I was the integrated producer for Hush Studios on this large scale event project.
In the television industry an upfront is an annual marketing event thrown by a network for media buyers with the dual purpose of presenting a glossy launch for the network’s new shows while negotiating and selling ad time for the network line-up as a whole. Mirroring the model of the television industry, new entrants into online video series such as Hulu, AOL and YouTube have begun participating in an analogous annual event held in NYC called the NewFronts. I produced the New York Times’ entry.
At a top level I was responsible for the development and successful execution of a live presentation for an audience of 350 influential C-level executives and media journalists. This entailed constant client engagement and support; close oversight of the production of wide-ranging content for the event including design, editorial, animation, original and licensed music, physical graphics, and print materials; supervision of subcontractors responsible for architectural design, construction and installation; catering, attendee takeaway concepting and manufacturing; coordinating internal and external public relations for the event; planning, coordinating and supervising rehearsals, showrunning and stage management for the Event; and strategic administration of a fixed, mid six-figure budget to maintain a strong profit margin through careful development of the SOW in concert with the Director of Business, rigorous negotiations with vendors, and fluid and continuous cost-benefit analyses to achieve creative goals while remaining within budget.
The goal of the Times’ presentation was to showcase the launch of a new series of video content channels and simultaneously to launch the rebranding of its iconic “Times T” into a new “Video T” with a triangular play button added. The core of Hush’s design brief was the creation of a curated “art gallery” environment with the focus on the leveraging of the Video T. This was executed by the employment of triangular elements throughout including the stage itself and most uniquely, in the creation of a group of triangular video “plinths” built by our A/V subcontractor Magnetic that would greet the audience as they entered they space, each of which features content from one of the fourteen new Times channels.
Hush Studios cut together a case study for the project that illustrates the user experience within the space and the plinths:
As the presentation’s ultimate goal was to impress media buyers with the Times’ new video content, ultimately the video presentation was the critical centerpiece. To that end we utilized a 40 foot wide LED screen with a highly anamorphic shape to allow for varying combinations of 1920 x 1080 content (the standard size of all our video source material). Below is a schematic of a view from the rear of the space:
Our intrepid editor John McSwain busted some seriously impressive moves to cut over forty minutes of content together for the various sizzle reels that accompanied presenters in a period of two and a half weeks, working around complicated clearance issues, shifting creative priorities and multiple levels of approvals. Below is the intro “anthem” that started the presentation
In concert with the video content we also developed a design package of animated titles and transitions referencing the Times T that formed the branding glue that helped maintain a seamless flow from one speaker segment to the next:
We additionally created a 30 minute ambient animation that set the mood for the audience as they mingled both before and after the show, while over the course of its run subtly teasing out the new “Video T” through a slowly-evolving series of integrated graphic forms and imagery from notable stories the Times had covered in 2013.
A large component of the job was the planning and oversight of the Event itself, which included managing sourcing and managing catering, giveaways (see above), a live musical performance, and above all developing a minute-by-minute Run of Show which required extensive coordination between Editorial, the Showrunners and the New York Times Staff. Below is the minute-by-minute script for the 45 minute event
I am happy to report that after all was said and done, the Event went off without a hitch and was commemorated by the successful imbibing of whiskey-based beverages….
|Title||New York Times Upfront Event|
|Agency Integrated Producer||Barry Gilbert|
|Agency + Production Company||Hush Studios|
|Executive Producer||David Schwarz|
|Director of Production||Gabe Banner|
|Creative Director||Jodi Terwilleger|
|Client||New York Times|
|Designer / Animator||Carl Burton|
|Event Tech Implementation||MAGNET|
|Associate Producer||Katherine Conaway|