How did we do it? Start with great sound. Not sound to make your ears bleed like a rock concert, but sound with the same intensity and clarity. What the leaders of USANA have to say to the crowd is the motivation for their team, so driving the intensity of the event, and hearing what they have to say is essential to success. Next you need great video. With a crowd this size creating intimacy is driven in part by the audience feeling up close and personal with the presenters on the stage. Not everyone can be in the front row, but creating the feeling that they are is what draws them close. The right cameras, plenty of screens and good lighting pull together to make anyone in the room, from the front to the back, feel like they matter to the presenter on the stage. The information that they have to share must be clear, so the visuals are essential as well, all relying on the best projection systems available. Projection is also essential to having a portion of the crowd needing sign language. Although they could have been relegated to sit in an area together, USANA wanted them to sit with their own groups, not isolated. So we added some screens and put the sign language translator in a place for all of the room to see. The other language translations were the easy part…if you can call translations for five languages easy, but through the use of the latest technology, each translation was heard, and the visuals seen, in each of their own languages.
But to add to the excitement we needed to create an atmosphere that reduced the size of the room without looking ominous and obtrusive. Elegant set pieces, lit properly with the ability to change the look for each change in presentation were the answer, but doing them for this scale of a space is a challenge. The pictures below show the results, but to be fair they do not truly do the room justice. As always, the challenge was to continue this drive year after year as the company would grown and change, which is part of the fun of what we do.
Jam nearly 5,000 screaming teenagers into a room with a great band and what do you get?
When I was first approached by the District Youth Director to help with this event, they had seen their attendance dropping year after year. They were eager to see a change in the event even though, due to waning registrations, they were on a tight budget. In our first meeting I looked at tapes of their previous years’ show and could see the reason for the dropping attendance. Their production values had dropped so low that the audience could not see or hear well enough to be involved in the event. I began to sketch an idea on a scrap of paper, and by the end of the meeting we had a plan. I went to work to fit their budget while still giving the production values that the show so desperately needed.
They were so eager for the upcoming conference that they sent my sketches out to their churches and watched their registrations soar! Two weeks before the event we were discussing plans for an overflow room because they were seeing the highest numbers ever and were afraid that they would no longer fit in their auditorium that normally seats five thousand. I went back to the drawing board to see how we could fit more in the already crowded theater.
The show was an amazing success! Each year afterward was a challenge to one-up the last. After seeing the success with the Youth department, the District has also had us help with their Men’s and Women’s conferences as well. Year after year we continued to breathe new life to great audiences.