Empire Creates Interactive Movie-Making Themed Events for Microsoft Office 2000 Sneak Preview

June 1999. New York City, NY, Lincoln Center Tent

When Microsoft Corporation planned to give a sneak preview of their Office 2000 Software in conjunction with the PC Expo Trade Show in New York, they wanted to create a fun and interactive environment for the press and their key customers in the New York area. They turned to Empire Entertainment to conceive and design a sneak preview event that would provide both a forum for previewing the product and an enjoyable, interactive party experience.

For this event, Empire created a movie-themed event that consisted of two parts: a 'premiere screening' theater and a working soundstage. As guests arrived on buses organized by Empire, they were greeted by paparazzi flashing their photos on a special red carpet. They were then ushered inside to a movie theater that we had created complete with branded popcorn stands and bags, walk-in music, costumed ushers and ticket takers and a projection screen with curtain warmer uplights and branded gobos. The guests were treated to a brief presentation which featured a hilarious movie trailer that previewed the product. The trailer began with a version of the Motion Picture Association of America green screen that stated "The following preview is approved for all computer users...."

Once the screening was over, the rear wall of the theater was removed with a fly-away curtain that revealed a movie soundstage with three full movie sets in production, each equipped with sound, lights, props and scenery. The sets represented a western saloon, a space-based action adventure with a space ship bridge, model field and alien planet surface, and a jungle-based action adventure complete with a crashed aircraft tail sticking out of the brush. The sets were positioned around a large commissary-style cafe & bar with director chair seating.

On each movie set a director and crew of lighting, sound, clapboard PA, camera man and special effects supervisor actively shot pre-scripted scenes using costumed actors from the Gotham City Improv troupe. As the evening progressed and the drinks flowed, the guests got into the action, directing the scenes and donning costumes as they "acted" in the different scenes. At the end of the evening, each guest walked home with a copy of their own screen test.

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