I usually end up with 3-4 projects in the desert every year, this time at the MGM grand. As is usually the case for shows in Vegas, the production values have lots of sizzle and entertainment. Tsai Chin, one of China's biggest stars electrified the mostly Asian audience. Cirque-style acrobatics, celebrity impersonators and the antics of the Blue Man Group entertained. A posthumous holographic speech by one of the Amway co-founders was pulled off with technical perfection.This "Pepper's Ghost" effect was seen at the 2006 Grammy Awards in the Gorillaz & Madonna segment.
It's a good feeling to leave Las Vegas with money in my pocket! (Work schedules don't usually allow time for gambling).
Before heading out on the road again, I had one day to do laundry and one day to direct a marketing video for Peet's Coffee & Tea. Without a doubt, Peet's is the favorite brew of crews on most productions I work on (especially when the alternative is convention coffee). We shot with a Panasonic Hi-Def camera on P2 cards at Peet's roasting plant in Alameda, CA. Peet's Training Department specialist Kristen Nelson demonstrated the "Fresh Truth" about coffee: Did you know that many people don't realize they are buying stale coffee before they bring it home? Not if it's Peet's! The finished video will be playing on the Peet's website later this summer. Needless to say, we enjoyed the perfect cup of coffee - several times!
With the video safely "in the hard drive," I jetted off to Fayetteville, Arkansas to direct the Wal-Mart Shareholders Meeting, held at the University of Arkansas' Bud Walton Arena. Produced by TBA Global and video staging from Creative Technologies, this show had tremendous production values: A nine camera, Hi-Def video production system; 40' wide LED screen, flanked by two, 15 x 26 RP screens and 12 delay screens. The stage was on a large turntable so the many bands that performed could be preset and rolled out.
The 1st two nights had concerts by Sugarland, Brad Paisley, Foreigner and Daughtry. The meetings included presentations and performances by Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguci; Country artist Julianne Hough, Ben Stiller (who hilariously hosted the day two meeting), Latin Grammy winner Paulina Rubio, Miley Cyrus, Michael Jordan, American Idol winner Chris Allen and a closing performance by Smokey Robinson. The energy level on the show was needed - Thursday was a 17 hour day (show and rehearsal), followed by a 4:30AM call time on the final show day.
The rest of June has me back in Las Vegas, then San Francisco for two shows with a vacation sandwiched in between. Have a great summer!!!