As part of our new site at demconvention.com, all new blog posts can now be found here:
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If you haven’t done so already, be sure to swing by www.demconvention.com and take a look at the dynamic new online home of the Democratic National Convention Committee. We’ve been working hard with our official website producer, Dewey Digital, to put together a site that engages new communities, provides up-to-the-minute news, generates interest and fuels enthusiasm around this great Convention.
But this is only the beginning. In the coming months, we’ll expand the site and offer even more resources for anyone interested in getting involved. During Convention week, www.demconvention.com will become a go-to resource for delegates, media and other Convention attendees as well as a place for Democrats and netroots activists all across the country to become part of the Denver experience. Visitors to the website can now sign up to receive regular updates on Convention news, events and other developments, so make sure to do that if you haven’t already.
Another great improvement on our site is the increased accessibility. We’re proud to announce, the site now includes substantial Spanish-language content, bringing more people into the Convention experience than ever before. You can read what the Denver Business Journal had to say about our new site by clicking here.
Earlier this week, the DNCC announced the team that will help craft the overall look, sound and execution of the Convention program, including the stage and podium design for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The team, made up of Bruce Rodgers, Lisa Geers, Bob Dickinson and Pat Baltzell, will work with Executive Producers Ricky Kirshner and Mark Squier to make look and feel of the Convention a most memorable event.
We had the opportunity to ask Bruce Rodgers, Convention Production Designer and creator of Tribe media a few questions about his personal history, his take on stage design, the Rocky Mountain West and the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Q: The first thing people will see when they walk into the Pepsi Center on August 25th will be the stage for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Not to put any pressure on you, but how DO you deal with that kind of pressure when developing a design?
A: Thanks! This is a good first question. For a few months now, my California studio and I have been working hard on the 2008 Democratic National Convention concept. We’re still in the early phases so the pressure is on to create something really special…And I know we are on to something great…
But to answer your question: The pressure on this project is all about creating something that will inspire people visually and speak to people from all walks of life. I deal with this pressure by reminding myself where I come from, my family, my hometown, etc. – that I’m part of the audience of normal people that want a positive exciting outlook on life. Once we’re on site the pressure increases because of the mix of all the technology and architecture and the potential design changes and challenges, but it will all come together. This production team is made up of great live television and DNCC people.
Q: Speaking of pressure, any stories of 11th hour changes or surprises you’ll never forget?
A: Oh yeah! In live television and production there are always last minute changes and surprises…That’s the fun part of my job (and the hectic part)…
Last year’s Super Bowl halftime performance, starring Prince. Normally a halftime performance is already pressure packed — we’re allowed 5 minutes to set up the show, which takes 1,000 volunteers and 200 production staff members to pull it off — and then the actual performance is 12 minutes long. All in front of a live TV audience of 140 million worldwide. It’s our chance to pull off a great moment in TV music performance history.
But for us, and Prince, the pressure multiplied thanks to God’s gift of a huge rainstorm. I remember being there and waiting for our cue to start our set up. The huge set was broken into 20 large portable puzzle piece chunks all lined up like an abstract parade outside of the stadium. While we waited for the 2nd quarter to end, the volunteers and staff and 300 member marching band and 3,000 fans who would be allowed on the field were being pelted by the huge Florida rainstorm.
Not a single person in the production complained or doubted we could pull it off, and we were ready. It was exciting, nerve racking and daunting. What would the rain do to the lighting? Would the stage be too slippery? Would the sound work? Would the stadium audience brave the rains with us? Would the cameras work? Would the clouds allow us to get the blimp shot? Would the pyrotechnics work in the soaking rain?
Once we were allowed to set up, it was mayhem everywhere. We were losing power and lights. We lost camera connections. The sounds coming thru the walkie-talkies sounded like a scene from ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ and as we got closer to the start of the actual performance, the pressure mounted.
Hidden inside one of the set carts was the amazing Prince who would ride out onto the field hidden from the audience. His cart wasn’t completely waterproof, so I know it wasn’t the most comfortable ride, but once the show started and he stepped onto the electric lift to take him up to the stage surface, I saw a performance that will stand the test of time. The cameras and lights and pyro effects and stage all came together. It took a great artist and a great team to give this inspiring performance to the audience. It was very cool to be part of that experience.
Q: Presumably much of your work is done before a show begins. Are you usually on hand to watch? And if so, what’s going through your mind as you watch the public take it all in for the first time?
