Brandie Louck is the production director for AEG Live in Seattle Washington. Brandie spent the first 11 years of her career as a production manager for promoters including Live Nation San Francisco, Bravo Entertainment, Knitting Factory Concerts and S2BN Entertainment. She then spent time on the touring side of the industry with artists including Bon Jovi, Pharrell Williams and Paramore in Assistant Tour Manager and Production Coordinator roles. She currently oversees all of the production needs in the Pacific Northwest for AEG Live including the Showbox venues, Marymoor Park Amphitheatre and arena and theater shows throughout WA, ID, OR and MT.
TicketForce: Tell us a bit about yourself and where you’re at currently.
BL: I’m originally from a small farming community in Indiana. I think the stark contrast of what I perceived to be the ‘glamour’ of the entertainment industry compared to my rural upbringing started me on the path towards music. I quickly realized there isn’t actually much glamour in the live music industry, but I fell in love with producing concerts anyway. I still get a rush from walking onto the floor of an arena during a show I’ve been a part of producing and looking around at the audience singing along at the top of their lungs and knowing I helped make that happen. It’s very humbling to get to be a part of something that means so much to so many people.
I’ve worked for promoters including Live Nation, Bravo Entertainment, Knitting Factory Entertainment and S2BN Entertainment throughout my career as a Production Manager and been able to produce shows with countless amazing musicians that I’ve looked up to. I even took a couple of years recently and went on tour with musicians including Paramore, Pharrell Williams and Bon Jovi because I wanted to experience that part of the industry. It was an amazing experience, but I decided my skills were better used back on the promotion side and I’ve recently joined AEG Live in Seattle. I’m currently the Production Director for the Pacific Northwest. I oversee all of our shows and production needs for the region. I’m still getting my bearings, but I’m really excited to be on board and have the opportunity to grow a department.
TicketForce: How did you make your way into the live events industry?
BL: I had to push my way in a bit and I understood that it might be a long time before I actually got paid to produce live events. I went to the University of the Pacific as a ‘Music Management’ major because I wanted companies to know how seriously I took this. I started as a stagehand for the concert hall at my university and had to learn all of the lingo of live events, which is half the battle to being taken seriously in my opinion. I worked internships with the Indy Jazzfest and the Monterey Bay Blues Festival. I worked for my university on the Arts and Entertainment Commission helping bring events to the school. I even worked as the assistant to the owner of a little blues club, Moes Alley in Santa Cruz California, for a few months until I couldn’t afford to live in the area anymore. I think all of those little things added up to a somewhat respectable resume when I graduated from college. I then mercilessly bothered any and all contacts I had to try and get a position. I opened the year-end review issue of Pollstar and went down the list of the Top 25 Promoters and contacted all of them…multiple times. I got really lucky with Bravo Entertainment. It was a case of the right place and right time lining up. They were looking for someone young and ambitious to bring on board to train the way the wanted from the start. I was a blank slate in a way and luckily that worked for me. From there, every position I’ve ever moved to was from knowing different people in the industry. This is a very small, almost insular industry. If you aren’t networking, you are probably going to miss some good opportunities even if you’d be a great fit for a position.
TicketForce: Who was the most powerful female (or male) mentor in your life?
BL: Not to get too sentimental, but I have to say my mom was the greatest female mentor I ever had. My mom had an amazing work ethic and even with no education beyond a high school diploma. She started working as a mail carrier for the US Post Service when I was about 5 years old, and she worked and fought for opportunities along the way until she became a Post Master when I was 22. She always showed me that with hard work and sacrifice; you can achieve what others don’t think you’re capable of. At one point, she was driving an hour and a half each way to work while she was in the middle of chemotherapy treatments because she knew working as a Supervisor at a distant post office would eventually align her to get the Post Master position she was aiming for in our small town. She eventually got that position. She was smart and methodical and I’ve tried to carry that mindset forward in my career. I’ve had to leap frog to different cities around the country, and as hard as it is to pick up and move over and over again I knew each move and each new position would lead me to bigger and better opportunities. I never thought I’d be at the Production Director level by 34, but I’m grateful to have made choices that allowed me this opportunity.
TicketForce: What does it take to #SucceedInABoysClub?
BL: A very thick skin and the understanding that sometimes there are going to be rough days. This is a stressful, exhausting industry regardless of if you are a man or a woman. It can break down even the toughest of people. When you add on top of that the fact that you constantly feel like you have to keep reproving your worth, it can be doubly exhausting. Women that are trying to make it in a position that is typically a ‘mans role’ seem to have a lot more pressure put on them, either by themselves or others, to go above and beyond the call of duty to validate putting them in that postion. From what I’ve seen, they have. Women are defying expectations and resetting the standard everyday. I’m very excited to see what the music industry looks like in 20 years. I think it will be a very different landscape than the one we see now.
TicketForce: What experience do you have where you’ve faced gender bias in what is still a male-dominated industry? How did you respond?
BL: I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t faced bias. The live music industry still has some very ‘old school’ types at the core of it. Getting called ‘baby ‘ or ‘sweetie’ by someone assuming I’m the runner for the show and not the production manager still happens almost 13 years into my career. Women in production roles is still fairly new in the industry and I try to be patient with the men that seem to still be coming to terms with the changing world. I take the ‘kill them with kindness’ route when dealing with the less open-minded people I come across. I find that if I just do my job and be myself, they generally come around by the end of the day. If they don’t, I just remind myself that there are all types of people in this world, and they aren’t all going to like me.
TicketForce: What advice do you have for young women who are just getting started with their careers?
BL: Don’t be afraid to be persistent. I called the same company I wanted to work at so many times they knew the sound of my voice when I was first looking for a job. I didn’t end up getting a job there, but that process is what led me to finding Bravo Entertainment. Also, I cannot stress the importance of networking enough. The industry is a web that interconnects in places you can’t even imagine. Apparently one of the people AEG called to ask about me for my current role happened to be a tour manager I worked with 12 years earlier when I was just starting my career. Luckily, it had been a positive experience and he still had fond memories of working with me, but I never would have thought to refer someone to this person, but their opinion of me may have secured the production director role for me. You never know who is going to be the connection that will secure your future success. Good luck out there everyone!