is set up in such a way that all Ms. O'Hara has to do is step in and pull up the skirt and hoop. Then she has a dresser with top on standby to slide on at just the right moment.

Does the place where you work allow you to work with ease? If not, create the space you need.


Pro tip: This doesn’t mean you have to do a full overhaul or make a big, expensive trip to the Container Store. Simply clear away the things you’re not using, and arrange everything you are using in a manner that is within reach and easy to use.

If it’s too much of a mess, take what you need to a coffee shop and “remote office” it while you get your tasks done.   


Lesson 3: Get the right tools for the job.

As you can see in the video, the dressers have lights in their mouths. I've worked with many dressers in a quick change who had lights on their foreheads. To do a full remove and replace of my stage makeup in Don Pasquale, we needed the right tools to remove all of the makeup as quickly and cleanly as possible.

(If you ever need it, a microfiber towel soaked in micellar water is like a Magic Eraser for the face. Thank you for thinking of this, Magical Makeup Mary!)

What tools will make your marketing easier and take some of the workload off of you?

As I mentioned earlier, I love TickTick for task management and have been using it for a few years now. (Considering how often I used to switch up how to manage my to-do list, this is high praise.)

I’m a HUGE fan of scheduling social media and Later makes an easy task of it. I especially love the preview feature for Instagram - so helpful if you’re building a cohesive aesthetic to your feed. They also have excellent advice on their blog.

Determine what you need, then find the tools that will help you create that.

Need additional ideas and tool recommendations? Sign up here to get the free marketing guide: Ten Tools to Make Your Marketing Life Easier.

Lesson 4: Get - and accept - help if you need it.

Many quick changes are ridiculously difficult to pull off by yourself. I've been in college and amateur productions where I've had to do big quick changes alone, and it SUCKS to not have the support you need!

In this video Ms. O'Hara has 4 dressers helping her. In Don Pasquale, I had 2 makeup artists and a dresser helping. We each have our role in the quick change choreography and it works because we all stick to our parts.

As the actor, we have to allow the help. When we fight the assistance, it doesn't work.

If you need marketing help, there are so many options available to you.

  • Hire help. Maybe you add a staff member for long-term support. Maybe you hire a coach (Hi! *waves hello*) for short-term help and to know you're headed in the right direction.

  • Recruit volunteers. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that your friends/fans/audience members want to help. Ask them and let them! (This is especially helpful for implementation after having worked with a marketing coach...develop and define, then you can better instruct the volunteers on what you need!)

  • Research online. The internet is a vast sea of oodles of free information. (Like on this blog!) Create a block of time that you want to work on a specific section of your marketing plan, call up Dr. Google, and get to studying! (If you have a specific question, you can always email heyred @ melindamassie (dot) com and I'll answer you on the blog.)

If you need help, you have options. All you have to do is ask!

Lesson 5: Stay calm and focused.

The comment I've read and heard most often about the video above is how utterly calm she and everyone else is. In a quick change you must be calm. As everyone who has done this knows, freaking out only makes it worse. (Even more so if the audience hears you freaking out.)

Talk about killing the magic.

Freaking out gets you NOWHERE. In a quick change, it's the difference between going out on stage fully costumed or in just your pantaloons, corset and hoop.

When dealing with your productivity and executing your marketing plan, freaking out only means wasted energy and getting nothing accomplished.

Instead, breathe and channel that energy into getting things done.

Easier said than done? I hear ya.

A task I used to give my organizing clients that successfully got them into a forward motion was this:

  • Make two brain dump lists: one containing everything you need to do and one that lists all of your feelings, fears, and reasons for the freak out.

  • Now take the feelings/fears/freakout list and set it on fire. Safely of course. If you can’t do it safely then rip it up into the teeniest of pieces and throw it away. Either way, release the fears and freak-outs with the destruction of the list.

  • With the remaining list, order it by priority. Then start doing highest priority things first.

  • Work through the list one at a time to get things done.

(Side note: the last two bullets in this exercise are also your plan in Lesson 1...hooray coming full circle!)

If you can successfully pull off a quick change, you can MORE THAN ABSOLUTELY create some space in your schedule to work on and execute your marketing.

Because really, if you can do a quick change...you can do anything!

Plus, you know that super-satisfied feeling when you pull off a seemingly impossible quick change? You can feel just as fabulous and accomplished when you’ve finished your marketing tasks too!

What’s been your tightest quick change? What do you find most challenging with your marketing? Share with us in the comments!

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