Our production crew at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles last summer consisted of five people, including myself as the Production Intern/Stage Manager. I have already shared the story of two of them: Video Technician Joseph Himes and Lighting Designer Chris Boucarut. I’ll post my mentor Matthew Himes’ interview soon. He is the Director of Programming and Production at Levitt.
The fifth crew member, and my closest workmate at Levitt, is Assistant Production Manager and Monitor Engineer Andrew Perez. In addition to basic production of building and tearing down the stage before and after each concert, I worked with Andrew backstage and on stage during the shows. Andrew was in charge of stage management until I joined the crew so I got most of my stage management training from him. I got to ease his workload by taking that responsibility off of him.
When Andrew is giving great advice on how to get into production in his interview, he’s pretty much talking about my training last summer. I got to learn about everyone’s roles in the production team and by learning a little bit of everything, in addition to my own responsibilities, I understood the bigger picture of how a show gets done together as a team.
Andrew is always in a good mood, he makes people laugh and is super easy to work with, all the way professional, and does everything for the artist to produce a successful show. He wants to create a great experience for everyone, not only for the fans but also for the artist and crew. It’s all about people, teamwork, and creating something amazing together.
This is Andrew’s story.
Hi Andrew! Please tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do at Levitt.
I am the Assistant Production Manager and Monitor Engineer. I overlook the production and make sure that everything is working right and we’re capable of producing a show.
As a Monitor Engineer, I have to control the stage volume and the monitors for each individual band. Monitor mixes change and it also changes depending on whether or not they have in-ear monitors.
What have you done before and how did you end up working at Levitt?
I was a sound engineer or AV tech for Citrus Hospitality Management in downtown LA. They have a rooftop bar that has live audio every night. They also have a basement venue where they have live performances and I would run their systems for them.
I worked with Matt Himes in downtown at Mrs. Fish and Perch as his monitor engineer and he has worked with me a few times since then. About three years ago he hit me up and asked me if I was interested in running monitors for the Levitt Pavilion for their summer concert series.
What’s the best thing about your work?
Man, that’s a loaded question because it depends on how you look at it. There are so many great aspects that you could get out of what I do.
One is that you’re creating an event and you’re making it happen. You’re creating an experience not just for yourself but for everybody. Being someone who’s been an advocate for live performances and concerts it’s great being behind the scenes and being part of the action to make it happen. We don’t really see behind the scenes, we always see the highlights and now I get to see behind the scenes and I get to help make it happen.
And along with making it happen is the people I get to make it happen with. We have a team here at the Levitt and we make great performances happen along with trying to draw in amazing artists. Being able to meet them and work with them and not just listen to them on the radio, we get to work with them in an actual live performance. I think that’s a huge plus and benefit of working in the position I work in. Being able to meet the artist one-on-one is pretty awesome and working with them and trying to make something happen and collaborate in that moment. I think that’s pretty cool.
What’s the biggest challenge in your work?
Patience. I have a lot of it but just being able to work with different dynamics, whether it’s musicianship, musicians, artists, or even your own team internally, I feel everyone’s bringing something to the table and being able to work with everything and everyone is a challenge. But as long as you know what the outcome is all together I think you can accomplish anything as a team.
I think that what’s pretty important is maintaining your clarity and your composure and knowing what your end result is and keeping it that way because there are so many things that happen. I mean, you’ve worked festivals here. So many things can just take it to a whole different direction and are you able to work with that and not being difficult or is it possible to do it. It’s always kind of having a can-do attitude and trying to make things happen.
What would you like to say to a newbie who wants to work as an Assistant Production Manager or Monitor Engineer?
I guess there are so many ways to do something. Just be open to learn all these different ways and see what works best.
The greatest knowledge is experience and just doing it and saying yes to any opportunity that you have. It might not be the greatest, I’ve done gigs where I didn’t get hooked up or equipment was really bad but in the end it was an experience to learn from and to develop how you present your work. Just like how you try to go at it over and over again, whether it’s Monitors or being a Production Manager, I think the more you do it the more comfortable you get. Eventually, it just starts to become second nature for you and then you start developing from the basic knowledge that you learned from.
I think it’s important to get a foundation and develop it. Don’t become so hard on it because so many different dynamics and ideas are coming at you and just because it’s not what you envisioned doesn’t mean it’s wrong, you need to stay open. I think that’s pretty important. Just continuously doing it and saying yes. Wheather it’s Stagehands, Production Manager, Monitor Engineer, FOH, Lighting, Stage Manager, you learning from everybody just makes you a better candidate and an asset and now you know where you can help out and not just be like, oh I don’t know that, I’m not going to do that. Being able to throw yourself in different worlds is definitely a huge plus.
So, not just directed towards Monitor Engineers or Production Managers, just get yourself in the production world and learn everyone’s role and then that only improves what you can do. Like pretty much what you’ve been doing all summer! Bouncing around everyone’s different world and you’re only learning more and more. It’s not hurting you, it’s only benefiting you.
Yeah, and you get to understand the bigger picture.
Yeah, exactly. So, you now understand how everyone created this together.
Finally, feel free to promote yourself and your services, how people can find you on social media, etc.
I get referred to by friends and family and musicians on the field and they trust me to do all their work. If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More interviews with the Levitt crew:
- Interview with Allegra Padilla, Director of Community Relations & Partnerships
- Interview with Blu Valdivia, Security Lead
- Interview with Jenny Nunfio, Maintenance Coordinator
- Interview with Joseph Himes, Video Technician
- Interview with Chris Boucarut, Lighting Designer
Wanna read more interviews with live music professionals? Click here