Anna: Welcome everyone to podcast number 13. You’re here with Anna Wang. We’ve got a very long-time friend that have been in the industry with for many many many many years. Probably almost when I first started in this industry, I had known these guys. Back then, we probably did a couple of smaller gigs together. And then all of a sudden it’s blown into massive gigs together and its massive productions together.
We’ve got here today Showtime who is an audio-visual company. It’s not just an audio visual, they do extreme events from massive productions to small productions weddings concerts pretty much you name it everything from small to big. Here we have Peter. Not long ago we actually created your wedding.
Peter: Yeah. It was only five months ago, I think.
Anna: It’s exciting. Very exciting.
Peter: Yeah. It was only five months ago. It seems it was like last week.
Anna: In terms of planning your own wedding, you did your own lighting, you designed your own everything through the room. You could’ve endlessly done anything in that room. How did you decide to create what you created for your own wedding?
Peter: Me and my wife went on the less is more approach; keep it simple, not too over the top because this is just the people that we are. That is pretty much… the vibe was like the less is more.
Anna: Beautiful. I was blessed to be a part of the whole styling. It’s just really exciting.
Anna: Let’s talk about Showtime. When I first met you guys at Showtime, it wasn’t just you and Ash.
Peter: No. There was a couple of people that were involved and when we go back seven eight years ago now nearly. Originally, it was Rob. That’s probably going back 20 years ago. There was a few of us back in the day when we started. We grew as you grew, I think.
Anna: What made you start it then? What was the idea behind with a group of you guys?
Peter: Oh, it was just sort of… We don’t just do productions. We do a few other branches off things in the industry where we just do lights and sound installations and what not. Each branch has got its own its own key personnel towards it. Productions was something that Rob was always doing. We just followed on with it. It was a passion of what we do. Leading into doing weddings as well was something a little bit different for us at the time where it was just your concerts, your dances, parties and all that type of stuff. They used to have a lot of it back in the day. There’s not many dance parties anymore.
It sort of branched from doing dance parties and concerts to doing weddings, but we still do a lot of the other stuff as well but we’re doing a lot of weddings. Because there is a lot more… it has evolved. There’s a lot more production that’s involved in weddings and those types of functions. Whereas, five six years ago you could probably just do minimal lighting.
Anna: Yeah. In fact, probably not even lighting.
Peter: Yeah. So, we are doing the truss, rigging, the lighting, audio, visuals. Bride and grooms are coming to us and ask for a total solution, like a one-stop shop where they can do everything.
Anna: Yeah. What made you get into Showtime? Even though you had the partnership and you had your positives and negatives and all of that stuff. What made you do it as a business on your own? What made you get started?
Peter: Are you asking me personally or as a group?
Anna: As you. You personally.
Peter: I think when we sort of turn back time, we were all doing something that was very similar on the much smaller scale. The natural progression of things is just to grow to move into things. An opportunity came up where it was like; hey do we all want to be partners. We were jumped on board. Arian was in at the time. Ash…
Anna: I remember Arian. I remember we bought our little puppies. We had brother and sister puppies.
Peter: Yeah. We still get in touch with him. He’s still in the industry.
So, there was me, there was Ash, there was Arian, there was Rob and we were all doing our little parts externally. Then we just said, alright let’s team up and joined up together and make it one big umbrella and then take it from there. So, yeah in a much smaller scale. The natural progression again was just to build and expand and then we join it up and then expand a bit more and then such and such and kept growing and what not.
Anna: Now, Showtime itself is built by yourself and Ash?
Anna: Okay. Between you and Ash is a partnership of two. Is it better than a punishment of four or…?
Peter: It definitely got some pros and cons. When you’ve got four people, you’ve got four people pushing, but then you’ve got four people that have to make decisions. When it’s just two of you, it’s obviously just two of you guys pushing it’s not four. It’s a lot easier for decision making and moving forward.
Anna: Easy. Easy. What do you enjoy more, the wedding side or the actual concert production side or sales side?
Peter: I sort of toss between a few of them; sort of in the sales, sort of in the hires. Ash is predominantly in the installs and a bit of the productions. He doesn’t really touch much on the sales. I would say that each department brings its own challenge. The weddings and the concerts are probably the most challenging, which I enjoy.
