In this episode, we’re talking with Travis Reedy, the President of TRAVIS Inc., about how to maximize the technical side of live events. This conversation covers everything from how Technical Directors save events money, to what new and exciting technology is out there, to how events like the Grammys influence corporate live events. So hit the download button, screw your headphones on tight, and get ready to take notes.
Travis Reedy provides a unique focus on organization, and attention to detail. This provides the foundation for the unparalleled success of his events. He has a true understanding of all technical aspects involved with a production, while his vision and quick thinking allow him to adapt to any situation during a live event; assuring a smooth and seamless program execution.
Examples of recent events include: Astellas, Google, Verizon, T-Mobile, TD Ameritrade, Exxon, Mead Johnson, SCS Johnson, and Jansen. Top Tier Association work includes American Psychiatric Association, National Council of State Boards of Nursing, American Neurological Association, Military Communications Association, MPI-CAC, and United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.
Hosted and Written by Jeremy Dobrish
Produced by Bethany Potter
Theme Music by Mike Mancini
Logo design by Shraddha Maharjan
Special thanks to Dossie McCraw
HOW TO MAXIMIZE THE TECHNICAL SIDE OF EVENTS
By Jeremy Dobrish
You probably know your events have a Technical Director. But do you really know what they do, how they save the event money, and why they’re so important? I sat down with Travis Reedy, the President of TRAVIS Inc. Travis is an incredibly resourceful, collaborative, and brilliant technical director. I started by asking him what a TD actually does:
“A technical director is kind of like an orchestra conductor that leads a group through a process and that culminates to something spectacular for the audience.”
Travis told me TDs manage all the technical components of an event from the design phase, all the way through the execution phase, and they plan for the unexpected. Things change onsite, and the TD can maximize staff scheduling to avoid incurring overtime payments. They also worry about all the technical components so nobody else has to.
One of the big challenges Technical Directors face is that load-in times are becoming shorter and shorter. So Travis and his team are able to maximize staffing resources to get more done with less.
“It's putting the right amount of labor positions on there, but there’s only so many bodies that you can put into a room. So sometimes that might be adjusting your schedule so that you've got different departments showing up at different times.”
I asked Travis if there was a template for putting together each show, or if it was completely different each time. Basically, he said, both:
“There's a recipe that will put an event together that has similar components, but then the dynamics of all that are so different that you're tweaking that recipe to make sure that it comes out tasting good.”
When it comes to technology Travis is excited about, there are several things he mentioned, especially projection mapping, XR studios, and Immersive Interactive technology. What is Immersive Interactive technology you ask?
“It's a tracking platform worn by a presenter to choreograph, audio, video, and lighting with their movements...a presenter could use this technology to cue media with their movements for a truly interactive presentation… when you see somebody point to something and it just appears, or they raise their hand towards the crowd and a row of led lights then goes out over the audience, it really is a whole other level of interactivity.”
Not only does that sort of moment make the audience gasp, it keeps them engaged wondering what might happen next.
Where does this technology come from?
“Most of the technology that we use starts in the concert or entertainment arena, and then it comes to us. I would say that the biggest thing that comes from concerts and entertainment is inspiration. Every year after shows like the Academy Awards or the Grammys air, I'll always get a call that same week from a client that wants to incorporate something they saw on the TV in their awards show.”
Sometimes these technologies are out of reach in terms of cost. But Travis and his team are great at finding cost-effective ways to create similar types of effects at their events. But, Travis cautions, you shouldn’t use technology for its own sake:
“I think it's important, even though you see something great, to not force that into your event. It really should be a case by case. And you should find out what the goals are, what your message is, what you're trying to do after the event, if you've got post event things that you want to try to achieve. It's really making sure that this technology is being used in a very useful, impactful manner.”
It was a real treat to talk with Travis, and he got me very excited to get back into a ballroom with smart, resourceful people making magic for our attendees.
If you want to hear more about the technical side of live events, and learn more of his tips, listen to the full episode.