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Spotlight on Oceania and Southeast Asia with Meyer Sound’s Chris D’bais

Spotlight on Oceania and Southeast Asia with Meyer Sound’s Chris D’bais

Spotlight on Oceania and Southeast Asia with Meyer Sound’s Chris D’bais

Open Mic – our regular Q&A channel for industry insight

Where are you writing this from?
Sydney, Australia

How has the lockdown affected you?
Lockdown has affected the entire entertainment industry, including small rental companies, especially here in Australia and throughout Asia. During the lockdown period, most of my customers and colleagues in the industry have kept in contact with each other, so I have regular conversations with people around the world. People are being forced to think differently, looking for and creating new ideas and new ways to get the industry started again, and we are already starting to see that, especially in Asia.

How has your company reacted to this?
Meyer Sound has had to be agile and we’ve been working with a shifting landscape. Meyer Sound has been very supportive and honest with our global network about where we are in terms of manufacturing and expectations, so I think that has ensured that we are in the forefront of our customers’ minds. Also, the education webinar programme we have been running has kept us connected to our customers, which has been a key part of this lockdown. We want to make sure we are supporting people and educating them, so when we do come out of the lockdown everyone is ready to go.

What are you having to do differently, and could any of this be adopted going forward?
Something we have been working on is collaborating with our rental partner in Sydney, CMG Touring. After CMG purchased a large Leo system, adding to their existing rental stock of Lyon and Leopard, we committed to do a training for their crew. It originally started as a conceptual idea when Sydney lifted the ban of having more than 20 people together. It started to evolve, and what CMG actually built was a production facility in their loading dock. We’ve been talking to our colleagues around the world and using this as a nice backdrop for training and education programmes. Now, we are talking to other major rental companies around the world about doing something similar and I think people are excited to see that with the equipment they already own, they can do something to keep their staff enthusiastic and trained. So that, and the education programme Meyer Sound has been hosting, has been a great way for us to connect with our customers and learn things from them.

Any silver linings?
The collaboration with our partners has been great. We’ve been able to experiment with new products and a lot of things that are on the Meyer Sound roadmap, so it has been really great for us to be able to have the space to do this. Right now, we don’t have any shows – even if we wanted to experiment with new techniques and new training there is not a lot of opportunity – so having a facility like CMG’s and access to their inventory has been a great collaborative approach.

Any useful advice for the industry in these times?
We’re all going to pull through this and get back to work. The industry will be able to look back at this as something that happened and learn from it. Just stay positive – we will get back to work.

Are you noticing signs of anything approaching normality?
We are starting to see small musicals and concerts be rescheduled for September here in Australia, as well as projects throughout Asia. We are starting to see that people are planning for the future and we see signs of recovery, mostly in the installation market. Of course, international touring is going to be difficult, but that also gives us a great opportunity. For example, there are some large festivals here in Australia that are looking to highlight local Australian artists on their line-ups, so I think similarly, there will be a lot of positives for local artists across Asia, too.

What do you predict the rest of the year will look like for the industry?
I hope to see that by the end of the year small theatres and conferences will be back online. But a small outbreak could put a whole country back into lockdown. I know everyone in the entertainment industry wants to push through this, so I do hope we can get back to doing events again very soon.

Further ahead, what’s the future going to look like?
The world has changed, so we will have to be more conscious about social distancing and it will become part of our normal life going forward. The entertainment industry is very resilient and will very quickly bounce back from this because we are so used to building something from scratch and being able to adapt. We are going to band together and come up with great ideas and solutions.

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