Development your dream horse farm from scratch is a creative endeavor and requires many skills and talents of the person in charge of the enterprise.
Every creative project needs a showrunner. Even in the ultimate arena of creativity, the media world, the familiar decision-making positions in the TV and film industry such as Directors and Producers are actually below the Showrunner in the pecking order.
The showrunner has ultimate creative authority and management over a program. In the case of developing a new horse farm from blank landscape to finished facility, this person could be you.
The cast of characters that need to be assembled to complete the creative concept in the case of the farm project will not be writers, actors, directors, craft services or trailer and transport companies, set designers, soundstage managers, or hair and make-up specialists.
The cast ensemble will likely be bankers, insurance companies, architects, engineers, personnel at various roles in the town building department, excavation and site specialists, carpenters, material manufacturers and retailers of building supplies, delivery drivers, service providers such as local power and water companies, and all manner of folks in ancillary roles from portable potty providers to fencing companies and everything in-between.
A great deal of collaboration is needed to successfully complete the building of a horse farm. Cooperation from all participating parties on both their quality and accuracy of craftsmanship as well as on the executed timeline is essential or the production will not be completed on schedule. As the showrunner, changes issued to the script once the ‘readings’ have started will cost time and money. Keeping the whole project on budget is also the role of the showrunner.
Sounds intimidating right? It certainly can be. It helps if everyone involved knows their job and if they have worked happily together before but that is often not possible.
Horse owners are generally considered a ‘picky lot’ by everyone from hay farmers to veterinarians to tack and equipment manufacturers. We want everything our way and generally communicate our needs in a direct manner and are very specific in our demands. Let’s just admit it. We are not shy to speak up.
This can translate well to the task of being the showrunner. Horse owners are often used to supervising others whether they be two or four legged, are often very visually oriented and know how they want things to look, and commonly are up for more education and learning opportunities and have good communication skills.
If you have the time and energy to put into running the entire new horse farm building project from start to finish it can be an enjoyable experience but do expect to deal with bumps along the trail in the process. One key to success is keeping everyone and everything well-organized.
A timeline of events should be clear cut but there will be a need for some flexibility in the timeline due to delays caused by poor weather, supply of materials and delivery times and of course the human element in the equation.
For example, if wet weather delays the pouring of concrete components despite the site being ready, the construction crew may suspend your slot for being on site and you may have to wait while they head elsewhere to start and finish another project before they arrive. This knock-on effect on the delays caused to painters, roofers, and others including the site excavation team needed to return to backfill the barn aprons/finish parking areas and driveways etc., can be frustrating.
Obviously the earlier in the project you hit a speedbump, the more folks down the line will be impacted. However earnest and organized you are as showrunner, back up plans are not easy to formulate for every contingency and there may be times when work is sloppy, or plans are not followed.
Once you have orchestrated the ‘order of go’ and assembled the team that will encompass all the players on the field that will execute the project, the timeline will be sincerely affected by planning permission and permit issuance. Remember that these permissions may not just relate to the structures to be built on site, they may also apply to septic system designs, driveways, service access for utility companies etc.
The Planning Board is called ‘planning’ for a reason. It may be an oxymoron to suggest you ‘plan ahead’, because all plans are obviously made ahead of time hence the use of the word but do utilize as much advance notice as possible to all parties involved in the dream horse farm project. This will help minimize disappointments down the road and mitigate the change of snafus disrupting the project’s progress.
As you complete your project plans and timeline look for smart ways to manage the risks along the way. Risk assessment is an invaluable tool in any project management. Some examples: large deliveries can be complex in their content and thus monitoring their accuracy against the order placed can take time and be subject to errors; inadvertent property damage may occur with repeated use of driveways/access points that may incur additional expenses to rectify.
Solving such issues can be simpler than you might at first suppose. Choosing a modular horse barn option does make life easier than a site-built pole or stick built structure. You will enjoy the advantage of a ‘to the penny’ quote so cost overruns won’t be a factor and the plans needed for permits can be readily provided (and amended if necessary), at a relatively low cost versus hiring architects and engineers directly as the show runner. Daily liaison required for the structural build is minimized as the modular construction company will take care of all those details with their dedicated team and there will be no delays in production of the barn caused by poor weather.
As a showrunner for a construction project, you may not have experience as a ‘GC’ or general contractor and know what players to call in on what schedule or have the resources to know who is a reputable painter, a good roofing company or even what products are best suited for purpose to use in the build.
When it comes to barn design features and styles, collaboration with other more experienced ‘writers’ in the horse farm arena can be helpful. You can always edit the ideas brought to the table.
The reason the title showrunner was coined in the first place was because there were so many people listed on shows and films as executive producers and producers/directors, it was hard to know who was in charge and who the studio executives should liaise with to call the shots.
As the obvious choice for ‘showrunner’ of your own horse property development project, you will ultimately be responsible to pay all the bills, answer to any shortcomings in the construction of the facility with authorities and live with any negative results of its design.
Collaboration in any creative endeavor is a key to success. Cutting down the huge variety of characters in the cast you must work with on a day-to-day basis and utilizing experienced help to garner best construction practices, materials and craftsmanship makes a lot of sense.
Enjoy being the showrunner on set, just be smart about who you choose to work with and how you plan to stay on budget, so stress is minimized, and the expensive capital purchase is a pleasurable experience.
How do you make a smart decision in any situation? The first task is to gather information. Research and due diligence will make all the difference in the decision-making process and will help you manage expectations in a realistic manner.
Being open-minded at the outset will keep more options available for you and thus bring more choices to the table. Consultation with experts in each particular field of construction can offer innovative solutions to potential problems. A thorough review of every company, product, and prospective party involved in the project will help you determine the best selection for your individual needs.
Even with word-of-mouth referrals there is always room for errors to occur. You will need to supervise the daily work and its progress, liaise with various parties involved and monitor the accuracy and quality of work completed at each stage of the construction.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and have any necessary changes made during the process before the next ‘layer’ or stage is added. It is very difficult and sometimes not possible to go back, and remedy mistakes made in early stages.
Expect your job as the ‘showrunner’ to be full of decision-making, diligence, and diplomacy. The task can be rewarding and the final result of a stunning horse farm you can enjoy for years to come that is executed to meet your original vision will give much enjoyment. But you’ll need to keep your head up and eye on the road ahead, hands on the reins and legs tapping lightly from the saddle to enjoy the ride.
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