by Ian Jaray (SMBA ’16)
Starting just under a week before show day, crews are hard at work setting up for both the ESPY Awards and the pre-ESPY Awards Red Carpet. Through my internship with Kilowatt Events, I was able to experience all three phases (setup, show day, and teardown) of the pre-ESPY Awards Red Carpet. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allowed me to see the blood and sweat behind a major, live broadcast event. Below are some highlights and takeaways from my experience:
— While it may seem obvious, the physical red carpet is the most important part of the set. The carpet is the first component setup and the last to be removed.
— The red carpet is also HOT! Acting as an oven, heat absorbs into the carpet making it ten degrees warmer on the carpet than in the shade. Sun also reflects off particles in the carpet making sunscreen every crewmember’s best friend.
— If you’re going to work bring a good pair of shoes. Crewmembers regularly hit double-digit miles walked everyday the week before the event.
— While ‘talent’ and general admission ticket holders on the red carpet are kept separate, it’s by less than you think. Only a three-foot tall hedge divides some of the worlds most famous athletes and those lucky enough to obtain a general red carpet pass.
— Keeping the crowds moving is an endless battle. With the show having a hard 5:00 PM PST start time, over 2,000 people must walk through security and navigate the red carpet. Managing the expectations of those who want to take pictures with the need to get everyone into the theater takes an army of well-trained security and staff helping to move people along.
— Red carpet crew responsibilities do not end when the show begins. Upon completion of the carpet walk, the area must be transformed to help thousands of attendees safely navigate to either their car or, for those lucky enough to be invited, the ESPY Awards after party.
— Once the day is over the hard work begins. Post-event depression is a common occurrence after an incredible event and it is the crew’s responsibility to make the red carpet area return to its original form.
— No matter the long days, sore feet, or sunburnt skin I would never trade the invaluable learning experience of working a world-class event….or being there in person to see Ronda Rousey call out Floyd Mayweather on live television.