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Taking Everything Into Account: Eric Shalem & Reason One Going And Growing As A Production Entity

Reason One owner and president Eric Shalem with one of his company’s K-array Python-KP102 column loudspeaker systems.

Whether Reason One is working on a corporate conference or team building exercise, a product launch or a live show, the company’s approach is to drill down to the details of every facet of the occasion, says Reason One president and owner Eric Shalem. “It’s about understanding all the aspects of a given event, from the catering, to the audio system to the venue; looking at it as a whole rather than just one element. It all goes hand in hand.”

Founded in 2014, the Los Angeles-based event planning and production entity specializes in producing corporate and non-profit events to a customer base that’s growing both in numbers and geographic reach. In addition to audio, video and lighting services, Reason One also offers marketing, event flow, and logistics support.

Meticulous attention to specific client needs is integral to the success of all of those service offerings, and Shalem believes that what distinguishes his company is a diverse background in event production and the intimate knowledge he’s developed by working in a litany of different positions in the industry during the course of his career.

Over that time he’s inhabited a variety of roles, ranging from hospitality and catering early on to serving as an AV technician and event producer for corporate and non-profit applications as well as work as a technical coordinator – optimizing systems, hiring and managing crew along with handling logistics and scheduling. That all comes to bear at present, as does the importance he places on relationships with all stakeholders.

“I got into production in kind of a backwards way,” Shalem notes, having grown up in a suburban area where “there wasn’t much going on besides house parties,” and actually losing a couple of friends to drunk driving accidents. Consequently, after high school, Shalem and some friends decided to offer up some better alternatives by mounting live music events. “We were big into music,” he says, “we’d rent out venues and basically host small festivals – one stage would be hardcore, another pop/punk, and we’d have a DJ in another room. It was like a mini Coachella.”

At the time he was working at a Toyota dealership as internet sales manager, focusing specifically heading up the company’s Scion brand, which was marketed towards a youthful demographic: “The dealership asked me to start putting on events and from there I just gravitated towards the technical side of things and began transitioning to producing corporate events.”

Diverse Duties

That experience ultimately led to a position as an event producer at a local production company, SOS Entertainment (based in Santa Clarita, CA), which was owned by a friend’s brother. “I started as a production manager and spent all the free time I had in the warehouse learning the gear,” he says, and since that point, he’s felt driven to understand all aspects of AV production.

“I did audio and video for a lot of corporate events, but I also ended up as the DJ for them as well,” he adds, chuckling, recalling an early gig where – because the usual DJ was getting married and all the potential substitutes were attending that wedding, he was called on to DJ with one day’s notice.

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In 2008 Shalem began working as a food broker for J. Goodman & Associates (Chino, CA) while freelancing in various roles in event production on the side. When he was laid off unexpectedly in 2010, he traveled for several months and, after some soul searching, decided to reset and focus exclusively on event production. “I was over trying to climb the corporate ladder, which I always figured my path to success was going to be,” he explains. “I figured I’d do what I love instead and started freelancing for more companies and dedicating all my time and effort to it.”

With a growing client base and larger corporate contracts, Shalem decided to launch Reason One. The company has grown substantially in relative short order – opening a warehouse and office in North Hollywood, adding two full-time and several part-time employees, and developing close relationships with a roster of approximately 70 specialized contractors hired for events in Southern California, and increasingly, additional regions of the U.S. as well as Canada.

Shalem and Matt Westman (right), the company’s technical production specialist.

“We have a lot of smaller clients, but we also work with Netflix, Westfield, and the 2028 Olympics as well,” Shalem says. “So while we’re still a relatively young, small company, we have some juggernaut clients, which is kind of surreal. We try to stay as lean as possible. Our sweet spot is 200 to 2,000-capacity events, but we’ve also done smaller, heavily detailed productions and larger ones ranging up to the 18,000-capacity range.”

Remaining agile definitely informs gear acquisition; specifically Reason One’s recent investment in K-array Pinnacle-KR402 and Python-KP102 loudspeakers and Azimut systems. “Azimut is like a micro system – super tiny,” Shalem notes, “and we’re using it in some cool scenarios; high-end boutiques, brand-experience events, and pop-up shops. Technically it’s an install product, but we’ve also implemented it in portable scenarios.” He adds that the company also deploys larger rigs such as L-Acoustics Kara and K2 systems regularly, but the bulk of the events handled by the company are better served by a smaller footprint.

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