30 Under 30: Zak Haywood, Video Programmer

In celebration of LDI’s 30th anniversary—1988-2018—Live Design gives a shout out to 30 Under 30: thirty young movers and shakers who are changing paradigms, looking at things from new angles, and rapidly rising to the forefront of their field. From scenic, lighting, projection, and costume designers to technicians and programmers, as well as those who work for manufacturers, production companies, or rental shops, our 30 Under 30 are the harbingers of tomorrow.

Madonna, Kendrik Lamar, Beyoncé—impressive client names for a video programmer just shy of 30. Zak Haywood has worked in the industry as a lighting designer, programmer, and technician before moving over to disguise (then d3 technologies) as operator/technician and then technical manager. Haywood parted from disguise in 2016, and with co-founder/partner Rich Porter, established We Are The Hive, Inc, offering consultancy and creative solutions for the live events industry. 

Name: Zak Haywood

Age: 28

City, State of residence: Brooklyn, New York

Position/title: Founder, We Are The Hive Inc

Current project(s): HULU Upfront, Robinhood 30th Anniversary Benefit, Amazon AWS, Xbox E3 

Most notable achievements: Video programmer for Madonna’s MDNA 2012 Tour, video programmer for Kendrick Lamar at Coachella 2017, and video programmer for Beyoncé at “Beychella” 2018.

When I started in this industry: 2004

Video Programmer for IFFA Awards 2017

How I got into this industry: Like many in the production industry, I started out on stage but soon found that I was more interested in what has happening behind the scenes, so when I was 14, I started helping local theatres whenever I could. From there, I started working for some small, local companies.

Influences: Laura Frank, Richard Porter, Rodd McLaughlin, Ash Nehru, Eric Marchwinski, Kirk Miller, Cory FitzGerald, Marty Wickman, Trevor Stirlin Burk, Manny Treeson, Dirk Sanders.

Worst advice I’ve ever heard: “Just get it done.” Sometimes it’s best to step back and assess the situation.

Best advice I’ve ever heard: “It’s all about the out.” I like this piece of advice because every time I’m setting up a show I like to remember to keep things neat and labeled. 

My favorite thing about the production industry: My favorite thing about the production industry is meeting people and seeing how their creative process works. Everyone has a different style and process, so there’s always something to learn. 

Video Programmer for Nickelodeon Halo Awards 2016

Favorite design/programming/technical trick: Start simple and trace from there. Don’t always look at the complicated system as the error. Sometimes it’s just as simple as replacing a cable. 

Plans for the future: Keep meeting interesting and creative people. Produce high quality work whilst trying to push the boundaries of what’s possible with people that care about what they are doing.

Other interests/side gigs: I enjoy mountain biking, skiing, and climbing. I also really enjoy music, and there’s not many points in the day that I won’t have some kind of background music on.

Awards, honors: Emmy honors for Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show featuring Katy Perry

Website if applicable: www.wearethehive.com

Check out Live Design/LDI's other 30 Under 30: