Taking place this year from 9 to 13 November, TPi’s Production Futures goes online, offering a week of free web-based learning, resources and engagement with the global live events industry. The event also marks the return of the TPi Breakthrough Talent Awards, where students, freelancers and young people can be in with a chance of winning a seat at the TPi Awards 2021. TPi’s Jacob Waite catches up with last year’s Young Freelancer of the Year, Oli Crump to discover how he is keeping occupied in lockdown…

Where when the lockdown came into force?

“I was out with Stereophonics as a PA tech for Capital Sound when people started having serious conversations about how this would effect our industry. Three shows before the end of the tour the Support band flew back home to Texas early due to the impending travel restrictions, and pretty much as soon as I got home after the last show I found out that my next tour (Rick Astley for BCS Audio) was being postponed, and then soon after that the full lockdown was announced.”

Have you managed to find any industry-related work / projects during the past six months?

“Unfortunately not, I was happy with a bit of a break after a busy tour, but once it became apparent that the festival season would be affected too I started to look elsewhere. I was fortunate to find some work in a local factory assembling ultrasonic transducers, and I stayed there for a few months before moving out of the area for unrelated reasons. A few weeks ago I started working for a company installing and wiring up recording studios, so it’s nice to be back on team audio again.”

Have you developed or enhanced any industry-related skills in lockdown?

“In the first couple of months I followed a lot of the videos and webinars by L-Acoustics, DiGiCo and other manufacturers/freelancers – it was really great to see so many great resources being put online. I wish I could say I’d done more with my time, but with full-time work and then moving house I’ve kept pretty busy.”

How has this sudden change in work life balance and the luxury of time affected you?

“It’s certainly been interesting and I must say I’ve come to appreciate having my weekends and evenings back, but I’ve missed the constant pressure and responsibilities of my normal work.”

How do you see the next few months panning out for you?

“Your guess is as good as mine but I’m lucky enough to have some work for now, so I imagine I’ll continue to ride it out and dream of the gigs on the other side.”

What advice would you offer to young people looking to break into the industry at this strange time?

“There’s loads of resources online now – L-Acoustics/DiGiCo/Rational Acoustics have put loads of really useful content on YouTube, and a lot of software has extended trial periods now. Livestreams seem to be the main game at the moment so there’s no better time to be brushing up on your networking knowledge and getting nerdy about how to change your mix for broadcast.”

This article originally appeared in issue #254 of TPi, which you can read here.