The Show Production Bachelor of Science Degree program is one of the most hands-on programs offered at Full Sail: Throughout the 21-month course of study, students learn how to mix live sound, design and program lighting systems, work with various audio and visual components, and study concert media design.
“The highlight of our program is that we let our students play with real bands,” says David Dean, the Show Production Program Director. “Through our Artist Relations department, bands are brought in and we have Live Labs throughout the course of the program’s core classes, where students put on entire productions themselves [under the supervision of lab instructors].”
Those same lab instructors and faculty members – many who have been with the program for years – are great so knowledgeable as teachers because many of them still work in the industry as well. David produces shows for KC and the Sunshine Band, Advanced Concert Media Design Course Director John Sheldon was just on tour in Africa with R. Kelly, and Audio Measurement Systems Course Director Mike Stewart does broadcast mixing for the University of Central Florida’s sporting events.
“We’re all road people, and have toured, so we know exactly what the industry demands from our students,” says David. “Gear is important, and we’ve switched over to digital consoles, but basics – like signal flow, soldering cables, and audio systems – are basics, and our curriculum is based on those fundamentals.”
Besides Live Labs on campus, Show Production students are added to a crew list based on faculty recommendation to work events in the Full Sail Live Venue and local concerts at venues like the House of of Blues Orlando. When students graduate, they’re equipped not only to join a touring production, but also to work in fields like sports broadcasting, video production, theater, and more. Recent grads currently work for companies including Clair Brothers and NEP.
Although they learn every skill during the program, towards the end, many students have picked an area which they excel in, which they usually show off during the Final Project Concert in the Advanced Concert Media Design capstone course. Students spend the final month of the program booking their own artist and designing an entire live production on their own, including running the sound, lighting, and video during the show.
“When you’re starting out in the industry, you’ll do a little bit of everything,” says Dave. “So we make students learn everything, so when they get out there, they’re well-rounded. It’s fun to watch the students change their mind every time they go to a different course, but eventually they will end up a sound or lighting person.”