We had the good fortune of connecting with Bryan Cuan-Garcia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bryan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Well, I had just lost 2 full-time jobs within 1 year due to issues with the companies that I was working for.
I sat back and thought to myself:
“There are people who are successful in my field who are way less qualified and driven than I am. I’m going independent!”
I haven’t looked back since.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I primarily work in the live-event space.
Cuantum Productions produce small to large-scale corporate events, music festivals, trade shows, brand activations, etc.
Basically, I’ll do anything that involves Audio, Video, and Lighting.
I’ve always been into tech. When I was a kid, my uncle would consistently ask me to do some outlandish technical stuff. He’d provide me with a VHS tape of some baseball game that he recorded and hand me a blank cassette tape and say
“Bryan, you’re the young one. You know all this tech stuff. Please put what’s on here onto over here”
Even then, I knew that there was only so much I can do. You can say that my uncle was my first headache of a client.
Throughout middle and high school, I acted in Drama Club. I loved being on stage. The sheer rush from the roar of the crowd kept me active all through school. It gave me a sense of purpose and belonging. Come senior year, I knew that the likelihood of making it out of Hialeah, FL as a big shot actor wasn’t very likely so I turned back to my roots and leaned into the tech side of production.
Shortly after high school, I landed a job at a local children’s theater called The Playground Theatre in Miami Shores, FL (now known as the Miami Theater Center).
This allowed me to hone my skills and see what it was like to work in a professional setting.
2008 came around and I decided to move to Orlando, FL to live with some buddies during college.
Personally, I didn’t go for college, I just went to have the college experience. While everyone was in class, I found myself freelancing at multiple theaters around town.
While my friends were learning about lighting theory and production, I was designing lights and producing.
During this time, I learned that punctuality and a strong work ethic would get me far in this industry.
I lived about 12 miles from all the places that I worked. I would have to wake up 3 hours before my call time to ensure that I made all the buses and transfers necessary to arrive 30 minutes before the call. People took notice and referred me to everyone around town.
I moved back to Miami, FL in 2009. My mother had passed away and I couldn’t bring myself to stay away from home much longer.
I quickly picked back up at my previous theater job and shortly after my return, I became the Crew Chief. I was in charge of all aspects of the stage. I found my place again. It was so rad to be back where it started for me and to share what I had learned with all my friends. I was 20 years old and running a crew of late 20 somethings.
In 2012, I decided to leave it all behind and venture out west. I picked up my stuff and moved to Los Angeles, CA. In LA, I got exposed to Corporate Audio-Visual. I quickly learned that I would never go back to working in theater.
Being 23 and living nearly 3000 miles from home sure does help you grow up quickly. I worked long hours, many days a week as an AV Technician at a 5 diamond hotel in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. During this time, I learned so many things that I didn’t even know existed. Within a month of working there, I was an Audio Engineer, Video Engineer, Lighting Engineer, Projectionist, Graphics Operator, Production Manager, and Floor Tech.
I was part of a bustling ecosystem at a property that had multiple events every week!
I learned the importance of communication, efficiency, ownership, and competency. I learned how to deal with all types of clients. From the easy, go with the flow type clients to the cut-throat, take no shit type clients.
It’s very important to know how to handle all types of personalities.
After the hotel burned me out, I found a position as a Labor Coordinator for a national labor company (basically, a staffing agency for the live-event industry).
That is where I learned all of the back-end things that you don’t get to see on-site.
How to bill clients, take into account profit margins, staff events, gauge skillsets, and ask the right questions.
This job really taught me all that I needed to know to get me to where I am today.
The tech stuff is easy because it’s fun but the business side of things can easily trip you up if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Unfortunately for me, this only lasted for a few years. This job came to an end due to some issues between ownership.
I then tried my luck in Atlanta, GA. I was scouted for a position at a tech company that was trying to shake things up in the live event space.
They had seen the way I presented myself online and invited me out. I nailed the interview and was offered a position as Crew Specialist for LASSO Marketplace, an application (app) that was meant to help production companies better staff/pay/track their events. My job entailed finding qualified technicians nationwide, vetting them, and onboarding them onto the software. This was right in my wheelhouse!
All was going great at the new job, for about 6 months.
I walk into the office one day and the president of the company informs me that the investors decided to pull the plug on the department that I was working in. They hadn’t finished the main platform of the app and they could no longer pour money into a section of the platform that was not instantly generating revenue.
So here I was, 27 years old, living in GA, and I find myself jobless. Again.
This was the moment that I decided that I will never lose my sense of security due to others’ inabilities to do their part.
30 minutes after being let go, I called a friend in Atlanta who would staff events and told her what just happened to me at my job. She offered me 6 days working at the Georgia World Congress Center starting that same weekend. That propelled me to do my own thing.
I got let go in March 2016. Between March – December 2016, I made more money through my company than I would have made if I continued working full time.
Frankly, it took life knocking me down for me to get back up and show ’em who’s boss.
There have been times that I think about getting back into a full-time job for a sense of security, and then I remember how much I love providing my skillset in a way that positively impacts others. The most important thing is that I get to do it under my terms.
Cuantum Productions ensures that all clients and colleagues get the respect that they deserve and that we have a hell of a lot of fun doing what we do.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First stop, 1800-Lucky. I am huge into Asian cuisine and this place has a little bit of everything!
Japanese Ramen, Korean BBQ, Sushi, Pad-Thai, they’ve got it all. Most importantly, it’s in the hippest part of town.
Walking distance to all the coolest eateries and photo ops that Miami has to offer.
On Wednesday, We’d definitely hit up Overunder in Downtown Miami to have a Muscle Relaxer (Level 2) and sing the night away at AJ’SKTV, the coolest Karaoke night in all of Miami. Ammy Juliet, better known by her alias Party Witch, throws up a green screen and places you and your sultry tunes in front of hilarious scenes that give the audience something else to enjoy. She is always accompanied by Overunder Owner, Brian Griffiths, and friend, Joel Hernandez.
I would most certainly be taking them to Artechouse Miami Beach. I mean, what kind of techie would I be if I didn’t take my friends to the most teched-out place Miami has to offer?
At some point, we’d likely end up at Space Park Miami to watch a killer local band put on an awesome performance. If we’re lucky, we’d get to catch one of the many bands from the Wet Mango Fest lineup (Ideally Palomino Blond or Supergold).
Throughout our adventures, we’d end up in MiMo enjoying a delicious meal at Phuc Yea (See? I’m really into Asian Cuisine) and then we’d hop over to have a cocktail at The Anderson (The coolest little bar on 79th Street).
If we needed a fresh cut, we’d pop in next door to the Anderson and see our friends at Flash Studios. They give great head. Really. Check out their website.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I owe all of my success to my best friend and baby sister, Dyana Cuan-Garcia.
Dyana has always been my absolute biggest fan, and I hers.
There has never been a time in my life where my sister has not been behind me 100% of the way. Whether that is being in plays together in high school, to cheering me on when I decided to move 2800 miles away.
Dyana consistently keeps me grounded and reminds me what it is to be loved unconditionally.
Honorable mentions are: Chris Cuan, Rey Cuan, Zulema Garcia (RIP Mom. I love you)