Just over six months ago, I became a Production Manager at a hotel in Bank, London. A lot of people have asked me how I ended up in this position, thinking I’m probably too young and too lucky to have ended up with such a title.
I am going, to be honest with you, I had no idea what was expected of me. However, I just knew at that point in my life that it was the right direction for my career. I always liked a good challenge; I think that is an important trait to have working within a live sound environment.
So what do I do on a daily basis? Here are a few of my many duties:
My team consists of Head of Entertainment & Production, my freelancers and me (Production manager). My main duty is to run the live sound on the main stage in the hotel lobby. Some production managers might not do live sound at all, but because we are such a small team, it is my main responsibility.
Our stage has a permanent set up which needs to be maintained, and I need to make sure that everything is working correctly. If anything would be faulty or damaged, it is my job to make sure the equipment either gets repaired or replaced. We have live music seven days a week, so things do tend to get run down pretty quickly.
I am the one who needs to deal with everything and everyone. This may be musicians, managers, management companies, restaurant managers, the events team, AV companies and the list goes on. Head of Entertainment and I do work closely with each other when it comes to dealing with a lot of different people, and we make sure we’re both staying on top of everything.
As a Production Manager, you definitely need to be a ‘people person’ and to keep good relationships with everyone. A happy face goes a long way and having a ‘can do’ attitude is necessary, as there are often stressful situations that need to be dealt with efficiently and as quickly as possible. Being quick to come up with solutions to unexpected problems is an excellent trait to have.
In our venue, we do not have the luxury of having sound checks. Ever! It was tricky when I first started because when you are new to a system (or in this case, we have two different PA systems), it takes time to get to know the system with all its perks and flaws. It felt pretty stressful the first couple of weeks, but now after six months I have my QL1 template, and I’m confident whenever we have a new artist or band rocking up, that I can make them sound great even without a sound check.
Every day I have loads of fun. I absolutely love my job, even after sometimes working 13-14 hour shifts. Even when I have not had a day off, or a terrible day dealing with difficult people. Because we all do have those days, but those days are very few and far in between.
I had loads of doubt in myself when taking on this role. I thought that I did not have enough experience; I was worried I was not going to be able to do what they expected of me. This venue is also completely different to anywhere I have ever worked in before. However, I just went for it, I thought there is nothing that I am not able to solve; I had no other choice than to go for it! Therefore, if an opportunity ever presents itself to you, by all means, you will have doubts. But, take a chance and challenge yourself. I am so grateful I did not let fear stand in my way because otherwise I would not be where I am today
Olive Olin is originally from Sweden; Olive has been based in London, UK since 2012. She holds a BA (Hons) degree in Music Production and since graduating has worked as a live sound engineer all over the city. She has recently settled down as a full-time Production Manager at The Ned, a 5-star hotel in the heart of London. Olive manages to balance her hectic work schedule by finding time to produce electronic music, compose for film and work as a DJ. Olive blogs about the responsibilities of a young professional in the music industry.