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Ask the Producer: How do I get involved in the live event production industry?

Cybis Communications

While there are degree programs, industry conferences, webinars, books, etc., there’s another way to fast-track your way into a very exciting and rewarding field. —

It’s one thing to experience an amazing live event in the audience; but being part of the production, working back stage, planning/coordinating, and building the set from the ground up gives you an entirely different appreciation of what live event production is all about. And if having fun while earning good money sounds intriguing to you, first find out in which part of the event you’d like to be involved.

If you’re a student, there are often opportunities in campus production teams to figure out if you thrive in pre-production, the live event itself, or post-production. When I was in college (go Knights!), I heard about their “Video Productions Committee” and stopped in to a meeting. I was soon invited to check out a hypnotist show where the students would be running camera, switching videos, etc. I lucked out when one of the camera operators didn’t show up and I was thrust into the seat. It was so exciting and swiftly intensified my passion for live events! If there aren’t student-led committees on your campus, find out which companies service your school’s productions — and read on!

Outside of school, there are many A/V and event companies in every major city that will offer internships and on-site experience opportunities. These companies are usually just a phone call away (like Cybis!) and will likely welcome you to “stop by” an event to see how things work. Your best next move: roll up your sleeves and offer to push cases, lug around cables, fetch coffee, test microphones, etc. Earning rapport with the team and demonstrating your value in a volunteer-position will almost definitely earn yourself an invitation back. If you’re willing to do some of the grunt work and most importantly USE these opportunities to observe the departments that interest you most and ask lots of questions, you’ll find yourself better suited than any outsiders when that company is looking to expand. If you’re worried about getting the company’s attention in the first place, try posting on their social media site! Be sure to provide a link to your online resume so folks can see your background and interests. Also be persistent — if you try hard to get noticed, then at least as far as I’m concerned, you’re more likely to try hard to be great!

Another strategy? Put yourself out there on production crew websites (like productionhub.com). Again, if you’re happy to intern or volunteer to work for free while getting your feet wet, the opportunities will be endless. (Side story: when I first started Cybis 25 years ago, I earned my first clients by offering computer help for FREE… after a while, I was eventually able to start charging. Side-side story: it’s also the basis for my favorite quote on the bottom of www.thinkcybis.com!) Be patient though — the companies you’re supporting know that in this industry, you only get ONE chance to get it right. “You’re only as good as your last performance.” Expect it to take time to fairly demonstrate you are determined, diligent, and 100% dependable.

The live event world is a super-fun industry to work alongside fun people, travel, and be a part of something that people experience with all of their senses!

At Cybis, we pride ourselves in being able to provide our clients world-class service, and that ability comes from having an exceptional team. If you’re interested, we are always looking for new talented people to add to our roster. Getting in touch with us is easy — click “Impress Us” on www.thinkcybis.com; that’s always up-to-date with the roles we seek, and which ones are “hot”! If you love your work, and it’s shows – contact us!

To have your question featured in next month’s article, ASK THE PRODUCER at contact@thinkcybis.com