By: Heather Holm
I often forget that my job is pretty unique. It’s just what I do, just like everyone else sometimes it is hard to get up and go to work. I find it especially hard right now in the dead of winter and in my quiet season. But then every once in a while I am reminded my job is pretty awesome.
I have had a variety of jobs from working fast food, to selling home décor, to filing paperwork that had piled up for five years, but nothing is as dynamic and different as production, and that is why I thrive here. Every day is different; each event is unique and challenging, and that is why I love it so much.
For instance, how can one ever plan for small electrical fires in the building, an artist three hours late for sound check, and a show with initially low ticket sales, suddenly selling out, with 100 people trying to get in. There are so many things we encounter that make our jobs challenging, but also very rewarding. There is nothing like the feeling of a pulling off a successful show.
When someone approaches me and is utterly amazed at what I do, I am reminded how different my job is. They ask so many questions about the shows I’ve worked on; such as the various roles I handle and the experiences I have had. I find it rewarding when they are inspired by what I do. The number one thing they ask is
What is your favorite event?
I can never answer this, because each event is so different, for the things that go well, the challenges that were overcome, to who was performing. Each event is different. I find the most rewards in trying different things during events, working out the details, making the ticketing process smoother, making the light show more dynamic, getting that awful cable run just perfect for an easier strike, or finding a better sounding mic. I find working with the touring crew to help them have the best show in our venue and teaching the students how to use technology, manage a crowd, and produce a show free of issues, extremely rewarding.
It is easy to get trapped in negativity, always assuming that everything will go wrong, or the gear will not work. Sometimes this is true, other times not. There will always be issues; it is inevitable that something will go wrong, it just happens. So instead of looking for what is wrong, find the rewards in the job, be prepared to handle, in a professional manner, whatever is going to go wrong. Being able to solve problems builds your confidence and is rewarding.
As the touring season is about to begin, what do you find rewarding in the work you do? Do you have a favorite part of a show? Do you thrive on the energy of the audience? Do you enjoy firing up the PA for the first time? Is it the strike? Is it mentoring a young person? Where do you find the rewards in your work?
Heather has been working for the University of Wisconsin La Crosse for five years as the Event Support Coordinator. Her job requires her to be a jack-of-all-trades (Audio technician, venue manager, teacher, safety manager, supervisor, lighting designer and so much more). She loves live sound the most – and says “there is nothing like firing up the PA for the first time”.
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