Imagine, for a moment: thousands are screaming, intermittent camera flashes are flickering, and screens as tall as buildings illuminate with animation as cameras zoom in on passionate crowd members or in for close shots of band members onstage. Lights, screens, cameras, sound system—everything is calculated, and anything could go wrong.
For Marcia Kapustin, this is a day in the life, one small aspect in a career that carries her to concert halls around the world.
“You’re in full-out panic mode sometimes,” Kapustin says, referring to one of Bon Jovi’s concerts in which the power went completely out. “It’s live, you know? Everything stops.”
Kapustin, who started her company, KPX Video, in 2000, is an entrepreneur and specialist in technological and media content for bands. As such, she often finds herself hitching along on tours with various musicians to direct the screens, sounds, and lighting in concert venues so that shows run smoothly.
Although born and raised in Philadelphia, her port of landing is chiefly Omaha, where she started KPX. Her company specializes in LED screens, animations, live cameras, and image magnification, along with a wide gamut of other provisions for sound and screen content. Her impressive repertoire of clients includes Metallica, Bon Jovi, Elton John, James Taylor, U2, and Paul McCartney.
The obvious question: How can she not get star-struck rubbing elbows with the likes of Paul McCartney? “After so many years of working with [Paul], I’m used to it,” Kapustin says. “But every once in a while, when Paul will call me up or give a kiss on the cheek, I’ll have this moment of, ‘Oh my God, that’s Paul McCartney!’”
Kapustin is on the road anywhere from four to 10 months a year, a career choice for which she says she has “zero regrets.” However, finding the balance of normalcy between home life and life in some of the fastest of fast lanes poses an interesting challenge.
“I mean, imagine it this way,” Kapustin says. “Most people get off work, they go home at 5 or 6. On my day off, I can’t go home and chill out in my house. I’m living with these people that are my surrogate family, for the most part.”
Included in Kapustin’s resumé are an economic-based programming position for the U.S. Political Commerce in Washington, D.C. when she was 20 years old, and the installation of the world’s first LED big-screen in the NFL Ravens stadium later in her career.
As for some of the zanier experiences in Kapustin’s lively and ever-changing career, she recalls one hilarious and terrifying moment when McCartney forgot his place on stage and took a 6-foot tumble onto the back of a piano—only funny, she adds, because he was entirely unhurt.
And for her more difficult, theatrical clients: “Let’s put it this way,” Kapustin says with a smile. “There are some of my clients that I sign a nondisclosure agreement for.”
As for Kapustin’s near and future engagements, she’s gearing up to travel with McCartney again for his upcoming fall tour. Although she loves being home, Kapustin is already excited to be back on the road again.
“You miss little points in people’s lives,” Kapustin says. “I can’t imagine another way of life, but you do have to choose.”