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  • Writer's pictureedwardjamescoco


We had the American Music Awards red carpet last week (on a Tuesday, oddly enough). So I thought I'd keep the blog rolling with a little scenic update.

American Music Awards preshow - Comcast Stage

This is another show where we built a LOT of scenery last year, and repurposed much of it with updated graphics and a little polish. It's a model that seems to be working well for both ourselves as well as our clients. While it's often just as easy to design and build new scenery, this method creates a consistency in look and feel which helps clients reinforce their brand identity. And you'll find the term "brand identity" thrown around quite a lot these days.

original sketch of the COMCAST stage

So what did I mean by "it's often just as easy to design and build new scenery"? Well, as any scene shop will tell you, it's not easy to break down and store scenery for any extended period of time. Besides needing safe storage space, you also need to build the set in a way which can effectively break down into pieces. You have to be very careful when striking the scenery and loading it into storage. Then you need to be careful unpacking it, and bringing it back to the shop the following year. Once it's back in the shop you have to mock up the scenery and do all of the touch-ups; adding any new pieces, parts, and graphics. On the production end you have to be very organized. You need to have a good system for remembering what pieces go in what areas. You also really need to understand how it originally went together, so that you can be ready to calculate the effects of any new alterations. Honestly, it can get extremely confusing at times.

On the design side, it's integral to keep all of the files from previous years, and have a system for swapping out things. That means not getting sloppy with the 3d models. They have to be set up logically, and everything needs to be labelled. It's often easy to let a model get a little out of control as revision after revision happens. But if you're setting it aside for a year you need to be able to hit the ground running once the following year sneaks up on you.

Communication is so vital. Of course clients often have a habit of mis-remembering how something worked or looked the previous year. So it's great to be ready with photos, previous sketches, prior layouts/ground plans, and anything else which helps communicate how it looked before. Those are all great things in developing how it will look this year, and even prepare for how it will change next year.

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