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Pro Production Sessions at NAMM Offer Wealth of Tips from Industry Pros

by PLSN Staff • in
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• Created: January 30, 2018

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During the session titled ‘Bringing It All Together – The Production Designers,’ host Michael Eddy and moderator Robb Jibson were joined by Jonathan Smeeton, Bryan Hartley and Brendan Gray.

ANAHEIM, CA – If you were looking for a wide range of tips on everything from cool visual design ideas (Stop thinking “literally,” start thinking “laterally” -Jonathan Smeeton) to how to make a graceful exit from the tour bus without watching your career crash and burn (Make effective use of the ample downtime you have on tour to plan your career transition -Robert Scovill), the Hilton Anaheim’s fourth floor was the place to be from Jan. 25-27.

And if the years of experience accumulated by the industry luminaries on the panels was impressive, this was enhanced by the experience of those in the audience, who provoked even more thoughtful discussion from microphones placed in the seating areas. During the Friday session titled The Business of Sound: You Can Get Off the Bus, for example, crew members supporting Neil Diamond, Tom Petty and Linkin Park all sought advice and shared insights on how they were coping with their changing situations.

The 2018 PLSN/FOH Pro Production Sessions kicked off on Jan. 25 with Parnelli Visionary honoree Jonathan Smeeton sharing insights from his life in design, in a session hosted by Parnelli Awards producer and PLSN/FOH writer Kevin Mitchell.

That was followed by a packed session led by Kevin Lyman, founder and producer of the Vans Warped Tours and 4Fini, and hosted by Stage Directions editor Michael Eddy, with attendees following Lyman out into the foyer afterwards for an extended Q&A.

The third section on Thursday delved into the challenges faced by women in the backstage work environment, led by moderator Anne Militello and hosted by PLSN and FOH contributor Debi Moen, with a panel including Susan Rose, Deanne Franklin and Céline Royer.

Sessions on Friday, Jan. 26 kicked off with The Business of Sound: You Can Get Off the Bus, led by moderator Dave Shadoan and host Debi Moen with panelists including David Scheirman, Kevin ‘Tater’ McCarthy, Michael MacDonald and Robert Scovill along with questions and insights from Stan Miller, Greg Looper and Jim Digby.

At noon, moderator Robb Jibson and host Michael Eddy helmed Bringing It All Together – The Production Designers, with a panel including Jonathan Smeeton, Bryan Hartley and Brendan Gray. This was followed by The Visual Conversation Part 1 – Media Server Programmers, with panelists Breckinridge Haggerty, Brent Sandrock and Seth Jackson, and The Visual Conversation Part 2 – The Video Directors, with Haggerty, Jeff Claire and George Elizondo. Mark Haney and Michael Eddy served as moderator and host, respectively, for both sessions.

On Saturday, the Pro Production sessions continued with RC4 Wireless’ Sean Dane moderating a session titled Live Life Untethered – RC4 Wireless on Tour with Katy Perry and Others. Panelists included Aaron Ford, Tom Talmon and Sutai Wu. Host Michael Eddy also served as host for the next session, The Lighting Designer Round Table, with moderator Bryan Hartley and panelists Robb Jibson, Howard Ungerleider and Susan Rose.

PLSN editor Nook Schoenfeld hosted the second-to-last session in the lineup, also on Saturday: Getting the Show on the Road – The Production and Tour Managers, with a panel including Richard Fernandez, Chris Adamson and Ed Wannebo. And Kevin Mitchell hosted the final session in the 2018 series, Off the Record with Parnelli Award Honorees, moderated by Parnelli board chairman Marshall Bissett and including panelists Richard Fernandez, Howard Ungerleider, Danny O’Bryen, Jonathan Smeeton and Ed Wannebo.

“From the moment we partnered with NAMM we were committed to ensuring that the Pro Production Sessions offered leaders in bringing together the performance and production community,” said Terry Lowe, president of Timeless Communications, Corp. By all indications, the PLSN/FOH Pro Production Sessions lived up to their promise of giving both early career and established professionals the chance to learn from some of the top names in the industry.


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