20 March 2005
After six weeks of operation, it is time to send a personal statement about our brand new company, Show Support Pty Ltd, to those friends in the entertainment industry who may be interested in hearing about our progress to date.
Show Support is currently fulfilling the tasks of a crewing service in Sydney to provide additional labour to assist in the set up, operation and de-rigging of multi media events in Sydney. We specialize in AV; however, we like to think of ourselves as a consulting agency that finds placements for stagehands and technicians on an hourly and daily basis.
Since our inception on 1 Feb 2005, we have had 22 jobs, with varying numbers of crews to over 10 different companies. All of the major AV companies that we hoped would use us have done so. The results have been much better than anticipated and we look forward to a similar rate of growth in the near future. Without any advertising other than word of mouth, we have instantly attracted a client base and crew that any crewing service would be proud of.
The company was started due to a deep-seated knowledge that conditions could be improved for both clients and crew. The current systems in place seem to barely meet the demands of most production companies and many people see the crewing experience as a hit and miss gamble, a necessary evil. We have introduced a few new ideas to help improve the service received by our clients, whilst at the same time, improving the knowledge and financial status of up and coming crew. Too many people have been turned away from seeking employment in this industry due to the avarice of their employers. Crew and techs alike have sought alternative ways of making money due to disillusionment. So many potentially great workers cannot conceive a future in this industry and only work to fulfill the daily necessities of life.
$2.00 P/HR INCENTIVE:
We have initiated an incentive scheme to help obtain better results from our crew. Our starting rate of pay is substantially better than other crewing services. This means we can recruit our crew, already trained to a degree, from those companies. If the crewmember works to a degree of satisfaction that is reported back to us by the client or supervisor on any particular job, we will reward him or her with an extra $2.00 an hour for that job. No other company does this. This is an open ended offer that has so far been achieved three times. We hope that the frequency of this additional payment will increase as the training and work ethic of our crew improves to adapt to our standards. The cost of this is not passed on to the customer but is absorbed by us. And we are only too happy to pass this on if it means our clients and crew are happy with the results they have obtained. With any luck, we will soon be paying this for every crewmember on every job.
NEGOTIABLE PAY RATES:
Negotiable rates of pay are also in place in order to attract a better standard of worker. If a client requests a certain individual, or they perform technical roles, or are currently getting certain rates of pay in the market place, we will endeavour to match those rates. Therefore, there is always room to improve and progress for those people who work for Show Support.
FREELANCER CREW CHIEFS:
Our supervisors are contracted in to manage your crew efficiently. They are not the standard crew chiefs you may be used to on $17.50 an hour, loaders who have been in the industry for some time without progressing to the status of a freelancer. Our crew chiefs are getting paid between $30 and $35 an hour – proper freelance rates, because they are legitimate freelancers with a proven track record and years of experience in the industry. What you pay for is what you get and the mark up is made on the rest of the crew who are driven and trained to provide the best possible results for you. We don’t mind at all if we don’t make money on our senior personnel. We are happy to find well paying placements for such people who deserve it as well as delivering a first rate standard of service to you. The psychological effect of this is that it gives the crew encouragement that they could progress in the company and become crew chiefs themselves. There is somewhere to go and they will be learning from the best.
Our crew is encouraged to have tools on them at all times. Many of you may have already seen the Show Support waist packs that are provided to our crew. This means that they don’t have to run to their bags every time they need a screwdriver or a set of pliers or a shifter. The minimum requirements are 1 leatherman and 1 shifter, but crew are encouraged to have more than that. Those who freely adopt these measures will receive more work than those who resist. Don’t tell them this, but even if every second one had tools on them it would be a vast improvement. Personally I cannot conceive doing this job without having a few basic tools on my person. This is another initiative that we know will give us an advantage.
Where possible I will be working onsite with the crews and driving them to and from work as well to ensure they make it 15 mins early to every gig. If I cannot go myself on any sizeable job I will send someone I trust in my place. This guarantees constant training and improvement of knowledge and work ethic, something they are just not receiving from other companies. It also puts me in a position to recruit other worthwhile personnel, and to acquire the phone numbers of each and every successful tech I come across from every company I know. We all know it’s a small industry, but it is growing bigger everyday, and anyone who books crew knows that good labour is getting in shorter and shorter supply. This is why we need a database of all the good workers and technicians and to train the up and coming workers who show good potential in the arts of being a successful tech or loader.
You have done your job so far in paying for crewing services to train people off the street how to roll leads and pack trucks. Now it’s time to help us train them even further and turn them into professional loaders and techs who can be trusted to work hard and well, unsupervised, and in any given situation. Better crew will naturally gravitate to better money and it will not take long for all the best people from amongst the crewing services to be working for us. Use anyone else, and you are merely training our personnel of the future whilst paying for people we would not even consider employing.
Always remember that I have come from a loading background myself and in spite of operating audio in the Sydney Olympics and working with PA systems for Panasonic at the Athens 2004 games, as well as countless other audio visual operating jobs over the years in Australia and the UK, I will always feel an affinity, respect and admiration for my crew who are the hardest working people I know.