SeedsConf 2017 Production Details

Our SeedsConf production design this year was a bit of a departure for us. Even though we’ve enjoyed some of the crazy sets and production elements over the years, we are trying to tackle things a bit differently these days…but how do you exercise restraint when it comes to the general expectation for a conference?

The production you saw at SeedsConf 2017 is a great example of where we’ve been heading. Although we have a large stage area to contend with, we’ve been toning down the “shock and awe” elements in favor of beauty, depth, and simplicity—attempting to let the art show through without the let-me-cram-it-down-your-throat aspect that is so easy to do with a big production.

As always, our lighting and scenic designer Daniel Connell, was at the helm to design the layout and pull things together in the room. But before he could get to work, we truly had to change HOW the team came up with the concepts in order to achieve the desired end result.

Overall, the general consensus was that we wanted something a bit more sophisticated than what we have done before. The focus with our church and leadership transition over the past couple of years boils down to this: We want to show people the real Jesus. That’s it. Pretty simple to do but translating that to a physical set design can be somewhat arbitrary.

This was one of the first times in our history that we let the musical content dictate where we wanted to begin with a scenic design. Seriously, we have almost always come up with a stage set layout of some sort to give the concepts for our content an actual starting point—fairly hard to do as you’re literally coming up with structure and hardware ideas with very little outside inspiration. This time, a few of us sat in a room and dreamed a bit together to see what ideas had traction and what felt true to what we ultimately wanted to say. Daniel reacted to these bits of inspiration and started coming up with design concepts but it wasn’t until concept #4 that we hit the mark. Yet another reminder that your first idea is usually not the best one.

For several years, I’ve started writing down descriptive words and phrases I hear the creative and design folks use as they’re developing songs and other content. It’s been a great way to communicate with Daniel as well, as he can start reacting to these in his own way. Rather than continue giving more context and explanation for where we ended up this year, here’s my “list” for this project:

  • Beauty
  • Depth
  • Silhouette
  • Transparency
  • Simple
  • Authentic
  • NO GIMMICKS
  • Sincerity
  • Color
  • Let Jesus shine through our content

We felt we had a big win from the way this conference looked and felt. Being able to incorporate some of the overall conference design content into some of the stage looks was also a high point for us. Any time we can pull together those two worlds we consider it a success. Of course we had a few issues and hurdles to deal with as things came together but the final result is what matters most.

To all my production brethren: There is definitely some coolness to the gear side. I’ll admit that any time you’re tasked with hanging LED video horizontally, you’re starting to foray into some cool production techniques. For now though, I’d love to let the final results do the talking and show a few photos that truly embody the tone of the list above.

For those who attended, thank you for being our guests. For those who had the opportunity to view it via stream, we truly hope we did it justice with the way we translated this to broadcast.

If you didn’t get the chance to see it or stream it live, you can view the night sessions here:

Night 1

Night 2

Night 3

Photos

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Andrew Stone
Production Manager
Andrew Stone is the Production Manager and Audio Director at Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK. His 27 years of touring experience have brought a unique, and sometimes unorthodox, perspective to his approach towards production in the church. He has been a key part of changing the culture behind COTM's live events and he loves sharing his knowledge with other churches. He's been married for 20 years, rarely wears anything but black, and genuinely loves to rock. You can find him on Twitter (@stone_rocks), Instagram (stone.rocks), and is a blog contributor on Seeds, COTM's free resource site.
@stone_rocks