Keith Goodrich - Show Production
Show production manager of the department for the Walt Disney Studios theme park in France, Keith Goodrich holds a real expertise in the technical preparation and the execution and the supervision of the production of
spectacles. Really fair play, kind and
professional, he gives you a little his time
|Its career proceeded up to now between Paris and California where it currently stay. It wishes to return to work in France. And you still did not contact him ?
Hello Keith, can you introduce yourself in a few words ?
Hi my name is Keith Goodrich. I get scenery built. I have been in the theme park
and live theatre areas of the entertainment industry for many years now. I chose
this field early in my education because it allowed me the opportunity to express
myself through my ideas and creativity. By these strengths I have successfully
completed many projects throughout my career.
Set building, by its nature, is very diverse. There is usually always something
different and new to be done. (If it was the same thing all the time I might as
well be building tract houses for a living.) Scenery, however, must fit the need,
whether it’s a play, attraction, or just a themed vendor cart that’s designed and
built to suit a specific product.
I continually pull from my experience and talents the ideas needed to keep a
project moving. Solutions, brainstorms, ideas fostered through team efforts,
and also tapping into others strengths to get the job done. All of these efforts
are required to maintain schedules, budgets, and all importantly the main design
intent of the project. Without the design it’s just numbers and dates.
What about your current and recent activities?
I have just finished managing the show production department for the Walt Disney
Studios theme park in France. This project was a true test of my abilities to
produce several large attractions in a multinational arena. We had a small but
dedicated team that really pulled through during the tough hours and conditions
we were faced with.
Prior to this project I spent over 12 years with Walt Disney Imagineering.
Throughout my tenure there I have grown from production lead person supervising
the fabrication of theme park scenery, to a systems estimator, responsible for the
estimating and compilation of theming budgets for Disney parks, to my last roll as
set production manager for a new theme park. Sets, this time, ranged from interactive kiosks to grand scale scenery which themed the “main-street” of this park.
Another attraction had so many special effects packed into it you couldn’t alter
one surface without impacting another due to the complexity of the design. Like a
pebble thrown in a pond. The ripple effect of any change affected many other
disciplines and required careful consideration and foresight before it was
Working at Walt Disney Imagineering has given me the opportunity to be part of a
team and produce world class theme parks and attractions. I hope I am in the
position some day to be able to share that experience with others.
Can you explain us how you became a show production manager?
I have been doing productions and plays since grade school. I was in high
school when I really got the technical bug when were assigned to scrape old paint off
of flats to prep them for the next production. The idea of creating an atmosphere,
illusion, or setting of another place was fascinating. My interest and enthusiasm really
skyrocketed in college when I was fortunate enough to have a brand new 500
seat “state-of-the-Art” theatre to create in. I was able to do it all. Set, lighting,
audio design. I couldn’t get enough of theatre and was always ready to start on the next
production even when “strike-night” wasn’t yet over. I guess I got what I asked for
when, during the summer, we mounted up to 5 full scale productions in an 8 week
period then ran them in repertory for 8 weeks. Sleep? What’s that?.
This intense period of training instilled in me a very serious work ethic.
I attribute this hard
working attitude as a main factor to my successful career.
According to you, what is the knowledge that a young
student has to have before starting their initial formation for a career in
Well at that early stage it wouldn’t be knowledge as much as it
would be a passion or desire to be involved in a creative field. Having new ideas
and expressing them in some form will allow a young student to gain experience.
Many times the trial and error method yields great results and solutions for
future designs and problems.
I augmented my theatrical experience with a period of time working in an
Architectural woodworking company. This was great time as we had at our disposal a
turn of the century (circa 1900) woodworking plant with many old woodworking
machines that still worked! A woodworkers dream! Of course there were new machines
too. This company took on the jobs that ordinary cabinet shops wouldn’t.
Typically, each job was unique whether it was a custom piece of furniture or a
piece of molding from a Victorian era house that needed to be replicated.
Apart from the personal skills, what are the qualifications that are
most difficult to acquire alone to do that job with success?
Experience. I was fortunate in that I found a place early on where I had direct,
hands-on, experience with many productions within a short amount of time.
(Over 50 productions during 5 years of college and reparatory company work.)
Not everyone is that lucky. So, if the opportunity arises, even starting as a
volunteer, gain as much knowledge as possible.
Which are qualities of an excellent director of production which
would leave the batch? Qualities of good manager or artistic qualities?
Good management qualities would take precedent. While artistic qualities are useful,
for example, to constructively participate in design/cost reviews and find the best
combination of show versus budget. Good management skills allow you to leave the
truly aesthetic decisions such as color and form, up to the artists and designers on
Why do you want to work in France ?
My family and I love France! We feel very at home in France. We enjoy the changing
seasons, the rich culture, the history, and the quality of life. Our oldest daughter
was born in Paris and this tie will always connect us to France in a very positive
way.I also want to continue to learn and excel with my French. I have achieved a
level of confidence and ability where I can be very effective in the French workplace. Especially, of course, where it concerns the technical aspects of show production.
At your opinion, which is the artistic level of the French troops
of spectacle ?
Extremely high of course! Many of the designers I have worked with have a great
knowledge base to extract from just from merely living in a country with masterpieces
at every turn. Their continual exposure to great architecture and museums throughout
Europe is a huge advantage to the aspiring and experienced designer and artist. I
think this exposure has allows designers to think more freely and express themselves
in interesting and thought provocative ways.
Can you tell us more about your professional objective, your project ?
I am looking for a project in France and/or Europe where I can continue to use my
experience and skills. I have over 20 years of experience in producing scenery and
shows with 6 of those years spent in a multi-national European environment. I would
very much like to work for a producer of exhibits or live events that covers Europe and