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[PODCAST EP12] The story of Shoflo with Stephen Bowles

Stephen Bowles
Stephen Bowles

The table is turned in this week’s episode of The Production Channel as Clem focuses the interview on fellow host, Stephen Bowles. Stephen is the Founder and CEO of Shoflo, a software platform developed for production teams as a more efficient way to create rundowns and productions schedules.

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About 15 years ago, Stephen originally wanted to become the next big feature film director, but a college drawback led him away from film school and into the live event industry. His first lessons in live video work was at an Orlando mega-church where he concentrated on video direction. He also took a video position with LMG and moved on to cutting cameras for concert events and tours. From there, Stephen stumbled into the unique realm of corporate show production.

One day after taking copious notes during a cue-to-cue rehearsal, a new version of a paper show flow was dropped on Stephen’s desk. He wondered, “So you have to sit there in that moment and make that decision. Am I going to transfer this information from one version to another, which is just tedious work. Or am I going to not take the newest version, and see if I can make this sort of assessment on whether or not there’s any significant changes?” He knew that efficiencies to the process could be made, and the idea for Shoflo was born. Stephen soon pared down his video work and assembled a team to develop the collaborative software full time. Their hard work paid off through the years, and Shoflo is now utilized by corporate clients, sports broadcasts, worship services, and more. “We work with producers and coordinators every single day, trying to identify what their problems are and move them over. And that makes me happy, right there, to know that there are people working on that for this industry every day.”

Join the conversation as Clem and Stephen discuss Stephen’s early interests in making James Bond films, his views on the art of video directing, and his thoughts about the best feedback he’s ever heard about Shoflo.

Full Podcast Transcript

Clem Harrod:
Man. Wow. So we’re doing something a little different this week. In the same room.

Stephen Bowles:
In the same room.

Clem Harrod:
Hanging like out like old show days.

Stephen Bowles:
Like it is backstage, the only difference between this and old show days, was I still wouldn’t be able to see you in old show days, you’d be like [crosstalk 00:00:28].

Clem Harrod:
Right, right. I’d be over sitting in, looking in my world versus where we’re actually in the same room, hanging out, and it does feel weird just standing here, making eye contact with each other the whole time.

Stephen Bowles:
It is a little weird dude, but I like it. It’s different.

Clem Harrod:
All right. Cool, man. So, dude, like we said, it’s like old show days. We’re hanging out. I’m on a gig in Orlando. You came through, hanging out, talking about business after hours, and let’s talk about Stephen Bowles.

Stephen Bowles:
Oh no.

Clem Harrod:
Hey, we talked about everybody else. We talked about me on episode zero.

Stephen Bowles:
That’s true. We led with you.

Clem Harrod:
So let’s talk about you. Let’s talk about your start … Oh no, I’m sorry. How do you say? So, tell us how the heck did you find this world that we call production.

Stephen Bowles:
You saying that’s what I sound like? I know I always say it the same way don’t I?

Clem Harrod:
You do. I mean, hey that’s the way to kick it off. So how did you get here?

Stephen Bowles:
I think accidentally is probably the best way to say it. I was supposed to do film at UCF film school here in Orlando, Florida actually, and they didn’t accept me at the last second. I was all set to go in there, and I’m-

Clem Harrod:
The last second? What do you mean the last second?

Stephen Bowles:
Well I got accepted into the film school out of, I don’t know two-thousand-

Clem Harrod:
You got accepted.

Stephen Bowles:
Yeah. 2,000 applicants down to only like 20 students that they’d take in. And they said I got accepted. So I just didn’t apply to any other colleges at all. This is back in 2003, and by the time I got to summer, I got a notice from UCF saying while the film school accepted me, the school itself didn’t accept me because my GPA was too low, which was like a 3.3 or something like that.

Clem Harrod:
Well-

Stephen Bowles:
I know. Ridiculous.

Clem Harrod:
I don’t even understand. I can’t even comprehend how the film school can accept you without the university accepting you.

