Opening Video for FedEx Kinkos

Creative Event Services was commissioned by Vision Global Event Strategies to produce an opening video for FedEx Kinko’s Regional Leadership Conference at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada. The video had to serve four primary purposes: excite the FedEx/Kinko’s sales force attendees by announcing the FedEx/Kinko’s sponsorship of a NASCAR race team, introduce them to the newest FedEx/Kinko’s Executive: COO, Ken May, emphasize the concept of teamwork as a core company value, and finally, to provide an exciting and dynamic way to usher CEO Gary Kusin onto the stage to open the conference. Together with Vision Global Event Strategies Executive Producer Brendan Hayne, the Creative Event Services team developed a premise that would achieve all four goals.

First, we decided that the script needed to be light and funny to reflect the culture and tone of the conference itself. With that in mind we began the story with   CEO Gary Kusin receiving a request to personally deliver a package to a “mystery client” in Las Vegas. The mission must be accomplished in a very short time frame as Gary is scheduled to open the conference in a matter of days. He assembles a team of executives and they create a plan: Gary will drive the package from the FedEx/Kinko’s headquarters in Dallas to Las Vegas in the new FedEx/Kinko’s race car.

The executive team coaches him through a series of comic adventures along the way, each of which features the new COO Ken May as a different campy character. Gary successfully delivers the package to the “mystery client” (Ken May as an Elvis impersonator) and races off to open the conference. He races the car down a back hallway and crashes through a wall with only minutes to spare. As the audience watches this on video, the real race car, with Gary at the wheel, comes crashing through a stage wall and slides onto stage amidst massive explosions. Gary exits the car to wild applause and begins the conference.

The primary challenge with this type of project is scheduling. Executives have verybusy and diverse schedules and unlike professional actors, cannot be expected to invest large amounts of time to shooting a video. It can also be difficult for them to deliver lines in a convincing manner in a limited amount of takes, especially if the material is in any way dramatic or comedic. Finally, many of the locations are generally not fully secured so you must be able to “shoot on the fly” in the short amount of time made available.

To meet these challenges, we decided it was necessary to spend a significant number of pre-production hours creating and producing an exceedingly ambitious shooting schedule. Working closely with personnel from Vision Event Productions and FedEx Kinko’s over a one-week period, we were able to produce the following five-day schedule:

Day 1
A three-man production team consisting of Director Brendan Hayne, Assistant Director John Albertson and Producer Matt Chevalier fly to Dallas, Texas from San Diego, California. On our arrival, we secure shipped equipment, check on the progress of the FedEx Kinko’s racecar (which is being trucked across country from North Carolina) and ensure that all rented wardrobe and costumes (for Ken May’s comic characters) have arrived at the hotel.

From there we travel to a soundstage in nearby Fort Worth to meet our Dallas based crew and direct the green screen pre-light. Finally we go to the FedEx Kinko’s Headquarters for a scout of their offices from which we build a shot list for the following day.

Day 2
We have a 5 am call time at FedEx Kinko’s Headquarters. We spend three hours lighting our “sets” as we only have a couple of hours with CEO Gary Kusin in his office. We capture our footage in the allotted time then head to the soundstage. The racecar has arrived and is driven into the studio. Both Gary and new COO Ken May arrive shortly after lunch. We shoot all of the scenes in which both executives appear together and all of Gary’s “singles” as Gary will no longer be available to us after today.

Day 3
We begin early in the morning on the soundstage. We only have Ken May and the racecar for a very short time. We use that time to shoot all of Ken’s “singles” and all ancillary shots of the car. We wrap at the soundstage and say goodbye to Ken, our racecar wranglers and our Dallas crew. The CES team then sets out to shoot B-Roll and “green screen plates” of landmarks and attractions in and around Dallas/Fort Worth to be used in the driving sequences. We finish just before the sunsets.

Day 4

We spend the early morning converting a hotel suite into a studio and shooting B-Roll in and around the hotel. After a quick breakfast we return to our studio/suite to make a couple last minute tweaks and run some equipment tests. We have four executives (Gary’s Executive Team) that need to be shot against a green screen. We have scheduled each executive for a one and half hour shoot with one half hour to reset our “studio” between arrivals. The executives come and go like clock work and eight hours later we’re done.

In the late afternoon, we arrange to have all wardrobe, costumes and props shipped back to where they came from and also arrange to have our equipment shipped overnight to Las Vegas. We catch the last flight out of Dallas to Vegas and arrive after midnight that night.

Day 5
Our call time is 4am. The Bellagio has given us very little time to shoot in the casino and around the hotel. We finish shooting by 10am. We cut our small Vegas crew, then Matt and John load the equipment into a rental car. We capture sights and attractions in and around Las Vegas to be used in the Vegas Sequences, then head back to San Diego shooting desert B-Roll and green screen plates along the way.

The Outcome
By adhering to this rigorous schedule, Creative Event Services benefited in two ways. First, we were able to capture an enormous amount of footage in multiple locations across three different states in less than a week, thus keeping the production budget down and affording us great flexibility in post-production. Secondly, the tight schedule kept our busy executives at ease allowing Director Brendan Hayne the ability to illicit some genuinely funny and lighthearted performances.

In the end, the video was extremely well received. The attendees were thrilled with the companies new relationship with NASCAR and they thoroughly enjoyed seeing a lighter, funnier, deliberately campy side of their executive branch. Finally, Gary’s explosive entrance onto the stage to begin the conference left a powerful impression that attendees were still talking about days later.

We invite you to watch the video and see how it all came together.