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Keith Goodrich - Show Production Manager

Keith Goodrich

Show production manager of the department for the Walt Disney Studios theme park in France, Keith Goodrich holds a real expertise in the technical preparation and the execution and the supervision of the production of spectacles. Really fair play, kind and professional, he gives you a little his time here.

Its career proceeded up to now between Paris and California where it currently stay. It wishes to return to work in France. And you still did not contact him ?

Hello Keith, can you introduce yourself in a few words ?

Hi my name is Keith Goodrich. I get scenery built. I have been in the theme park and live theatre areas of the entertainment industry for many years now. I chose this field early in my education because it allowed me the opportunity to express myself through my ideas and creativity. By these strengths I have successfully completed many projects throughout my career.
Set building, by its nature, is very diverse. There is usually always something different and new to be done. (If it was the same thing all the time I might as well be building tract houses for a living.) Scenery, however, must fit the need, whether it’s a play, attraction, or just a themed vendor cart that’s designed and built to suit a specific product.
I continually pull from my experience and talents the ideas needed to keep a project moving. Solutions, brainstorms, ideas fostered through team efforts, and also tapping into others strengths to get the job done. All of these efforts are required to maintain schedules, budgets, and all importantly the main design intent of the project. Without the design it’s just numbers and dates.

What about your current and recent activities?

I have just finished managing the show production department for the Walt Disney Studios theme park in France. This project was a true test of my abilities to produce several large attractions in a multinational arena. We had a small but dedicated team that really pulled through during the tough hours and conditions we were faced with.
Prior to this project I spent over 12 years with Walt Disney Imagineering. Throughout my tenure there I have grown from production lead person supervising the fabrication of theme park scenery, to a systems estimator, responsible for the estimating and compilation of theming budgets for Disney parks, to my last roll as set production manager for a new theme park. Sets, this time, ranged from interactive kiosks to grand scale scenery which themed the “main-street” of this park. Another attraction had so many special effects packed into it you couldn’t alter one surface without impacting another due to the complexity of the design. Like a pebble thrown in a pond. The ripple effect of any change affected many other disciplines and required careful consideration and foresight before it was implemented.
Working at Walt Disney Imagineering has given me the opportunity to be part of a team and produce world class theme parks and attractions. I hope I am in the position some day to be able to share that experience with others.

Can you explain us how you became a show production manager?

I have been doing productions and plays since grade school. I was in high school when I really got the technical bug when were assigned to scrape old paint off of flats to prep them for the next production. The idea of creating an atmosphere, illusion, or setting of another place was fascinating. My interest and enthusiasm really skyrocketed in college when I was fortunate enough to have a brand new 500 seat “state-of-the-Art” theatre to create in. I was able to do it all. Set, lighting, audio design. I couldn’t get enough of theatre and was always ready to start on the next production even when “strike-night” wasn’t yet over. I guess I got what I asked for when, during the summer, we mounted up to 5 full scale productions in an 8 week period then ran them in repertory for 8 weeks. Sleep? What’s that?.
This intense period of training instilled in me a very serious work ethic. 
I attribute this hard working attitude as a main factor to my successful career.

According to you, what is the knowledge that a young student has to have before starting their initial formation for a career in technical theatre?

Well at that early stage it wouldn’t be knowledge as much as it would be a passion or desire to be involved in a creative field. Having new ideas and expressing them in some form will allow a young student to gain experience. Many times the trial and error method yields great results and solutions for future designs and problems. I augmented my theatrical experience with a period of time working in an Architectural woodworking company. This was great time as we had at our disposal a turn of the century (circa 1900) woodworking plant with many old woodworking machines that still worked! A woodworkers dream! Of course there were new machines too. This company took on the jobs that ordinary cabinet shops wouldn’t. Typically, each job was unique whether it was a custom piece of furniture or a piece of molding from a Victorian era house that needed to be replicated.

Apart from the personal skills, what are the qualifications that are most difficult to acquire alone to do that job with success?

Experience. I was fortunate in that I found a place early on where I had direct, hands-on, experience with many productions within a short amount of time. (Over 50 productions during 5 years of college and reparatory company work.) Not everyone is that lucky. So, if the opportunity arises, even starting as a volunteer, gain as much knowledge as possible.

Which are qualities of an excellent director of production which would leave the batch? Qualities of good manager or artistic qualities?

Good management qualities would take precedent. While artistic qualities are useful, for example, to constructively participate in design/cost reviews and find the best combination of show versus budget. Good management skills allow you to leave the truly aesthetic decisions such as color and form, up to the artists and designers on your team.

Why do you want to work in France ?

My family and I love France! We feel very at home in France. We enjoy the changing seasons, the rich culture, the history, and the quality of life. Our oldest daughter was born in Paris and this tie will always connect us to France in a very positive way.I also want to continue to learn and excel with my French. I have achieved a level of confidence and ability where I can be very effective in the French workplace. Especially, of course, where it concerns the technical aspects of show production.

At your opinion, which is the artistic level of the French troops of spectacle ?

Extremely high of course! Many of the designers I have worked with have a great knowledge base to extract from just from merely living in a country with masterpieces at every turn. Their continual exposure to great architecture and museums throughout Europe is a huge advantage to the aspiring and experienced designer and artist. I think this exposure has allows designers to think more freely and express themselves in interesting and thought provocative ways.

Can you tell us more about your professional objective, your project ?

I am looking for a project in France and/or Europe where I can continue to use my experience and skills. I have over 20 years of experience in producing scenery and shows with 6 of those years spent in a multi-national European environment. I would very much like to work for a producer of exhibits or live events that covers Europe and the UK
Thanks a lot, Keith Propos recueillis par
Corinne Alfano
le 14/09/02


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