Stephen Bowles:
It didn’t make sense to me either, and I fought it as long as I could. And I actually lost. I kept saying to myself, if the sports team had accepted, right? If I’d made the varsity basketball team-

Clem Harrod:
I was already a top recruit.

Stephen Bowles:
Right. I was a top recruit.

Clem Harrod:
In film.

Stephen Bowles:
But film apparently doesn’t hold the same weight.

Clem Harrod:
It doesn’t hold the same standards as an athletic student.

Stephen Bowles:

Yeah, so I ended up doing Valencia Community College here, but really the big thing that happened-

Clem Harrod:
Yes.

Stephen Bowles:
… Was I met this guy, Neil Morrison, works over at LMG right now. Fantastic guy, and he basically said, “Come work with me and I’ll save you a whole education. I’ll save you four years of education and $80,000.”

Clem Harrod:
Wow.

Stephen Bowles:
So I went and worked with him at a church here in Orlando called Northland Church, and it was sort of a mega-church level. And really got just exposed to the live side, right? So before this I was always telling stories, I was doing like James Bond movies, you know? Like on VHS with my brothers. I probably filmed four James Bond moies.

Clem Harrod:
Were you James?

Stephen Bowles:
I was not James, no I’m the director. I would be the standing extra.

Clem Harrod:
Okay, thank you for clarifying.

Stephen Bowles:
No I’m not James. It was always my younger brother was James Bond. I was always either an extra or the director.

Clem Harrod:
Okay.

Stephen Bowles:
Yeah, and then throughout high school I just made movies. So I actually started my kind of creative side entirely more on the post-production. I’d go shoot something, and then I’d edit it together in this really epic way. And I loved that. I loved everything about that. I loved telling stories through visuals and audio, all that kind of stuff. So live didn’t make sense to me, I didn’t really know what that meant. But Neil with this church, they just put on these massive shows every single weekend. And one of the roles I got to start learning was how to direct cameras from a live screen.
So anyways spent a couple of years there. It was very fruitful, just a strong blessing, but inevitably moved out into more of the market, right? And went and worked for this company up in Alabama that did tours and some integrations. But tours for Country which I-

Clem Harrod:
What year are we talking?

Stephen Bowles:
This is ’04-’05 I think.

Clem Harrod:
Okay.

Stephen Bowles:
So I’m up there, and they did like Montgomery Gentry, Brooks and Dunne, and I’d be an assist director on those tours. And then in addition to that, I just learned how to do AV integration, learned signal path, learned all that kind of stuff.

Clem Harrod:
What is an AD? I’m sorry, we’re going to back to-

Stephen Bowles:
What’s that?

Clem Harrod:

What is an AD? What is an assistant director? What does that job consist of?

Stephen Bowles:
Well with an assistant director, particularly in music, you’re counting for time during music. So this is like verse one, verse two, and you sort of time people into a particular thing. And then the live director’s sort of hearing that, and then calling his show as he sees your right there. And then also I was just kind of relief directing. So these guys would be on tour. They’re doing the same show week in, week out, and so they’d be done, and I’d come get to do it for a couple of days and stuff.

Clem Harrod:
Okay. All right.

Stephen Bowles:
It was great. It basically moved me from the worship market, more into the creative secular market. And then really-

Clem Harrod:
But at the worship, you have praise and worship would that help you to kind of-

Stephen Bowles:
Yeah. Oh, I mean that’s where I really honed in my skillset for directing music.

Clem Harrod:
Okay.

Stephen Bowles:
Which was inevitably my strength through my directing career, has always been music. I hear it in my mind, and I see the story very clearly, like how I want that to be expressed to people. And I’m specific about it. I have my version, and that’s the fun thing about live directing, is everybody has … You put five directors next to each other, they’re not going to cut it all the same way.

Clem Harrod:
No, they’re not. Right.

Stephen Bowles:
And they might generally hit the major checkpoints, but there’s a lot of shots that are between the major shots, kind of minors if you want to think about that, that are up to the director’s discretion. And no one’s even paying attention except for him, and the ability to own that is pretty important. It’s kind of like you and I were talking about actually before this interview right now, we were talking about, more of like directing as a craft, as an art craft.

