Monday, March 27, 2017

Event Report: #UrbanArt Decor in #DTLA - The Ultra Hip Event

The Event:
Budtender Appreciation Day Southern California

Event Date:
March 12, 2017, 6-10PM

Event Location:
The Container Yard in Downtown Los Angeles,
a "creative collective with the capacity to facilitate and welcome collaborations that align with their ethos".

The first event of this kind in Southern California was "invitation only" and featured many sponsors from the industry.

We were tasked with providing event support: creating an art-inspired decor to match the space and the unconventional event style, as well as interactive, fun activities for this mostly young group of guests.

Here is our event report.

Visitors to our offices in an industrial area of South Los Angeles had gotten a "whiff" of our greenhouse neighbors in the past. We have been surrounded by budtenders for quite a while, literally just around the corner from a Sheriff station!
Well, it's now legal. California voters passed Proposition 64 in November 2016, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in California.

This allows California's arguably largest agricultural industry to go mainstream.

Dope Magazine, among many others in this industry, is expanding and organizing events.
It allowed us to stretch our event design and decor muscle in a very free wheeling, creative, fun environment. Brynne Peña had the pleasure of producing this event.

Besides enjoying all the goodies the sponsors generously distributed in gift bags, the guests had a blast playing trendy games: air hockey, giant jenga and skee ball.                      

Happy to report that the event was a success!
Dope Magazine reports: "Guests at this event sported smiles from ear to ear, and said the party was a smoker’s paradise.....As DOPE’s first event in Southern California, the B.A.D. Party set the bar for the Los Angeles cannabis scene, and started off the spring season with a bang."

Or should we say bong?

Wishing you a fabulous week - and thank you for reading!                      

Monday, March 20, 2017

Live from Austin, Texas: Cindy Lo Reports from SXSW

SXSW 2017 just concluded - we asked our friend Cindy Y. Lo, DMCP President & Event Strategist from Red Velvet Events in Austin, TX, to share the latest news.

Cindy has 14 years of hands-on experience, either producing SXSW related events or attending the conference and festival, for "unparalleled discovery, networking, and inspiration".
It's also about having fun, as you will see!

We are happy to share Cindy's expert report.

Cindy: "We have been going to SXSW for 14 years and we have seen it change, as in "grow"! Obviously, the interactive events became more popular over the years. Attendance has grown dramatically. As the conference and festival expanded, we were getting more agency work.

Attendance was up again this year, but the event aspects involving local help of SXSW decreased. In previous years, the conference was always incredibly chaotic for us. This year, my team could handle our workload very well, allowing me to actually attend the conference. On one hand, our team has grown, so we can handle a bigger workload. But since I heard from multiple local agencies that they, too, were not as busy, I started to wonder what may be the cause. Perhaps this is the necessary correction we needed after all these consecutive growth years."

"This is an example of the activations we had grown accustomed to as SXSW grew over the years, but surprisingly there were not as many this year. And when they did happen, they only lasted a maximum of 3 days, instead of the whole week-and-a-half in the past.

We are still wondering about the reasons. Did companies cut their budgets or did they just not get the ROI they anticipated and desired? Or did they just cut down on activations and events due to the new permit regulations? SXSW has always been a decent indicator for us on how our year will shape up. Next year will really tell. If the trend continues, we’ll definitely have to pivot our position. Again, I feel that the conference itself was very strong, but have the local event needs changed?"

The Trends
"I saw a lot more augmented reality, and more virtual reality head sets everywhere. The more it is out there, the more the prices are going to come down to reasonable levels, and the more people will bring VR into their event. One great example was D.C. House. They invited you to get on a bike and put on the head set and start pedaling. It gave you the experience of riding a bike in D.C. which is a great use of VR.  I think more companies will bring this kind of experience to their events, but the price point has not come down quite as much as I would like to make it affordable for everybody."

Cindy laughs: "You would have felt left out if your booth did not have VR! Every activation I went to had some form of it.
One great example: Spredfast, an Austin-based technology company, did a great job with their activation. They provide social media analytics for large retailers, media partners such as ESPN, any business that has an online presence. Each year during SXSW, they host a 3-day "Social Suite" at their offices in Downtown Austin where guests can just relax and enjoy social media friendly activities. This year women could get their hair braided and some nail art while Men could get a trim; best part was that the services were provided by a local barber shop. Spredfast had a beautiful dessert station where you could create your own dessert. And throughout the suite attendees were encouraged to post the experiences to their social media and use the hashtags. Spredfast displayed an analytical wall that showed how many times the items were posted and how far it reached. They showed off their product and gave clients a very good reason to come to their offices!"

"I did see a slight increase in vehicles, wrapped and just driving around Downtown Austin's traffic - think "mobile billboard". This is, again, nothing new, but it's effective."

The Themes:
"We saw a lot of jungle, natural plants and earth themes. It seems that everyone wants to be one with earth at this time. Everyone had dramatic green decor. Maybe it is a good counter balance to all the cold metal."

"We had a blast at the Mashable Photo Booth! Mashable always knows how to capture the pop culture moment! The Beyonce reveal happened less than a month before SXSW. Mashable reacted immediately. Everyone took this fun photo. Here it is our Red Velvet team member LeeAnn."

Cindy: "It was interesting and enjoyable for me to be an attendee this year, versus a producer. I got to experience the conference from the other side. I took lots of mental notes, about what worked and what did not from the attendee point of view.

