Story by Eddie Williams
What child doesn’t love fireworks? I’ve been fascinated with them since I was a kid. Luckily, we had a family friend who had been doing professional displays for over 40 years and one day he finally called to ask, “What are you doing this summer?” The rest, as they say, is history.
Along with fireworks, I’ve also always had a passion for event production: live theatre, concerts or multi-position musically choreographed pyro displays. Entertaining people drives what I do.
Jackson Browne’s lyrics in his song “The Load-Out” say it best:
Till those lights come up and we hear that crowd
And we remember why we came
I’m a people pleaser, so when I hear the crowd scream – whether I’m just a local concert roadie or the lead technician on a fireworks site – it makes my job worth it. Those cheers of excitement from what we’ve accomplished drives me to perfection.
My personal favorite job at this point was working on and helping build out an Illusionist Tour. Working with the show producers and talent to add special effects such as explosions and flames to enhance their illusions was amazing.
But I enjoy the unique experiences shooting at Busch Gardens, Six Flags and EDM Festivals. And I equally enjoy DJing wedding receptions, private parties and the occasional bar. Everyone event is unique.
If you’re in the fireworks business and not slammed on the 4th of July you’re either doing it just for fun or you’re doing something wrong. This year for Independence Day I’ll be in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio on the 2nd and 4th while returning to the Greater Cleveland area on the 3rd for a show. It’s a lot of driving!
I’m a contract shooter for one of the nation’s largest commercial fireworks companies, and I’m lucky that I have their support for that side of my business. But when it comes to lighting, sound and DJing, it’s wide open and I get to work for myself.
For the fireworks company I collaborate with four other shooters. We cover five to six shows on the 3rd and 4th of July and manage a forty-person crew. The company we work for has over 600 displays nationally on the 4th and most shows are done by local shooters from their own communities.
What makes me great? I love a challenge and I don’t ever skip the details or stop trying to learn new things. This means that when we’re done, the client comes up to me and says “that was unbelievable.”
Being independent is both challenging and rewarding, but as a small business owner I have so much flexibility in what I do or don’t do. I like change and I pick my own destiny.