Clem Harrod:
Yes.

Stephen Bowles:
And you know you’ve got your brush stroke, and it is pretty cool, because you’re basically, in your mind, seeing a story. You have all these influences coming at you. So in your head you’re like, I’ve heard this song a hundred times. I know how Dave Matthews, right? I got to direct Dave Matthews, one of my favorite bands. It was like a life point for me, life checkbox for me. So I directed Dave Matthews, and I remember like I know these songs in my head, and I know what I want them to look like, but regardless of that, in the moment I’ve got camera guys selling me shots. So I’m actively redefining the story in the moment because I got what I want to accomplish, but then I’ve also got what’s available to me, right? What are they actually selling me on, and then I have to restring it together right there in the moment.

Clem Harrod:
How often has it happened where it’s like, “No, that’s not what I see in my head. No, that’s not the shot that I want. Give me-”

Stephen Bowles:
Well you mean when a camera guy like whip-pans left. That’s one of my … I think it’s just-

Clem Harrod:
That’s not it.

Stephen Bowles:
… It’s a healthy dosage of reality check that has to come to a live director, because we call camera one, take it live, and then what? We have to move on, even though it’s still live on program, we have to move on-

Clem Harrod:
Yes, we have to think about the next-

Stephen Bowles:
… And be working on the next five or six shots ahead.

Clem Harrod:
Yes. Yes.

Stephen Bowles:
So every once in a while we get that like gut check, that kick in the balls where the camera guy doesn’t remember that he’s live and he just whips left.

Clem Harrod:
Yep. Check your timing.

Stephen Bowles:
And you have to … It basically takes your tower of cards and just, you know, they all fall down.

Clem Harrod:
But then you gotta pick yourself back up, okay, it doesn’t bother me. Move onto the next.

Stephen Bowles:
Then you gotta pick it right back up. And that’s the beauty about live TV and live in general. If it’s a big one, the audience will see it, but they move right on by it. Whereas film directing, that’s recorded forever, you know? There’s those famous shots in The Shining with Jack-

Clem Harrod:
Nicholson.

Stephen Bowles:
… Nicholson, yeah. Where one shot he’s got an ax and another shot he doesn’t.

Clem Harrod:
Wait is it Nicholson or Nickolas? Jack Nickolas.

Stephen Bowles:
Nickolas. One of those guys. I’m not sure what it is.

Clem Harrod:

Nicholson, wait.

Stephen Bowles:
The dude from The Shining.

Clem Harrod:
Oh man, wow, yes, the dude from The Shining-

Stephen Bowles:
The dude from The Shining-

Clem Harrod:
… Lead the way, let’s go.

Stephen Bowles: Yeah, in one shot he’s got the ax, and the other shot he doesn’t, right? And so that was in the final cut. There’s no getting away from that. Whereas with live, that basically just disappears, right? No one sees it ever again, because nobody’s rewatching live television typically.

Clem Harrod:
Right, hopefully they forgot, right. Yeah, definitely not now.

Stephen Bowles:
No, no.

Clem Harrod:
With TIVO and everything, or DVRs. Man okay, so we are doing concerts, assistant directing, and it helped you to understand signal flow, because you did mention that.

Stephen Bowles:
I did mention that.

Clem Harrod:
Use signal flow and just the whole building the production, instead of just the production constantly staying in one venue.

Stephen Bowles:
Yeah, well what I got to do is we’d do installations for integrations with churches, broadcast studios, whatever. And that was nice, because you get the whole picture, right? You got to, with live, you load it in, you kind of just throw the cable on the ground, general organization but it is what it is, and you get it out. With installation you have to be very, very intentional all the time because you have to measure your distances.

Clem Harrod:
Yes.

Stephen Bowles:
You have to run it in the walls.

Clem Harrod:
Yes.

