Sunday, November 14, 2010

Major League Work

I am working on a show in Orlando for Major League Baseball. While it is a nice change from all the Pharma work that I normally do, it is a massive show and that means a massive amount of work.
For the last three weeks, I have been working in Phoenix at my friend Eric's shop prepping gear, doing little shows here and there in the Phoenix area, and getting the shop ready to make this show happen. About 1400 feet of 1' x 2' steel was purchased in 20' and 24' lengths, and three of us made an assembly line. I measured and cut the steel, Jonny welded it into frames that were 10' x 4' and 8' x 4' with 2' blocks in the center. Once they were cut and welded, Allen ground all the welds smooth. 
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Then we had to drill holes in strategic places to connect the pieces to each other, and build carts for all of it to ride in. Once all of that was done, which took about 3 straight days, we had to build a podium to match and a table.
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We set up some lighting truss out in the parking lot and flew a couple of test pieces of the set to make sure that it was all going to work.
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 All of the steel went to a powder coating company, and a couple of days later, we picked it up and continued to to build on the set. We had to rip pieces of wood into 1" wide strips and attach them all around each set piece and inside the podium. In the midst of all of this construction, emails are flying through cyberspace changing the big picture plan all around us. Equipment was being purchased. Gear was being rented like mad. Eric, Jonny, Allen and I were pulling the show, labeling equipment, packing stuff in cases, and getting all of this madness ready to be loaded onto a 53' semi truck. While Allen and I were building stuff at one of the shops, about 200 feet away, Eric and Jonny loaded the tractor trailer. The load was packed floor to ceiling, front to back, and there really wasn't a bit of room left in the truck when we closed the doors. 2010-11-15 03:22:42 GMT
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We had a nice BBQ at Eric and Audra's house with some good friends, and then Jonny left around 5:00 am in the truck and drove for the next 4 days across the country to Orlando. Allen, Eric and I all flew to Florida, and on Friday morning, at 7:00 am, the truck doors were opened and the set was rolled into the ballroom and assembly was started. we worked for about 2 hours on the set and got a good jump on getting it together when the rest of the crew arrived, and we all started to unload the rest of the truck. This seemed like it took forever and was a tremendous amount of work because there was so much equipment in the truck. The push from the truck to the elevator and from the elevator to the ballroom was pretty long, so everyone was pretty tired by the time everything was offloaded.
We divided into teams and everyone worked very hard putting all of the pieces of this huge show together. We had about 40 people working like ants moving equipment around and unpacking cases. It is always exciting to see how a truckload of boxes comes to life and through the talent of many diverse technicians, it grows into something so large, you would never believe that it came out of road cases.
Through out the day, the lighting, audio, video all flew up in the air on lighting trusses, as well as our creation, the set.
Once, the entire set was hung from the lighting truss, long sheets of vinyl were stapled to the frames and stretched tight.
When it all finally was put together, and lights were focused, video projectors were aligned, the set came alive.
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Photo: Courtesy of Mike Steighner

While it would seem like that is entirely enough work for anyone to do, the main ballroom is only a portion of this project.
The following day we started on the break out rooms. We have 11 rooms with full audio, and video systems that have to be put together. We spent the entire day scurrying around with a ton of gear and about 16 people setting up these 11 rooms.
The setup day we worked about 13 hours, day 2 was about the same, and today we finished up the breakout rooms and had rehearsals going all day and most of the evening. Today was about 13 hours as well. Evan and I ran around the entire day from room to room and floor to floor troubleshooting problems, delivering cables and equipment to technicians and fielding questions from clients. I am pretty exhausted and tomorrow will start the first official day of meetings for this show.
It is a great feeling to work with a world class crew and be able to be a part of something so enormous.

More to come......

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