Matthew Byrne, CSEP, Senior Producer + Business Development, Krista Slack + Aylett Inc.
Matthew is a Certified Special Events Professional with a background in AV production and roots in live theatre. With business smarts, technical chops and creative mojo, he’s got the ideal skill set for event production. He was interviewed by Pat Hope for TSEvents People.
PH: Earning your CSEP designation is quite an achievement! When did you do that?
MB: Last year. I took my exam at The Special Event in Nashville.
PH: We met you when you were working in AV and now you’ve moved on to one of Canada’s top event production companies, Krista Slack + Aylett. What is your role at KS+A?
MB: My primary job is Senior Producer for events like festivals, AGMs and awards shows, and I handle marketing and sales for the company.
What previous experience led you to your current position?
I grew up in theatre, studied theatre in college, and toured in numerous shows. Then I worked as a technical director for an AV company, where my theatre experience was definitely useful. Now as an event producer I work with content, the creative aspects and entertainment, and the technical side. Everything in my background works toward the big picture.
What is your favourite part of the job?
Coming from a theatrical background, it’s great to creatively design shows for clients, whether it’s award shows and opening ceremonies or any other type of show or event. It’s great to have flexibility to do all kinds of things creatively.
Is there a recent experience that stands out for you?
The IAC 2014 Opening Ceremony at the Sony Centre. This was for the International Astronautical Congress, attended by scientists, space technology innovators and industry stakeholders. We used a 25-foot-high by 85-foot-wide panoramic screen and made the earth rise up on stage using blended projection, creating a spectacle to surprise and delight the delegates.
We started out with raw images of a bare stage under work lights, using photo mapping onto a screen so it looked like the actual stage was bare. With just a logo and back lighting, it looked kind of dull. As Canadian astronauts David Saint-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen were making opening remarks on this rather uninspiring set, the crowd was beginning to grumble. Then suddenly Jeremy says “We need more space!” and touched the screen. The screen sprung to life! As the screen transitioned we went from a plain image of the bare stage to an image of deep space; from there we “flew” into the solar system until arriving at earth, while live cirque aerial performers burst into the scene in a fantastical entertainment spectacle. The audience was amazed and delighted – their reaction was great.
What would you like people to know about you professionally?
We’re really creative. The team at KS&A uses “strategic creativity,” blending business and organizational goals with the creative process to focus on objectives and build strategy in a creative way.
Do you have any hidden talents or exciting pursuits away from work?
I love being a dad. My son is three and that’s an amazing age. Being a dad is an amazing experience.
TSEvents People: where we meet key Toronto event professionals.
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