Stephen Bowles:
You have to know how many spigots on your DA you’re using, because you don’t just have 50 DAs in a drawer waiting for you. You have the one that you’re selling to the customer. Like they’re buying the one, and it’s gonna be there for the next four years. So anyways just getting that comprehensive view took me from just being someone who enjoyed directing cameras, to someone who understood the whole … What makes it all up. Right? And I think that that’s something that did shift my career quite a bit, because I meet a lot of live directors who are disconnected from the production, technically, and the mechanics of it. They’re typically more Hollywoody.

Clem Harrod:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). They’re more in their own world, and not thinking about what everybody’s doing for me to do my part.
Stephen Bowles: Yeah, exactly. I mean they walk in, and they feel like they’re a talent on some level. And everything that has happened, the three days of loading before, doesn’t really matter to them. Now that they’re here, the show gets started. And so for me, having the visibility into what makes up the entire production process, I think helped ground me a little bit more to be … When I really moved, and then that was what I did next. I went and worked with LMG down in Orlando, Florida, and was really a show-tech/video director.
And even though I don’t think I did maybe two out of two-thousand shows with them, that I didn’t call cameras, I still loaded in the whole gig, and I still was on the video team. And I set up video-village, and I went out and if the projection guys were behind, I’m working with them. You know Clem, I’m carrying your butt when you’re slow or whatever.

Clem Harrod:
Whoa. Whoa. No, that didn’t happen.

Stephen Bowles:
Slow down. This is back before Clemco … No, I’m just joking.

Clem Harrod:
Back before Clemco.av, wow, wow. Yeah, long time ago. Tell us about that first day. The very first day on-

Stephen Bowles:
With LMG?

Clem Harrod:
With LMG.

Stephen Bowles:
Basically, with LMG, I knew gear, and I knew craft. But I didn’t know how this live corporate meetings, and just sort of events space worked, right? And LMG even has their own particular way that they do it. And so I walked in on this first gig, essentially, and it was a small breakout room. I ain’t never done anything like that. I’d never even done a live general session. I’ve only done concerts or church, you know?

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
So the general-

Clem Harrod:
And were you running the cables on those?

Stephen Bowles:
Oh, absolutely, yeah. But on this main general session, I’m not even in there. I’m in the small breakout room down the hall, and they’ve got a screen-pro switcher or something like that. And I’m the one who’s trying to … I’m the lead tech, but I don’t know anything, right? And so I’m trying to set up this screen-pro switcher at the front of the stage at the base of the steps, and I think it was like Drew … I think I’ve told this story at one time.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah, yeah, you did. You did.

Stephen Bowles:
So Drew [Brohm 00:13:23] basically said, “Hey, I don’t know who you are, but I don’t think you have a clue what you’re doing right now.”

Clem Harrod:
Shout-out to Drew Brohm.

Stephen Bowles:
Right. He’s a good dude.

Clem Harrod:
Great guy. Great tech. Somebody who knows his craft.

Stephen Bowles:
Yeah, he does.

Clem Harrod:
But he was like, but clearly you didn’t know your craft.

Stephen Bowles:
Oh I didn’t know anything.

Clem Harrod:
In that situation.

Stephen Bowles:
I didn’t know it. What it was is I knew what I needed to hook up, I just didn’t know how this world set it up.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
You know? Because every world is a little different. And that’s the big thing I’ve learned from Shoflo, and we’ll talk about that in a second. But with Shoflo, I’ve gotten exposure to even more of the different verticals and sectors inside of production, right?

Clem Harrod:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Stephen Bowles:
I’ve experienced, personally, concerts, rock and roll, corporate events, and sort of traditional meetings, and then house of worship. But there’s so many more out there. There’s theater. There’s professional sports. You know a lot about that one. There’s collegiate. There’s broadcast. Right? There’s all these different ones, and they’re all using a BNC or an XLR on some level. But the way that they approach it for that venue, or for that audience, or for that group of people that are coming together that day, is entirely different from one to the other.

Clem Harrod:
So it’s funny because I get all woo-woo and metaphorical sometimes-

Stephen Bowles:
You’re the most squishy person I’ve ever met.

