60 seconds with… Chris

Chris has worked in the event industry for more than 20 years and with Eclipse for 11. He set up Eclipse’s Set Department in Croydon where he manages a team of carpenters, prep technicians and freelancers who create conference and awards backdrops, exhibition stands, staging and furniture.

Describe a typical day for you:

It starts very early with a strong coffee to get me mentally prepared for the day ahead. Every day brings new problems and challenges to which I need to find solutions. Often these need to be done very quickly, so you need to be able to think on your feet if you work in scenic. The rest of the day is made up of lots of phone calls, emails and ordering of various materials.

What do you love about working in the set department?

I enjoy being in a busy, creative workshop and seeing the designers’ drawings come to life. It’s also nice to get involved with the builds in the workshop, giving suggestions and ideas. What I love about my role, in particular, is being the problem-solver, so that any outcome is a positive one for both our client and Eclipse.

What has been the most challenging set you’ve had to build?

I don’t look at them as challenges, more as ‘creative obstacles’. I’ve worked in this industry for over 20 years so there aren’t many problems I haven’t encountered. Two creative jobs that stick out as challenging were when we turned the car park at Disneyland Paris into a lunar landscape for a new product launch and staff party. There was a lot of work involved in a short time.

The other was putting two soundproof rooms into a bottling plant for a conference. You have no idea how loud these places are! The rooms had to be able to cancel out the noise from outside and accommodate around 50 people each, have two sets of doors and a roof and be suitable for a clean environment inside the plant.

What one item do you rely on most to do your job?

My phone. It never stops ringing, although my PC is pretty handy too!

What makes you smile most at work?

My team, and escaping my desk to get involved with making stuff in the workshop. I also love hearing the sound of rapid-firing staple guns, saws running, the door on the last truck of the day being closed, and seeing a tidy workshop!

Where would you be working if you hadn’t chosen event production?

I love the sea and the water so always wanted to be a marine biologist. I don’t think much time would have been spent in a lab, but more underwater.