Taking place this year from 9 to 13 November, TPi’s Production Futures goes online, offering a week of free web-based learning, resources and engagement with the global live events industry. The event also marks the return of the TPi Breakthrough Talent Awards, where students, freelancers and young people can be in with a chance of winning a seat at the TPi Awards 2021. TPi’s Jacob Waite catches up with last year’s Production Rookie, Harry Boyde to discover how he is keeping occupied in lockdown…
Where when the lockdown came into force? What project(s) were you working on?
“I was in Melbourne, Australia, for a Robbie Williams concert at the F1. We were on-site getting ready to load in when the news came through that the F1, as well as the concert, were canceled. It was a long way to go for a show that didn’t happen. I was also reprogramming Groove Armada’s show for the Teenage Cancer Trust at The Royal Albert Hall. As well as working with Fatboy Slim’s crew getting a special show together for his headline Glastonbury show.”
Have you managed to find any industry-related work during the past six months?
“ER have been lucky enough to get to work on a couple of projects over the last 6 months, including a socially distanced festival called Revival Festival, where we provided an arsenal of lasers and special effects. Fortunately, some TV work has started to pick up for us which has included working with Blackskull Creative on an interesting project for Sigala & James Arthur’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent. We used a programming technique where we used rolling shutter cameras to create an effect with the lasers that look completely different to how the eyes see it.”
Have you developed or enhanced any industry-related skills in lockdown?
“The ER Productions team have used the down-time productively to enhance our skills; this includes weekly programming and design tasks and video meetings for training. It has been great to hone in on some skills that normally we wouldn’t have time to improve on. Since restrictions have eased we have also had more hands-on training in the warehouse on our own in-house products, online training from outside manufacturers and laser safety courses for America.”
How has this sudden change in work life balance and the luxury of time affected you?
“Being a touring technician, it is normal for me to be flying around or sleeping on a tour bus, sometimes being away from home for months at a time. It has been great to reconnect with all of my old friends and family. Having this time to take a step back and reflect on where I am, has only given me the reassurance that I am doing what I love and that I am fortunate to have a career that I enjoy so much.”
How do you see the next few months panning out for you?
“Of course, at the moment it is extremely difficult to predict the future and when live events will come back to how they were. I am taking things as they come and am keen to keep improving on my skills, ER Productions have a fantastic studio space which is full of lasers for us technicians to play with, as well as having some brilliant, experienced technicians, who are always more than happy to offer training and advice. We do have some projects in the books, so fingers crossed these will actually happen.”
What advice would you offer to young people looking to break into the industry at this strange time?
“Now is a great time to hone in on skills and to get further training. ER Productions studio is a great resource to learn and fine tune your programming skills. ER Productions have full BEYOND capabilities plus various lighting desks including the new MA3. Don’t give up on your ambitions; the industry will come back and when it does return it will be bigger and better than ever.”
This article originally appeared in issue #254 of TPi, which you can read here.