I met with Dan Roy, competing in Montreal for the first time with his company Big Bang Fireworks, based in Calgary, Alberta.
Originally from Montreal, Dan moved out west more than twenty years ago and became friends with Patrick Brault (formerly of Fiat Lux and now with Sirius Pyrotechnics). After working on a few shows with Patrick, Dan became hooked and went on to found Big Bang 18 years ago.
Dan discussed in great detail the design of the soundtrack and how his taste in music had changed since moving West. Initially, he thought that Country music was for rednecks only, but soon came to find he actually enjoyed quite a lot of the material in that genre. Choosing this type of music for Montreal was based on him wanting to do a show that was true to his personal feelings, rather than a theme imposed by a client or sponsor. Many companies use “epic” music, or classical, for example, but he said that he wanted to use music that he actually listened to at home. To drive home the point, he demonstrated his phone’s ringtone. He also noted that many current artists actually do covers of classic country pieces that were originally performed by artists such as Dolly Parton.
Dan said he had been thinking of what he would do for a Montreal display since the last International Symposium on Fireworks, held in Bordeaux in September 2015 and worked on the music for the display for over a month once he was notified he would be competing. He said he chose all the edit points in the music himself and had a professional complete the fine editing of the soundtrack.
Big Bang are the exclusive North American distributor of Groupo Luso products from Portugal, so there will be many of these featured in the display, which will be using all four ramps plus the floating pontoons (ramp 5). There will be some interesting surprises in the show – especially during the Ring of Fire segment where the audience’s hearts should be warmed up in a very interesting way. Given the cool and damp weather forecast, this should be especially interesting. A large wheel of one-shots will be suspended on ramp 2. Dan uses his own method of scripting using Excel, rather than using any special visualization software or otherwise. The display is being fired using FireOne – but I will not reveal the number of cues until the post-display report. This is a departure and I believe is fairer towards the competitors as cue-counts can be misleading to the audience.
Dan said his aim was to produce the best show that he could as this is a rare opportunity to be able to design such a show. Big Bang has competed in places like Knokke Heist (Belgium) and Mexico in the past, as well as more locally in Sherbrooke, but Dan said he’s not fixated on winning awards. He said producing this show in Montreal is a fun thing to do and he hopes the audience will enjoy it.