The 4Wall Blog

4Wall Q&A - Looking Forward with FINN

By Drew Quinones on Mar 30, 2020
Posted in General

Mike "FINN" Finocchiaro, the owner and founder of Big Fin Productions, is a twenty-five year veteran of the live entertainment industry. With roots as a touring lighting technician and a successful career in event production, Mike has grown to be one of the most well-respected production managers working today. Several weeks ago, when our industry came to a complete halt, Mike posted the below message on Facebook that went viral within our industry (click the photo to enlarge):

His positive message is exactly what many needed in such a negative time. So I called up Mike and asked him for his perspective and outlook on the future of our industry.


Drew Quinones (4Wall): Your Facebook post I mentioned really resonated with the people in the industry in a very positive way. What are some other positive acts you've seen these last couple of weeks? 

FINN: Seeing the production community come together during this time has been truly inspirational. I've seen countless social media groups offering up to date information on how to financially navigate the government process for gig relief, and even more integral to helping to get ahead of this thing I've seen many production vendors shift gears to start producing masks, face shields, and temporary shelters to help protect the brave people that are fighting this from the front line. It is truly heartwarming to see the output of our industry joining together in this fight to win our freedom of life back.

 

DQ: What's some advice you would give your younger self if this crisis happened when you were just getting started in the industry?  

FINN: If this happened when I was just getting started and I could offer advice, I would tell myself to hang in there. It's how you make it through the hard times that give you the character and the drive to succeed and keep climbing to the next level. I would also highlight to myself to always be grateful for what I have been given and to always appreciate everything that life has to offer. Things can change at any time. Appreciate what you have, help wherever you can, and always be there for someone when they need you. Life is unpredictable and you never know when things may turn around on you to see what you are made of.  It's during those times that you prove to yourself that you can make it through anything. It brings one of my favorite quotes to mind from the Rocky movies. "It's not about how hard that you can hit, it's about how hard that you can get hit and KEEP MOVING FORWARD. That's how winning is done." I'd definitely remind myself of that. And to stock up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer to share with my friends and family.  Oh Yeah, and to learn to REALLY wash your hands! Hahaha. Seriously though, perseverance, appreciation, and adaptability will always get you through. HANG IN THERE. THIS WILL GET BETTER!

 

DQ: What have you been doing during this down-time to keep your mind sharp? 

FINN: I have been spending my time rethinking our approach to our industry and pinpointing ways to make our return as strong and efficient as we can possibly be. I think that a lot of us have been running hard and shooting from the hip in all of the day to day craziness that our industry can become. This is giving us ALL a chance to slow down. To Think. To Plan. To Maximize our efforts. The projects WILL start flowing in at some point and when they do they will be coming in quicker than ever. WE need to take this time to reset, rest, plan, and be ready to face the welcomed tidal wave of work head-on!

 

DQHow are you preparing for the amount of work that will be available when things start rolling again? 

FINN: Our office has been using this time to retool all of the systems that needed adjustment during the busy time that we truly never had the time to do. When you are pumping out a product 24/7, whether it be gear or labor, it is a tough choice to shut things down and take the time to adjust where needed. You find yourself saying that we will adjust that during the next slow period, which sometimes never comes. This has all really opened our eyes to the importance of taking that time, even when things are very busy, to make time for the adjustments necessary to maximize growth and keep the machine running as smoothly as possible. Taking the time to streamline your production will ALWAYS pay off in the long run. And this unexpected opportunity has given us all a chance to reset and make things the way we always knew they should be.

 

DQ: What lessons have you learned during this complete shutdown, in regards to your business? 

FINN: We've learned that some of our systems for day to day operations needed a strong look at how we were running them for max efficiency. A lot of the "we have always done it this way" from past office policies had been hanging around and were not serving us in our new status as the player that we have become in the production support labor market. We have put some new policies and systems in place that may have not shown themselves as necessary prior to all of this craziness happening. These new policies will certainly keep both our clients and our office moving stronger in the same direction as all of this passes and we get back to the business of doing shows.

 

DQ: Have you found any resources being offered that have particularly been helpful to your situation?  

FINN: For me personally, no hahaha. That said, I have seen many resources out there to help the rank and file crew with their benefits and relief funds and that is very nice to see. Some of the people that I know (and respect) can build a 60 truck show in no time at all but still struggle with all of the forms and processes that are necessary to seek relief in a time like this. Seeing everyone come together to help each other is what our industry (or better termed, FAMILY) is all about.


To learn more about FINN's labor company visit his website here.

If you would like to contact FINN directly, feel free to send him an email.

 

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