IAN CAMERON

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Ian Cameron - Biography

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I was born in Queensland, Australia, and educated in primary and secondary schools on the Gold Coast. I took further education in the form of Engineering studies at the Queensland Institute of Technology in Brisbane.

I became a musician after leaving QIT, but had various day jobs such as making water skis and helping my father and brother-in law with building construction projects.

My family on my father's side has a long history in the cabinet making field, so I naturally drifted toward that craft, and, although I have no formal qualifications, I now consider that no building project is beyond my abilities. I eventually turned professional musician, playing drums and percussion firstly in bands on the Gold Coast and Brisbane, then touring nationally to all the major cities and towns in Australia.

I was always interested in the technical side of the music business, and in '78 I took over the sound engineer's role with a nationally touring band, eventually buying a sound system and truck to go with the job.

After touring in this capacity for two years, I accepted a job as promoters rep with a Western Australian company, not only promoting bands and other entertainment in WA, but also continuing my sound engineering by working at night with bands represented by the promoter.

Around '81 I changed my focus to lighting design, having spent quite a bit of time doubling as both sound and lighting operator for various shows. Following the lighting direction, I moved to working for a lighting hire company in the daytime, purchased my own lighting system and started a small company hiring lights to the ever expanding Perth entertainment industry.

During my time in Perth, pulling from my experience in promotion, I managed a local WA band, expanding my business and accounting abilities.

In '85 and '86 I worked at Tower Lighting in Perth, at times running the business on my own while the owner was away overseas for lengthy periods of time. This gave me more experience in running high volume business and much needed experience in staff management. At this time I was also building dimmer racks for the company, gaining very valuable technical experience which was to serve me well in the following years.

Late '85 saw my move to the UK and work at the then fledgling Vari-Lite UK. At that time they were the only moving light manufacturers in the world, and armed with my technical experience building dimmers, I had no trouble getting a job initially servicing the lights, then going out on tour as ZZ Top's Vari-Lite operator.

In '87 I returned to Australia for a brief period to get married, finalise my affairs there and make the permanent move to the UK Whilst there, I again worked for Tower lighting in Perth.

I returned to the UK in '88 to work as freelance operator for Vari-Lite, but also working as a Lighting Designer in my own right. That year, I did the first lighting design for what was to be a long association with Chris Rea. Also that year was the first of many lighting designs for Transvision Vamp, a band that would rise to fame in the UK In December of that year, on the Chris Rea 'Driving Home for Xmas' tour, I had the pleasure to work with Patrick Woodroffe. Since that time, Patrick has given me a lot of work, valuable experience and advice. I would name him as one of my biggest influences in the lighting arena since moving to the UK

1990 saw me in the office of Meteorlites in Borehamwood for a brief stint at lighting production in the absence of Jon Cadbury, who was off on leave. This was yet another valuable experience in client relations which I feel has led me to the production position I hold today.

Later that year, I embarked on my first world tour as Lighting Designer with Basia. After a sellout shed tour of the USA, we continued through Hawaii, Manila, Japan and finally back to Europe.

In the early part of '91 I took on the job of technical designer at Neg Earth Lights in London, who I had worked with before as a lighting designer. In my time there, I designed and built motor controllers and took care of the technical repairs on their equipment.

Mid '91 saw me back on the road for Neg Earth Lights operating, designing and crew chiefing the bigger shows. That year, which included more Transvision Vamp shows, I also became lighting designer to Elkie Brooks and started a long stint with Gary Moore.

In '93 I was lucky to get my first job as Production Manager for Quireboys, who shared the same management as Gary Moore at that time. I see this as the turning point in my career, as, although I was very happy with my job as lighting designer, this was the step up and in a different direction that I had been searching for, and the basis for future work.

'93 saw me off on an 8 month stint with the touring theatre production of 'The Blues Brothers', Designed by Patrick Woodroffe. This was to be my first experience of theatre, and I loved it! To this very day, I still rate touring theatre as the most technically and artistically rewarding area. In the following years, I was to re-light the show for Patrick every time there was a technical or song change, and I also programmed and lit a Danish version in Aarhus for Patrick in late '94. This was also my first encounter with Ken Watts, with whom I have worked closely with ever since.

