Finally, a break at home, to the dry mountain heat away from the too dry and hot Saudi and the too muggy Milan and Rome. As Italy remains hot hot hot it partially closes for the next three weeks for business holidays, I am finally at home for a much looked forward to break, in the mostly dry and sunny Apennines of northern Italy.
Work here in the heat for events has been constant, which is fabulous. We have had four projects in the last four months here in Italy that have been for UK production companies. Work for WRG(Inizio Engage), Aspect and The&Partnership has given us three more clients this year that have found us through old connections and also through this series of missives I send out from my kitchen table. I know I have talked about modern communications, Facebook etc for getting new business but it is always fantastic to get the call from old friends and new connections given by old friends as a recommendation. The thrill of the call for someone to have thought about us is always the best bit and the job that follows has, so far, always been a joy. Working in a different language, a different work culture can be challenging and I take great pleasure in helping clients navigate working here, whether it is in Rome, Milan, Florence or Venice.
I worked with a lovely team from WRG, (Inizio Engage) who welcomed me into their very tight and talented production team as production manager, we supplied tech, printed graphics, scenic, furniture and people for a lovely event in Rome. A truly lovely experience. The warmth of a good team can work wonders and the trust that major companies put in us, always brings out the imposter syndrome we all carry, but the joy of delivering to design, on time and exceeding the clients needs time after time does somewhat settle the nerves.
A short break from Italy took me to Dubai and Saudi Arabia for PRG as their scenic consultant on a very large build for three weeks. This build was a very detailed project made for online viewing but in the vain of large TV sets, with the obvious KSA royal boxes and curve balls it became a truly inclusive team project and a first for PRG to need a scenic consultant for a while. Working alongside the Production Management team of Gavin Short, Martin Smit, Sarah James, Theo van As and Damien McGurn, was a real pleasure and a good learning curve for us all to integrate a scenic mindset into a technical production company install.
I was chuffed to be asked as I have known Peter McGann since the mid nineties and having enough wood under my belt, so to speak, it was a perfect project for me to get involved in. PRG had contracted Maestra in Dubai as their set partner for this project and it was a first for me working with them. I coordinated for PRG the skills of Al Laith and Maestra as we constructed 2 very big tv studios alongside 4 smaller media studios.
I cannot say enough about Maestra the set company. They have a really spot on management team for every stage of the project. Their ability to make samples really quickly, to adapt to curve balls on site and their communication throughout the project were top draw.
All of these processes were guided by a scenic consultant based in Dubai, Peter Hurlin. If you need a Dubai based freelance bod for scenic, Peter is a detailed driven wizz , his adept use of Sketchup was the reason that the detailed build arrived on site the way it did, despite deadlines and many curve balls along the way.
Something else that struck me whilst in Saudi, was the amazing team that Showforce have put together out there, with Saudi nationals. They are excellently trained, hard working and diligent. They have the skill set you need on site, work safely and importantly listen to the team leaders when they had to brief them on more difficult tasks. You can see the hardwork that Showforce have put in out there and their teams were definitley a major part of the large PRG team on site.
Returning to Italy, but not quite home yet, I landed in Milan for The&Partnership. I arrived with our small production office offering of Fridge, printer, paper and laptop (small sales plug). We had the run of the Palazzo Bovara central atrium for a car launch in a very designer savvy environment designed by The&Partnership and built by my suppliers in Milan. The build was a very complex combination of water ( I hate water on events as some of you may remember!) wind, motors, smells, sound, lighting and large format print, all supplied by us (bigger plug).
As I mentioned earlier, Itay will be closing pretty much for the next few weeks, so if you have a project on the go and replies are not coming thick and fast from suppliers, bear this in mind. The official holiday of Ferragosto is on the 15th of August but like Christmas, companies ramp up into the holidays. As a general rule normality will resume by the first week in September, the 4th this year. If you get into any supply issue let me know as I have a very wide supply chain here that are still active in a skeleton sort of way.
We are looking forward to the Autumn with some great projects in pre-production for Brands at Work in London and Paris and also for Forever Living in Delhi for next spring, but at the moment plenty of time in October, November and December for projects in Italy and surrounding areas. so if you need support please let us know.
Back out to the heat I guess to enjoy the Italian summer, speak soon!