Showing all posts tagged #kensington:

Resignation News (All Staff)

Posted on July 19th, 2018

I sent the following as an All Staff email announcing my change in employment. I suppose it works as a blog announcement as well.


I wanted to let you know that I have accepted a position as Creative Director at Ward Church and am therefore sad to announce that I am resigning as Troy's Production Director. It is very bittersweet for me: I am very excited about my new responsibilities; however it is very hard to leave this place and I am grateful to have been a part of with you all.

My last day in the office will be July 24th. It has been a sincere privilege serving with each of you. I will not be a stranger to this place. I'm sure you'll see me around cheering you all on or saying hi to my bride.

Thank you for many memories over the years...since the fall of 1991 when my mom moved me and my brothers to Michigan; since the spring of ’95 when Steve Norman came on staff and invited me to engage in student leadership that summer before my senior year of high school; through meeting Jessica that following year; since Todd Elliott first hired me around the time we opened the new building (when our offices and the old video editing system were on Big Beaver); since leaving to help plant Genesis; since coming back on staff 13 1/2 years ago…Kensington has been such a key through line of my life! I will continue to cheer for you all!


Production Design - not a fan.

Posted on September 8th, 2013

Kensington is doing a 4-week series based off the book Not a Fan. The Communications Department has gone with the same branding as the book. Simple white text on black.

We decided to play off the same design by creating a 32' wide black rectangle with cut-out letters. We're using the same typeface as the program and lobby graphics. The fun thing I'm doing with it is having the letters glow with saturation - and motion texture as we're using projectors to light the letters. Add some lights and we have a design. Simple is good, usually. It'll be great for the walk-in and even during communication moments. I'm concerned about the sensitivity of a closing song. The other departments think it'll be fine. Perhaps I'm just a bit cautious of sabotaging such a moment. We'll see I guess.


*Oh, and you should ask me about the idea we almost went with. It might have been a bit cliché, but I know our teachers would have loved it. A bit too much to try and do with our timeline (I was scheduled for vacation and we're in the middle of Christmas prep) so I've back-pocketed yet another design. I think it would've been pretty amazing...

Prepping for vacation

Posted on August 23rd, 2013

So today was scheduled to be my last day of work before leaving for a backpacking trip to Glacier National Park. If you've been following Jessica's blog ( you know that I'm now going to be on a "staycation" with my family instead…

Regardless of staying home or being away, once I get these last diagrams* finished and posted, I'm turning my KCC email off.

*These are the diagrams left to finish. Mostly, I need to put in the turn notes so it shouldn't take me too long. I'll be striking them through as I finish them so if you're really bored, you can keep this post open in your browser and refresh every so often to track my progress. (Though, if you're that bored, let me know and I'll delegate some things to you.)
  • 130828 midweek stage *DONE
  • 130831&0901 weekend stage *DONE
  • 130904 midweek stage *DONE
  • 130907&08 weekend stage ("not a fan." wk1) *DONE
  • construction diagram for "not a fan." assembly *DONE
  • email to portable campus with my sketch suggesting how they might accomplish it *DONE
Update, you may have noticed that I haven't checked things off yet. I keep adding/doing other things (emails I should send and such) to my list instead of finishing these diagrams. Some odd version of writers block I guess. Soon enough, I'll check the above off. Jessica, in the meantime has opened her computer and turned on The West Wing. Nothing like some good inspiration for creatively getting things done.

Ok, apparently "strike-thru" longer works on my site. I suspect because I switched to using Markdown to allow me to imbed videos. Hmm. I guess I'm going to have to learn how to use Markdown…or I could just give the link to my YouTube page, I guess. Anyway, for now I'm going to keep checking things off. Let's try adding "*DONE" to the end of each line finished in addition to the strike thru I have here in Evernote.

I have a pretty cool job.

Posted on May 26th, 2013

I have a pretty cool job. This is me posing in the Audi R8 that we put on our stage for this weekend. The second image is me rappelling down after changing the lamp in one of our fresnels.

Thanks to Kyle and Andrew for taking the photos.

A Response to Questions About Design Materials and Our Stage Turn Process

Posted on May 1st, 2013

I often get asked questions about my thoughts on design materials and/or our production process. These are my responses to an email that I sent out yesterday:

What do you think of the trend to have a big video or LED wall as the main set feature?