I think pricing around SXSW events and venues needs to get back in line with norms - prices outstripped value this year and a lot of spaces went unused as a result.  Permitting requirements have gotten more stringent, which cuts down on last minute activations - no last minute permitting allowed.  And there are just fewer open spaces to get street-level visibility. Maybe Austin needed a year to step back and re-assess - or maybe the big corporations needed a breather as the sponsorships and events rotate to a new set of innovators and brands.

I will definitely remain in observation mode the next couple of years to see where events at SXSW are going. Was this year just a correction or a blip? Austin is a great city. Downtown is so pedestrian-friendly. Attendees can walk everywhere. There is so much brain power in Austin; the University, technology companies and SXSW. And people here are really friendly.  Austin and SXSW have real value for sponsors and attendees. My prediction: 2018 brings a moderation in prices, and an increase in event activations, which will be great news for everyone."

A Texas-sized THANK YOU to Cindy for taking the time to share her experiences and insight!

Wishing everyone a fabulous week!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Brynne Peña's Childhood Dream Came True: She Worked at The Academy Awards!

Just to clear one question up immediately:

Brynne Peña had absolutely nothing to do with the envelope mishap!
But Brynne did fulfill a childhood dream and worked behind the scenes at the
2017 Academy Awards!
Yes, it was all she dreamt it would be and she did fulfill several "bucket list" wishes in one evening!

Brynne, still glowing from the experience, explains how she ended up at the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood's biggest night:
"One of my friends at church is also an event producer. Mary is specialized in award show production and I have helped her out in the past when she was short staffed. So when she called just four days before the show looking for experienced producers, I jumped with joy and said YES!"

If you watched the show you know, that host Jimmy Kimmel let candy rain on the VIP audience. The Candy gag was added just days before showtime, thus requiring 10 trustworthy event pros on very short notice. What you did not see on camera were the Candy Servers who distributed candy to everyone inside The Dolby Theatre during the commercial breaks.

Brynne's work title: Candy Server and Aisle Captain.
"After each of the three candy drops we entered the theater during the  commercial break immediately following the to distribute candy to all attendees. I was in charge of an aisle with 6 candy servers working under my wings."

 "As Aisle Captain on the stage right I wore one of the official radio head sets to be able to listen to all the director's queues. As the three drops happened we were stationed at the aisle doors - "Candy on Stand-by" - and, upon queue - "Candy Go", I had to make sure that all 7 of us entered "my aisle"  in order to surprise the attendees with a choice of candy. I presented my candy in a portable tray, like a cigarette girl. In order to make the candy serving work, we had priority to enter the theater. At times, we were allowed to dash past the winners and stars, who were waiting to get back into the auditorium.
It was so much fun!
I delivered candy to Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Viola Davis, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Lin Manuel Miranda, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Denzel Washington and MERYL STREEP!"

Faithful readers recall that Justin Timberlake is one of Brynne's favorite artists. Meeting JT and Meryl Streep while working at the Academy Awads: a dream come true.

"I still can't believe that I got to offer red vines and junior mints to all the stars. I accidentally brushed against Denzel Washington - and I talked to Justin Timberlake! Yes, we are used to celebrities in Los Angeles and in our business, but JT and Meryl Streep are among my childhood idols. It was really an incredible experience to meet them up close."

Early on Monday morning Brynne was back in her usual role as account executive for EventWorks, and on Amtrak heading down to San Diego where she is producing a series of events this month. With bucket list memories for a lifetime!

Wishing you a fabulous week!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Event Report from Boca Raton, Florida.

Ted Bowers is not prone to tweeting, but if he did it would contain
We have been lucky to work in beautiful Florida on several occasions lately.
Here is Ted's reports from Boca Raton.

The Event: The 3-day Spring Meeting of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Guest count: 800
Our Task: Technical and Event Support.
Location: Boca Raton Resort and Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort.
As a few weeks ago in Miami, where we brought the local art and design into the event decor, we got inspired by our surroundings.
We incorporated the iconic pink flamingos in our opening night stage set.

Ted Bowers: "These conferences need live event audio and video support as well as a complete recording of all events for meticulous archiving. We have been working together for many years and we adhere to a strict protocol to ensure 100% secure service. Capturing top quality video and audio and preparing the material is essential to the very structured archiving. Any moment of any conference has to be retrievable from the archives easily. Providing a set technical standard is therefor paramount to this task. Recently, the College has added new technology to make the conference more interactive for the attendees. We provide support for this effort as well, especially to the attendees who have to learn how to use it."

We are grateful for our client's comments!
Dennis Maggi, Executive Director of the very prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers: "The College has partnered with Eventworks on our production and events more than twenty years. It is a collaborative effort and as a small staff organization we consider the team that travels with us to be an extension of our own staff. The College wouldn’t be able to do what it does without the great relationship we have with the Eventworks team."

The EventWorks Team: Ted Bowers, Ben Majors and Marcelo Cruz during the lighting and sound check for the 12-speaker panel discussion. Ted supervises every moment of the conference.

We also managed to stand out in Boca Raton!
Ted chuckles: "Our production rental car was a Kia mini-van. We were surrounded by Bugattis, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Rolls Royce convertibles....
We stuck out like a sore thumb.

This was our view from the "office" last week. On the West Coast we enjoy sunsets over the Pacific ocean. Here we got to admire sunrise over the Atlantic ocean. The Boca Raton Resort and Club is a truly outstanding property and I personally love the sense of almost 90 years of history."

Thank you for reading!