OK, I did send out a poll to see if this blog would be of interest and quite a number of people thought that it would so here goes...
I signed up to be one of the 500 volunteers that will be "stage crew" for the Superbowl half-time show. Now certainly the show consisting of The Who was one of the major deciding factors for getting me to sign up, but there is also a huge curiosity of how a production company can gather 500 volunteers and teach them how to assemble such a huge stage. Having been in marketing for over 20 years and involved in conventions, trade shows, events, meetings and seminars -- from creating, designing, organizing and everything in between -- I just had to see what process they use to accomplish this feat.
With that being said I will be blogging about the process and how it is rolling along each time I attend the rehearsals. Day 1 was last night and this is how it went:
First we were told exactly how to get to Joe Robbie/Dolphin/Land Shark/I mean Sun Life Stadium via a nicely done map with exact parking instructions. Once there I was a little confused on where exactly to go but they did station someone in a golf cart to direct us lost souls.
We were told to "line up" to check in at the white tent, which was a snaking line of about 50 or so. It did go fairly quickly since most all of us already attended an orientation session at Nova and filled out the various forms, including a confidentiality form which is a concern of mine so I really have to be careful to not tell you anything really about the s - t - a - g - e that we are setting up.
Once they found our name on the sheets we were handed more information about future rehearsals which is great as they keep reminding us when and where to be (over and over which is great for us time staved, scattered people).
They had constructed metal bleachers for us all to sit on although once I found a seat (yes, I was a little late having to stop for gas on the way) I realized everyone around me had their "box lunch" -- even though it was dinner time. I quickly asked where those were and my fellow volunteers pointed to another area where they had sandwiches with chips a cookie and various beverage choices. All is good so far. My line buddy -- yes, I did meet a sweet girl who worked for Carinval Cruise Line and was alone as I was -- said she wondered where I went since I didn't make a beeline to the food area. :)
Once I re-seated myself, and balanced my food on my lap, another half hour passed before they finally got all of us "late-shower-uppers" checked in and seated. Whew!
Cap, the top dog to the entire show, came on stage and after quite a few of the wireless mics decided to not work, he went on to use an old fashioned bull horn - oh my! After about 10 minutes of bull horn use, a tech person finally gave poor Cap a wired mic and he seemed just so much happier.
His motivational speech was a little odd, and old, about WWII folks being feed by volunteers in the Midwest for many years. He really tried to tie this story in with the fact that the volunteers feeding the soldiers where not expecting anything for their time and food donations. OK, I kind of get the slight reference of giving of time but really not certain how he thinks this is the same as 500 of us spending six long nights and one day moving parts around a football field for a for-profit production company so The Who can make millions, sponsors can pay millions and foodball teams can make millions...hmmmm, am I missing something here?
What they did very well is to group us in teams of about 10 people and assign us to a "piece" that we all -- as a team -- will need to move in place in about 5 minutes and move out again in about 5 minutes. Well, you probably are saying, "What's the big deal? You have 500 people, how hard can that be?" Well if I told you exactly the way this thing will look then I'd have to kill you, but I can tell you that this is no small task. Not only do we volunteers have to learn how and where to move these - and line them up perfectly (yikes!) but we also have to allow time for the pros who are electrical, pyrotechnic, sounds and various other folks, WIRE this all in the 5 minute time frame. Now, that seems to be the real obstacle in my mind -- how the heck will they have the time?
Last night was the first time that this thing was together - well, kind of. It really didn't work all that well, so they probably spent all night and all of today fixing the darn thing. Not that you and I would know what didn't work well, but they said that there were some issues that they were going to fix.
Now I do have to tell you about my "crew". I am with 9 other people which couldn't be more different. We have the obnoxious sports guy (did you think any different?!), the three your women who goodness knows why they came (but they were cute and very nice), a very odd guy who really seemed to study our equipment, a few guys about my age that are mostly sports fans although I do think one of them loves The Who also and just volunteered for that reason. I think that's about it but I do know that our group will most likely "bond" by the end of this adventure since we will spend hours standing around waiting (yes, last night we did a lot of that). Our lead roadie, yes they hired those to help out and it was a girl who was very cute and nice, had two crews to lead so we were left on our own -- to stand around -- for quite a long time. Well after obnoxious sports guy told us all blonde jokes (yes, I am blonde and the only one on our crew) I realized that this may be a long, long night - and it did get quite cold. I can't wait for the next adventure...
I have a break tonight but back at it tomorrow night, Thursday and Friday. Look for the next installment of my blog and half-time show adventure!