I think big screens are fine so long as 1, you have the budget; 2, you have the stage space, 3, and most importantly if you produce content worthy of the space. I personally think they’re cliché and typically only put a screen in the set for events where we have a click-tracked music video that goes along with a live song. Regarding LED walls, the time has come when they’re legitimately worth considering: If you’re living in sets for a length of time, if you have a shallow stage, if you don’t already have a good projector, etc.

Do you still create a new set every week?

We still do at least two sets every week - changing our stage to uniquely support every event. I’m not sure it’s the way for everyone, but it continues to work for our context. If nothing else, it lets me exercise my own mind ;) However, doing a turn after every service is what maintains our volunteer team. Our typical turn lasts 75-90min to change from one stage to the next. A big reason why we can succeed at this is that it has become our regular workflow. Our volunteers don’t know that it’s not normal, so they just do… #process

What are you currently using the most for sets- fabric/lighting? set pieces?

We have a "tinker toy set" of go-to materials that I use to design from. Truss, fabrics, hard-goods, lights, etc. In addition to our inventory, I’m always on the lookout for materials that could catch light well. I file away photos and ideas in Evernote (and too often honestly, just the back of my mind #GTDfail) to recal later when I hear the idea that a material could be perfect for feel.

For the past few years, I’ve been creating stages form the "box" I determine for myself at the beginning of each series: I choose 2-4 materials that I will use as through-lines for each series. Then I use these in a different way to support the art and tell the story specific to each day.

Example is that for our current Midweek series (5 weeks talking about women from Scripture) I’m using a silver sheer fabric and our moving head profiles. We just finished a Weekend series titled "Walking Dead" where I wanted to riff on a post-apocalyptic, industrial vibe. I found about a dozen unused 4’x10’ cage pieces (used for storage in our basement) and set these up on stage with some rusty (or painted to look so) 55gal drums and some pallets - throw some gobo breakups at these, and you have a look. Then just change up the placement and it feels new each week.

The soft goods are an example of something we have in our inventory. I purchased a roll of this fabric for an event this past fall; now we can use it whenever we want. The cage pieces are an example of something I’ve been waiting to use for years, honestly. I just needed the right series, where they’d make for the perfect visual.

We are thinking about limiting our design to 4 really good sets and tweaking them on a per series basis, at least until we get into our new campus late next year. What do you think of that plan?

A majority of my church clients seem to like the idea of 3-5 really good sets over the course of a year - per season, rather than per series and perhaps with something special for Christmas and Easter. I think this strategy can be a good one. The main thing to consider is how they can be adapted to any special events that might need the space. Is it possible to close the main traveler? If living in an industrial, production based design, is it possible to create a look that can be tender and beautiful? There are ways to think through this and plan for such occasions. My main caution when living in a set for such a length of time is the potential "rats nest" of cable that can build up. Also, when a team is not regularly doing stage turns, it tends to take a much longer time; therefore plan on a day or two instead of a couple hours.

Also, make sure to consider your lighting inventory/plot. Poor lighting will negate even the best set; for that matter, good lighting will make an ok set look fantastic.

Our take on Palm Sunday

Posted on March 24th, 2013

Our take on Palm Sunday (which has to hide the Easter set behind the traveler) The simple beauty of a broken down band and a bare stage dressed w. but a simple length of red fabric on the floor

