Nearly everyone I know in special event production has come out of the theater. Technicians such as lighting designers, sound engineers and set designers often find their way into special events as a way to monetize their skills. Some will rise to the level of technical director, as they gain more fluency in a variety of areas. Experienced directors, writers and producers can also find a home in special events, as their creative abilities and track record of working with talent and collaborating with designers make them extremely suited to realizing the vision of their clients.
When you think about it, the parallels are striking. The general concept in both arenas is the same – your mission is to produce a show! You have a vision, a creative team and various technical elements, and you have to bring them together on budget to open on time and make sure your audience (or your client) is happy. The bigger the budget, the more elaborate the show. However, with a little bit of ingenuity, working on a shoestring can also bring incredibly creative results, to the delight of all involved.
The bottom line is, production is production. There are a lot of moving parts that must be synchronized and directed to result in a successful outcome. Work days can be long, and the process may often seem to the uneducated eye to be chaotic or haphazard. Anything involving construction or electrical installation requires teams of workers, and the people involved often come from many different backgrounds. Personalities abound. Unexpected problems arise. Troubleshooting is ongoing. Patience and persistence are a must.
Sometimes the frustrations that arise are enough to make you want to pull your hair out. Make no mistake about it. Production can be one of the more stressful undertakings (can anyone say cast party??). But for those who enjoy the challenge of working with creative and demanding people to pull off a real-time event with many moving parts, this is the world for you. Production may be many things, but it is rarely boring.
So whether you are helping to produce a play, a film, a fashion show, a trade show, a gala fundraiser, product launch or other type of corporate event, you are part of a creative endeavor that is sure to challenge you in ways that might surprise you. And make no mistake about it, you are in show business…