Terry King, 26

We asked our 2018 Breakthrough Award winner Terry King what important career advice he would give to anyone starting out

How did your passion for the production industry begin?
My passion for the production industry began early on into my professional career as a session musician. I remember being so fascinated at the stage / lighting designs at different shows I would have the privilege to be playing at and I just remember wanting to know how this all happens and comes together and who are the people involved in achieving this. I was 19 years old at the time.

How did you get into the production industry?  
I literally started by asking questions during production rehearsals or sound-checks. When I’d be on tour as a musician, I started arriving to soundcheck earlier than I was expected to, just so I could experience the process of the show being built. I’d go around and ask questions to people from the audio department, lighting, video, Pyro, crew, catering, everyone! I just wanted to know what they all did and understand what a day on the road looked like from their perspectives. I probably got in trouble a few times for disturbing them from their work! After a good while of doing that I knew I had a lot to learn so I decided to start looking for work with a crewing company. I knew I wanted to be involved in this side of stage but needed to go on a journey of discovering exactly what area I was passionate about the most and pursue it. After working at a crewing company for 10 months, I started looking for work with audio , lighting and video companies where I could come on as a junior warehouse tech to learn the ropes and fundamentals of each of these.

Did you know back then how to start your career?  
I really didn’t have a clue or roadmap of how to get started. There weren’t any resources that I knew of to help with this. I also didn’t know anyone else who was my age who wanted to be in the production industry as the majority of my environment was performers, session musicians, singers, dancers etc.

Did you do a course? If so, where? 
I never did a course as much as I really wish I had. I was already doing a degree in software engineering which was just as a back up plan however I would have loved to do one of the degree courses at Backstage Academy. Either the Live Events Production course or the Live visual and design course. I did do a few of the short courses at Backstage Academy however, working with electricity & rigging

Don’t be afraid or uncertain of your uniqueness and the path that’s set out for you. Embrace your journey unapologetically.

Was there anyone who influenced you along the way to get to where you are today? 
I’m actually the first person in my family to be involved in the live production industry but wife Teleisa, has definitely been the biggest influence and motivation for me. She’s been there right from the beginning of my career in production and she’s believed in me every step of the way. She has a unique attention to detail and such a high level of excellence in everything she does which has definitely influenced me over the years and motivated me to want to be the best I can be in every way. She’s always honest with me and encourages me to push myself when I get complacent.  Industry wise, i’d say one of my biggest inspirations is TAIT Towers. Who and what they are is so inspiring to me particularly because I’m very passionate about automation systems. I love how they’re always trailblazing the use of new technology in live events.

How old were you when you won your Breakthrough Talent Award back in 2018?
I was 23.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?  
Working on the production of  Krept & Konan Headline show at Alexandra Palace “Ally Pally” in October 2018. I was Production Assistant and Stage Manager.

How have you spent the last 18 months? 
Getting married to my best friend, working on a lot of live arrangements for different projects, studying my favourite shows and listening to a lot of production podcasts.

What was your highlight of 2021?
Having the honour of working on the BET Soul Train Awards – I’ve watched that show since I was about 11 years old.

What would your advice be to yourself 5 years ago? 
Don’t be afraid or uncertain of your uniqueness and the path that’s set out for you. Embrace your journey unapologetically. Don’t be afraid to ask when you don’t know the answer. Make sure you take time to enjoy every moment, twist and turn. Go with your gut instinct every time! Don’t neglect your mental health, you can’t function or be your best with work if you’re struggling mentally! Stop, take a breather and talk to someone.

Any advice to anyone who wants to work in this industry?
Don’t feel pressure to have it all figured or know the path you want to go down at the beginning. I’d advise trying different roles and learn about them as much as possible it will help you understand what you gravitate towards more. The industry is so broad and has so many roles so don’t be afraid to explore these. In addition, we now have the gift of social media which means the people you look up to are accessible more than ever before. You can literally DM your favourite lighting designer or Front of House engineer and ask them questions or even if you can shadow or assist them. You may not always get a response but you have the option to try! Make use of it. There’s a whole lot of industry professionals who would love to help the next generation on their journey. Finally, subscribe and make sure you’re getting your monthly copies of the TPi magazine! It’s literally a Godsend for anyone who’s serious about getting into this industry.

What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
In 2022, I’m most looking forward to working on a lot more on both pre and post production for TV based/Award Show productions and delving deeper into merging my musical and event production skill sets to provide my clients with a bespoke, tailored service for their live production ambitions.

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