Anna: Why is that? What is it more challenging, is it the clients or…?
Peter: Well, you’ve got to sort of… you come to me and say; we want to do X Y Z. Okay, how do we get to work this out? How do we get to build this? How do we put this in the roof safely or that type of stuff? Whereas sales is bucks move. There’s not a lot of challenge in doing that. Someone will come in and they’ll want your product, you sell it to them. As long as they’re happy then you’ve done. In production, there’s a lot more involved. There’s a lot of planning, as you know. There’s a lot of [crosstalk]
Anna: Yeah. There’s a lot of these licenses you must have and all of those things.
Peter: Yeah. Depending on the venue, depending on where you’re going you have to have the more appropriate documentation, paperwork, licenses, the right crew to pull it off. That’s a little bit of the behind the scenes stuff that your everyday bride and groom doesn’t see. They see the final finished product, but how it gets there is…
Anna: That’s where a lot about the behind the scene videos that there’s a lot of you guys in a lot of our videos of the production of how when you building from trusses and it’s nothing. And then we do a quick time [inaudible] going up. People actually don’t get to see how much work is involved before it becomes pretty.
Peter: Correct. But then there’s even that part before of drawing up, getting the planning, getting the documentation across. There’s a lot of work before the day actually arrives.
Peter: To the venue on the day. Then you start setting up.
Anna: Exactly. There’s a lot of work. A lot of behind the scenes work.
Now, in terms of competition in the industry.
Peter: There’s always competition.
Anna: Do you find competition in the wedding side and events side is actually good for you because in terms of people come to you and go, “I’ve gotten a quote.” Do you have your own clientele where the people actually just come to you and they’re actually comparing you to competitors?
Peter: Yes and no. You’re going to have… Look, it’s always good to have competition. If you don’t have competition, you’re sort of… One person cannot dominate the market. It’s just doesn’t really work that way.
Anna: There’s a lot of work.
Peter: There’s not a work and it’s probably too much for one company to do. Competition is always good. It’s always healthy to have. As far as clients, there’s a fine line where you’re going to work with some stylists. Your bride and grooms are going to come up. They’re not going to be a client that you’ve dealt with before. They’re fresh face. They’re a brand-new client. You’re doing their wedding specifically. So, you want to tailor it to what they want.
When you’re working with a stylist, that’s the client that you want to keep and keep working with them, because they’ve got the ideas. They know what they want to do. They know what they want to achieve and we have to help them get to that point.
Peter: But yeah, it’s always…. going back to the first question, it’s good to have competitions. It’s like yourself, there’s many other stylists. It’s not something that everyone wants to do the same thing over and over again. You want to change it up. You want something new. You want something different. There’s always something that’s going to change.
Peter: You want to try and keep it fresh.
Anna: For stylists or a client or anyone out there that actually is looking for someone to help them with their rigging or to produce lighting in the room, why should they choose Showtime? Why should they choose you guys?
Peter: Because of this face?
Anna: If only everyone can see you. Unfortunately, it’s a podcast. Actually, we’ll probably put a little tiny snippet of a photo so they can see.
Peter: I got a good face for radio. Why should they choose us? No two weddings are the same. Every wedding is going to be different. We like to try and make a particular bride and groom if they’ve come to us or if it’s coming through you, we want to tailor it to what they want. We really want to achieve what they want. Everyone’s got a budget. This is something that I’ve been touching on with a lot of people recently is when it comes to the lighting part of the wedding, it’s the last thing in the chain because everyone’s sort of, they bought their dress they booked their venue…
Anna: They’ve done their flowers and all of that.
Peter: They’re done with the big-ticket stuff and then it comes down to the bits and pieces; invitations are already gone out. All that all that stuff already happened. We come in sort of the tail end where it’s like; oh, we need lighting. We need audio. We need something.
Anna: People don’t usually think about lighting. It’s very important.
Peter: Yeah. It usually comes at the end of the piece. People spend a lot of money on their wedding and when it gets to the end part it’s like; oh, we need to spend X Y Z on on doing this to make this look. It’s something that’s not considered in the budget at the start.
