Set it UP – Q&A with My Stage Rental

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“Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think.” – Albert Einstein 

 

In a industry that is constantly moving and shaking we put down the handbook and reached out to the professionals. We wanted to learn first hand, what it’s like to be submerged in their field. Here is Q&A we did with Ryan “the jester” Cordell owner at My Stage Rentals out of Orlando.

I recently checked out your newsletter and read about the beginning of “My Stage Rentals”. You started off with two community speakers and microphone? 

That’s the story. Actually, I originally started with cheap powered speakers that weren’t even mine! They belonged to a dear friend. When we started out, I wasn’t going to tell anyone willing to give me money no. So when someone asked if I had a PA, I would say “Of course!”, and then immediately call to beg this dear friend to let me borrow his speakers. Thank God he always said yes. At the time, he and I played music in local groups together. We were doing live productions all the time, so I started saving the money from these rentals to slowly buy gear we would need to continue. Our group rented a stage from a man in Mount Dora. It was the cheapest stage we could find, and it was the only one that we could afford to use and still make any money off of our events. So when he wanted to sell the stage and quit, I had a terrible vision of my paychecks getting smaller and knew I had to strike fast. I made a deal with the man and two friends who were interested in starting a stage rental business, and that’s where the communities come in. Who has a stage without a sound system? I knew I had to get serious about a sound system, so I bought a little 500 watt PA system with 2 x 10″ community speakers for $500 off Craigslist, dug around my garage for a microphone, and threw a show the next week! Of course, we blew one of those community speakers that night. But, we made it through the show, started renting it out, and the rest is history. Now we have more speakers than I can handle, digital boards and enough mics for an orchestra, but I still use that little PA for band practice.
 
You definitely should incorporate that into your marketing message. People love stories and that is very descriptive for any business owner. Because we all have been down that road at one point. When my wife and I first started we had to share a computer…that was painful. 
 
 
Tell us about your struggles in the local music industry. My company encountered a very cutthroat industry. Most agents did not welcome us into the community when we first started. Only one agent out of a dozen was willing to help us get started. Did you experience the same in the stage rental business? 
 
Actually yes. I expected it to be a little more straight forward being backstage but it hasn’t been. No one wants to pay you, everyone else wants your gig, and no one is happy you’re there. It’s a very small niche being in the stage business, and work is limited so if you have a stage you’re going to annoy anyone else with a stage when you start getting clients they either hadn’t thought of, couldn’t satisfy, or (even worse) have worked with before. Don’t have a bad show, or every promoter will throw you under the bus. The ratio is about the same, about 1 in every 12 promoters/venues will work with us.
 
 What is your biggest challenge when working with a new band? What one thing could they do to make your life a little less hectic on the day of an event? 
 
A. SHOW UP ON TIME. It is amazing what a decent sound guy can do with an 8 minute sound check, good sound is always key to making a show look good on everyone, or at least not making everyone look like an idiot.
B. SHOW UP ON TIME. I am an ‘artiste’ myself, and I think we’re all guilty of having a small lack of time management skills, but everyone is less stressed, better prepared and more confident in their production when the guitar isn’t still setting up his gear 10 minutes before show time.
And last but not least, it would be wonderful for artists to SHOW UP ON TIME. Something inevitably goes wrong in every show, in every set up, but if you’re on time or even a little early, you can often solve these small issues before show time, and ensure that all the little problems are the last thing on your mind when you start a show.
 
 
What is your favorite event that you have done so far? What made this event so memorable? 
 
We’ve had so many wonderful events. Without question some of the best productions I’ve ever seen have been on our stage. We’ve had concerts to get people voting, we’ve had fire dancers and motorcycles on the stage and even done a rat race car show. But my favorite events of all time have got to be the bikini contests. I don’t know why… 
 
What type of acts are you working with? 
 
Anyone and everyone who has a decent event. We have had Jazz acts, Rockabilly nights, blues festivals, if it’s out there, and it sounds good, we want to be a part of it.
 
What type of acts do you aspire to work with? 
 
Honestly I’d love to work with any touring group. My dream for the stage for a while has been to travel around the country setting it up in different cities, fields, ball parks, you name it.
 
What challenges do you face in your industry? 
 
The industry is constantly evolving. There’s always the initial challenge I think any small business goes through, which is finding clients who need you, but aside from that one of our biggest challenges is keeping up with the technology of the industry, especially right now with the huge revolutions in wireless and digital sound technology, it’s hard just finding the tech that’s right for you, much less keeping up with the next model.
 
 How can new clients stay updated with “My Stage Rentals”?
 
Well, we plan on keeping up with the news letter you mentioned previously, but we have a huge social media presence, we’re on all the major platforms, and of course we have a phenomenal website which will soon have all our upcoming shows and events listed, it’s www.Mystagerental.com
 
 
If you are in the music business and are interested in being a part of one of our blogs or podcast feel free to reach out to us at cjsevents1@gmail.com
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