We haven't quite figured out, yet, whether what he really wants to do is direct but considering Chris Gerstenblatt's multi-tasking and juggling capability, he probably could. After all, an event producer does direct.
Chris had a very busy Spring producing a variety of very different events in very different locations.
Starting in Los Angeles with the UCLA Day 'o9 on May 8th, 2009, then flying off to New York City to oversee the Starwood Leadership Conference 2009 at the W Hotel in Hoboken and New York Sheraton from June 17th to 19th. Chris was immersed over his ears in preparing for those two large events while handling smaller L.A. assignments as well.
Chris: "It was key for me to really listen to our clients' wishes to ensure that we fulfill their ideas for the event. Of course, collegiate events require a different approach than corporate events." Key for UCLA was to promote the university by creating a sense of community among former and current students and attracting future students into the UCLA family. "We also had to be very budget conscious! UCLA's funding, of course, goes mostly to educational programs so we keep the event very cost effective. We wanted to make it memorable for the students and alumni without being over the top. For instance, we created table center pieces from living plants in the UCLA colors that UCLA is now using as part of the landscaping of the campus."
Then, Chris entered the Purple Haze in Hoboken. The Starwood Leadership Conference is attended by 100 top company executives as well as Starwood's C.E.O.. Chris still raves about the amazing Welcome Party at the new W in Hoboken.
"We produced the Welcome party based on the New York Photo Shoot concept. As guests were water taxied over from the New York Pier 78, they were mysteriously met by a woman with the "Purple" Hat. She was an actress whose role it was to create a mysterious illusion on the evening and have the guests creatively guess her purpose. As the ferry docked at the New Jersey Pier, the Mysterious Woman escorted the group along the Hudson River walk way where "W" style vignette's were strategically placed.
The first vignette was a Break-dance group wearing custom "W Hoboken" Baseball T's. The second vignette was of a young hip couple sitting on a park bench with a purple blanket, purple picnic basket, and Fiji water as this is the new sponsor. The third vignette was a beautiful Latina Woman gazing out over the Hudson and then walking in between all the guests. The fourth vignette was a "W" Hotel dog walker. The final vignette was a New York based photographer working with a group of models wearing couture clothing designed by Luis Monge with the New York Skyline as the backdrop of the spread.
At the end of the walk, the guests were escorted upstairs into the Chandelier Room which was transformed into a New York Style Loft space. Here, our photographer continued the shoot by photographing 12 additional models who were in different sections of the room. Each model was accessorized by Monge as well as having custom "Magical" Face art to enhance the majestic event.
The room was decorated with 25 tall glass cylinders with submerged floral and candle votives.
The chandelier arms that protrude out of the walls were accented with custom glass tear drops that were filled with white water beads and purple acolytes. Overall, the guests were treated to a high end event with amazing talent to enhance the party."
Chris is especially pleased because the Starwood events allowed him to try new techniques like the florals in the chandeliers. "We came up with new lighting and floral techniques and many of them will become standards. We had to break down some resistance because the W management was hesitant to let us place candles throughout the rooms and they were particularly worried about the chandelier florals but they loved them once they were up and they left them in place for awhile after the party."
Besides the Welcome party, EventWorks produced breakout sessions at the New York Sheraton for the conference, six meals over two days, each single one themed after a Starwood brand. "We really had fun with that one. We redecorated for each meal, and each single one was different. St. Regis High Tea, The Loft Candybar and so on. The work pace was mad since we had very little time. After each meal we redecorated the room completely, wall art included, to create the next brand look. Some guests showed up early so we were working faster than ever." The run on the crafts table - sounds like a movie to us!