San Diego Comic-Con is right around the corner and we’re in full pre-production mode, planning several live productions for this year’s event. If you’ve ever been to Comic-Con, you know that there’s a lot that happens inside the San Diego Convention Center, but even more happens outside the walls of the convention center. As we begin to dive into our Comic-Con prep, we thought we’d give a recap of some of our favorite live production venues at San Diego Comic-Con.
Dick’s Last Resort (R.I.P.)
Sadly, the Dick’s Last Resort in San Diego is no more, which is a shame because it was a great Comic-Con venue. We worked with truTV and the Impractical Jokers at DLR in 2016. The space had an outside courtyard where we setup the stage for our live Q&A. Inside the venue, truTV setup the “museum of Impractical Jokers” which featured props and exhibits from the show. Guests had the opportunity to soak in the sun during our live show, then cool off inside afterwards. The only downside was that the venue proved to be a little tight for accommodating all the Jokers fans.
In 2016, we produced 12 live shows over 3 days for Defy Media at Moonshine Flats in downtown San Diego. Moonshine was a great venue for the scope of the project. There was a stage large enough to accommodate several panel discussions plus ample seating for a live audience. There were also back-stage areas that were large enough to accommodate our client’s editorial team. Our control room was built just offstage next to the bar (we still can’t explain where all that missing liquor went) – it was a tight footprint, but worked well as it kept us out of the way. Our biggest technical challenge with the space was dealing with the height of the stage, which is typically meant for live bands. It took some creative camera blocking and in the end we were able to make it work.
We worked with truTV and the Impractical Jokers inside Petco Park in 2017. The stadium was a great location for truTV’s “Impractical Jokers Block Party”. As part of the event, we helped produce a 30-minute live Q&A with the Jokers which was immediately followed by the airing of their season premiere. The biggest challenge with the venue was dealing with some of the load-in restrictions. Because the Padres were in the middle of their season, we could not put any equipment on the outfield grass without laying down special flooring. This meant that all equipment had to be either hand-carried onto the field, or rolled on a hand-truck on the warning track. Despite some of the load-in challenges, for the right sized production, Petco Park is a great venue option. The truTV team put together a great event for fans and drew in a sizeable crowd.
San Diego Pier / IMDboat
Ah, yes. The IMDboat. For the last 2 years (going on 3), we’ve had the pleasure of working with IMDb aboard the “IMDboat” – a yacht docked in the San Diego Pier directly behind the Convention Center. Working on the boat is extremely tight, but it works and makes for a great venue for fans and guests on the show. The boat is docked directly behind the convention center, which makes it easy to get to and highly visible for the thousands of Comic-Con fans who are waiting in line for different events. Both storage and control room space on the boat are limited, so its crucial to pack light and keep the production crew lean.
Park at the Park
Just beyond the center field wall of Petco Park you’ll find the “Park at the Park” – a great outdoor event space in downtown San Diego that overlooks the baseball diamond. We did a small project here with truTV during Comic-Con in 2016 and will be producing their live Q&A here in 2018. The venue is large enough to accommodate several hundred fans and offers over 2 acres of green space. The park at the park is an ideal spot for event like that Jokers Block Party, which will feature many different activations and exhibits.