We try and help where we can to work with their budgets. It may be X price, but if we can chop and change and give them the same look for something that’s going to work in their budget, then we will say, going back to the question, we try and tailor it to what they want. We try to work for the price that they’ve got to achieve what they want to do. Hopefully, that entices people to give us a call, call them up. We’re happy to work. At the end of the day, we understand weddings cost a lot of money.
Anna: But it’s just a matter of educating planners and stylists outside of this window here. To educate them from the beginning is when you’re designing a concept with the client. You’ve got to really consider lighting is such an important atmosphere. That creates ambience. It creates everything; the mood and all of that.
Anna: They need to budget that in their budgeting before they even go; this is flour ceiling chandeliers and all of these wonderful stuffs and they haven’t budgeted lighting. It doesn’t create the final piece. We’ve got to educate to say, you’ve got to put a budget in for lighting and just making sure that it’s in the budget so that when they come to you, they’ve got something really well to work with. Let’s put a couple of candles around the room and up lights.
Peter: Yeah. I think you can say that. Up lights is a great effect. It’s been around for a while now. It does change the ambience of the room. But yeah, educating people to say; I have something for lighting because it does do so much for the wedding. You don’t realize, even something simple as just a bridal wash or a spot.
Anna: Do you notice that a lot of venues try to have their own bridal wash, have their own in spotting and all that. Most of these hotels, they have their own in house. Do you find a lot of people still acquire external service from yourself in hotels and they don’t use internal services?
Peter: Yeah. It does happen. It does happen a lot.
Anna: What’s the main reason do you reckon that happens?
Peter: Are we talking dollars in sales or…?
Anna: They’re not hiring as a pretty face. What do you think that…?
Peter: It does get factored in. When you go into a venue, depending on which venue, they’re going to charge X amount of dollars for it. Sometimes it’s cheaper to get an external company to come in and do it. As we’ve worked a lot with you in the past and a lot of the venues, sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to get an external company than to use what’s already there. We’ve got a few venues under our belt that we have an understanding. We’re not a black and white…. it’s not just corporate work. We understand that it’s someone’s wedding, they’ve spent a lot of money, they’ve got a limited budget to do what they want to do. Let’s help them achieve that. It’s the same thing when we’re going into a venue.
We’ve walked into rooms where everything’s set and we’re sitting up our stuff on top of it because it may be more cost effective for the client to have that than to use what’s in the venue.
Anna: It’s a shame. It would’ve been great to have an all-in package where they go to a venue, everything’s all done. They don’t have to worry about it. And it’s at X Y Z cost. It’s always in budget. But what I find is we do have to externally create everything in a lot of venues.
Peter: The design may be different and the venue may not be willing to change what they currently have. So, it’s one of the nice things that you’re going to try and work around.
Anna: Work around it and put it together.
Anna: In terms of actual giving advice to people that want to get in to your industry, what advice can you give people that I’ve thought I’ve studied this, I got my rigger now, and I’m new. What advice can give them? Do you offer internships? They might say, I want to do my own business. What advice can give these people?
Peter: Get ready for a lot of challenges and headaches.
Again, it’s one of those industries where a lot of people are jumping into. It’s finding people with experience is the key part. When you’re a fresh face, it’s one of those things where you have to do quite a bit of work, gain a bit of experience before you’re looked at and called upon. It’s good to get in. If someone wants to join us, give us a call. We’re never going to not answer the phone or anything. If someone wants to get into the industry, give us a call and if we can slot you in somewhere, we will. Wet your feet somewhere on the job. Go in, have a look, see what it’s like. See how you’re feeling. Some guys want to just operate. So, they just want to walk and operate lights or they want to operate the audio or visual, whatever it may be. Some guys love to setting-up part. Some guys love working in the roof and rigging all the time and they want to touch the lights on the floor or anything. They don’t want to load them in.
There’s a lot of different parts of what staff would want to do. We sort of getting them [inaudible]. We do everything.
Anna: What’s your favorite part? What do you like doing most?
Peter: Packing up. Going home.
Anna: So, you do the midnight shift?
Peter: No. My favorite part, to be honest, is seeing the show. It’s when you’re looking at the social medias and seeing the photos of the work that’s been created. It’s like, we helped that. They may not have seen us, they may not know who we are. We may have done it through you or someone else or they might’ve come into the shop pr whatever, but they wouldn’t have seen us on this day, because we’re more than likely; in first, out last.
