Sam Vincent - Origins

CC Origins: Am-dram, Innovation and BRIT School Alumni

Every month we share the ‘origins’ of each of our team; how did they fall into the industry? Was it a life-long passion? Who inspires them? We start with co-founder, director and sound supremo Sam Vincent:

What do you do at CC?

Good question, I do a lot of varied things. Most of my job is internally looking at company structure and analysing and then making decisions based on the place that we're in and what's happening in the industry. I am involved in a couple of client accounts directly, mostly dealing in sound specific products or businesses. I also advise our team on their accounts when necessary and provide an overview or "outsiders perspective" on that account or maybe some crossover knowledge, very much fulfilling the collaborative aspect of our business.

Did you always want to work in the events industry?

From the age of about 14 I knew I wanted to work backstage. I was helping with the lighting and sound on my school shows and I really enjoyed it. By chance, while looking for colleges I met a school friend (Rob Ogilvie) while walking around Croydon and he told me about his course at The BRIT School which I’d never heard of. The open evening was the next day so I went along. The BRIT gave me opportunities I would never have had otherwise and gave me a route to the industry.

My first job as a teenager was at White Light coiling cables. I did this for about three months before Chris Nicholls (the warehouse manager) put me in a new position dealing with goods in and dealing with fresh orders of equipment coming in (which was kind of like an internal postman but dealing with big arrivals as well as small deliveries). I was occasionally borrowed by the installs department where I did jobs including installing the lights outside the Natural History Museum. This is where Tom and I originally met before taking our own career paths but always staying in touch (or living together).

If you hadn’t joined the events industry, what would you have done?

Join the Army. My Grandad taught me to shoot air rifles and got me interested in military history from a young age; he taught me the merits of hard graft and really hardened me up ready for it. I read a lot of military fiction and was always fascinated by it. Ultimately, I probably would have been a Royal Engineer if I'd gone down that path. Now I would love to have been a ski instructor.

What was your first job (paid or unpaid) in the events industry?

My first paid job was as a student freelancer for White Light, and this gave me ample beer money! My first unpaid job would have been when I was involved in youth theatres and amateur dramatics (doing techie stuff) but I wouldn't call that work. Eventually the am-dram societies started paying me for my work which was very supportive of them.

What was your route to that job?

I trained at the BRIT School, which is the best free education you can get in technical theatre in my opinion (I may be biased as I occasionally teach there and I am an Alumni). You would be amazed at how many people in the industry got an education there.

Did anyone inspire you/ influence you/ mentor you?

Alistair Kennard was a huge influence to me. He is an ex-civil servant (and has some amazing stories; he was quite important). He had children at my school and his hobby was sound and lighting for amateur dramatics and youth theatres. He taught me a lot early on, especially with attitude, work ethic and problem solving. He found me at school and got me involved in the tech on school shows. He took me on, got me involved in am-dram and youth theatres. He drove me around, fed me (well the lovely Sue Kennard made sure I was fed and watered) and ultimately worked me very hard in the most loving and caring way. I have many second families (I have a habit of becoming an extra child to some families) but the Kennards still feel like family to me, I could be better at staying in touch though!

What do you enjoy about the industry?

The people; I love being surrounded by people with my shared passion. I really enjoy problem solving and learning new things. As an industry we have a huge communal knowledge and I love how everyone knows something I don't and there's always something new to learn! The unrelenting innovation of this industry is incredible and having to keep up the momentum to keep up with it is awesome.

What are you currently watching on Netflix?

Song Exploder - It’s a podcast that they have turned into series. The host Hrishikesh Hirway interviews artists about how they built a particular song and what their process is. It’s really interesting stuff! There’s only 8 episodes so after that I’ll probably go back to watching Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown.

What’s your favorite film?

‘Spirited Away’ or ‘My Friend Totoro’ by Studio Ghibli. I love Studio Ghibli, The sound designs, the animation style and the stories are awesome.

Favourite sandwich?

Ham and Mustard, or Ham and my homemade chilli jam.

One thing that most people don’t know about you?

I started as a lighting designer and was doing pretty well at it before changing tack to sound. Now of course I couldn’t do it and have lost those skills but back then I thought I had a pretty good eye.