Trick or Treat

featured-crewcallPicture it: October 31, 1970, just about dark. Joel Rollins is applying some last minute upgrades to his Halloween costume. Dark sweats, red cape — check. But the mask has got to go. A mangled pair of black glasses — better. Deftly, he fashions two letters out of duct tape and smooths them onto his sweatshirt. He’s the only trick or treater who offers to come in and fix your VCR. He’s AV Man!

Kind of makes my career in AV seem like destiny, doesn’t it? I still fix the odd vintage gadget for old times’ sake (especially when rewarded with candy), but today I’m here to distribute the treats. And/or tricks. And some suggestions for our readers’ Halloween costumes.

The 2014 round of audio video trade shows wrapped up in September, and we’ve had awhile to reflect on the products and trends that were introduced this year. Were there any genuine treats for those of us who sell, rent or work in AV? Did we find any lumps of coal in our stockings ?…Wait, wrong holiday.

What tricks (or treats) will this mean for us this Halloween?And, equally pressing, can we provide some suggestions for answering the eternal Halloween question: What does an AV person go as?

Well, to start with, a classic for this year is “Standard Zombie.” Not to be confused with the zombies so popular on television today, not only are Standard Zombies always decomposing, they are forced to carry a huge bag of three letter abbreviations around with them for trick-or-treat. The treat associated with this costume is a whole new fleet of equipment to accommodate standards.The trick (as always) is to re-engineer an existing fleet to accommodate a standard which may or may not “take.”

Another great costume is the “Phantom Exhibitor”made popular at InfoComm 2014 this year by Microsoft. The truly efficient thing about this character is that it isn’t necessary to make a costume at all. Wear a Microsoft T-shirt, hide in the shrubs when they open the door and tell them that unless they give you a treat they will see you next year.

“Home Theater Man” would be another cool get-up. Go dressed in a Best Buy uniform, and offer to help your unsuspecting victims integrate their home theater. This is actually giving them a treat. Then, for the trick, offer to help them with their boardroom. This should scare the living daylights out of them, and woe be to any CIOs it doesn’t scare.

For something topical, how about “BYOD Gremlin?” Festoon yourself with mobile devices, wrapped in miles of wires with proprietary connectors. Tell them that unless they give you a treat you will spend the next ten days trying to integrate your phone with their projector to watch YouTube. Leave anytime you want, with the job undone, telling them that you need to contact the manufacturer for their drivers. (Just don’t put this little job on your resume.)


P.S. – If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to take a minute to remember Everett Hall, founder of Everett Hall Associates, and my mentor and friend. Ev’s birthday was October 31. Happy birthday, Ev. I know you’re working that great gig in the sky. And to all you AV guys and gals out there — Happy Halloween!