Peter: But to see the final end product and to see the clients’ faces when they’re happy and they walk in whether it’s with you or someone else and they give that well, we’re going to start crying. It’s like we’ve helped that become.
Peter: That’s probably the most satisfying part to me to know that everything’s going well. There are really no issues. Everyone’s happy. And to see the final product.
Anna: Even if there are issues, it’s one of those behind the scenes. It’s solutionized. No one knows it was a problem. It’s all done and it’s behind the scenes. No one knows about it.
Peter: And it happens more often than what you think. As much planning you can put, there’s always going to be something. Even if it’s something small, there’s always going to be something that…. If there’s a hurdle, you’ve just got to negotiate to cross it.
Anna: And cross it over.
Peter: Which you get away with pretty much every time it comes up. Yeah, there’s a lot of behind the scene hurdles. But at the end product has to always be polished.
Anna: Are you guys have any time off during Christmas or anything? What is downtime for you guys?
Peter: There really isn’t a downtime. Ash is away at the moment.
He’s only been away for two days or whatever it was. He’s having a bit of time off.
Anna: So, every two days is four days for you later?
Peter: Yeah. To be honest, we generally quiet down a little bit in January. But in saying that, the last couple of years January has been as busy as December.
Anna: Yeah. You’ve got New Year’s Eve parties, Christmas parties, all of that.
Peter: Yes. It doesn’t really stop. Even when it does quiet down, it’s usually that week after New Year’s where it goes quiet and then it starts to get busy again. Like Australia day. And then and then it gets back into full swing.
Yeah. There isn’t really any downtown. It’s just try and get away when we can. I sort of got lucky. I went away for a couple of weeks this year in my honeymoon.
Anna: That’s your honeymoon. That’s a needed thing where you’ve just got married, you need to meet to get away.
Peter: Yeah. But then, you know what, the phone still doesn’t stop. Your phone still rings.
Peter: Yeah. I was on holiday, but I was still getting phone calls of what’s happening here, what’s happening there. You just got to try and manage it. Lucky, we got the technology that we do.
Anna: Yeah. You can you can get anywhere and keep working. As a partnership, Peter, how do differentiate each other’s roles? What are your roles between you and Ash in the business?
Peter: I touched on it before. He looks after more of the installs part.
Anna: Is that a choice because that’s the experience or because each of you kind of just said, let’s sit down and go, this is what we’ll focus on, this is what you focus on.
Peter: He obviously works on every day business. He comes into the office and he could help someone with the… He’s strengths are the installers. He’s got the experience in it.
Anna: And that’s permanent installs or… Just so the audience can understand with the installs. What is it?
Peter: It could be a school, a church, a restaurant.
Anna: Are they more like permanent installs?
Peter: Yeah. A client would come to us and say; we’re building up space and we need XYZ. We’ll go in and tailor is to what they need. If they need led screens, they just need ceiling speakers or they just need lighting or they need the whole package. His focus is a lot on that part of it, but like just yourself, he does cross over and do productions every now and then in the dry lights[?] and some sounds.
My strength is the sales part, the hires part, and then client managing with the productions part. We’ve got a few guys in the warehouse that look after the production. We’ll sit down with the client all understanding what they’re after. Then, the information gets filtered to where it needs to.
Anna: There’s an Asian Peter, in your team.
Anna: Everyone calls him, Asian Peter.
Peter: Yeah. Everyone thinks it’s me. If someone calls and they ask for Peter, they will say, which one?
Anna: The Asian one of the Italian one?
Peter: So, the Asian one or the Italian one, yeah. That’s pretty much how it works. He’s very good. He’s very strong in his role with his managers and what not. There are a few young guys that we’ve got on as well which have got their head stuck on. It’s very hard to find.
Anna: It’s very hard.
Peter: It’s very hard to find good guys that are loyal, they’re smart, and can pick things up really quickly. They obviously… Yeah, it all helps when you’re putting a show together. Trouble shooting or there’s a little bit that needs to be crossed. Alright, we’ll work it out. Whereas someone who is just like; oh, we got to stop. Everyone stay still because there’s a small issue.
Anna: We’ve come across that many times with our venues.
Peter: Yeah. So, you know yourself there’s always going to be some hurdle somewhere. It’s just how you manage it to get past it.
