Choura Events creates an Amazon Originals interactive experience for Comic-Con enthusiasts.
Comic-Con junkies are the tastemakers of tomorrow,” actress Kristen Bell once said—and she’s not alone in her enthusiasm for the event that celebrates comic books and other aspects of popular arts, such as films and science fiction/fantasy literature.
Comic-Con International takes place each year in San Diego, Calif., and when event production company NVE: The Experience Agency in Los Angeles needed a company to create a build-out for Amazon Originals Activation at Comic-Con, it hired Torrance, Calif.-based Choura Events to make it happen. “Having such a large presence at Comic-Con is thrilling,” says D. J. Potts, Choura Event’s
event designer. “It garners a lot of attention.”
Anything but temporary
“The client was adamant on creating an environment that felt as finished as possible,” Potts says. “We installed glass walls and doors, and almost every surface was a ‘canvas’ for branding.”
The build-out Choura Events created included three Losberger A-frame structures, leveled subfloors, staging, custom signage and displays. The 10-by-15-meter tent housed costumes and set pieces from “The Man in the High Castle,” an Amazon Original series based on the novel by Philip K. Dick; the 12-by-5-meter structure contained model sets and life-sized characters from Amazon Original series “Thunderbirds Are Go,” a continuation of the 1960s television series “Thunderbirds”; and the 9-by-3-meter tent hosted the lines of people anxious to see the fantasy series’ trappings.
The leveled subfloor for “The Man in the High Castle” tent was provided by Los Angeles, Calif.-based Special Event Contractors. To help segment the tent space into several galleries, Choura Events installed interior walls and Special Event Contractors installed a finished floor made up of several different types of vinyl flooring, including wood parquet and stone. Black Astroturf covered the floors in the line-up tent as
well as in the “Thunderbirds Are Go” structure where guests experienced a virtual interaction and photograph opportunity in front of a green screen.
The guest experience
Choura Events had three days to construct the subfloor, ramps and stairs and install the tents structures, finished floors, walls, doors and AC. The installation spanned several surfaces of uneven terrain, including grass, planters and walkways. Additional challenges for the crew included a build site that was asymmetrical with inconveniently placed light poles, public sign posts and trees. “Circumnavigating these elements presented challenges along the way but it also allowed us to exercise our problem solving skills with creative solutions,” Potts says. “Instead of working against the uniquely shaped areas, we worked with them and created spaces by combining different structures in a way that did not feel disjointed or disrupt the guest experience.”
Staking was not an option at the site so the Choura Events team resolved the issue by engineering the tents to be both ballasted with 2,000-pound concrete blocks and bolting the metal baseplates to the subfloor.
To beat the Southern California July heat, Choura Events supplied 20-ton AC units in the two main tents.The crew also used blackout white vinyl roof materials to deflect the heat. To keep the tent dark enough for the guests to experience the virtual reality interaction, the client applied solid stick-on graphics to both the interior and exterior glass panels.
The big reveal
Keeping the exhibit confidential before the big reveal and navigating around the foot traffic during installation provided additional challenges for the Choura Events crew and the client but the results were worth it. “Comic-Con attendees were very enthusiastic about seeing the installs going in and wanted to be as close to the action as possible,” Potts says. “Hearing the excited responses from people as they walked by with their cameras out was rewarding. It confirms that what we do is unlike what other event agencies can offer.”