Journey Home Experience

Posted on March 10th, 2013

My typical context for #productiondesign is a 50' wide stage. This post is a chance to share a little about what has become a very enjoyable way to apply my skills: Helping to create another environmental, walk-through experience.
This past week at Kensington (in conjunction with our 6 week weekend series and their small group curriculum) people have been going through the Journey Home Walk-thru Experience.
My friend Kristen produced the project, and I was privileged to partner with her in creating a story-telling experience for people in these 3rd floor classrooms. I love ideating with such minds as hers to come up with ways to maximize our minimal resources. How could we use what we had and harness amazing volunteers to pull off the magical in a very short timeline? Huge thanks to such new friends Ed (who pointed the construction) and his wife, Michele, who applied her artistry with staple-gun and brush. Thanks also to such friends as Kyle, Mark, Andrew, Collin, and the unnamed others who helped transform some stark rooms into something magical. Thanks again, Kristen!
  • Lumber - some new (especially for the foundational construction) but lots harvested - old pallets and also some genuine barn wood (thanks to the beautiful openhandedness of my friend Josh)
  • Related to the lumber that we used for both construction and decor, Corrugated Metal.
  • Also related was a bunch of branches. Some turned into curtain rods; others bunched for decor in corners.
  • Fabrics - We placed an order from RoseBrand for Muslin (IFR) to make the Tepees and the window treatments. We also reused such fabrics as Black Tergalet, Burgundy Commando (both recycled from last year's Easter as well as the Story conference - and as usual, some Duvetyn (I find endless uses for this amazing bang-for-the-buck product). Yes, I'm a fan of RoseBrand… Also some camouflage netting that we used for Easter '08.
  • Recycled Props like lamps from Christmas, fake stone pillar reflecting pools from a Midweek series ages back, several benches and chairs, etc.
  • Pillows, drapes, sand for a sandbox, and custom created signage.
  • In addition to lamp-posts, candles, suspended light bulbs, lamps, and chandeliers; I created a light-plot using a few theatrical instruments including pars & lekos with gels&gobos, RGB-LED fixtures, as well as some home-made track-lighting pin-spots that we recycled from a previous experiential walk-through on the 2nd floor. The benefit was that we eased guests into the experience and therefore could get away with things being pretty dim. For what we had available to use, I was very happy with how it turned out.

It was originally scheduled to run last week, but has been extended through at least tomorrow. If you have a chance, you should come experience it in person.

Production Design Software

Posted on March 10th, 2013

I'm often asked what software I use, and am probably long overdue at sharing this post. I'm answering this question from the perspective of my primary job - Production Designer at Kensington Church. *See below for more context if you're interested.

I'm a fan of OmniGraffle (Mac or Microsoft Visio if on PC) It's great as a basic 2D CAD with layers and everything; and its drag and drop simplicity of putting icons for people and set pieces into place is pretty fantastic.

The price point is also great, especially for multiple users.

Vectorworks is awesome, but is more (both in cost and complexity) than our workflow requires - especially with multiple users; most of whom are not "designing" but rather just laying out a plot.

There are many other programs I might consider writing about, but I'll leave this post with the above two mentions for now. Connect with me and I can share my workflow if you're interested…

*I design for our main broadcast location. We have 4 other campuses each with a TD who is responsible for figuring out how to take the central designed service and make it work on their stage, with their team and resources, and with whatever might uniquely happen at their campus that weekend. We move fast. At our location, we have at least 2 completely different stage designs every week…see:

Man Cave meets Stadium Suite meets TV Sports Show

Posted on March 4th, 2013

One month ago, we did our anual Kensington weekend playing off the theme of the "Big Game" - it has traditionally been an equivalent of our third holiday event. We have grown the brand to make for an especially good day to target men. We tend to program some over-the-top fun moments in the day; and we always try to do something extra with the stage too.

This year, our discussion theme was about the things we lift up as idols. This is the concept I came up with: "Man Cave meets Stadium Suite meets TV Sports Show."

We reused some flats we’ve used for past productions - 20’ of which we used for the upstage wall; and another 20’ worth we cut out to make a "window." Behind this, we put a couple RP video screens. We created our graphics based on this 32:9 ratio. On the walls (which were lit with soft-focused breakups and LED sconce lights) we built shelves for some amazing sports memorabilia that was generously loaned to us for the weekend.

A primary context for us is live music - placement of the band: For this weekend, I chose to let them spill from SL into the middle of the stage balancing the visual weight of the "window"/screen. Behind them we used S4pars with difusion and barn-doors to back/side-light with warmth and give feel of the "forth wall" of a TV studio. The three levels of hanging truss created a visual "ceiling" and allowed for programming of fun lighting (see video in my Feb. 3 post) to support/enhance music.

Anyway, here are three photos that show the concept idea through the build in process and finally a shot I snapped while standing on a seat in the 6th row as guests were walking in on Saturday night…I won't share the details about how 75sec. prior, I was finessing the placement of some of the decorations.

The cast and crew of #kensingtonchristmas

Posted on December 24th, 2011

The cast and crew of #kensingtonchristmas

Eric G Wolfe

Process Architect. Design Strategist. Leadership Coach.