18-year-old Callum has his sights set high!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Gareth Chambers (DWR) and Callum Sutherland (CSR Events)


Callum Sutherland, an 18-year old boy who attends St Stithians College and who is the founder of CSR Events, is somewhat different to the average teenager! With the end-of-year-matric exams on his mind, he has also worked on building a career, adding to his inventory by investing in a dot2 XL-F console from DWR Distribution to compliment his 6 Robe LEDWash 300s fixtures. He plans to make this gear available for dry hire.

What drives Callum is his enthusiasm and ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude to take his hobby and grow it into a successful rental company – he has been at it since the age of 13. Callum is energised when he talks about what he loves about the industry, which is just about everything across all the fields from lighting and sound to backstage, the process from set-up to show night and the reward of seeing what was once a vision in 3D visualizer come alive, making the long hours worth it.

“Passion in this industry is a huge component and you have to really take care of everything from the equipment to the people because if you aren’t dedicated to making every factor of your production as good as possible you won’t grow as a business or person,” says Callum.

The reward to potentially earn good money is also a motivating factor, however, he rarely spends money on himself; Sutherland re-invests back into his company, spending only on necessities and ensuring the crew is fed on productions, he also believes it is important to set a budget for each show and to work within the confines of the targeted expenditure. Callum is committed to reinvesting every last cent back into CSR Events in the belief that this will place him in a better position in purchasing good quality equipment that can be hired out to the industry and place him in a position where he can operate more and bigger shows at any given time.

As he is now in his final matric year he has not been able to participate in any major or notable shows such as “Strictly come dancing SA” or “The Voice” as he has had the opportunity to do so before.  He has, however, worked on many weddings and corporate functions both in service and rental; the majority of his business focused on schools and their annual productions. His largest client is St Stithians which consists of 5 schools situated on the same campus.

While it has been more difficult than previous years due to his focus on academics, Callum has been head of the technical crew since grade 9, and has been responsible for training the crew as best he can and delegating a lot more work on productions to the future heads of the crew for 2018. “I hope to continue training and helping the Saints crew in future,” he said.

Adding to his current list of equipment, Callum recently purchased a dot2 XL-F console.  His previous method of operation was using a PC based console which proved to be unreliable. Callum added that he had been looking at some variation of the dot2 since Mediatech 2015 where he first met Duncan Riley and the DWR team. “Over the years I fell in love with the software and its visualizer which was not accessible to me on previous consoles without having to pay a subscription for it.” Callum made the decision to buy the dot2 XL-F as the software is user-friendly, making it especially useful for school crews on rentals; it is also efficient and effective in creating powerful effects with significantly less effort than what he had experienced with his previous consoles. “I believe the dot2 XL-F was the best solution for both my needs and wants in terms of control for all of my productions, from small to large, and to train the younger generation of technical stagehands. The dot2 XL-F has already been put to work on one of St Stithian’s biggest productions of the year which ran without a single problem.”

The future looks bright for this young entrepreneur! He hopes to increase his clientele, making dot2 XL-F and six Robe LEDWash 300s available to freelancers and rental companies. In terms of growing his business, he has his eye on a few additional beam and spot fixtures and he hopes to build good partnerships as he studies a business course at university.