Meet Bradley Hill, our Head of Production.
It’s really easy to spot Bradley here at Church House Westminster, usually coffee in hand and on the phone chatting to a client about their forthcoming event requirements or up on the gallery of the Assembly Hall checking that every technical detail of an event is smoothly executed.
With a slightly less busy August, it was the perfect time to ask Bradley the how’s and why’s of event technology and production and a bit about himself. What we would say, before reading this, make yourself a coffee and enjoy!
• How long have you been at Church House?
I’ve been here for 3 years 4 months now and counting!
• What does your job involve? Take us through from when you arrive until you leave at the end of the day.
My day starts with a coffee, go through any emails that I need to work on, connect with my team to make sure they’re doing great, then talk through the day’s events. I do enjoy the input my team put across to me, they are great guys who have so much potential and learning every day. I also host physical and virtual showrounds with our Event Coordinators and Business Development Manager along with quoting for new events, and of course always looking into how we can improve what we do.
• What do you love most about your job?
Over 25 years I have traveled the world producing conference awards shows which I loved but it’s not as glamourous as you might think: a 14-hour flight to Singapore for a two-hour meeting then back again is not ideal! However, working at Church House has provided me with a new challenge. We want to increase our profile, and that’s why we’ve evolved this department from an in-house audio-visual to a production team that can work with clients old and new to produce innovative events. It’s a great project to be working on.
• If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Running my own construction company! When I left school, I was told to get an apprenticeship (1981) so I did. I enjoyed it, but not when it was cold. I love knowing that when you build a house it should be there for many years to come, and you have left your mark. I still see some of my work standing around Bromley.
• How do you ensure that well-being is top of the agenda for you?
I’d say since having children well-being has moved to the fore. My son is now 22 and my daughter 18. Looking back at the early stages of my career in the event industry I was running Operations for 7 years for a technical production company. Many would know this involves 15-hour days plus callouts and weekends. This had an impact on my mental health. The pandemic is another example, being cooped up at home, you now must try to say positive. I made sure I took long walks and seeing my children do well in whatever venture they do. I hope to guide them through life, and one day to hold my grandson or daughter. Professionally, Church House is a great place to do an event, working closely with some of the best people in our industry and seeing our team put on some fantastic events.
• The most challenging aspect of your job?
Making changes, showing our clients that you can do events (technically!) better by doing this or that and what difference that cost increase can have on the overall event experience. We’re fortunate that the team at Church House has been really resilient during the recent pandemic, which makes our work not challenging but exciting as we plan for the future.
• What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say:
- Go with your dreams
- You are you and no one can change that
- Life can be tough but it’s you that will make things happen
- Take good advice on board
- Don’t suffer fools
I had no help in life – everything I have achieved is down to hard work. Being dyslexic is never easy but you find your own ways to get around that. Some of the world’s greatest people are dyslexic, such as Richard Branson, John Lennon Albert Einstein & Steve Jobs – to name but a few.
• Most memorable/proudest moment here at Church House?
There’ are so many things we have accomplished here that make me proud. From working with a great team around me to my event technologists and the event coordinators. The venue has a great buzz but the event that stands out for me was the Infected Blood Tribunal we hosted a few years back, which opened with a unique memorial service. As far as production goes, this was my first major event at Church House, just when I started here! I knew it was going to be a big one with production, catering, and the entire venue being hired out. It was such a success for us, with TV & media press reporting from here for three days. It raised awareness of the venue and provided a springboard for many other future special events.
• Since we’ve seen the unlocking of events in July, what are your thoughts in terms of what lies ahead for the event industry?
Hybrid, hybrid, hybrid… is going to be the new normal as it combines the best of both physical and virtual worlds. People like people. We still want to have that engagement so conferences will be happening but now we can utilise hybrid elements. You don’t have to fly in speakers from around all corners of the globe which means that your audience goes from 500 to 5000 and if you plan your recorded content well, the lifetime of your event is no longer limited to the actual day of the event. Yes, there are extra costs but the exposure and benefits you get now with hybrid are worth every penny you spend.
• What did you do before, and why did you make the switch?
I worked as an estate agent for over ten years back in the late ’80s to mid-’90s, which I believe was one of the most hated professions then (lol). Back in ‘96, I was working at the office when a missent fax came through from a production company which was meant to go to a recruitment company. I called them and the rest is history.
• What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career in the events industry?
Is it for them? it’s not a 9-5 job, and not all rock & roll. It’s hard work with silly 0’clock starts and finishes. When I was interviewing applicants, I used the first 10 minutes to let them know what the industry was not and afterward would then ask them are they still interested. It whittled down the list very quickly I must add.
• Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
I need to keep this clean… Nigella Lawson because I can’t cook!
• Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
That’s a great question! A client once called me Norman as she thought I looked like a young Norman Wisdom, but I’d like it to be Robert DeNiro.
• What is your favourite childhood memory?
This one’s hard. I didn’t really have the best childhood. My primary school holidays to Guernsey when I went in years 5 and 6 were great fun with my best school friend. We won the tidy room competition, but the maid did it for us! With the biggest crab competition, I found a spider crab (alive!). Its legs must have been five feet across. Happy memories.
• A famous guest you’ve welcomed at Church House
We have so many people come through the door it difficult to say, but the nicest was Emma Thompson – such a lovely lady.