Sunday, September 26, 2021

Christine Kerr: From operations to creative to entrepreneur

Interview by Judith Rubin

Christine Kerr started off her themed entertainment career on the operations side, working for Canada’s Wonderland, CN Tower, and LEGOLAND (Windsor and California). After helping with the design for LEGOLAND projects, she moved to the creative side as Vice President for Toronto-based BaAM Productions. After nearly two decades at BaAM, she recently made the move to focus on her own business, Kerr Creative Company.

Tell us what it’s like to transition from a larger company to a sole proprietorship.

I gave BaAM more than two months’ notice so had time to close out certain things, pass on others and complete most projects. I actually remained on contract with BaAM as an Executive Producer for a year after my VP role ended. This allowed me to continue to work on a few projects that were not finished by my departure day and really helped make this a smooth transition. I highly recommend this as a way to ease out of a long-term role (18.5 years in my case). It helped make BaAM comfortable that things would be fine without me.

How would you summarize Kerr Creative Company?  

Kerr Creative has existed since my husband Matt began working as a writer and director in the industry back in the late 1990s. We have now incorporated as Kerr Creative Company Limited and brought my skills into the business as an Executive Producer and Project Leader (Project Director/Manager).

Where do you see the company in terms of its place on a project team and in the project process?  

I act as owner’s rep and bring together project teams. Sometimes I advise and guide those new to the industry through a project’s development and into operations. Matt and I work together to lead creative development for event and entertainment projects.

How does this change your role in terms of how you serve the industry and pursue professional fulfillment?

My work through Kerr Creative allows me to use all of my experience and apply it to new projects – leading creative development and production for events and entertainment or attraction development from site selection through design, construction and into operations. It’s wonderful to be able to share a client’s journey of discovery as their project comes to life.  

Please tell us about some current projects.  

We have been working with Gilroy Gardens [California] to executive produce their 20th birthday celebration – a summer-long event that brings “The Best Birthday Party Ever” to the Gardens. It includes a live show featuring a troupe of performers who are based at a beautiful Birthday Clubhouse and activate celebration events throughout the park.  We brought together a team of industry experts to bring the celebration to life with scenery and décor including an eco-friendly approach to a birthday card made up of fence panels that guests will be able to sign and the park will use for future installations. The party has unfortunately been delayed until 2021 as Gilroy Gardens will not open this year. But we’ll need a party more than ever when they do re-open!

I have also been working with Little Canada, a new attraction opening in late 2020 in downtown Toronto. I’ve been project managing the guest experience, working with the architect/experience designer and supporting the guest operations team as they prepare to open this brand-new, indoor attraction that will occupy 45,000 square feet.   

Have your years as a leader in the Themed Entertainment Association influenced the way you think about the industry and conduct business? 

Definitely! My work with TEA has made me highly aware of the incredible people and resource pool I’m connected to. During my time with BaAM we always tried to bring those resources into our projects whenever possible and now I enjoy introducing new clients to the amazingly skilled and talented people I know. It actually feels a bit like a super-power…

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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