Clem Harrod:
Is that a compliment? I don’t know.

Stephen Bowles:
I think it’s a compliment. You’re the tall, squishy guy.

Clem Harrod:
But I had to write an intro, I’m speaking at a university or a college, I’m speaking at a college to the class, and just telling them about our industry and opportunities. And I had to write an intro for myself, and thinking about how … And I thought about all the different … Similar to you, all the different parts of this live events world that I’ve been a part of. And as we were talking about Shoflo, by you being a part of all of those different facets of live events, you understand that there’s different ways that they may do things as far as hooking things up, and setting up, but essentially, they all need to communicate with one another. Every department needs to work together to get the project done, and that seems to be what Shoflo does. It helps people to learn how to communicate with one another in a more efficient way.

Stephen Bowles:
Yeah, Shoflo is about bringing the entire workflow, and it’s chaotic messy self, and bringing it into a place to where you can have some level of standardization inside of it. I started Shoflo back in 2012, and I was on a Mertz show-

Clem Harrod:
Shout-out to Joe Mertz.

Stephen Bowles:
Joe Mertz, good man. And I’m on a Mertz show down in-

Clem Harrod:
Naples?

Stephen Bowles:
Naples, yep. And I know I’ve shared some of this, I’ll do short. But basically, I was back stage and Liesel or Julie or one of them comes around dropping off another version of the run-down right? Of the show flow-

Clem Harrod:
What version are we on now?

Stephen Bowles:
I know. Exactly. And I’d just gotten done making all my private notes, making all my highlights and all that stuff, and I got my six page document, and they drop a new one. And so you have to sit there in that moment and make that decision. Am I going to transfer this information from one version to another, which is just tedious work. Or am I going to not take the newest version, and see if I can make this sort of assessment on whether or not there’s any significant changes.

Clem Harrod:
Right.

Stephen Bowles:
And that is something that honestly, should never have been put in my face. I should never have had that as a choice. I should always have the latest information. That shouldn’t be something that I have to decide, hmmm, do I want to know the most-

Clem Harrod:
Right, is something else gonna come along?

Stephen Bowles:
I wonder if they’ve added a video role after the zone. I shouldn’t wonder that, that should just be a given, and I should be able to have that information on hand. And that should be available relatively at ease. And it just isn’t in that workflow. And that’s just me on the receiving end. If you actually talk to the production companies, they’re the ones that are creating these … I did a demo, so we do software demonstrations for Shoflo all the time. I was on a demo the other day and we were talking to a brand-new production company, and they were sort of relating the problem that we solve. And they said, “Stephen we’ve been on our 46th version of a production schedule, and we’re still two weeks out from show.”
So right there, there is just pain. I just want to say it. That shouldn’t be, but it is. And the reason is, is because our entire job as an industry is to build an ongoing, breathing experience that goes all the way up until the day of the event. Til the speaker hits the stage, there is a potential for change, because that’s what we’re doing. We’re doing a live show. We’re doing a live production on some level or another. So there’s always these influencing factors that want to say, should we move the video before or after Steve Jobs hits the stage. Do I want to go iMac across all screens, or just isolate it to one.
Those decisions, while you can put one down in print 10 days out from show, it’s all up for change, all the way until the very last moment. And the fact that we were using Excel as the workflow, and version saving, and then printing. That is just a broken workflow, it doesn’t match the actual demand that the industry puts on our production teams. And so that’s why I built Shoflo.
So in a nutshell, just so anyone’s who’s new, Shoflo is a software platform for production teams to create rundowns, production schedules, all in real time. You can create different events. They’re essentially like projects. You can invite your crew directly to the one event. Give them different editing permissions, so that different people can make different edits. That’s the one really key advantage for production crews like Clem and myself, is that we could be invited into an event. Our clients will invite their AV team into an event, and then give Clem editing permission of his column. So then all off a sudden the video column, or the projection column, or for him during show, it’s going to be playback.

Clem Harrod:
Video playback or whatever.

