With 12 years of experience working in the events industry, Trent Weekes, account and creative director at Solution Entertainment, has produced a diverse range of events.
Here, A LIST Guide catches up with Trent to find out more about his career journey and what he has learnt along the way.
Where did you start your career?
The earliest influence in my life setting me on a course to events and entertainment was attending my first concert with my parents. It was 1993, I was 10 and it was Tina Turner and her What’s Love Got To Do With It tour. I was mesmerised by the Tina Turner machine, a hydraulic stage that Tina rode out over the audience. This moment imprinted on my memory and I have forever been obsessed by the wonder of engineering experiences!
I started working for EB Games in the year 2000 as a Christmas casual. I continued to work my way up to store manager in 2003, attending my first company conferences which is where I was inspired to follow a career of event management. I moved to the office in 2005 as an assistant buyer helping create a power point for the company conference and the rest from here was history. At each event, I systematically took on more event duties until being promoted to event manager in 2009.
What does your current role involve?
While my role at Solution Entertainment Sydney is account director, I am also leading the creative vision on many of our projects as well as producing and managing events. Having managed a multi-million-dollar EB Games store at the age of 19 running a business comes second nature to me and I am quite confident in juggling the role of business operator and creative director. Our team is however expanding so I am also enjoying leading my team members.
What events are you working on at the moment?
Currently we have just pitched two exciting award dinner concepts, pitched two ideas for VIVID 2020 (one pictured as featured image) and are developing a unique first-to-market show to propose to city festivals. We are also working closely with our clients to produce their special events like car launches, hospitality lunches and end of year celebrations.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I have a very active mind and a lot of energy, so I love that in events and entertainment I get to use both sides of my brain: logical and creative thinking. Over the years I have developed a deep symbiotic relationship between both sides of my brain, refining the skill to be able to think wildly creatively and big picture, but by doing so with a respect to the reality of cost and physical limitations.
In events, no day is ever the same which is exactly my happy place! I also love the human side of events collaborating with my team, clients, suppliers and artists.
What has been your career highlight?
In 2017 I produced my first rock concert with Aussie indie rock band Regurgitator. Their UNIT album shared the same 20 year anniversary as EB Games and so together we developed the show as a gift to our staff and customers of our EB EXPO 2017. The show featured a fully decked out concert stage and set with large format LED screens, pyro techniques and light show.
We also worked with another band and application developers to create a never before seen holographic effect. The band wearing trackers on their head we were able to project animated holograms over their heads live as they played. It was insane working together in such a collaborative way!
Have you had any major event disasters? What happened?
We had been using turnstile gates at EB EXPO to manage guest entry and it had been working fine for several years. Then in 2015 with about 5000 very eager gamers ready to get into the precinct, the system failed and would not let any guests inside when the tickets were scanned.
Thinking very fast on my feet and thanks to our ticket design, which had a visual redundancy built in, with access denoted by a specific bold colour. We popped up on a section of the fence to by-pass the turnstile gates and all available event staff set up a temporary ticket check. All they needed to look for was the bright blue color and the guests was granted entry.
In the end guests entered as fast as the turnstiles and in future years we switched to this process as we felt it was friendlier guests being greeted by event staff.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during your career?
In 2012, we took over an entire island for a conference and had spent many hours trying to perfect every minute detail. Due to the need for us to build a temporary theatre structure on the island it got to the point where the level of additional production was unachievable and to finish the event a lot of the ideas needed to be compromised.
While at the time I felt like I had failed the creative vision it was the highest rated event I had created to date. I learned that less really is more. Even if you produce 20 magical moments at an event, guests are likely to only remember a few. Therefore it is better to ideate then refine and focus on only those ideas that will create the most memorable impression. What is left over on the edit list, you need to consider if it is vital to the success of the event. The process is invaluable for achieving events with limited budgets.
Where is your ultimate bucket-list event?
Nothing would make me happier or feel more sense of pride than the chance to produce an Olympic Games Opening Ceremony for Australia.
Over the years I often chased projects that are unique and out of the box as I want to prepare myself to be able to dream of a vision that would be worthy. While it may feel like a pipe dream, I feel confident that this is a potential career aspiration.
Find out more about Solution Entertainment here.