From live meetings and events to immersive trade show experiences, each project presents unique challenges for evoking emotion and engaging an audience. We interviewed Tom to learn more about his role at Switch and his initial involvement in the industry.
How long have you been with Switch?
I started in March of 2006, so I’ve been at Switch for just over 10 years.
Which clients/projects are currently on your radar?
I manage the producers and project managers, so I don’t get to produce as many projects firsthand, but I am currently working on a large meeting and expo for one of our healthcare clients. I also produce several videos for them throughout the year.
Recently, I wrapped up a project for another client, Billions in Change, an organization committed to finding and developing solutions to basic global problems: water, energy and health. In addition to producing videos, we also built and activated a mobile program that is currently on the road. The project is unique in that it isn’t promoting specific products as much as it is raising awareness about the organization’s mission to solve issues we all face on a global scale. I’d explain more, but it would be much easier for people to go to their website and see some of the exciting things they are doing there: www.billionsinchange.com
How did you first get involved in this industry?
After college I knew I wanted to get into producing film and video, so I went to work for a studio. I started out just slinging cable and moving lights – pretty much just doing whatever I could to stick around. Eventually I learned the business and started producing my own projects.
What about your personal background (education, hobbies, interests) helps to inspire/enhance your professional life?
I have always been crazy about film and filmmaking. I loved learning the craft, and as I grew up I developed more of an appreciation for the storytelling. I apply it every day because we do tell stories here. We play to an audience and try to engage them on an emotional level.
Is there any project in particular you would consider a breakthrough?
When I first started at Switch, I worked on the UPS Centennial Celebration, a mobile event program that launched in 2007 with two teams and three trailers that crisscrossed the country to regional UPS locations in the US. There was also a condensed version of the event that was shipped to several international locations. I was in charge of producing all of the video and interactive displays, and the result was several projects engaging the audience in different ways with many layers of nostalgic, technical and sometimes very emotional content. It really was a crash course in how to engage an event audience, and I learned so much doing that project.
What are the current challenges you’re facing in the industry today?
The industry has made enormous strides technically and is more accessible to more people who want to create and deliver content. When I started, digital files for video didn’t exist – and now tape (which used to be the standard) pretty much doesn’t exist. It’s been crazy to watch. The challenge is that everyone who can create a YouTube video thinks they are a professional producer/director. They aren’t. Learning the technical craft of what we do is so much easier these days, but creating effective content still takes a lot of time and experience.
Bonus Question! (optional): If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?
I’ve always thought it would be cool to read people’s minds, but I’m probably glad I don’t have that one…