Seeing the light
Chance Productions transforms events with “design AV.”
From the pages of In Business magazine.
Jason Chance, 38, finally has a second chance at Chance Productions, and this time he’s focused on what he truly enjoys. The Rockford, Illinois native and former teacher has had a fascination with audio-visual work since he was a teenager. Eventually he’d start Chance Productions there, an events company that hired deejays, photographers, videographers, and light techs for over 100 events a year between Rockford and Chicago. “We did everything,” Chance says.
But eventually it became too much.
After about 10 years, Chance decided to take a break from AV and joined his family’s construction business, but all bets were off when he met his future wife, Alyssa, online. She lived in Wisconsin, and soon, he did, too.
Chance Productions built a teepee to satisfy a client’s request; in downtown Madison, MMOCA is ablaze in color.
Relocating to Madison, Chance was anxious to return to the AV world, but this time he wanted to focus on the one element he enjoyed most of all — lighting. After doing some market research to prove the Madison area was primed for growth in “design AV,” he launched version 2.0 of Chance Productions a year ago.
Businesses, he explains, are recognizing the impact social media can have on brand awareness, particularly if a corporate event is compelling enough to be posted on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook. That’s a goal of his, as well — to transform event spaces in a manner that is so unique that it compels people to share photos across their social networks.
Chance Productions transforms event spaces with lighting and décor, and those spaces may be inside or out. “You bring Pinterest, we bring results,” Chance explains, promising that his company goes well beyond pipe-and-drape, table centerpieces, or a decorated bar area. Rather, his team transforms rooms and buildings with color, patterns, texture, or brightness to achieve a desired ambiance.
The company also builds props and structures on request for individuals or companies that need to hang decorations or need lighting grids, for example.
“In AV, a lot of items are rented due to cost, but we also have established AV partnerships to help us locate unique items customers might request,” Chance says.
No event is too small or too big, he insists, from a simple one-projector business meeting with a microphone and screen to corporate events and grandiose conventions. Because of its level of customization, there are no pre designed packages.
Chance Productions owns and warehouses many of its own props, including Edison lights and chandeliers for extra bling (if requested). Its largest crystal chandelier measures 52 inches from top to bottom.
“If people bring us an idea they may have seen on Pinterest or Instagram, we’ll figure out a way to build or design a similar look or feel from scratch,” he explains. It does so through the use of theatrical lighting or by projecting images onto walls or buildings to produce the desired effect.
When he first launched in Madison, Chance says he spent “weeks cold-calling every possible event venue in the area and visited over 60 sites” to introduce his business concept.
His efforts resulted in 47 events in 2018, from the Wisconsin Dells to Lake Geneva, and he wants to triple that in 2019. “Most were weddings,” he admits, “because that’s how you get your feet in the door,” but the company’s portfolio now includes events at the Henry Vilas Zoo, the Edgewater, Bishop’s Bay, the Madison Club, MMOCA, and a Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour at Verona High School, a benefit for the Badger Prairie Needs Network.
Chance bootstrapped the business, which he says has been profitable since last March, and ActionCOACH is guiding its progress. Since most skilled technicians in the industry are hired by the gig, he has just one salaried employee.
“When you’re in an industry for 20 years, you gather a network of people you know you can trust,” notes Chance, adding that he’s found a refreshing resource in technicians with “church AV” experience.
As if moving to a new city isn’t difficult enough, starting a new company as a virtual unknown can be particularly challenging, he acknowledges.
“It was much easier when I knew everyone,” he admits. “It’s been much harder to move to a new market, so the key is getting out there and showing people what you can do.”
Chance Productions LLC
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