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 our sister companies, including 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.
Tiffany's unmistakable style makes otherwise flat statistics and images burst with excitement and life.
Victoria is an Associate Producer + Project Manager at LAI Video, helping her clients to identify, conceptualize, and execute fresh and compelling stories.
Perhaps best epitomized by his signature red sneakers and tie, James Loizou thrives between the worlds of "the creative" and "the business."
Kate leads the team of marketing nerds and is responsible for executing key projects for the firm.
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.
Hailing from the wild Midwest, Mike can graphic himself out of a tight spot when necessary. It’s never necessary because that’s not how life works, but still, he could probably do it.
Under his calm exterior, Anthony is simmering with big ideas and a bottomless reserve of the latest industry trends.
Jun Young Yang
Jun has been traveling everywhere (including a place called Anguilla) to document special events and create unique images for clients.