A: Luckily, with the great people I work with, our shows are fun and huge and exciting. In live TV and show production, there’s an energy that is unique. People who attend live shows and concerts and football games and events such as the Democratic National Convention bring an essence and vibe to the event. They are ready to group together to take part in the event. Anyone who has ever gathered as a large group, a school or church gathering, or a big ball game or concert knows the feelings that sweep across the room when everyone is in sync. When this happens and I’m in the arena or stadium or concert hall, I blend in and enjoy myself immensely. Feels good to add my part into the mix.
Q: Where did you grow up and what led you to this line of work?
A: I was born in Monahans, Texas and raised 30 miles north in the west Texas oilfield city of Odessa. I’m a 5th generation Texan and proud of it. My father worked in the oilfields driving trucks and my mother was a mom and housewife. My two brothers and I were raised with lots of creative freedom, and we always had music in our lives. We went to church and we had lots of fun being involved in community things. And being in west Texas, we were outdoors quite a bit where the weather and oil industry combine to make for very dramatic memories. All these things have contributed to the way I design and the career I found myself in. I eventually studied architecture and set design at Texas Tech University and then moved to Hollywood to find a career in film and TV. That was twenty years ago. Wow.
Q: You’re building the set for the Super Bowl halftime show again this year. Any previews on what it’s going to look like?
A: Rain is not an option this year because the stadium has a roof. Somehow the lack of rain means more pressure on us. I can’t show you sketches, but I’m allowed to tell you that it will be huge and inspiring. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is a great American band, and we have the same team as last year, so I think the audience will love what we’ve created.
Q: Will this be your first show in Denver?
A: I really love the feel of Denver, it’s a great city. This is my first time to do a Denver based project, although I’ve had tours such as Rascal Flatts and Dave Matthews Band perform in Denver.
Q: Is there anything about the West that inspires you?
A: Being from west Texas I’ve always been inspired by the people, who are larger than life. Texas isn’t the only state that is larger than life — Colorado, New Mexico and California are too. I think people from the West get their inspiration to do great things from each other and from nature. People help us learn and strive, and nature keeps us humble and hopeful.
This week marked the much-anticipated opening of the credentialing process for media interested in covering the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. While the bulk of media who will attend the Convention are credentialed through the U.S. Congressional Press Galleries, we do credential media — including bloggers — through the DNCC Press Gallery.
At the close of week one (drumroll please), we are happy to report 51 applications from bloggers already in — including State Blogger Corps applicants from 20 states such as: California, Colorado, Vermont, North Carolina and Kentucky. There’s plenty of time to ensure that no state is left behind on this unique Convention coverage opportunity. To apply for blogger credentials, click here. And be sure to check back for updates as applications continue to come in.
The DNCC conducted its fall media walk-through today, welcoming a strong showing of well over 400 members of the media to the Pepsi Center for a series of informational briefings and tours. Along with DNCC CEO Leah Daughtry and DNCC staff, Gov. Howard Dean was in attendance and spoke to the assembled group.
Of news today, the DNCC announced its blogger credentialing process for the 2008 Democratic National Convention — including an expanded blogger pool and the introduction of a brand new state blogger program. Check out DNCC blogging credentials information for complete information regarding blogger credentialing and how your blog can apply.
For just the highlights, below you’ll find the descriptions for the two different types of blogger credentials we’ll offer in 2008:
2008 DemConvention State Blogger Corps
Recognizing the growth of more localized blogs, this pool is designed for those covering state and local politics. To qualify as a state blogger, the applicant’s blog must have been in existence six months prior to requesting credentials and have at least 120 politically related blog posts. Bloggers must submit their daily audience and list their authority based on Technorati stats. Bloggers may also provide examples of posts that make their blog stand out as an effective online organizing tool and/or agent of change.
Once the state bloggers have been identified for the DemConvention State Blogger Corps, the applications of those not selected for this program will all be transferred for consideration for the general blogger pool.
General DemConvention Blogger Pool
This pool will consist of local, state and national political bloggers as well as niche bloggers whose main focus is not politics but who do write about politics or the issues around politics. The general blogger pool is also open to video bloggers in 2008.
If you have questions regarding the process, please feel free to email me (Jason Rosenberg): firstname.lastname@example.org
Greetings – I’m Leah Daughtry, CEO of the DNCC. I’m excited to be one of the first to welcome you to our new blog – and even more excited to say that my very first blog post is happening right here right now on our Convention blog. Let this big step for me be an indication of our commitment to embrace technology and online tools throughout our Convention planning process. I intend to be back as a voice with frequent updates for you via this forum. So bookmark this page, add us to your RSS feed – whatever it is, don’t be a stranger. We want this to be an active conversation. The more we hear from you, the better that dialogue becomes. Until next time……