School: LaSalle College Vancouver/CDIS
Grad Year: 2000
Program of Study: Recording Arts Production Program
Company Name: Cirque du Soleil
Location: On tour with the big top
Job Title: Assistant Head of Sound
Primary Responsibilities: All audio aspects on tour. This includes the sound of the show and all equipement related to that. We are responsible for all upkeep/maintenance as well as the overall show quality.
Describe a Typical Work Day:There are two modes of work days on tour: Transfer and City Run. A city run show day will consist of a tech rehearsal or band rehearsal, followed by a show pre-set, sound check and a show (or two). A transfer day will mean any set up or tear down tasks that are scheduled that day. We all work to move our entire venue so we all pitch in.
What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
On tour we have no one to rely on but ourselves. As a result we can be presented with a gear failure or unusual problem that will always involve a creative solution. There are many of these off the cuff, or permanent solutions I’m proud of. One that stands out for me is working as part of the creation team that built, programmed and kicked off a new tour. Together, we did this without any major probelms, all the while breaking first show transfer record times.
What are your creative inspirations or influences? Who are your heroes?
One of the big creative inspiration for me is the people I work with. Each and every show requires an enormous amount of effort from many different people, and every show is unique. As with every gig, there are some days you just don’t have the drive to be there, but I’m always able to find an inspiring moment either from someone on stage, or from an audience members reaction, to keep me going.
What do you enjoy the most about your career?
Travel. Big top shows have a typical touring life of up to 12 years and during that time will tour North and South America, Asia and Europe. We typically spend 6-8 weeks in each city. These longer stays allow us to really experience each city.
How did your education at LaSalle College Vancouver help prepare you for your career?
My education was extremely beneficial in preparing me for my career because it was extensive. I mean this in the sense that the teachers and training made sure to merge theory with lots of practical hands-on training. We learned the reasons behind methods rather than just repeating the methods as if using a checklist. This is essential! Not only did it give me a solid knowledge base, but at the same time afforded me the opportunity to challenge that knowledge and therefore further reinforce the underlying theory and workings of audio on a whole. I found this to be extremely useful not only as a method of training but as a way of working to this day.
What advice do you have for people beginning their careers in your profession?
Be open, inquisitive, observe and ask lots questions because you can always learn something from every one. Often times there is more than one solution to a problem.
Your profession is constantly evolving, from the technology you use to new career opportunities that didn’t exist five years ago. What trends do you see on the horizon that will affect how you do your job or your profession at-large?
Gear wise - networks for audio transport and system control. Live sound and the gear used for it is increasingly becoming network dependant. Dante and AVB just to name a few. Computer networking knowledge is more and more important. We’re also starting to see a lot more focus on more accurate PA focus and sound steering. This means actoustics, PA measurement and tuning knowledge is becoming more important as well.