Stephen Bowles:
You can actually get in there and make some notes, as opposed to the producer just saying, “Hey it’s coming off of DDRA.” You can amend that and actually put the exact file name in there and the exact-

Clem Harrod:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Whatever information that I deem important.

Stephen Bowles:
That’s exactly right.

Clem Harrod:
I can put that under my notes area.

Stephen Bowles:
So as a whole, that’s what we’re doing. We’re just allowing teams to collaboratively work on these key documents, which essentially comes down to production rundowns and schedules.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
So outside of that, there’s a bunch of features we can talk about, but that’s sort of the core reason for it, and to what you were saying, seeing the problem roll across so many different industries, right?

Clem Harrod:
Yes.

Stephen Bowles:
Professional sports, huge. They’re all working every single day, all week up until their game day. Orlando Magic, The Rams, Cubs are always in show flow. Then you’ve also got corporate events, right?

Clem Harrod:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Stephen Bowles:
So you’ve got larger events like Drury’s with IBM, you’ve got TEKs and things like that. And then of course you’ve got house of worship. But then you’ve got more. You’ve also got broadcast.

Clem Harrod:
Yes.

Stephen Bowles:
You’ve got live shows like UFC.

Clem Harrod:
Yes, cause that’s all live.

Stephen Bowles:
Oh my goodness, absolutely. And they’re all … We get on calls with these guys all the time, these production teams, and it all starts with the same thing. What do you use? Excel. I mean like everyone is doing it. Everyone uses Excel, and they just didn’t have a choice. Anyway, I don’t know where we started with all of that, but moreso just know-

Clem Harrod:
We were talking about the communication. The availability to communicate with your coworkers during this event, and get the schedule, in a more efficient, environmental friendly way.

Stephen Bowles:
Well, and check this out. Here’s the other thing.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
I went and did a speaking on this with this event. I don’t want to mention it, but basically this group of event professionals that got together and wanted to talk about what’s up and coming. And here is one of the ways I mentioned it to them. I go, listen, we have moved, in the production world, right? It used to be the coliseum was the hot, hot thing, right? And this is a venue built for amplification of your sound and your voice. Now we have [inaudible 00:22:00]. Okay so there’s been a lot of evolution there.
Same thing with speaking. It used to be using flags back in the day to communicate, hey cue the spotlight to turn on or not. Now we have headsets and comm. Now we even have riedel systems where you can talk internationally on events. I think that while certain we’d had advances in communication workflow, I think we’re still way behind. I think if anything, the newer technologies like Dropbox and box and the newer sort of software mechanisms like group chats or text messages, have almost just messied it up even more.
One of the last shows I did, and I don’t do shows quite as much anymore now that Shoflo’s really done well, but one of the last shows I did was with Chris Drury. And I’m shouting out to him because I love Chris. I love Drury team they’ve been amazing and big supporters of Shoflo. But I was directing cameras for one of his large IBM shows up there in Vegas, and he’s texting me during the show, suggesting different camera direction. Not because it wasn’t working, but more of just like, “Hey, think about doing some of this stuff.”

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
And I’m sitting there laughing, because it was A, so amazing that he had direct access to me, but B, so interesting that he had direct access to me like that. And it completely bypassed the entire production workflow that we just spent six days rehearsing. You know what I’m saying? Like we just did cue to cues, and cue to cues, and cue to cues, and none of them involved these last second suggested cue changes. But now because of that communication medium, he was able to get that to me, and I was able to deliver to him, which was great. But how could Shoflo and initiatives like Shoflo, help standardize that where Chris doesn’t have to leave the already existing infrastructure, or the software platforms that are built for this industry, so that Al [inaudible 00:23:56] or Andy [Fagan 00:23:57], you know those stage managers, aren’t kept out of that loop. Does that make sense?

Clem Harrod:
It does. It does make sense, and it’s a matter of just understanding that something needed to change, and that direct access to receive the change. You know it’s what Shoflo has done. But all that being said, you mentioned Chris, and you were talking about your live events. Do you miss that? You’re wearing a completely different hat. You’re not painting that same picture. Do you miss just the basic brush?

