As a veteran of 3 Twilight Saga premieres, I have formed a few opinions on location and overall running of the show. Below is a list of some items to recap last week's experience at the Twilight Sage Eclipse premiere at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles. Note there are frequent comparisons to the previous premieres which were both held in Westwood, CA.
Eclipse/LA Live Pros:
1. Getting numbered wristbands EARLY in the game rather than day of the premiere secured your place in line and made cutting almost impossible. Also having people register discouraged this even further. While it was a challenge for me and make me change my travel plans, I did what needed to be done to get myself there as early as possible.
2. Having us return later (2:00 pm) day of the premiere made for a more pleasant experience. We were able to get a decent meal, clean up and look our best for the red carpet.
3. Focus on the fans - I liked that Summit was trying to entertain the campers with the concert broadcast, movie screening, cast visits, etc. I still prefer the spontaneous cast visits of years past to the Summit sponsored ones this year, but I give credit for the effort.
4. Thank you Vitamin Water. While the Burger King stuff with the King and throwing burgers at us like animals in a cage was well intentioned, it was the steady supply of Vitamin Water in the heat that was most appreciated from the sponsors.
5. Top security - Thanks to Summit for again hiring SEM, the best in the business. After being at other carpets and seeing what inferior security is like, it made me appreciate the SEM team more than ever.
6. Communication efforts - The fliers that were made and distributed where a good effort to communicate information with everyone. Hopefully next time they will stand by all the information the convey, especially about the line and start time. While ultimately it wasn't fully effective, I applaud the effort.
7. Golden ticket - the larger venue allowed for more lucky fans to attend the actual screening. This was nice and I'm sure many fans were grateful for the experience. Even cooler was Kristen personally handing out a few of the tickets to excited fans.
8. Bleachers - The larger space allowed for the addition of bleacher seats. While I was along the black carpet not in the bleachers, everyone I have spoken to that was in the bleacher section thought it was a good experience.
Eclipse/LA Live Cons:
1. Tent city looked great for the media but at times felt like we were caged animals. It wasn't clearly defined with rows so it made navigation difficult. Much more challenging to be social. This includes finding old friends and making new ones.
2. Lakers parade - In my opinion, it would have been better to postpone the line up until Monday night or even Tuesday morning to avoid this conflict. While there wasn't anything catastrophic, it was an overall headache and hassle for all.
3. Light, Camera, Action - LA Live was too bright & noisy for a good camping experience. With large screens and speakers going from 5:00 AM - 2:00 AM (21 hours a day), it made getting more than 3 hours proper sleep difficult. And that was only if you feel asleep right away once they stopped.
4. Check please! - The dining options at LA Live are lovely, but they are distinctly more upscale than Westwood. When there for days on end, dining at these establishments is cost prohibitive. I continually preached the gospel of Happy Hour to all who would listen and that was the only way to enjoy the area restaurants without going completely broke. While there were other options within 3 blocks such as Dennys, ihop, Ralph's, etc, it lack the wide range of convenient, affordable options we had in Westwood. Shout out to our friends at Jose Bernstein and Diddy Riese. We missed you!
5. Access - In Westwood we camped on the sidewalks so you could pull your car right up for loading and unloading. This is not the case at LA Live. While we made the best of it and got as close as possible, everything had to be carried much further.
6. LA Live security - I'm sure they are great at what they do - for other events. They simply weren't educated/informed/prepared for the Twilight crowd on Sunday night. They were ok until about 1:00 am when they allowed the line to form and then they broke down. Red coated, uniformed security should not be abdicating responsibility to a dad to bully others into running the show.
7. Neighborhood - Overall Westwood is a more laid back atmosphere. It is a college area filled with students and a peaceful residential community. This is a stark contrast to the entertainment and tourist destination that is LA Live. Westwood is simply a more friendly atmosphere for campers. It is safe, relatively quite, great access to everything you need from a 24-hour CVS, restaurants, shops, grocery stores, banks, etc. It was all right there. It is a lot to live up to and LA Live could not do it.
8. I really missed being in a line vs. a mass. It was so much easier to meet and greet people, have outside visitors drop by to say hi or drop off supplies. I also really missed getting to know our friend security guards. I liked knowing who was on duty and who to turn to if there was a problem. I never felt unsafe in either location, but there was an extra sense of security knowing the people watching out for you.
9. Moving - While I completely understand why we had to move after the first two days so they could assemble the black carpet, it was a frustrating experience. Getting up and being completely packed by 6:00 am two days in a row is a bit much even for this hopeless morning person.
10. Transient - This whole camp out had a more transient feel. It felt short, rushed, and disjointed. I didn't feel as settled in either of our locations. It also seems much hard for our camping group to do things together. Space was tighter and the afternoon conditions were ghastly hot for most so we were split up for large portions of the time. If it wasn't for the already mentioned Happy Hour and concerted efforts to gather for that, we wouldn't have had much opportunity to bond as a group. And for me, the is a huge part of what these camp out are about. I love Twilight of course, or I would do this. But it is has also become a great social event for me. I love hanging out with my girls that I don't get to see except when we gather to do Twilight things. That is why I want the best experience possible and want to make the most of the time together.
Written by Dawn.and agreed and discussed by Alison, and Kim.
Written by Yolee.
*Our awesome security team and their constant surveillance to make sure we were safe and sound.
*Meeting new twihards. I know it's kinda corny but I like to make new friends especially when they so much in common with you.
*Getting some of the cast to visit the camp. I think for morale it's awesome to have them come to show support for us camping out.
*Although I have my reservations about it, it was cool for Summit to screen New Moon on the Jumbo tron in LA Live for the fans. I know we missed it but it was nice all the same.
*The media attention is always cool. I'm not gonna lie. It gives you something to do to pass the time and you never know who's watching. Plus it seems I like to make a fool of myself at these premieres so why stop now?
*Free stuff. The ones that stick out the most were Vitamin Water and the Make-up we received. That was cool. I'll be honest when PFach came by and asked who wants a burger I was the one who said "I'm good thanks." LOL!!!
*The time and date thing! That just was asking for a disaster which I hope never repeats iteself - EVER! I've said it once and I'll say it again a premiere line should be started organically with people filtering in as time goes on. I like the wristbands because it gave you a spot but at the same time it wasn't fair for people who spent no time whatsoever in that camp until the premiere.
*That it was in June. I guess that can't really be helped as we have no control over that but damn it was hot. BD should be good as it's in November. We'll just have to bundle up again like last year.
*The location. After everything was said and done I think we all had a good time but being a part of LA Live for those days was annoying. Let's face it tent city looked way cooler than it was. I mean in Westwood we had the occasional idiot but at Nokia we were bombarded by stupidity. We need to be back in Westwood or anywhere else for that matter but never again in LA Live. No likey!
*Dining was an issue for me as well. Although we were able to take advantage of quite a few happy hour specials it still wasn't good enough in the sense that if you missed it, you missed it! When you think of camping you think more along the lines of affordable. Unfortunately, bottom line LA Live didn't offer much other than happy hour deals... Which wasn't always convenient.