Full Sail’s Show Production Degree Program prepares students to work and thrive in the wide-ranging world of live entertainment. The 20-month curriculum begins by introducing the basics – Audio Workstations, Principles of Electronics, Mixing Techniques – and then transitions into specialized courses like Automated Lighting Technology and Audio Measurement Systems.
Throughout the degree program, explains Project and Portfolio VII Course Director John Sheldon, students learn in and around live environments. “They learn a lot of pre-production at what we call ‘Live Labs.’ So they’ve already worked with bands. And up until this point, we’ve helped them. We’ve been right next to them. ”
In the twentieth and final month of the degree program, however, students show off their chops by producing an entire live event themselves, from start to finish.
“We give them the freedom to make decisions, to really expand what they’re responsible for,” says John. And they’re responsible for all of it – from carefully transporting gear to recording multi-track mixes for subsequent video and audio projects.
A typical show day begins with the organization of gear – assembling the right pieces, arranging them safely in a truck, driving them to the venue, and loading in. “We start with a fresh building,” John explains. “They set up lights, they set up all the audio, all the consoles, all the video cameras, wire everything, and check it all. We bring a band in, they set up all their gear, we run line checks, sound checks, and then hopefully start a show on time.”
Each person plays an important role in the process – and the work doesn’t stop once the show gets going. Justin Walker, for instance, serves as the Front of House Engineer, and mixes the audio for the audience during the performance. Newton Hall, the Broadcast Audio Engineer, prepares the audio mix for the video room and for recording. He sets up the recording software, various plug-ins, and organizes files for multi-tracking.
As the stage manager, Allana Duyungan is in charge of overseeing the crew. “The stage manager makes sure everyone’s on time. If there’s any problems, I’m the last resort. So if I don’t hear from anyone, everything’s going well. If I hear from someone, there’s a problem that has to be addressed.”
Working in a live environment is a learning experience like no other, John explains. “Teaching theory only goes so far. There’s pressure now, because there’s an artist performing. You can’t simulate that. And with this being the final project, they have more creative control. Really it’s their show. I’m just here to guide them.”
Want to see the students in action? Check out the video below for an inside look at Show Production’s final course: Project and Portfolio VII.