AS WE WERE PUTTING THIS THIRD ISSUE OF SRO TO BED, I
reread Catherine McHugh's cover story on the numerous staging challenges facing producers of this summer's Deaf Way II event in Washington D.C. As I pondered the immensity of staging such an event (see page 22), one that required producers to provide original, stimulating visuals and audio in a large venue for the enjoyment of a mainly non-hearing audience, while still meeting the needs of hearing attendees, I suddenly realized what separates the staging and rental industry from the rest of the entertainment universe. Industry professionals in our world rarely cater to the same audience twice, routinely travel from venue to venue and format to format, require technical expertise in multiple disciplines, must function with tightly controlled budgets, and have less room for error because they dwell exclusively in a live environment.
Deafway II is only one example of how creativity melds with precision-like technical expertise in our industry in a way that sets it apart from other disciplines. This issue is loaded with other examples, as we go behind-the-scenes of several important events that took place in recent months. The massive Jeep World Outside Festival and the Acura corporate dealer show (both covered in detail in this issue), for instance, illustrate how completely unique, and technically complex, individual shows can be.
Perhaps my favorite illustration of this point can be found in Debra Kaufman's feature story about projecting video and light onto balloons (see page 37). This kind of highly complex, niche effect is right for only certain shows, at certain venues, under very particular circumstances. But besides looking cool, the examples cited in Debra's story demonstrate clearly that there is always more than one route to any given destination.
Indeed, each of the four events covered in the article took widely different approaches to the problem of balloon projection. Virtually everything about these jobs was done differently — from the size and material used for the balloons, to the number of balloons, to the element used to fill the balloons, to the type and placement of projectors, to the shape and style of the images, to the venue's lighting, and so on.
This clearly illustrates what makes this business so unique, rewarding, and yes, sometimes frustrating — rarely is there a single, turnkey solution to any problem when staging live events. Instead, crews find themselves inventing new solutions and leaping new hurdles every day at every gig.
Besides being a technology resource and a purveyor of nuts-and-bolts business information and advice, SRO remains committed to being the primary conduit for our readers to engage in a creative dialogue with their peers about their unique experiences, problems, solutions, frustrations, and joys in working challenging jobs.
Hopefully, this issue and the ones to come exemplify that commitment. Still, if there are any topics you would like to see covered or suggestions you have for making SRO a more practical and fun read, feel free to email me anytime with your ideas. Those ideas, after all, are the bedrock of this industry.