MVS Producer Ben Kristy Q&A
- Tell me about your background and how you got where you are now?
I’ve had a passion for planning events since I can remember growing up in Iowa. My first event was a hardcore punk concert in a barn. It’s funny to think back to it – 3 friends and I installed a stage, small PA, lighting, and had dual 30” CRT TVs connected to an SD camera in the balcony for an audience of 300 kids – quite possibly every kid in the county. I realize now that I treated all of the work as a creative outlet – post event I was hooked and continued to find ways to be a part of live events.
- What do most people not understand about your job?
Many people simply think we are the “IT guys.” Many folks think I am describing magic when they hear me talk about what I do specifically. The reality is, everything we do can be boiled down to a simple process. The real work involves meticulously reviewing and editing the spreadsheets and line diagrams created during pre-production.
- You seem to have a magnetic personality and people like working with you. Why do you think that is?
Let’s first establish a fundamental rule – people love to work with other people who have a passion for what they do. It’s just true. When you can sense this with someone, you communicate more effectively and form connections. So if when you ask me why people like to work with me – I’ll tell you it’s because I enjoy the pursuit of a perfect product every time.
- How do you balance all the responsibilities as a Producer or Technical Director on show site?
I am a leader with a collaborative style – when it comes to balancing responsibilities on show site, I build teams that are self-starting and mostly self-directing. I am really only slightly steering things by the time I am on site. The collaborative style guarantees the team’s ownership of the project and sets the tone for a fast-paced, positive environment – clients notice this every time.
- What is your secret super power?
I have a photographic memory – I once memorized every inventory item and its quantity, in one shift, while working as a shift lead at a coffee shop.
- How do you know when you have made a show successful?
I’ll admit I’ve never “felt” a show was 100% successful but luckily it’s not my experience that matters. I have a saying, “it’s not my show” that seems to help drive this fact home. Success in the production world is a relative thing – every time. Getting to know the client’s scope of objectives and putting that in my crosshairs is the only way to guarantee the type of success that matters.
- What is different about MVS compared to similar companies in the events industry?
MVS treats every project like the most important show of the year; I have not seen this in many other places. Larger companies are known for throwing their weight around and may not give everyone the right attention and pre-production experience. Smaller companies say they will give the attention but may not have the resources to execute the show or pre-production in the best way. I feel MVS is uniquely positioned to make the best of each pre-production experience and custom engineered show solution.
- What is the future of events and how are you going to be a part of it?
I believe the limits of live show production will continue to be pushed in every direction. In the next 5 years we are going to see more attention and value given to conventional event pre-visualization as it becomes merged with the world of VR and AR. I plan to lead the charge in developing turn-key workflows that allow Producer / Technical Directors to “farm to table” their technical docs into VR and AR assets.