Stephen Bowles:
I do. I do, man. Yeah. I used to gig all the time. That’s where I met you and so many other people, so many amazing guys, that when I think about how Shoflo impacts the industry, I think about you. I think about Phil LaCarres, and I think about Chris Retowskis, Karen [inaudible 00:24:49], and these people that I slung AV cases around with for years. I think that I take joy now in knowing that what I’m working on, and what Shoflo offers to this industry is helpful. And that’s not even me just sort of assuming. I talk with a lot of people, and I’m hearing that while change is difficult, changing someone’s behavior. We’re not just changing one … I’m not just changing Clem’s behavior. Shoflo has set out every single day to change the behavior of an industry, and that takes effort, man. That takes a lot of commitment and division of it, right? Because otherwise if the first person ever to use Shoflo, if I just ran off of their opinion, I wouldn’t be doing it anymore.

Clem Harrod:
Right.

Stephen Bowles:
The first person who ever ran Shoflo said, “That’s pretty cool, but eh, I don’t know. Maybe.”

Clem Harrod:
But I don’t know if you realize you’ve done this, I asked you about directing and painting right? And you started talking about Shoflo. Do you identify yourself now as Shoflo, instead of Stephen Bowles the director?

Stephen Bowles:
That’s an interesting question. I definitely introduce myself-

Clem Harrod:
Because we understand the impact that you’re trying to make on the industry, but is that …

Stephen Bowles:
Man, I think that I can only say what I know I do right now, which is I lead with Shoflo. I introduce myself to people as the founder and CEO of Shoflo. And then I relate with them, with my previous career as a live video director. So I relate to them in that. That’s one of my favorite things to do, is actually get production, like a coordinator, or a TD or a project manager on the phone. And then I’ll start asking them questions, because we’ll do software demos you know, four or five of those a day with new customers. And so I’ll get them on the phone, and I’ll be talking about it, and hearing it. “Tell me about your current workflow.” And I’ll just start relating with them, and we’ll start sharing war stories, you know?

Clem Harrod:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Stephen Bowles:
So I think I’ll never not be a live video director, but I do believe that where I am right now, and what I wake up to do every day right now is to not go call camera’s for [iMag 00:27:12] for a one off event. I go to the office and work with an amazing group of guys who sit in front of a whiteboard and write names like show caller, and stage manager, and video director, and producer on the board. And we’re literally trying to get their persona out, off the whiteboard and play it through our scenarios in Shoflo so that our software’s helpful. Otherwise, what are we doing? You know if I can’t make a producer’s life easier, then why am I doing it? I should just go back and direct cameras.

Clem Harrod:
Right.

Stephen Bowles:
Absolutely. So I guess that’s a long answer to say I’m both, but I lead with Shoflo. But I do it because of what I was, and what I feel and remember feeling as being a live video director.

Clem Harrod:
And as you say that, because you said something very powerful that I appreciate that definitely caught my attention. You’re trying to, when your team … You and your team, okay?

Stephen Bowles:
Oh absolutely.

Clem Harrod:
Because at first it wasn’t just you, it’s you and your team write the different positions on a whiteboard.

Stephen Bowles:
Oh absolutely.

Clem Harrod:
And you said that you’re trying to make their lives easier.

Stephen Bowles:
Yeah man. That’s it.

Clem Harrod:
You’re trying to give back to them.

Stephen Bowles:
Dude, we want to help.

Clem Harrod:
It’s like yeah, you’re trying to help.

Stephen Bowles:
At the end of the day, we’re trying to help.

Clem Harrod:
Right.

Stephen Bowles:
Oh absolutely.

Clem Harrod:
And it’s not just help them for the mindset on show site, because that eventually trickles down to the organization of the show, before you even get on show site. So it makes their home work-life more enjoyable and relaxing. And it gives them opportunity to be more focused on their life or whatever they want to do at home.

