I've been at a crossroads recently - how far from the pack do I stray? I've never taken the conventional path through anything, let alone my career. And as I walk along that path, I begin to see more ways I can move along or away from it. And all of this began to beg a question: "Why did I start along this path to begin with"
I could take the common answer - "I fell into this." There's a long chain of events, hopping from one potential connection to another from a chat with a youth pastor in the eight grade to being an AV leader for a regional reserve bank. But I think that may be the easy answer. Why did I decide to run sound for the youth group? Why have I stayed eight years in a place I thought I'd only stay one?
I've always found myself in the position of not quite but close enough. I always wanted to be a musician, but that talent went to some of my cousins first. I like things like photography and drawing, but never had the discipline to become a great master of the art. I'm logically smart and computationally capable, but not quite focused enough to be an engineer or computer scientist (the dean agreed). I can understand scientific theory, but get bored with theoretical application. I could probably list more, but I think you get the point.
What world is there for the creative that's not the master craftsman and an analyst just shy of scientist? And there lies AV at the confluence.
"It's not just technology and it's not just experiences, it's both working together..."
As a high school sound engineer I could create music without being musical. I could learn to apply physics without being lost in the lab. As I learned other AV disciplines, similar connections seemed to set in. I didn't have to choose one or the other - I could choose both. So, depending on who's hearing the story, I either voluntarily left the computer science program in undergrad or I was chased out (it was really a mutual understanding). I got a film degree instead.
That taught me the next important lesson about AV - I could choose a discipline and settle in to be the very best sound engineer/video director/lighting designer I could be, or I could be the most well rounded professional across all disciplines I could be. In either case, I could be successful. Why choose one, when I could have fun doing what was needed?
And once I entered corporate AV, all those experiences became invaluable.
But there's one more piece of the puzzle. Or maybe all of this is a piece of a larger puzzle. The more I learned about AV, the more I learned I was helping do something greater than simply making a voice louder or a slide bigger. I was helping people communicate.
Whether it's emotion through a song, sales data in a presentation, or the message of the gospel going out, AV is about enabling communication. We can use lighting to communicate a mood, dynamic visuals to communicate significance, and audio to communicate the detail of a message. It's not just technology and it's not just experiences, it's both working together to influence our audiences in ways unavailable to the solitary speaker.
That is why I AV.