This July the SoundGirls Orlando Chapter, along with B4 Media Production and Mainline Marketing, hosted our second annual SG Expo at Full Sail University. The expo was intimate; we had panel discussions and presentations followed by everyone filling the lobby to network and explore the vendor tables. The people who showed up were eager and enthusiastic, some were thrilled to bits that this organization existed and we welcomed them right into our community. Beckie Campbell, the Orlando Chapter Head, and owner of B4 Media Productions got the band back together with Willa Snow – the Austin SG Chapter Head and Laura Davidson with Shure.
Beckie Campbell has been on tour this summer as a FOH Engineer for the Indigo Girls. She found her way back to Orlando to host the expo. Beckie gave expert advice on live sound, production management, and being a small business owner.
Laura Davidson represented Shure at our expo for the second year in a row. Her RF presentation enlightened those new to using wireless microphone systems. Her RF Basics discussion is integral to any new engineers exploring the wireless in live sound production. She also shared some of Shure’s new wireless microphones, which had some impressive features. Shure’s rechargeable rack-mounted station was a favorite of mine. Having worked in live sound for over 15 years, changing batteries took up such a large part of my day when we had 20+ cast members with IEMs and belt packs. The ADX1M micro body pack transmitter was one of my favorite new items, the compact size was impressive (and adorable).
Willa Snow presented for Allen & Heath, giving us some insight on their new firmware updates and iLive family of consoles and accessories. She also contributed to our panel discussions, giving our attendees a bright and refreshing attitude on mixing live music in Austin, TX.
Mainline Marketing, another amazing local company, supported our expo by bringing some amazing equipment for our guests to demo and get hands-on experience. Michael, Michael, and Zach provided us with expert knowledge and experience. They also brought along the fabulous Shure Jeep, which was a huge hit.
Some new players this year included Kaysen Thurber with Inearz, a local Central Florida company who are passionate about preserving hearing for musicians and Wesley Devore, the Documentation Manager for Presonus Audio Electronics.
Inearz is a Central Florida family-owned company. Kaysen’s father, Kim Fisher. Kim has been building IEM drivers since the 70s. He started his own company in 2003 and has kept it in the family ever since. Kaysen has been working with her father since she was 15 and continues to represent the brand passionately.
Wesley Devore braved a hurricane in her home state of Louisiana to join us in Orlando. Wesley writes the manuals for Presonus; her presentation featured Presonus’s Studio Live console and their scaleable ecosystem of products. Presonus’s NSB Stagebox was a beefy addition to their line of consoles, a stagebox that behaves as an I/O router with gain compensation down the line. Each integrated system would have control over its gain, so nothing is set by any one part of the system, in turn giving the operator complete control.
Featuring these women and providing a platform for them to be passionate about their products and experiences is the main reason we present this expo. We had several students from local colleges, including some who traveled over three hours to attend. Many of these women echoed the same stories we’ve heard over and over, being passionate about music and technology while feeling pushed aside by men who think their passion is more “serious.” Referring them to SoundGirls, including the scholarships that are offered and resources provided on the website was exactly what they needed to hear. Screw gentle encouragement; we can push these women into their dreams. Empowerment is in our tagline for a reason; we can equip these young ladies with the education and confidence necessary to succeed in their career of choice.
Susan Williams is an educator in Winter Park, FL for a creativity and technology-focused university. Previously she was a local theatre technician and independent micro-budget film producer. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre with a minor in Cinema Studies from the University of Central Florida. Susan has spent her career working for various theatres around the country, including the Orlando Repertory Theatre, The Garden Theatre, and the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. She has also worked as a digital projectionist for the Florida Film Festival. In addition to theatre, she has produced an award-winning short film, “Séance.” In 2014, Susan produced her first feature-length horror film, “Interior,” which has won many festival awards, including Best Horror Feature Film at Shriekfest 2015, Best Sound Design, NYC Horror Film Festival 2015, and Audience Award for the Knoxville Horror Film Festival 2015. Susan is an active member of the Orlando chapter of SoundGirls.