Stephen Bowles:
One of the best things that I’ve ever felt and heard, we do a lot of post-event reviews. Keith Overfield, amazing guy, KVO group out of Michigan. You guys ever need any work, call Keith. He’s been a big advocate for Shoflo, and we were doing a case study with him. And I asked him, what’s the big thing? Why at the end of the day, in a non-feature driven sort of explanation, why Shoflo is helping or not.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
And he said the coolest thing, he goes, “Cause I get to go to the bar at the end of the night.” Like literally for him to be able to go through his rehearsals and his cue to cues, and as the changes comes, he just makes them, and then everybody sees them. He then gets to rehearse it or cue it again with the new change in written, like already applied. He said at the end of the day, he used to with Excel, go back to his hotel room and be working for another two to three hours, by himself on a show flow. And now he closes his lid when everybody else does. And he goes to the lobby bar when everybody else does. And he gets to do a little bit more life on these shows. They’re already so gruesome most of the time anyways. He gets to be a person, a human being for a couple more hours.

Clem Harrod:
Right. Right, not a part of the machine after hours.

Stephen Bowles:
Right. I know.

Clem Harrod:
Like we’re part of the machine during hours, but once we’re cut for the day, we do get an opportunity to be human.

Stephen Bowles:
Well yeah, absolutely. What you and I are doing right now. You’re on a gig, but you’re up here at 8:00 p.m., and you and I are able to spend some time, having a drink and relating and talking about life.

Clem Harrod:
And I couldn’t imagine having to go through Excel and continue to work, while I know everybody else is chillin’ at Harrod’s of whatever city.

Stephen Bowles:
Harrod’s of. Yeah, totally.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah, man. But it’s beautiful once you break it down and explain it like that, because it’s an opportunity to give back to people and realize that you too can have a life. No matter what level you’re on, from a stagehand all the way up to the producer of the show. You too deserve a life when we’re on show site. And this is an avenue for you to continue to enjoy the company of your coworkers.

Stephen Bowles:
Well and sometimes it takes a Facebook post where we see a friend who got hurt, or God forbid passed away, to like shake up reality. Because we just go from gig to gig to gig, ballroom to ballroom. Or if you’re in TV production, sports production, you’re just going from venue to venue. But there’s so much more than the work, and I am not even trying to paint Shoflo as the way to get your life back. That’s not what I’m trying … That’s like way out there.

Clem Harrod:
Whoa, too deep.

Stephen Bowles:
I’m not there. I’m not there yet. But I do think that we already work so very hard. And I like how you were saying earlier, there’s the machine. Honestly there’s the attendee who shows up at 8:00 a.m. for breakfast, and his little morning GS. We’re there at 6:00, but we were also there til 10:00 p.m. the night before.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
And so, that’s pretty much ridiculous to be honest. And that will wear on anybody. Any way of lightening that up, and even if it’s not changing the time or the hours, but changing the tone while you’re there. Where it’s not conflict-driven or confusing, because people have different sort of information sources, or people are running off of different versions, God forbid, all that kind of stuff. The ability to … Even if we just lighten the tone of the during the day rehearsals and show, because it’s just a little easier knowing that everything’s kind of there. If it’s in Shoflo, I look at it, it’s what it is, you know? That would even make me happy, if that’s kind of like the census that comes from this industry experiencing Shoflo.
Either way dude, yeah. We have a team of 10 people that show up every single day, and we just want to help. And we work with producers and coordinators every single day, trying to identify what their problems are and move them over. And that makes me happy, right there, to know that there’s people working on that for this industry every day.

Clem Harrod:
Dude. I think we just leave it there. I don’t even know where to go from there.

Stephen Bowles:
I know.

Clem Harrod:
It was cool to be here with you and hang out. Like I said, it felt like old times, man.

Stephen Bowles:
It did. It did.

Clem Harrod:
So I guess on that note, we’re gonna wrap up this B channel side of the production channel.

Stephen Bowles:
This was. This was a B channel.

Clem Harrod:
This was a B channel, definitely man. You know, so tune in next week to see what Production Show has to offer.

Stephen Bowles:
Peace. Appreciate it everybody. Thank you.

Clem Harrod:
Thank you.


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