Anna: Okay. If people need to look for you to see your showroom, your sales products or there’s restaurants out there or anyone that wants to look for you guys, what do they search? Where are you?
Peter: If you’re talking social media, it’s show_pro, I believe on Instagram. I’m not even sure because I don’t check it that much.
I’m pretty sure it’s show_pro or else Showtime promotions and productions or just Showtime productions in Moorebank. Our show room is in Moorebank. That’s where we’ve got the sales department. If someone wants to come in and look at some stuff for the wedding, we’re more than happy to accommodate that as well.
We’ve got a little section where we can show them different lighting options and what not.
Anna: Yup, beautiful.
Peter: No one really wants to come in and say, hey show me your speakers. What are you going use for our wedding?
Peter: But, yeah. It’s more on what the look.
Anna: The coloring…
Peter: Yeah, the coloring. We’re happy for the bride and grooms to come in. We can sit down and show them, we’ll spend some time to say; this is what it’s going to look like. These are your color options. We can show them physically what the lights are going to look like.
Anna: Which is great, because a lot of people look at photos but a photo is not a true indication because the colors look different on screen.
Peter: Yeah, correct. Correct. Yea, it is show_pro.
Anna: Beautiful. So, that’s Instagram and Facebook?
Peter: Yeah. The colors, they always come out what they look in photos. Photography, it’s going to use whatever filtering and whatever they can. But sometimes, well, I think most of the time, it actually looks better in real life than it does in photos.
Peter: When you see the photo you go, wow. When you see it in real life, it’s even more.
Anna: You’ll probably invite our next clients or even other clients that you’ve got to actually see it live. And before you finish your set up you might say, come and visit us at five o’clock to see what the room looks like or whatsoever.
Peter: Yeah. We’ve had that. Like I said, they might have a theme where they’ve got a color theme, we can do specific colors for you for whatever the…
Anna: Oh, the Dick’s event. Yeah, that’s right. I was there when you did the 20th for Dick.
Peter: Yeah. Let’s work into what the client wants. If someone comes in and they might say, we don’t have that color theme. Let’s go for maybe a violent or maybe a warm white or a cool white or something. They’re usually the popular colors with lighting. But then we’ve also got Gobo and moving lights and all that type of stuff. We can get custom Gobos with your initials. It’s endless really on your options.
Anna: We did a wedding in Sydney Uni in the McLaren hall where they had the patterns running through the roof and it just slowly moved with all the moving heads. It’s endless. You could do something so amazing with lighting and moving heads and patterns and all that, but you’ve just got to really make sure that budget is sitting in that in that wedding budget.
Peter: That comes back to educating them to say, all right you need to have a budget for your lighting. Let alone your audio. Sometimes you want to bring your audio up but let’s put that aside and let’s just say a lighting budget; what do you want to achieve? What do you want to look? Okay, it’s going to be in the vicinity of X and Y dollars. You have to have that factored in. Not to the end and go; oh, this is what I want it to look.
Anna: Our clients are probably thinking, what do I need to budget? What is the range of budget that people need to be kind of thinking of?
Peter: $8 million.
It’s one of those things where it depends on what’s involved. It could be anywhere from two grands to thousand dollars to10, 20 grand, 30 grand. It’s really how much is involved, where it’s going to be. We’ve done weddings where they’ve spent 20, 30 grand on lighting and audio. We’ve done weddings where they spent a thousand dollars. It’s really so broad of an option. Like I said, it’s limitless on what you can spend.
It’s just one of those things. Until you know what you want, that’s when you can start saying okay it’s going to cost you around X dollars and Y dollars. Say that they’re going to do something simple as up lights, okay it’s not very expensive.
Anna: But they still can create a nice beautiful effect.
Peter: Yeah. It changes the room. It changes the room. I think that’s probably one of the simplest effects that is so effective. It can change the room when you start doing your moving lights and your Gobos and all that. That’s just a whole different kettle of fish.
Peter: Then you’ve got to weigh your options where you can do your bridal dance and you’re all lit up, you’ve got all the lights on. You’re really the center of attention. And then your walk-ins and your bridal washes, just the ambience throughout the night. Like you said, having some Gobos moving around on the walls and the roof and the floor. That creates a bit of, like I had a lot of that at my wedding.
