The last years I often got to work with Anne-Marijn Burgers, one of the most versatile event producers and project managers in the Dutch industry. Anne-Marijn (aka AMB Producties) works mostly behind the screens, from where she conducts her very diverse projects with her organization skills. You may not have heard from her before and she claims staying out of sight is actually a good thing. Not seeing her around, or not noticing a flaw in her event, means that she as producer did a good job.
I have huge respect for Anne-Marijn and am excited to welcome her amongst the People of the Night.
Name: Anne-Marijn Burgers
Country: The Netherlands
Organization: AMB Producties
Role: Producer / Production Manager / Project Manager
Years active in music/events: 10 Years
How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I began volunteering during college as a production assistant on small movies and festivals, to gain more experience in organising. I liked it so much that after getting my Masters degree in Film and Television Studies I decided to make it my day job.
Why is your work instrumental for the music/event ecosystem? How does your work impact the performance of others?
My work as a production manager is vital for creative people. They have the ideas, the inspiration, “the gold” and as soon as an idea seems to be possible, they hand it over to me and I make it a reality. If you take your work as creative person serious, you’ll want to reach people with your ideas and influence. I see myself as a sort of gateway between the creative person and the audience. My love for Excel spreadsheets and structuring big heaps of information clarifies any project, whether it’s a festival, a theater production or an exhibition. The structure I create translates the information into something the audience can experience.
What do you do different from other individuals and/or organizations in your field of expertise?
I’m a producer of Culture. I decided long ago that there is no need to specialize in just theater or music. Producing is organizing and anything can be organised, you just need to learn new words that apply to the area you’re working in. I’m probably one of the few producers that has a resume with such broad experience, from working for television for 4 years to the projects I’m currently doing. Right now I’m working on the Eindhoven Maker Faire, EMOVES Urban Culture Festival, a Christmas Circus theater show and an exhibition.
What is the craziest situation you ended up in while at work?
As a producer you always have to fix the weirdest things at the very last minute. This especially happened when I worked for “Man Bijt Hond” (Man Bites Dog), a popular Dutch television program that revolved around making small news big and putting the ‘regular’ Dutch person in the spotlight.
I’m responsible for the opening scene of the 2013 Christmas Special which we recorded at Muiderslot, a famous medieval castle. This sequence contains a knight in armor on a horse, around 20 villagers, a choir, a horse drawn cart with our guests of honor on it and about 12 camera/sound people. I spent 8 weeks preparing for this scene. On the day of recording it was literally freezing. We began at 8am in the morning, and if everybody did exactly as I instructed, we would finish the recordings within 2 hours.
I’m known for keeping a good vibe amongst large groups as I make sure they’re entertained while at work. In between takes, I shouted to the people to do little dances to keep themselves warm and to stay alert, so we would be able to move on quickly. The view of all these medieval people dancing on a small hill with a knight in full armor on a white horse, that was hilarious! We actually finished this shoot much earlier than expected. It resulted in the most beautiful 30 seconds of television I’ve ever made. You can watch a short version here.
What do you think is lacking in the current event/music ecosystem? Are you doing something to improve that?
As a producer I’m often called in late in the game. Organizers often think it’s something they can do themselves until they find out you need a dedicated person to guide this. You gain so much more by hiring a professional to do the organizing for you. The times that people hired me as a last resort, only to hug me afterwards swearing they will never ever work without a producer again, are countless.
I think in the industry, the role of producer is underestimated. Production is not some after thought, it’s the skeleton that literally shapes your event. What I want to say is: please respect your producer, pay them enough for the job as they will take away a lot of stress for you. Producers are reliable people. Don’t blame them for things out of their control such as the weather or the grass not growing fast enough. We are just people who love to bring structure, without which your project would most likely fail.
To which project in 2018 are you looking forward to work on?
I just got hired to produce EMOVES, an Urban Culture Festival in Eindhoven (The Netherlands). I’m excited to build a festival which contains all the subgenres in urban sports, and transform it into one big urban manifestation. It’s going to be a challenge as there are so many different groups involved. I look forward to the high energy battles and a total different form of creativity to inspire me.
Final question: who inspires you to keep improving and why?
It’s not a who, but more a what. The joy of the audience, the intense focus of actors, dancers or other performers; the energy created by all the people working together to make one great performance. That fills me with love for my job; I realize that culture plays an important role in so many lives.
Anne-Marijn cares about people and sharing positivity, and that is reflected throughout the diversity of her work. Her infectious enthusiasm and the ability to always remain in control make her one of the if not most powerful freelance event/project managers you can work with. For more information, check out www.ambproducties.com and follow the behind-the-screens stories on her Instagram. While you’re at it, a thumbs up on her Facebook Page won’t hurt either.