Updated on Friday 1 March 2013
Have you ever wondered to yourself, "Exactly what is show production and what can I do with a degree in it?" Show production is one of those fields where almost anything is possible; you just have to enjoy working on a team to make some technical magic. The career possibilities are endless; you can work on concerts, but you can also work for a Fortune 500 company, a church, a school, or a stadium.
To produce: to create, to grow, to manufacture, and to make. What is show production? Show production is the art of creating, growing, manufacturing or making a visual and auditory experience. Have you ever gone to a concert that left you speechless because the visual effects were just that spectacular? That's show production. Have you ever attended a meeting or conference and wondered who was running the lights, handing out microphones, and cuing up the video? The individuals in charge of these were show producers. Have you ever attended a religious service where the sound was worthy of an award and been curious as to who put it together? You guessed it; it was a show producer. In essence, the idea of show production is to create the type of atmosphere that you want to convey to the audience. You will set the scene and you will urge the audience into a particular mood. Show producers are artists that specialize in working their particular piece of the puzzle into the greater sensory experience. As an international student, you can learn how to do this during your time in the US. What is show production? It's a techie's dream.
If working behind the scenes to execute a stellar performance sounds appealing to you, consider working toward a show production degree.
You could work anywhere that hosts a live production! On one end of the spectrum, you could be employed by a corporation, working just for them on meetings, corporate events, and gatherings. Fortune 500 companies often host visitors from all over the world, meaning you can count on more than just a meeting or two to take place. The need for professionalism within this industry is immense. Corporations will look for people that have confidence in the art of making their event run smoothly. Individuals can also work for a specific venue, like an arena or an athletic stadium setting up the diverse needs of each visiting game or performance. Or, you could travel on tour with a musical group, embracing the challenge of quickly learning a new environment with every change of venue. Another option is to work as a house of worship technical engineer, ensuring that the religious service's sounds and lights convey the right image. As with many other professions, the opportunities will be more plentiful if you are flexible on your location to be employed. If you are creative in your thinking, you will find places to employ your skills almost anywhere you look. International students will be able to find many short-term placement opportunities in this field since many gigs will be project-based.
There are many opportunities for international students to work toward a show production degree in the US. Full Sail University, located just outside of Orlando, Florida, offers an undergraduate degree in show production as well as many other visual and performing art disciplines. You could experience the Lone Star State with University of Texas at Austin's recording technology major or spend time in the US capital city, Washington DC, at American University in their audio production and audio technology program. Additionally, while you are experiencing life in the US, try your hand at working with events and live productions somewhere like Walt Disney World, Disney Land or Six Flags.
You don't have to be a music or theater major to get into the field. You could also consider studying business management, event planning or even communications. While you are working towards one of these broader degrees, you can get involved in extracurricular activities that will help you prepare for a career in show production. Volunteer to work backstage for one of the theater department's musicals, see what it takes to help run sound for the school's home football games, or seek out the journalism department for a gig with the morning news.
So, what is show production? Really, it's a lot of things. Hopefully you will get to experience the different aspects involved in the field throughout your career to find your niche.