Role: All team
Location: Los Angeles/ New York
Notable Works: Rampage, Jumanji, Mad Max, Wonder Woman…
The best arrivals and parties in the industry.
15|40 (amongst many other industries and accomplishments) has established itself as the leading movie premiere event production firm in the nation producing film, television and award show events. Known for their innovative red carpet design, the expert team at 15|40 strives to make movie premieres unique and unforgettable.
Can you tell us more about 15|40?
Elizabeth Tramontozzi, Executive Vice President: 15|40 is a creative studio of strategists, storytellers, stylists, designers, innovators, artists, builders, and producers who push the envelope in all aspects of event production. We are rooted in three key pillars in everything that we do: inspire, innovate & produce. By understanding brands, culture, business needs, and objectives, we create experiences by connecting people through meaningful interactions that have global impact. Premieres (arrivals & parties) have always been a core part of our business. We have been working with studios since 15|40’s start and have enjoyed evolving the industry over the years. We have grown to handle all elements of a premiere in house with our team of 100+ skilled employees. When we aren’t in a pandemic, we produce over 200 premieres annually!
Premieres are highly-anticipated events for the fans and for the teams who work so hard making the film! What elements are essential for a successful red carpet experience?
Grace Chow, Senior Producer: Designing a red carpet requires attention to very specific studio needs which of course is key, but our most successful red carpets occur when we move beyond the traditional formula of the press/talent/step and repeat interview scenario to create a more immersive experience for press, fans, the filmmaker and studio. By incorporating elements that reflect the style and content of the film via visual components such as scenic sets and atmospheric entertainers, audio components such as dj’s and live performances by bands or talent and participatory components such as mcs, give aways and interactives, we take the traditional red carpet affair to the next level and amplify the red carpet experience for both seasoned press and studio execs as well as fans and influencers alike.
From Wonder Woman to Beauty and the Beast to Mad Max, your teams have organised great premieres for some huge films! The production process must be quite long though… How long does it take to do all the preparation for a red carpet premiere?!
Gabby Vitulli, Associate Producer: The time frame depends on many things, such as the scope of the project, the client’s key objectives, the amount of partners and sponsors involved, if there are any live acts… the list goes on. Since each premiere presents its own uniqueness, it is a challenge to place a time frame on the pre-production process. But we estimate the process can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months from start to finish. Typically, the design process takes the majority of the time of preproduction while the remaining tasks and details take less.
Can you share which roles within the company play a huge part in making a red carpet event happen?
Stephane Gardea, Production Manager: Every role is important from the production manager to the person who vacuums the carpet. One can’t do their job without the other, it takes a team to make an event happen.
A red carpet event must require constant work and organisation down to the very last second of the event starting! How many people from your team actually attend the premiere’s/are on-site to check everything’s going well? Who are they usually (what role do they obtain)?
Stephanie Zavala, Event Manager: A standard red carpet premiere and party typically require a Producer, Event Manager, Scenic Lead, a Production Manager, and specialists, such as carpenters, painters, graphics installers, and more. The Producer oversees the event as a whole, I like to think of them as the glue. They are there to make sure our client’s objectives have been met and expectations exceeded within their desired budget. An Event Manager is there to support the team and manage vendors prior to and during the event. The Scenic Lead is dedicated to any and all builds that are fabricated in our warehouse and set up onsite, this includes the press walls and step and repeats. A Production Manager is in charge of all things logistics, meticulously planning and perfecting the timeline and flow of an event from start to finish. Communication is key, it takes a village but in the end, the teams all come together to achieve the same goal—to put on a stellar event.
From El Capitan to the Regency Village Theater and TCL Chinese Theater, the premieres you organise take place in some iconic places around Los Angeles! In terms of themes and direction, to which extent are you free to create your own ideas for a red carpet? Are there any restrictions at these different locations?
Jason Jones, Designer: With regards to the creative/design process, we have a collaborative approach with our clients. We’ll typically join them for a screening and brainstorm session where we can pick out key moments, textures, and architectural elements to incorporate in our designs. From here, we’ll regroup with our internal team where we again have a very collaborative round table approach. No idea is a bad idea and we explore all options to see how we can push each premiere to its creative potential. With 15|40, what we present visually (render) is exactly what you can expect to see in reality.
A premiere event has to include space for the film team, for the fans, but also for the press! How do take these factors into account to imagine a red carpet? Who designs the layout?!
J Mills Fagan, Senior Creative Director: While the layout and design is very much a collaborative effort, part of my job is to envision and design a little drama and excitement into the event. We want the red carpet to be more than just an event, rather an experience that is memorable for both the press and the fans while simultaneously showcasing the essence of the production.
At premieres like Ready Player One, extras with costumes are part of the experience of the event and this is a really great addition for fans to see in-person. Are these extras usually professional actors or is it possible for the public to take part in the background?
Gillian Deeds, Art Director & Senior Producer: It depends on the type of premiere and what the needs are. If a premiere calls for fan holding areas or bleachers, those are truly filled with fans which brings such a fun life to the carpet. If we have costumed characters on the carpet, those are professional actors which we bring in.
By the time a premiere finishes, the production work still isn’t over… How long does it take to remove all the decor and what happens to all the props/equipment once the premiere is over?
Dennis Jones, Senior Production Manager: The time to remove all the decor depends on the complexity of the set up. Generally, it takes half the time to remove than install, so if the installation took 8 hours the strike would take 4. Most of the parts are re-usable; graphics are removed and given to the client or destroyed due to copyright concerns, but the walls and support pieces are saved. Carpet is reused if possible, sometimes donated to charity.
The COVID-19 crisis has postponed many premieres and films. However, do 15|40 have any premieres in preparation for the future? What do you think a post-COVID-19 premiere will look like?
Dwayne Barnett, Executive Vice President: We are currently working on a few premieres in both a new style and safe format as well as the ever-popular format of a drive-in. A big part of the planning now consists of taking into account the current climate as well as all necessary guidelines and protocols as set forth by that individual state, city, and venue. Safety will be of the upmost importance which the team will take into account when planning a red carpet premiere. For now, gone are the days of the overcrowded carpet as we welcome the newly spaced out zones and areas.