Our 2018 Breakthrough Award winner Elliot Baines is well known for being one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the industry and our youngest Standout Talent winner at just 15 years old! It has been a few months since we caught up with him but we managed to grab him for a quick catch up …
How did your passion for the production industry begin?
I really got the spark when I began going to festivals with my family, as we used to be a very festival family. Specifically, a festival called Beautiful Days in Exeter, one that I have been attending since the age of 2. We used to go there a lot as I have grown up listening to a band called The Levellers, and I just completely fell in love with the lights on the stage. At aged 7, I went up to FOH where I first met Chris from ChamSys and Nic. I asked how they control their lighting rig? How do you make it change so specifically (as at this point, I was also collecting disco lights with my birthday money), and they said “we have a lighting console up here!” and they invited me up to have a look. I remember I was flashing the blinders and I said “Why are the other lights not working?” and Chris said that it wasn’t programmed yet. Then that gave me another spark, realising you could pretty much achieve anything with lighting and really make your creativity come to life. My dad used to play in a band called Lazarus Blackstar, and he and his band was playing in a venue called Rios in Bradford. The in house lighting guy was looking after me who then let me trigger the smoke machine, and the next time actually operating the lights. I was 7 then, almost my 8th birthday, and I was absolutely loving it. I really fell in love with lighting then, and really wanted to explore the possibilities. I then started to collect even more disco lights, and I would make £20 every time I lit a friends birthday party or my family gatherings. Later through the years, I went to more gigs, met more lighting designers and learnt more things, and in 2010 or 2011, I went to my first exhibition which was the BPM show at the NEC. As the years went on, the more things I learnt meant the more people I met, in 2014 I was sitting in the IT suite of my primary school, I was 10 at the time. I saw a man on a computer, and he seemed to be editing the school website. We started talking as I was curious about what he was doing, which he was obviously editing the school website, and I was so interested in that so I then really wanted to make a website. But about what? I went home and started thinking, and then went back to school the next day to speak with him once again. He said “maybe if you have a hobby, you could write about that?” and I got that ‘Eureka!’ moment of making a website about my lighting! A few days after that, me and my mum visited Glastonbury, specifically being The White Spring. I saw this shape engraved onto the floor. It looked awesome! I also remember seeing one up in Scotland. It was made into a little spring with water running through it. That shape was a Spiral. I got home, started talking to my friends on my Xbox, telling them what I wanted to do. They thought it was really interesting and I remember after that, me and my brother were sitting in the living room watching TV. I couldn’t stop thinking about the website and merging the lights together. Then it came to me, Spiralstagelighting! It could be a service that offers lights for gigs. Then from there, I made cards, social media pages, and spread it as much as I could, giving my cards to other LDs, industry faces and at the BPM show at the NEC. I started to get emails, questions about what the service was, it was amazing! Two of my first clients were Summa Food and The Exchange Arts Centre in Keighley. Also in 2014, a security guard at a festival gave me an Avolites business card, which was Steve Warren. I remember we arranged to meet Steve from Avolites, and met the whole team during that same day. From then on, Spiralstagelighting grew as I learnt more and more (as every day is a learning day no matter how experienced you are), and it became what it is today! We have our own office in Halifax, I won the TPi Standout Talent award in 2018, we started getting clients overseas, and in the UK. Having worked with many different artists, festivals and production companies, myself and the company are still on the same journey.
Did you do a course? If so, where?
I first did the Avolites course to touch my knowledge up of using their software and consoles and more training at exhibitions.
Was there anyone who influenced you along the way to get to where you are today?
Visiting other companies really inspired me, and just all the support from my family, and the industry. The support I got and the kindness really made me feel welcome, and made me feel like I could really just go for it! It seems like a challenging industry, which it can sometimes be, but at the end of the day, no matter what you’re doing in it or how experienced you are, we are all just enjoying what we do and love meeting new people.
How old were you when you won your Breakthrough Talent Award back in 2018?
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I don’t really have a highlight as I love every show I do, but if I have to say, winning the Standout award, and going to the ceremonies. Shows wise, I am visiting Dubai on Thursday (I think that’s still a secret) and moving into our Halifax office.
How have you spent the last 18 months?
I have spent the last 18 months working in many different ways, and finding out how I can grow Spiralstagelighting during the lockdowns with the help of social media, and remote working!
What was your highlight of 2021?
My highlight from 2021 has to be our work in Dubai at two exhibitions and conferences with such an amazing team. One being based at the Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo 2020, and one being at The Dubai World Trade Centre. All lighting was supplied by Encore.
If I had to choose another, one of my favourites was for Caudwell Children at The Roundhouse. I was the Lighting Designer and programmer for the show, and we also had our own ground package. For the show, we asked Sam Parry to operate it.
What would your advice be to yourself 5 years ago?
5 years ago was the worst time of my life losing my brother to a motorbike accident, so my advice to myself then is “As life goes on, it gets better, and keep on going with Spiral!”
Do you have any advice to anyone who wants to work in this industry?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or reach out to companies and manufacturers with an introduction, and 100% visit exhibitions. As you work, post about it on social media, and create a website where you work can be seen worldwide
What are you looking forward to most this year?
I hope 2022 will be even more positive for us than 2021. We have had interest from tour management companies and agencies for tours and projects this year. I am looking forward to getting out on the road, but what I am excited about most of all is hoping to reach the achievements of our business plan this year.
Photo Credit : Apertunes Photography