Running from 9 to 13 November this year, TPi’s annual event goes online – offering of free web-based learning, resources, and engagement with the global live events industry.

Taking place from 11am to 6pm, Production Futures Online hit the Swapcard app and website platform this week, presenting students, freelancers, and young people across the world (most in lockdown) access to training sessions, workshops, webinars, product demonstrations, panel discussions and interviews with live event experts and TPi Award winners.

Going global, TPMEA Editor Peter Iantorno spoke to key figures in the Middle East market  – Ethan Curry and Samantha Stacey – about how a career in live events can open doors to travel to new places and explore new realms of creativity.

Not short of creativity, the responsibility of an audio designer is to ensure that each person at a live show receives the best possible sonic experience – from those on the barrier all the way to the ‘nosebleed’ seats at the back of the venue. Multi-award winning Sound Designer/Engineer and industry veteran of live touring and theatre, Colin Pink overviewed the changing world of audio system design and the technical innovations taking place in the field.

At 12pm (GMT), TPi Awards Lighting Operator of the Year, James Scott (Suluko) who has recently collaborated with a number of arena acts, including Stormzy, AJ Tracey and Rita Ora joined us at Production Futures Online to impart pearls of wisdom about the role of a Lighting Operator on tour and share his advice for those looking to break into the sector during this difficult time.

Back by popular demand, Interfacio founder Richard Wear addressed the key question – “How do I secure my dream job and what happens after that?” Wear offered advice on building your experience as you prepare for full-time work, as well as a guide on what you must include to make your CV stand out and make an impression.

The session covered techniques for applying for jobs, with some surprisingly simply pointers on how to get noticed and get the interview you really want and then what to do, and what not to do, once you are in the room speaking with your prospective employer.

Finally, there was discussion around building and developing your professional toolkit, and continuing to make smart career decisions as you progress through your professional journey. Speaking of professional progress, nominations are now open for this year’s TPi Breakthrough Talent Awards. Applications can be found here.

TPi Editor, Stew Hume embarked on a live chat with a number of representatives from DiGiCo and Adlib to explore the various professions available in the world of pro audio. From those who mix live shows to the talented technicians that build the sound desks, the panel of experts described where you might find your place in the supply chain. The panel welcomed Audiotonix CEO, James Gordon; General Manager of DiGiCo, Austin Freshwater; DiGiCo Sales Engineer and Trainer, Tom Williams; DiGiCo Technical Sales Specialist, Mollie Autherson along with Adlib’s Andy Dockerty and Ian Nelson.

BPM SFX Technical Director, Liam Hasell offered careers advice and walked attendees through the various pyrotechnic and special effects developments in the live events industry during his time in the sector – from the dark days before laser and pyro jets to the spectacles we see nowadays. He also shared ‘the one thing’ you should know before pursuing a career in this field.

Since March, technical production specialists have taken the opportunity to develop new virtual production and animation projects in lockdown, harnessing the creative capabilities of real-time graphics tool, Notch. At Production Futures Online, Notch’s Head of Training, Arminas Kazlauskas guided attendees on a journey into motion graphics to discover how technology is driving the new tools for the future of visual arts.

Following a brief intermission, Co-founder and Director of TPi Awards Favourite Lighting Rental Company, Mike Oates took the hot seat. Lights Control Rigging has provided lighting equipment for some of the biggest names including Ed Sheeran, Pendulum, and Rod Stewart to name a few. In a chat on Production Futures Online, Oates revealed how the company is adapting amid the global pandemic and shared words of wisdom for those hoping to break into the sector during these trying times.

As festival-goers’ expectations increase year on year, Managing Director of TPi Awards Favourite Power Supply Company, Shaun Pearce of Pearce Hire talked about what it takes to provide power to large scale outdoor events to ensure that the show goes on.

As well as playing host full programme of talks and panels, Production Futures Online is home to various technical production training sessions. Lighting Designer, Anthony Hazelden explained how to program your busking show on a ChamSys Magic Q lighting console. There is an additional ChamSys training session on Friday at 4pm (GMT) for those hoping to discover how MagicQ controls, integrates and networks with both lighting and media systems.

At 2pm, Vectorworks will host a training session about how to insert speaker objects in Vectorworks and discover how to set up front fills, delays and flown speaker arrays. Vectorworks specialist, Tom White will then demonstrate how to attach the flown speaker arrays to hoists and view basic dispersion graphics. All of the sessions have limited places so sign up for your ticket to Production Futures here and click attending on Swapcard.

Let’s be frank: it’s an unusual time to be entering the live events industry. In a virtual Q&A with TPi Editor, Stew Hume and a panel of guests – Rachel Nicholson (Backstage Academy), Paul Jones (UK live event freelancers forum) and Harrison Page (FIX8Group) – looked at building for the future, how young people, freelancers and industry newcomers insiders can prepare for a future career in the next few months; taking note of the trends emerging in the events market.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for your free ticket to view all this week’s talks here. Once you’ve received an email confirmation from Eventbrite and accessed the Swapcard app/website, you’re set. Don’t forget to visit the virtual booths at Production Futures Online to hear from a range of leading brands and industry experts. If you missed any of the panels, talks, and sessions thus far, they, along with the rest of the week’s content will be available to view after broadcast on Swapcard.