This article is the second in a collaborative series with Astro Audio Video Lighting (AVL), one of Los Angeles' leading retailers, installers and integrators for audio, video and lighting equipment. These articles will provide insights into how the Astro AVL team has used X-Laser systems to fit their clients' needs in all sorts of entertainment and production disciplines.
By Cypher, Sales Manager / DJ Instructor / Installation Designer & Foreman at Astro AVL
The key to pitching products to entertainment venues is understanding their needs. In this blog I will outline the driving factors guiding their decisions on how to light their space, and how you can align your pitch to appeal to their initiatives. Follow along to make your presentation a success and get them the right laser(s) for the job.
Nightlife Venues - Understand the demographic
Venues larger than your classic sports bar are easy suspects for recommending X-Laser equipment, especially if it's a performance venue in the nightlife arena. Our installation department integrates lasers into local hotspots of various sizes and it’s worth noting that the prime time to explore including a professional laser is when the venue undergoes a renovation or is being built from the ground up.
Wash lights and moving heads are great for giving these venues the sense of having the best DJ lights, but when 1 a.m. hits and they want to crank up the experience a notch, they will be looking for the next addition to their arsenal. You can pitch a laser system early during the design phase, but it's also a great follow up for a few months down the road after they've had time to settle in and generate some revenue. This timing also lets them get used to and absorb the overall programming routine as well as gaining awareness of the sometimes-pervasive monotony that comes from playing back the most frequently used lighting scenes routinely night after night.
The venue may even learn that they can attract a higher tier of performing artists based on the aesthetic presentation that they offer during shows. Depending on the promoters they are trying to collaborate with, that can become a pivotal driving factor in the venue's plans for expansion and growth.
Here's a quick tip for these types of nightlife clients: Ask them what other venues they are using as a model to draw inspiration from, and do some research to see if that other event space has social media content showing their use of lasers.
Your client will want to ensure they’re taking all the steps to provide (at a minimum) the same level of quality experience as their competition, and achieving the best DJ lighting in their budget can help them do that—especially when lasers are involved.
Art Galleries & Public Exhibits – Get creative
Lasers aren’t just for enhancing live music events and nightclubs. There is a practical utility in using lasers from a symbolic and more human creative perspective.
Creating a laser wall, liquid sky or scanning beams could represent a specific idea from the artist calling the shots. It could be rather literal, like mimicking a deadly device used by a James Bond villain. Or, on the other hand, it could be symbolic, like the physical sensation of a visual barrier that represents entrapment in an otherwise seemingly open and emotionally neutral space.
Craft your approach here. If you’re dealing with the artist’s assistant or prop designer it will be more essential to directly convey that the X-Laser product you’re recommending has the right features to meet the job's aesthetic.
If only a single color is being requested you might hone in on the simple Aurora Emerald for that classic green look. If they envision a more colorful display, then the Aurora 4C would be an easy recommendation.
From here, do additional discovery and ask questions to gauge for red flags stemming from otherwise overlooked external factors. If there is a high amount of ambient light present or the intended throw distance is quite longer than originally conveyed, then you will want to assure them that upgrading to something like the 20-watt Skywriter HPX M-20 will eliminate those potential shortcomings stemming from environmental circumstances.
The set designer will not only make your life easier by upselling this more powerful system to the artist for you (given that their job obviously relies on completing their tasks successfully), but they will also thank you for saving their butt from a potential on-set meltdown.
If you’re dealing with the artist directly, you’re going to want to come to an understanding of the common vibe of their vision from the onset and drop the engineering mindset for a moment. Then, after they trust that you are aligned with their endgame, you can transition to outlining the practical parameters defined by the model of the originally suggested X-Laser product.
This is also the time to check whether the artist's vision will run astray of any of the fundamental safety protocols to note when using lasers. This conversation will either lead them to a product upgrade (such as a system with more precise zoning or signal control), or it may lead them to make a reasonable compromise to their creative concept like fixture positioning or projection area.
Either way, you will be doing yourself a solid. If you are having trouble qualifying their design request based on safety and the artist is unwilling to change the design, then you can save yourself a lot of time and energy by backing out now.
However, if you properly and plainly outline the parameters of a laser’s abilities and how it may not meet their criteria, then they have to either accept adjusting their expectations or opting to upgrade their purchase to the next tier of projector that will meet the functional and/or safety requirements for their concept.
Your time is just as valuable as the opportunity cost associated with misjudging the client’s expectations and trying to put out proverbial fires. Don’t put yourself in that situation.
In continuation of this thread in the next blog, I will discuss a different breed of clientele: the mobile DJ. In the meantime, feel free to check out why Astro AVL is considered a supplier of top-rated DJ lights, lasers and projection fixtures in the industry for Southern California and beyond.
ABOUT ASTRO AVL
Astro AVL has been a landmark resource in the entertainment industry since 1974. As LA’s first and original DJ store, it has helped legendary and local artists launch their careers and has provided Hollywood's top production studios with the tools they need to bring their sets to life through visual artistry. Beyond sales, Astro offers a rentals & repair service department and a school for educational instruction in DJing, Music Production, and Lighting Programming. The company also designs and executes customized systems across hallmark LA venues and nationwide chains. If you find yourself in Los Angeles, Astro AVL invites you to check out its award-winning showrooms. To learn more about Astro AVL, please visit astroavl.com today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cypher has 20 years of experience as a DJ and as a producer with track releases on five internationally recognized record labels. Along with performing for venues from NYC to LA he designs audio and lighting systems, giving him a wide base of knowledge of products in the entertainment industry. He is the Manager, Lead DJ Instructor, and Installation Foreman of Astro Audio Video Lighting in Glendale, California.
To see all of the blog posts in this series, click here for the archive.