My practice lives and dies with innovation and optimism. With most clients and friends scared to death about what this crisis will bring when it is over, or whether it will ever be over, my normally optimistic client base is taking a nap. They are shut down and not practicing good old American ingenuity.
I have lived through many downturns and booms, a litany of business cycles. My space in the entertainment development world falls between the idea and execution. Is this idea crazy? Does it have legs? Can I afford to develop it? Where will I get development funds? Am I nuts to be thinking this right now? These are some of the questions my practice is hired to consider.
In all cases, I provide one of the following answers:
- Brilliant idea. Let’s do some preliminary testing.
- Hmmmm, I think that’s been done before, but maybe we can improve on the existing model.
- I like it, but I really think the idea needs more development on your part, or if you like, we can help you move it along.
- That is the dumbest idea I have ever heard. Save your money, don’t hire me, or if you’ve already hired me, you should fire me!
A couple examples of the ill-though-out ideas:
- A large INDOOR entertainment center on the beachfront of a major East coast resort. The branding strategy: It’s a beautiful beach day, let’s all head inside!
- A 100,000 square foot museum at a major Indian casino in the U.S. with the theme “The slaughter of the tribe by the White man.” (Footnote: The gamblers at the resort are 95% White.)
- A major entertainment company’s decision to disallow wine at a park in France.
- The decision to build two competing 20,000-seat amphitheaters across the highway from each other in a major Orange Co. California city.
But happily, more of my practice involves ideas that have you smacking your forehead and saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”! Some examples:
American Girl Place (built and wildly successful),
Academy of Motion Pictures Museum (to open year’s end 2020),
Hollywood and Highland (the initial plan didn’t follow our advice);
Sony Metreon (also, didn’t follow our advice);
A new hospitality/retail/dining/entertainment/ development in Mecca, the Hajj (they didn’t hire us: I wouldn’t have either!);
A mixed-use sports and entertainment-infused $1.0 billion development in downtown Edmonton (The Oilers got 60% of their Phase One development funds from our numbers, the first time ever a sports venue received public funding in the province):
Maybe soon we will have a few new brilliant ideas to report to you. Until that time, stay safe, well, healthy and hopefully, not too bored!