When entertainers need entertaining, they call ShowPro. When ShowPro needs dependable road cases, they call Fiasco.
When you’re responsible for the official Oscars after-party, you can’t afford to be late. “You have a truck come in and have to turn it around so it’s ready to go to the Oscars by 7am the next morning,” explains Steve Van Eynde. Steve is shop manager at ShowPro, the people behind the Governors Ball, the post-Oscars gala every bit as glamorous as the Academy Awards ceremony itself. As organizers of the entertainment industry’s most prestigious party, ShowPro needs casing that allows for a quick turn-around. That’s why they turned to Fiasco.
Production Company to the Stars
A full-service production company located a stone’s throw from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, ShowPro are the brains behind a slew of top-drawer events. There’s the after-parties for major awards shows: the Grammys, Emmys, and the aforementioned Oscars. There’s the large press events, movie premieres, and corporate functions. And let’s not forget the unique, impossible-to-pigeonhole creative projects like Station-to-Station, a touring multimedia extravaganza of music and image, featuring musical luminaries like Beck, Giorgio Moroder, and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
ShowPro founder, David Smith, came to Los Angeles from Colorado in the 1980s with his band, intent on becoming rockstars. The dream of rock stardom was, in David’s tongue-in-cheek words, “mercilessly crushed,” but his day-job as a roadie took off. One job led to another and—long story, short—he eventually launched ShowPro, which has now been in business for over twenty years. “You are covered,” is how David describes ShowPro’s ethos in a nutshell. “We’re not the cheapest, but when a client has nine-thousand plates spinning, they can come to us and know that we’ve got them covered.” Experience and expertise allows them to bring a dose of Zen to high-stakes, high-pressure events.
Wanted: Quality Over the Long Haul
“I hate to ship air,” David says, referring to the problem of unused truck space that results from using a mish-mash of road cases made to variable dimensions. This aversion to wastage is what makes David such a fan of Fiasco’s “Truck Packology” system, which maximises usable space. “It’s very Tetris-like,” says Steve, who describes himself as “kind of compulsive”. “That’s so much easier than dealing with these hodge-podge cases. When you have twelve hours to turn around three truckloads of equipment, that makes a big difference to the endgame.”
“The way you can utilise the interiors is amazing. It’s layered like a taco salad.”
“The way you can utilise the interiors is amazing,” adds Steve when discussing the interior organisation system. He then reaches for a metaphor close to every Angeleno’s heart: Mexican food. “It’s layered like a taco salad. You’ve got the beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, meat, sauce.” The analogy is so SoCal—and so apt, perfectly capturing the mouth-watering delight of a neatly-arranged road case. “Now each segment is crated in one case.”
Another, perhaps surprising, benefit of Fiasco’s system is the consistency of quality. “Custom” conjures up images of artisan lovingly handcrafting a premium product, but this rose-tinted view of custom-made couldn’t be further from the truth in ShowPro’s experience with road cases. “After eighteen months, [road case companies] just tank on us,” David explains. “They’ll miss deadlines, the quality goes down, the build is not quite the same . . . They get overwhelmed.” Over the years, ShowPro has gone through more than a dozen custom road case companies, with none able to sustain quality over the long haul. David muses, “I think it’s the glue that gets to these case guys.”
But from the moment they first met, ShowPro knew Fiasco weren’t your usual “case guys.” After an initial spontaneous meeting, Fiasco co-founder Joe Bradford returned with a truckload of road cases and gave ShowPro a demo in their parking lot. “That was such a departure,” recalls Steve. “Most just have a brochure or a website.” That unconventional approach—and Joe’s “funny” Kiwi accent—convinced ShowPro that Fiasco were cut from a different cloth. Thanks to the consistency of quality that comes with Fiasco’s off-the-shelf cases, ShowPro’s relationship with Fiasco looks set to last long into the future.
“Buy-the-Truckload”: Boosting the Bottom Line
But that relationship might never have happened if it hadn’t been for the “Buy-the-Truckload” program, a scheme that allows customers to get a literal truckload of product at a discount. Given the volume of road cases ShowPro deals with, the bulk-purchasing plan made Fiasco a viable option. “These are really high-quality cases . . . Buying [that quantity] at retail cost would’ve been too painful,” explains David. “For us, to be able to break out a bunch of dough and get a good deal is very appealing to us.” For David, the boost to the bottom line makes Buy-the-Truckload a no-brainer.
Now, as a result, whenever ShowPro helms yet another big bash in Tinseltown, Fiasco road cases are there, making the packing in and out process quick, efficient, and trouble-free. When ShowPro promises the people behind the Oscars’ after-party or any other VIP-heavy events that “you are covered,” they need to know their equipment will get the job done without fail. That’s an assurance Fiasco’s “better touring” design philosophy can give them. “They’re both brilliant,” David says, referring to the interior and exterior systems. “These guys came up with this concept and it’s brilliant.”