Yamaha held their annual dealer meeting at the Gaylord Hotel in Orlando, FL on September 10, 2007, with Oligopoly Productions providing support.Every year, motorcycle companies stage elaborate reveals and exhibits of their new products in an effort to court sales for the upcoming product lines. This year, Yamaha held their annual dealer meeting at the Gaylord Hotel in Orlando, FL on September 10, 2007.
"Yamaha Motorcycles has been our client for several years and this year they wanted something different, something with a lot of excitement, something big," said Steve Kavich and John Reynolds, principals of Kavich Reynolds Productions in Hollywood, CA. "Yamaha literally wanted to bring the bikes to the dealers so that even someone in the last row would feel a part of the whole show."
Tom Kelsey, who has been the Yamaha head writer with Kavich Reynolds for years called to ask if we were interested in working with them on this project. I want to thank Tom, since it turned out to be a very fortuitous call indeed.
Kavich Reynolds turned to my company, Oligopoly Productions, an event management and staging company based in Hermosa Beach, CA, to come up with some big ideas. Now ramping it up can mean different things to different people at different times. For me, it took on many meanings. Since this was my first event with Kavich Reynolds, I decided we had to ramp it up figuratively and literally. Every staging effect was a possibility.
Where Do You Start?
Working together with Kristian Bast, Bast Design, Sunland, CA, we ramped it up by designing a 168 foot long by 24 foot wide stage with eight ramps, and a lift on stage. We added an 80 foot ramp that led to a 20 x 20 foot stage in the house. And with an audience of over 3,000 dealers, the stage platforms themselves needed to start at 5 feet and climb to more than 9 feet in height, to allow for greater sightlines. Incorporated into the 100 foot fiber optic backdrop curtain was a 40 x 16 foot main screen, using two double stacks of Christie projectors with a Spyder system, supplied by Sweetwater Video Productions.
Oligopoly designed a 168 foot long by 24 foot wide stage with eight ramps, and a lift on stage.
Starting with a 5 foot stage in a ballroom having a ceiling height of 23 feet also played a role in selecting the correct truss to be used. By using Christie Lites' 16 inch pin and clip truss, it allowed the entire roof truss, above the stage, to be at one level, as well as building the lighting front of house truss around the main chandeliers. This is something you just can't do with regular box truss.
Ultimately we decided to skirt the entire stage in a light gray material allowing for gobos to create environments, pyrotechnics as accents, along with the element of surprise as the final creative. "When the ATV's came on stage, we wanted the stage to look like a mountain of rocks. It really added to the whole effect," said Wayne Broussard, lighting designer.
SGA Gets the Call
Critical to the success of the event was finding a company who could build this size of stage with the ramp component and do it in the time allotted. It was an easy decision for me. I've worked with Matt Brocker, at SGA, for over 10 years and he has never let me down, so SGA was the only choice to achieve this type of critical execution.
The interaction between SGA and myself, as it related to the motorcycles being able to approach and exit the stage without issue, was always one of the most important factors. "We couldn't afford to show-up on site and find out one of the angles of the pre-built ramps were too steep and would hang-up a bike," said Andrew Smith, CAD technician for SGA. Each ramp's angles were submitted to Yamaha for confirmation they would work with the bikes clearances. In addition to the 125 platforms and eight ramps, a critical component of the system was a removable section of the ramp to the house platform which needed to slide under the main stage, thereby creating a fire exit cross aisle.
By using Christie Lites' 16 inch pin and clip truss, it allowed the entire roof truss, above the stage, to be at one level, as well as building the lighting front of house truss around the main chandeliers.
One of the reveals we created for two of the new street bikes, was surprising the audience as they appeared from nowhere, coming up opposite ramps, lead by pyrotechnics and crossing in mid-air. At any given time during the show, there were products coming down a ramp, going into the house, or exiting via a ramp.
The Load-in Challenge
It's becoming more common for large events to not get their entire space on the first day of load-in. This event was no exception. We eventually secured the entire 46,750 square feet of the Osceola Ballroom on the day before the show, but started out on day with only one 5,000 square foot portion of the main ballroom. By the time we loaded in all of the lighting, truss, platforms, and signage it quickly became wall-to-wall equipment with almost no room to move.
On day two, another 5,000 square feet became available but the remaining 36,000 square feet did not become available until 4:00 am on the day of our client rehearsal. We still had pyrotechnics to set, 25 decks to drop, over 200 feet of truss to hang with lighting, video, and teleprompter delay screens, all in five hours. I could have used some very good local talent and vendors in the Orlando area, but with only two days to set up the entire production, I needed my regular team to feel totally secure. That team included lead technicians from around the country. "We've all worked together for so many years, there's no learning curve. Everyone does their job and we just have a great time together," said Michael Sharon, master electrician.
Pulling It All Together
Pulling off a show like a Yamaha Dealer meeting with all of the given challenges can really stress some clients. Our job is to make the client as comfortable as possible with the technical aspects, making sure the other shoe just doesn't drop. It hasn't in over 20 years and flawless execution is what we all live for. In the end, Yamaha was more than happy with the results, calling it one of the smoothest and best shows in a long time. "It couldn't have gone any better, and we thank everyone involved for their hard work," said Kavich and Reynolds. The challenge for next year is to see how much more ramped up things can really get. For more information visit www.opila.com.