Charlie is responsible for getting our show crews from point A to point B with a safe place to stay. With shows booked from 48 hours to 16 months in advance, Charlie’s day is never the same. Alford Media wouldn’t be able to put on our shows without Charlie’s attention to detail and care for all our crews and events.
Q. What is the benefit of having a travel manager for a show?
A. Nowadays, travel can be very piecemeal; sometimes, I get to take care of everything from the flight into the flight out, and others are more about keeping track of what’s happening so I can fill in any gaps. At the end of the day, whether Alford books your flight, hotel, rental car, or none of the above, it is still my job to make sure our crews make it to the show site, have a place to stay where they can rest comfortably, and get home. I keep track of everything that is booked, so if something goes wrong anywhere in that process, I can jump in and fix the travel problem before it
becomes a show problem.
Q. What is the typical time frame you book someone before the show starts?
A. it can be anywhere from a year out to a few days before. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding when it’s appropriate to book positions on a show. We want to ensure everyone comes in prepared for a great show, but we also hate when we have to cancel people because positions, or even entire events, get cut. Conversely, we don’t always have the luxury of choosing the time frame because positions, and occasionally whole shows, will be brought to us on short notice. However much notice we have, ultimately, it is about finding the right crew for the event and our teams trusting we are booking them with as much notice as that unique situation allows.
When looking within for which Alford value Blake sees most in himself, it would be “Resourceful." “Being resourceful sometimes means stepping back and looking at the larger picture. How can I not only create something new and inspiring but how can I do it with existing resources? I genuinely believe that resourcefulness starts with being open-minded and, more importantly, open to any out-of-the-box thinking.
Q. How much has the industry changed in the past 5 years when it comes to lighting?
A. We have seen a trend in lighting where fixtures are increasing in output and becoming more efficient at the same time. Designers are focused on using gear that offers the most flexibility withoutsacrificing overall quality.
Q. In a word, what best describes the current state of the entertainment lighting industry?
A. “Flexible” We are finding that while events are growing in size and increasing in quantity, rental inventory levels remain thin, and equipment supply chains are still challenging. More than ever, clients and designers are open to substitutions and creative solutions on any given project.
The 2018 Top Woman Executive in Event Productions says she is excited about the future of Alford. "I have always believed that if you hire the right people and protect and evolve the company culture, you can create not only a successful business, but a place where people love to work and want to be their best."
Q. With the struggle nationwide in staffing, what have you (Alford Media) done to combat this?
A. best success has come from word of mouth and referrals. Our great workplace history has paid dividends in attracting new talent. Our people are, hands down, our best recruiters. This has also helped in building our freelance pool. So thank you, and keep the referrals coming!
Q. What have you done to help retain staff members?
A. That is more of a challenge today than we have ever faced before. While it may sound backward, we are very particular about who we hire to retain our talent. We want to be sure that we find the right people to fit long term, help grow our culture, and have ample time to train them. Hopefully, this retains a higher percentage of new talent and honors the work ethic, dedication, and skill that our longer-tenured employees have. While there are challenges for the short term due to the sheer workload for our current staff, hopefully, they see we are invested in what is best for them and the company for the long haul, not just quick temporary fixes. If an employee believes in where the company is headed and the team around them, they want to be a part of that. Plus, we always listen, treat each other like family, and have fun when possible.
Tom is dedicated to leading Alford Media into the future. “Over the last 33 years, Steve and I were able to help mold Alford Media into a great place to work and provide second-to-none customer service. With this team, I look forward to continuing to spread the culture of this great company for the years to come.”
Q. Where do you see the industry going?
A. The question of where the industry is going is one that is more suited to a good cigar and at least an hour to discuss. I think we have all seen that while online meetings may be sufficient for information sharing, they lack a lot regarding motivation and inspiration. Additionally, with more remote working and isolation that seems to be a part of our digital world, live in-person meetings are more important than ever and are here to stay.
On the technical side, I think that while projection will remain important for several years to come, the use of LED will continue to increase and be the predominant display for most shows. The use of media servers to map all the nonstandard formats will also continue to increase and become the
standard playback systems for shows.