Attention to Detail

This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the dress rehearsal for Saturday Night Live. In its 40th season, SNL is an iconic brand, having provided a launching pad for some of the biggest careers in comedy including Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Jimmy Fallon, just to name a few.

I thought that the dress rehearsal was actually more interesting to attend than the live broadcast. Because they are working to perfect the skits up until the very last minute, the dress rehearsal is actually longer than the broadcast. They tried a few sketches that didn’t make the show, frankly, because they flopped during the dress rehearsal.

What really stood out for me during the experience was the cast and crew’s attention to detail.

The actors run back and forth from dressing rooms to change costumes, practically being dragged by production assistants. There’s a specific route.

Because the stage area isn’t that large, the crew needs to assemble and then disassemble each set quickly, making room for the next. Not to mention new sets are built each week based on the material.

The cue cards are meticulously hand written with each actor’s lines in different colors for each skit. Multiple sets of cards are used for each skit, one set next to each camera. Each person operates the cue cards in exactly the same fashion, handing the cards to a person behind them when the card is done.

It’s truly a fascinating production to watch from behind the scenes.

When I talk to junior brokers about “showing space” in the office buildings that we represent, I explain that it’s like being in a play. You need to know what route you want to take through the buildings and you need to know your lines.

However, like SNL, it’s the entire team that makes or breaks a showing. Did we turn the lights on in advance? Is the space clean? Are there damaged ceiling tiles? Damaged walls? Wires left from the last tenant? Is the bathroom clean? Is the landscaping fresh? What is the condition of the parking lot?

These things, and so many more, will leave an impression with prospective tenants as they walk a building.

About six years ago, I was on a space tour, representing a tenant for 50,000 sf. We walked through a gorgeous lobby into space that was in complete disarray. The ceiling grid was damaged and there were wires everywhere. My client asked the broker representing the landlord how long the space had been vacant. When he responded “two years”, my client eliminated the building from consideration. His reasoning was that he felt the landlord didn’t care about the building. If he did, in the two years that the space was vacant, he would have fixed the ceiling and made the space more presentable.

The audience watching at home doesn’t see the machine behind the camera making SNL run seamlessly. Tenants inspecting office space don’t have to see the machine either, but the attention to detail wins the day in both cases.