Award-winning live television and event specialist, Guy Carrington, has overseen some of Done + Dusted’s biggest shows, including The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, FOX’s New Year’s Eve: Live From Time Square, as well as YouTube’s most-watched live streams ever, Dear Class of 2020 and David Blaine: Ascension. During the COVID Pandemic, Guy had to get creative to produce Youtube’s Black Renaissance, a one-of-a-kind celebration of Black creativity and culture in honor of Black History Month. In this interview, Guy dives deep into the beginning of his career, his influences and his rich experience as an expert in live events.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What was your first job in live-event production and how did you decide to pursue your craft professionally?
As a kid growing up in the UK, I was obsessed with the live kids’ TV shows that used to air on a Saturday morning. I would write in to them all of the time to see if I could get on a show and one day my mum got a call, I’d been chosen to appear on a segment called ‘Singing in the Shower’ on my favorite show – The Wide Awake Club. I got whisked off to London, escorted into the live studio for rehearsals and then appeared singing in a virtual shower live on national TV. As a 9-year-old it made a big impression and that stayed with me as I grew up. The TV industry was where I wanted to work and so when it came time to look at internships straight out of university Saturday morning TV was where I started.
A big kids show called SM:TV turned out to be where I really learned what it takes to make entertaining experiences for people, and also the place where I got to experience all the different facets of program making – we were on air live every Saturday for 52 weeks of the year so you had to be adaptable and flexible.
This then took me onto my first job with Done + Dusted and into the world of major events, specials and experiences. Now, I’m one of the 7 business partners and work in our LA office overseeing a number of high profile shows and also the development of new projects alongside our stellar team of creatives.
Who are some of your favorite long term collaborators?
I work with a diverse range of people across the projects I’m involved in and every single one of them is valuable. It’s great to have a broad pool of production experts within your network because every job requires different expertise so part of the initial development phase is about identifying what needs we need to meet in order to deliver on a creative direction. This constantly changing aspect of the industry also allows me to work with new people on a large portion of my projects which is very exciting. During my career, I feel that I was given opportunities to learn on big, complex projects and it’s nice to be able to offer similar opportunities to fresh talent who ultimately (hopefully) will be employing me in the future!
What component was the most fun to work on for Black Renaissance?
Black Renaissance was an exciting project for a number of reasons, but the single most inspiring piece of it for me was developing the story. It was really important to me that the team we put together for this project could speak knowledgeably and freely about the subject, and that they had room to speak emotionally about the things that mattered most to each of them. It was an important show with an important story at a very important time culturally, and I’m immensely proud of what the team achieved.
What gear do you tend to use, especially in the production of awards shows, like the Kids Choice Sports Awards?
For all of my shows my iPad is an extension of my arm! I made the leap from paper rundowns, scripts and schedules to digital versions a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back since. It makes my life a lot easier when everything is in one place and I can sift through pages and pages of documents with a simple tap.
Something else which has become invaluable to us lately is the ability to pre-viz something, basically recreate digitally a set and camera shots in order to properly assess moments of a show before you get into a venue. It’s brilliant for looking at how content will play on screens, what environments will look like around talent and also to think about show cadence when you can lay in script reads over the top of the digital pictures. It’s essentially a digital show before the show and it’s really helpful!
Who are some of your influences?
At the moment I’m influenced a lot by the new generation of content creators. The landscape of our industry is changing and the ways in which content is created and consumed is dramatically different to how it was when I first started, and that’s exciting. I’m excited by what the new platforms are offering and how immediate and accessible it makes the content we’re making. We as a company never want to stand still and we’re always learning, it’s important to stay adaptable and it’s really important to take influences from the world around you because otherwise you’ll get left behind!
What is your dream project? Dream collaborators?
I would love to be involved in the LA Olympics in 2028. Being a part of London 2012 was one of the last projects I did before moving to LA and the experience of an Olympic Games in your home city is something extraordinary I’d love to repeat. Now me and my family have made LA our home and I can’t wait for the event in 7 years time, hopefully I can play a part in it somehow.
Where can we find you on social media?
You can find me on Instagram – @guy_c
You can learn more about Guy and Done + Dusted here.