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Local Hero: Kevin Hudson Makes Sure Sony Locations Are Sound

Sony’s stage manager is ready for anything — whether it’s the Bat Cave, a leak or an unruly client

JOB DESCRIPTION

Kevin Hudson, one of two stage managers at Sony Studios, mans all 18 of the lot’s stages and checks every morning to see if there are any flaws or potential problems. His day starts at 7 a.m. — sometimes earlier if there’s a location shoot — and he’s on the job well into the evening, keeping things running smoothly. If there is anything that interferes with the shoot, be it an intrusive
animal, bird or structural problem on a soundstage, Hudson is on it. “I’m the person they call for anything,” he says. “If anybody here has a leak, they’ll call me and I’ll help.” In the past year or so, he’s worked on “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Jeopardy!” “Wheel of Fortune” and “Just Go With It.”

SPECIAL CHALLENGES

“I’ve had to come back here many different times in the middle of the night because of rain leaks,” Hudson says. When “Iron Man 2” was shooting on the lot, Hudson recalls, there was one night when it was pouring and the crew was scheduled to shoot until around 4 a.m. A leak would have spelled doom for that day’s shoot of the sci-fi actioner, so Hudson was called to go in at midnight to build a trough to protect the Tony Stark set. Clients, he adds, can at times be as demanding as the elements. “Sometimes you get people who want to move things that are just out of our control,” he notes. So Hudson says he has become well versed in the art of damage control and saying, “No.”

BACKGROUND

Right out of high school, Hudson bagged a job in Sony’s mailroom and worked there for the better part of three years. He met a producer on “The King of Queens,” not knowing her occupation at the time. That same producer offered Hudson a P.A. job, and he took it, “even though it was a pay cut.” Then, slowly but surely, he climbed the ladder to grip to assistant stage manager to where he is now.

READY FOR ANYTHING

Hudson sometimes handles the logistics for preems, valet lines and red carpets. Gigs he’s done include the MTV Awards and the AFIs. But he’s proudest of the union card he still holds as a grip. As Hudson’s tenure as a P.A. for “King of Queens” was coming to a close, the producers asked him what he wanted to do next. His response: grip work. As Hudson notes, it’s tough to snag a spot in IATSE as a grip, because there’s no dearth of those trying to notch the required 30 days on a unionized show. Hudson nailed down his apprenticeship on “King of Queens,” working for a year as a grip on the show before it ended. On top of manning the stages, Hudson also moonlights as somewhat of a tour guide, showing the soundstages to the lot’s potential clients. “I love not knowing what my next day is going to be,” he says. “One day I’m in the Bat Cave, the other, I could be in New York.”

STATS

NAME: Kevin Hudson
TITLE: Stage manager, Sony Studios
FUNCTION: Hudson manages 18 stages, meets with potential clients and oversees location shoots, all to make sure production on the lot runs smoothly.
DOMAIN: Sony’s soundstages
SPACE: 44.5 acres
YEARS ON THE JOB: 5, but started in the mailroom in 2002
MONTHS IT TOOK TO BUILD THE BAT CAVE AND TEAR IT DOWN:
DAYS SPENT SHOOTING IN THE BAT CAVE: 3
SITE TOURS: 400+
LOCATION SHOOTS: 150+

(Local Hero is a tribute to the people who are invisible but invaluable: They’re not in the spotlight, but the biz couldn’t function without them.)

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