As announced exclusively in L&Si Magazine's October 2012 issue, lucky 1st prize winner Callum Phenix who was picked at random by Backstage Academy in their PLASA 2012 student competition has completed a week’s work experience at LS-Live. The 18-year-old, who has just started a Sound, Light and Live Events Technologies degree at The University of Derby, was given the opportunity to get hands-on experience on the set build of both the Chris Brown and War of the Worlds touring stage shows at our base in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Callum recorded his week at our headquarters to give L&Si's readers an insight into his experience and the methods behind the production of major concert stages.
Monday: “On my first morning I had a briefing about what the week would hold for me, then I took a tour round the LS-Live arena facilities to see where the artists rehearse their tours. We looked round the production offices, dressing rooms, green room and other facilities before heading to the hire warehouse to find out about the staging equipment that would be incorporated into the stage sets of clients. In the afternoon we headed to a warehouse that LS-Live had rented that week to build the stage sets of Chris Brown and War of the Worlds. The Chris Brown stage set had already begun being built.”
Tuesday: “I started by taking some photos of the framework of the Chris Brown stage, in order that I would be able to get some with the fascias as well, but I was unable to do that because Perry Scenic has taken them down, after working through the night, before I got to the warehouse on Wednesday. I also spent some time working with Mark Jackson who is LS-Live’s electrical engineer, fitting the LED strips, along with power and data into the set to ensure that it all worked correctly. After that I went on to do some work with Nidge (WOTW Staff), starting the WOTW rolling stage with what kit we had. After that I went back to the Chris Brown set to do some more LED work, helping diagnose faults.”
Wednesday: “I started the day by outlining the fascia windows etc with LS-Live’s structural engineer Mark Blount, so that frames could be made for the additional LED on the Chris Brown set. After that I went on to help Mark Jackson repair some of the LED packs, before helping Nidge and later on some local crew from Usual Suspects to build the majority of the house stage for WOTW as well as some of the set work. At the same time, I also set up my camera to produce a timelapse of the de-rig of Chris Brown’s set.”
Thursday: “Again I was working on WOTW, in order to get as much of the structure built before the production team from WOTW arrived, before going on to work with Mark Blount to fit the other lift (after the Muse one) with a check valve, and also get the pump up and running to test the lift out.”
Friday: “I returned to the warehouse to help build a stage for the Overtones and fit handrails to the WOTW set, before going back to LS-Live to talk through the design plans of the War of the Worlds set with their in house designer Gareth Mallon.”
Callum finished: “My time at LS-Live was very enjoyable, giving me a chance to look at part of the industry I had previously never even thought of a career in. I would also ask if you could pass on my thanks to all the staff at LS-Live and Backstage Academy for making me feel so welcome and part of the team, I had a great time. I would like to return to LS-Live at some point to do some further work experience, as firstly it is a great way to add to my experience across a broader field, and secondly it is part of the industry I would also now look at for employment once I graduate.”
LS-Live Structural Engineer Mark Blount commented: “It was great to have such an enthusiastic, energetic and capable young man to work with for the week. He really threw himself in to all the different areas that we at LS-Live get involved in.
“Callum’s previous experience in theatrical production meant that he hit the ground running; and he really had to, we were right in the middle of two major set builds: Chris Brown – Carpe Deum 2012 tour set and Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds set. During his time with us he made a great contribution. Well done Callum, I’m sure you’ve got a big future in the industry.”