Production manager loves the "event life" — and spent a year pursuing her dream job at The Production Network in Seattle.
What do you do? I am a production manager at The Production Network. I work mostly with our Microsoft clients managing the logistics of their consumer activations, media events and trade shows, large and small.
How did you get started in that field? I was working at a marketing agency and a client requested an event manager. It wasn’t really one of our lines of business, but the company owner asked if anyone was interested. I was young, unattached and thought the traveling sounded fun, so I volunteered. Best decision I ever made because I fell in love with the event life instantly. After a few years that event client went away and I spent the next year pursuing a job at The Production Network — a premiere production company based in Seattle. I haven’t regretted a bit of that decision. I work with an amazing team of people.
What’s a typical day like? When I’m in the office I spend my time managing all of the pre-event logistics and planning details. This includes working with our design team to create the look and feel of the event layout, managing the graphic design and production, shipping coordination, submitting service orders and coordinating with multiple external vendors. If I’m on-site, I spend anywhere from 10–20 hours a day managing the build-out of the event. What’s most exciting is when I walk into the event venue on the first day of set-up, and it’s a completely blank slate. We transform bare concrete into a branded, exciting experience for our clients and their audience.
What’s the best part of the job? There are so many! Working at TPN has taken me to Hollywood movie sets, a NASCAR race, San Diego Comic-Con, Gamescom in Germany and the Super Bowl, just to name a few! But even with all of the exotic locales, just getting to see the reactions of our clients and the attendees first-hand once everything is set up is by far the biggest perk. At my previous job, we worked on a website build and then it would be launched. Pretty anticlimactic. I’d get to see the page view counts and other statistics in a graphic or charts, but there is nothing like seeing the look on someone’s face when they experience your event and are overcome with excitement.
What surprises people about your work? People seem to think that I lead a very glamorous life, like I’m flying in private jets and partying with famous people on an unlimited expense account. It’s actually quite the opposite. I fly coach, work 15+ hour days, I set up the table for the celebrities to use for autograph signings but never get an autograph, eat dinner at whatever bar is still open at midnight, and then wake up early the next morning to work from a small production closet inside our event away from the public eye. I just get to do it all in really cool destinations with really cool people.
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