Mar 28, 2017
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Confessions of a Suddenly Promoted Intern
by Liliana Urbain
Company owners, producers, and college grads alike celebrate the final moments of Reboot with a celebratory raffle ticket shower. photo: courtesy L. Urbain
IT DIDN'T HIT ME UNTIL LATER THAT
night, as I pulled into my driveway: I, an intern of only two weeks, was suddenly in charge of one of the biggest production events in the Bay Area.
What was my new boss thinking?
“We have about 20 to 30 companies participating each year and see about 200 to 300 attendees—" cue dramatic pause as Ray Santiago, founder of Beyond Pix and the force behind Project Reboot, turned to me.
“Liliana,” I took a sharp breath in, “I want you to spearhead Reboot this year!”
I felt like I was only now letting out that breath. I had some event planning experience, but nothing to this caliber, and I had joined Beyond Pix only two weeks ago. What did I know about bringing together production houses, broadcast studios, and rental outfits from all over the Bay?
I remember my first call vividly. One of my coworkers dialed the number as I fidgeted beside her. The woman who answered had a light, warm voice.
“Hello, this is Videofax,” said Leigh Blicher, the owner.
“Hey, this is Beyond Pix calling about Project Reboot—”
The folks from Pictoclik. a local online film festival, show off the raffle ticket which won them a $50 gift certificate from Acme Scenery. photo: courtesy L. Urbain
“Reboot?” Leigh cut in, “Definitely count us in!” I stared down at the phone in disbelief. In college I had worked the donation hotlines and learned to brace myself during every call for the inevitable and curt “No, thanks.” We had barely said anything and Videofax was already committed, excited, and offering us resources for promotion.
And this was only the start. Every call held a similar friendliness and enthusiasm as people reminisced over memories of past Reboots. Even companies who couldn’t make it offered donations for the raffle or resources for outreach. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t planning this event on my own, I had a whole Bay Area production community backing me up.
On Thursday, August 6th everything came together in an evening of exploration, connection and celebration.
Project Reboot 2015 began at 4pm when companies like Videofax, Little Giant, DTC, The Producer’s Loft, Polarity Post, Rough House and Express Media (just to name a few, almost all in the Bayshore neighborhood south of the Mission), opened their doors for the "Production Crawl.”
This opening stage of Reboot encouraged attendees to visit partner companies around the neighborhood. “Crawlers" moved from production house to sound stage to prop shop asking questions, taking notes and enjoying complimentary refreshments, food and the occasional DJ.
But the Crawl was just the appetizer. Visitors were given raffle tickets at each open house location redeemable only at the final stage of Reboot: Soma-Palooza held in Beyond Pix @Bayshore facility—it seemed like a good idea to drive interest but would it work?
Between 6 and 7pm, success rolled up in crowds of roughly 300 crawlers and open house hosts alike. Excited and hungry guests were met with fresh-off-the-grill-BBQ, complimentary libations, live music and 19 more production groups who had opted to set up booths around the studio.
Beyond Pix and Project Reboot founder Ray Santiago in the crowd of nearly 300 attentively listening for the final raffle winners. photo: courtesy L. Urbain
Within the first hour, a line formed up to the second floor VIP lounge where The Institute for the Future offered 360º Oculus Rift virtual reality tours. Outside, a small fleet of production ready trailers assembled for producers looking to take their show on the road.
During the rare lulls in activity, I snuck over to two or three booths to check out the displays myself. I started with a visit to Miss Thia, the Tarot card reader. Now, I’m not much of a believer in the art of fortune telling, but something about Miss Thia’s serene presence and the eerily relevant information she pulled from the cards left me with the feeling that I had experienced more than a simple card trick.
Wandering outside, I found myself within the 45ft long BritCrewUSA Production Motorhome. Immediately upon entry, owner Peter Williams offered me a glass of champagne, a fifteen-minute oxygen bar session and a Shiatsu neck and shoulder massage. I practically floated down the step and back indoors.
My last stop before I had to join the band for the remainder of the live set had been on my radar since Reboot’s initial planning stages: Photon’s voice acting booth. This unique display offered guests the chance to record their own voice (or the voices of them and a few friends) over a selection of famous movie scenes.
I entered the booth with two other band members and one freelance 2D artist named Savannah Lund. We decided on the well-known “One-Million Dollars” scene from "Austin Powers", which required one person to say a line and the rest of us to laugh hysterically for the next two or three minutes.
It would have all gone pretty normally if Savannah hadn’t viewed this an opportunity to debut her hauntingly accurate dolphin cry. Listening back, it was as if the mic had picked up a room full of dolphins, hormonal gorillas and one Squirdward (courtesy of yours truly) rather than four twenty-something year olds.
Photographer Alan Johnson takes a selfie of Beyond Pix's Albert Leung and make-up artists Alyssa DiMaggio and Nikol Elaine, who flaunts her own Reboot selfie. photo: courtesy A. Johnson
We left the booth in teary-eyed hysterics and the band and I made our way to the stage for the remained of the live music set. As the Diana DeMuth Band filled the room with beautiful lyrics and sultry sax lines, Videofax got up close and personal with their new MoVi gimbal rig, capturing expressive shots and impressive angles.
Between the music and the final event, I made one last round through the booths, including an official RED camera table, two competing grip and lighting companies, a few audio post-production services, Reel Directory, 4th Street Studios, the San Mateo Film Commission, and NATAS, who offered the chance to take a selfie with an official EMMY® Award.
The evening ended with the much-anticipated raffle offering prizes from Sonoma Speedway weekend passes to a one-year Adobe Creative Cloud membership to a complimentary one-night stay at Novato Oaks Inn.
When the winner of the final prize (two Giants tickets) left the stage, people began their slow exit, saying goodbye to old friends, exchanging information with potential new clients, and slipping in that one last hotdog.
As I swept up raffle tickets and bottle caps, I thought back on that first conversation with Ray. He had seemed a little crazy to me then. Yet, somehow, this newbie to the production industry stood two months later on the remains of what had been proclaimed as one of the best Reboots yet.
Ray had taken a chance on me. He saw potential and gave me the tools to discover that potential in myself. But even more than that, he provided me with the opportunity to dive head first into an industry I spent a long time tip-toeing around.
Perhaps this what makes Reboot so unique--it’s not just an event, it’s a communal movement. It’s interns raising a glass with company owners. It’s competing businesses helping set up each other’s booths. It’s college students debating seasoned professionals.
It’s a celebration of the diversity, ingenuity and excitement that makes the Bay Area Production industry one of the most genuine and inspiring out there.
Liliana Urbain is media worker, writer and now events organizer who can be reached
Posted on Sep 17, 2015 - 02:04 AM