Anna: You got married on Le Montage. And you also had inhouse at Le Montage?
Peter: Yes. We look after a lot of the AV requirements. And again, it’s one of those venues that has stuff but we still take extras in because the clients want something that’s different to what’s there. I did the same. Albeit I’ve got access to all the lightings they can get, but still want it to look. I want it to have a stage look because we had a good band there. I wanted it to have that stage look at the back of the room and we were on the other side looking at them. But that was what I wanted to achieve. I think I did that.
Anna: Beautiful. It was a very elegant simple wedding. There were just so much elements to your wedding. It was just so beautifully put together with your vision
and you had the… What I really liked with your wedding is with the band, a lot of people forget about the band.
Anna: And then when it comes to party time, those lights on the band and those rays that you had coming out. It just created the atmosphere of wow let’s party.
Peter: Yeah. Yeah.
Anna: It was really [crosstalk].
Peter: To be honest, I thought it was going to be… I thought I had to use two rooms. I had to use the annex room Alexandria. We had a massive dance floor. The dance floor was 22 metres or something like that. In my family tradition, [inaudible] dances. I thought, no one’s going to dance. It’s going to be an empty desert in the middle of the room.
Anna: My type of dance [inaudible] Ash’s wife, Stephanie and all the ladies on that table we were all up dancing.
Peter: Yeah. I though, no one’s going to dance. And then, once the band started, everybody was up dancing and it was for the whole night. I’m just going to say it’s because of the atmosphere and the whole lighting and everythng. But maybe they had a part to play.
Anna: Yeah, they had a part, 100%. I always say, a great band…The last podcast we had Ebony and Ivory which is entertainment and band. We talked about how important the right band, the right lighting, the right audio, the right atmosphere, and then just the right ambience of everything creates your mood. And then, it creates the mood of your guests.
Peter: Yeah. Once you’ve got everything tied in, you obviously did the flowers and we had a few other suppliers doing draping and what not in there, the dance floor. It all ties in to creating something that was the atmosphere. I’ve been to weddings where they’ve had no lighting. And it’s like, time to get up and dance and there’s no…
Anna: There’s no feel?
Peter: There’s no vibe. There’s no atmosphere. There’s no nothing. You’ve gone all this way, and you see all these decorations and all these types of stuff and there’s no lighting. It looks pretty, but it could look a lot prettier.
Anna: Yeah. Or the venue has left all the lights on and they won’t turn their houselights off.
Peter: [Crosstalk] Yeah. Even simple things like yourself, you tend to always request when you’re doing the center pieces it’s like get the pin spotting done as well. If you’re going to get the centerpiece and you’re not going to light it up it’s sort of a catch 22. Why did you get such an expensive center piece if you didn’t want anyone to see it? Light it up, pin a spot it. You know what I mean? Let’s shows it off a little bit more.
Anna: Yeah, exactly. That’s one of those things. Let’s just hope we get more brides, more clients, more venues and stylists. Let’s hope everyone can actually see what Showtime is all about and actually come contact you. We’ll probably end it here today.
Peter: Or they can contact you.
Anna: Or they can contact me and I can book Showtime.
So, yeah. We’ll wrap it up today. Let’s hope Ash is having a fantastic day on his boat today, but I think what we’ll do is between you, Bill’s[?] and me and Bailey, I think we’ll have their own couple of days away. Thank you for coming on the show today.
Peter: Pleasure to be here.
Anna: Hopefully everyone can understand what Showtime is all about. It’s not just about; hey, we need a budget for lighting. It’s just a matter of going; hey, these are the guys. This is what they do. There’s sales, there’s hire, there’s production. It’s not just lightings, rigging. All my ceiling installs needs a grid. Every time I need that grid, it’s always Showtime that comes and puts it together for us. It’s not just as simple as just lighting of what you guys do. It’s so important with rigging and all of that stuff.
A lot of my work when you see it, we always have Showtime tagged, Showtime in our videos. There’s a reason why we use Showtime as well. Everything that you just said about budget, testimony to how you work, you’re out Le Montage as an inhouse. We really enjoy working with you all the time. It’s really exciting that we actually have you on the show today to just showcase what you guys are all about. Thank you, Peter.
Peter: Thank you. Anna. Thank you.