I continued lighting bands and doing conference work, but my interest had changed, and I was taking more and more crew chief jobs at this time to better my time and motion abilities. In mid '95, I was offered a Tour Manager position with a Swedish band called 'Whale". From may through to September that year, I not only tour managed Whale, but also did lighting for Neneh Cherry on my days off! 'Whale' was my "In the deep end" experience at budgeting and travel / hotels, but I enjoyed the experience immensely and I feel this changed my direction and thinking markedly towards production and time and motion even more. The Whale work included another US tour, and gave me the Tour Management aspect of America.

'96 saw me into three big tours as Lighting Crew Chief, the first being a Euro tour with Smashing Pumpkins, followed closely by a US and UK tour with the Eagles, then in '97 a world tour with Metallica which lasted 10 months. I would reflect on this period as a very in depth experience of working with American production and crew people, gaining an insight into how thing are done very differently over there.

From mid '97 to mid '98 I felt I need a break from the road, and took up an offer from Dave Ridgway at Neg Earth Lights to join his production team in the office at their headquarters in Park Royal. I worked there for a year, dealing with hire contracts and occasionally going out on site to deal with the larger shows we were involved with. I feel I gained valuable experience in the diplomacy of dealing with clients while there, also building up a very useful connection with the varied production based people connected> with their area of the business. As Neg Earth regularly do most of the UK festivals, this was a very wide database indeed.

In 1998 I resigned from Neg Earth on the grounds that I felt that I was not really cut out to do that kind of job for the rest of my life, feeling the need to work independently and have my own small production business. To this day, I still have a very good relationship with Dave Ridgway, and count him as the one who gave me all the big breaks I have been lucky enough to receive since coming to the UK

That same year, after doing a major lighting design in France for a Corsican band, "I Muvrini", I embarked on yet another tour of the US with Whale, as tour manager, and following right on from that, a seven month stint as Production Manager for Zucchero's "Blue Sugar" European arena tour. I feel this one of the more challenging projects I have had to deal with, being in control of more staff and technical nightmares than ever before. Let it be said there was never a challenge that did not go without a solution and that, although It was difficult I enjoyed it wholeheartedly.

June trough August in 1999, I worked as site coordinator for George Michael while he recorded an album at Three Mills Island film studios, London. This was a rather unorthodox mission when we converted one sound stage to an air-conditioned studio, and another to a green room with a mobile studio installed. A new technical experience for me!

Late '99 I started work with the Argentinean production company De La Guarda. "Villa Villa" was the title of their production at the Camden Roundhouse theatre. As Technical Director, I spent time documenting the set structure, CAD drawing, and helping to aid the development of a computer controlled servo winch system which hoisted performers in the air. My work continued on this production until it finished it's season in April 2000.

In June 2000, I designed, costed and supervised construction of a scaffold structure and set for Manumission dance club in 'Privilege, Ibiza. This structure was specifically designed for aerial artists to perform on.

From there I moved on to short projects with Geri Halliwell, Festivals for Neg earth Lights as crew chief, Production Manager for Vari-Lite at PLASA, London, then Theatre productions including 'A Tribute to the Blues Brothers', Chichester Theatre's production of 'Godspell' and 'Life x 3' at the Old Vic, London before moving back into the conference field for a short spell then on to what would work out to be a long stretch of touring with Jamiroquai, both as Production Manager, then Stage Manager.

In March of 2001 I bought a mountain top house in Mount Tamborine, Queensland Australia and in August of that year moved to Australia as my primary place of residence although I was still working in the UK.

After meeting Denis Sheahan of DSEM, I did the LIVID festival in late 2003 and around the same time started construction of a second house for my wife Coralie. During the construction period I also did the Splendour in the Grass festival and a Powderfinger tour of Australia and NZ for Denis.

Currently I am still dividing my time between Australia and Europe.

In conclusion I would say that my skills are centered in the areas of production coordination, with specific experience in the areas of lighting, personnel direction, set design, CAD drawing, budgeting and costing, and event planning. In addition, I have technical, electrical and construction experience.

I feel there is no challenge that is beyond my capability, and take pride in doing the job responsibly to the very best of my ability, with regard for diplomacy and rapport with fellow workers.

Ian Cameron