Traditionally, the ALA awards show, hosted by CEO Update, took place in some of DC’s finest venues, with sets as impressive as the buffet spread. But in this new world order, things were different and the experts at LAI had to re-envision the event. Things were closed! Sure, we were still recognizing some of the best, most well known names in the association biz. But would that community still rally together on a glorified Zoom call?
A Virtual Awards Odyssey
For CEO Update’s seventh annual Association Leadership Awards — a signature gala event for the news organization — we, like the rest of the world, had to go virtual. But that didn’t mean we had to go safe. Inspired by the mainstream virtual shows of the pandemic (and maybe a touch of the hit animated film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), we worked with LAI Live to design an industry awards program so unforgettable that it could compete with the everyday distractions of home life or web browsers with multiple tabs.
Let’s Keep it Not Normal
Creative leaders from LAI Video, LAI Live, the Leading Authorities marketing team, and, of course, CEO Update gathered to devise a compelling hook that could both attract Zoom-fatigued attendees and still do right by the honorees. Loizou pitched a story arc that embraced the moment — a multi-act odyssey that saw Managing Director and CEO Update frontman, Mark Graham, literally being sucked into his computer, entering a psychedelic world of endless screens, avatars, and other virtual whimsy. Conversation by conversation, Mark embarked on a journey back to reality that saw him speaking with each ALA honoree through laptops, holograms, and, eventually, a socially distant office conference room.
It’s All Smoke and Mirrors and Face Masks
Under Tiffany’s layered direction, these video segments seamlessly combined in-person filming, special effects shots, and completely animated sequences. Justin adapted the initial treatment into believable dialogue, while Rob conjured up a fluorescent, Tron-like design that would be used for the virtual backdrops, as well as show continuity elements. The complicated production was produced by Victoria, who organized multi-day shoots with De’von, Chelsie, Amaron, and the talent. The crew followed strict local and industry safety guidelines, filming at long distances, around corners, or even through glass. An equally agile post-production schedule had Jun, Anthony, and Mike editing and animating the videos up until the show’s debut, ensuring a high quality visual experience with content that was still timely.
A Tale as Old as Time, Powered by Zoom
In the end, the videos made this year’s Association Leadership Awards the Wizard of Oz of association awards shows. And Michelle Mason was there. And Matthew Shay was there. And... you get it. The videos ultimately gave structure to a live show that was full of celebrity cameos, keynote presenters, and artfully placed sponsor logos (can you spot them all?). The whole virtual schtick was catchy and kitschy enough to keep viewers watching until the end, but never so silly that it undermined ALA’s celebration of association perseverance. If anything, the final program itself was a testament to the unprecedented creative solutions and silver linings that manifest in the seemingly darkest of timelines.
As our Creative Director, team leader, and motionography expert, Tiffany embodies LAI Video’s innovative identity. Throughout her 12 years of extensive creative, strategic, and production experience, Tiffany has earned two Emmy® Awards and widespread industry recognition.
Victoria is an Associate Producer + Project Manager at LAI Video, helping her clients to identify, conceptualize, and execute fresh and compelling stories.
James Loizou leads the team at LAI Video, building the Emmy® Award-Winning agency from scratch over the last 15 years. His innate balance of creativity and methodology guides our team forever forward towards innovation.
Kate is the chief operating officer and is involved across the company in executing plans for growth.
De'von has a diverse background; from filming in night clubs to fashion models and music videos.
A recent graduate of Syracuse University’s film program and track and field team, Chelsie brought her love for video production and everybody’s least favorite physical activity to the LAI Video team.
Mike is LAI Video's Motion Graphics Designer and an integral part of all animation and design projects. His knack for style and storyboards helps our clients visualize their project and build successful brands.
Anthony is LAI Video's Director of Technical Services and an integral part of our Emmy® Award-winning team. Depending where and when he is needed, you can find Anthony editing, animating, color-correcting, filming, directing, designing, or generally making our team better.
As our Associate Creative Director, Rob Kramer leads the animation team and directs a range of client projects. With his suite of production and design skills, he creates one-of-a-kind styles that seamlessly mesh with your narrative.
Jun Young Yang
Jun is the Director of Photography for LAI Video. His sharp eye and even sharper focus have earned him a reputation as an industry-leading cinematographer. He started his career freelancing before becoming a staple on the LAI Video team.