Outside the Box: Unconventional Careers in Live Production
Published on Jun 6, 2013 by James Gregory
The live production industry is a much broader outlet for career opportunities than many people often realize. It’s easy to lock into the idea of a road crew setting up and breaking down concert stages – and that’s a vital segment of the business – but what about the dozens of other areas where audio engineers and lighting designers have found success?
We’ve rounded up a few examples of the different creative outlets that graduates our Show Production alumni have pursued outside of concert touring.
- Illusionist David Copperfield continues to be a major live draw with his Las Vegas residency and regular world tours. His shows rely on a series of carefully choreographed elements, and we’ve seen a number of Show Production alumni join his stage crew over the years, including Paul Tobey and Benjamin Butner
- Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group are also among the most unique audio/visual experiences in the performing arts, thanks to the high level of artistry employed across their different shows. We learned more about what goes into creating these live spectacles when we caught up with grads Amanda Blumling and Jeronimo Carbi at two separate Cirque productions, as well as Mike Stokely – automation tech with Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando.
- The arts have opened up other unique opportunities for grads like Alfie Fought, Matt Swift, and Nick Snyder, who worked together on the touring version of Walking with the Dinosaurs – an elaborate stage adaptation of the BBC documentary series. Grad Gabriel Bolston has also served over five years touring with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, while on the other side of the world, Justin Hinerman worked as assistant sound technician on an Asian tour of Disney Live “Mickey's Magic”.
- Some grads prefer to remain stationary, and have chosen to seek out permanent roles at popular live venues across the U.S. Matt Kincer, for example, served as IT and A/V manager for the Hard Rock Cafe Vegas. Others have used their training to handle similar work for venues of a different kind, like Andrew Johnson, who has specialized in A/V system installations for museums, theme parks, and more as a design associate at Electronsonic Inc.
- Finally, the world of televised sports offers up a diverse range of work for live techs. Jason Story has applied his skills at Fox Sports South as the network’s technical director, while Andrew Molina and Billy Revert contributed to the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. The industry has even honored alumni Tim Bischof and Mike Pope with Emmy statues for their broadcasting work on ESPN’s Winter X Games.
These represent only a few of the stories we’ve heard from Show Production alumni working outside of the more traditional touring avenues, and they're a great reminder of the scope of opportunities available out there for those with a passion for live audio, lighting, and show design.