With our very own Zombie Apocalypse looming, I am caught reflecting on what it takes to turn an iconic Brisbane venue into a new world that is completely immersive. In a lot of ways we are spoilt with the aesthetic look and feel of Brisbane Powerhouse but there are certainly other factors at play.
There are five key points that have helped us shape and create a zombie apocalypse in Brisbane Powerhouse.
1. Getting the right partners
Again, talk about being spoilt with partners who are right on board with us. Brisbane Powerhouse have walked this journey closely with us and are equally excited and anticipatory about how Containment is coming together.
Landing this partnership took a good 12 months of meetings, negotiation and setting expectations. We quickly found our champions within the organisation and are loving the close relationships we have built with this extraordinary team. They continue to move mountains for us as we bring an ambitious and experimental production to life.
Previously, we have experienced not-so-productive partnerships; where we tried desperately to make a concept work with partners whose expectations, commitment and understanding were (even a little) misaligned, and it killed projects. So we’re stoked our partnership with Brisbane Powerhouse has been such as success.
I am now a big believer in, and advocate for working with those who bring the right synergy to a partnership!
2. Using what you have
We have so many ideas… that are often out of reach – and that kind of makes the heart hurt a little. If only we had millions of dollars!!!
At times to make something awesome you have to blow the budget a little. Before we do this we critically ask:
- Is it result worth the investment (time or financial)?
- Is there any other way to do it?
- What do our customers really need and want?
Sometimes the right, or equally as effective, solution is using what you already have. For example, we have developed a technology platform that is a companion guide to our experiences. We have developed loads of features for it already. When we have a new idea, at first glance it usually means a new feature. HOWEVER, there is often a way that we can repurpose or rethink how we deploy what we have already developed to achieve the same thing.
This very much applies to the world creation that we apply to any of our experiences.
3. Picking a story or theme that suits the space
When we were first talking to the Powerhouse about how we could work with them, the Artistic Director, Kris Stewart asked us point blank – “what do you really want to do with this space”.
Let’s see… exposed brick, graffiti, steel beams, quirky spaces… Zombie Apocalypse??
The space is already beautifully poised for that industrial, end-of-the-world style. Why not? It would be a bit hard to make an experience in the Powerhouse about a space station… just saying.
4. Be smart and ask for help
There are many parts of this.
- Plan, plan, plan. We are getting better at project planning, but it has been something we have had to work on. Tracking progress and details is vital to ensuring we are working to deadline in an effective way
- There are so many different ways to accomplish things – just google how to make a fake body (maybe not). With a little research there are always clever answers to be found!
- Ask for help. We are pretty lucky to have a team that can make and build props quickly and of quality. There are times where we have had to ask for help and people are usually willing to give you a hand.
We have saved so much time, money and headaches by simply doing this.
Probably the most interesting win was calling a junk yard supplier to see if we could hire 44 gallon drums. Once he found out what we were doing he offered to deliver the drums to site and swap them for a few tickets – winning!! And we just made a new advocate for Containment. Boom!
5. The little things
Immersion is in the details. We are constantly revisiting our plans and considering what the little details are that will really set this apart. Perhaps they are things that will be noticed. Most often they won’t be. But if they are not there, THAT makes a difference.
For example, we are staining coffee cups with coffee and leaving them in an office that has ‘hastily been abandoned’. Again, not necessary, but a very nice addition to the space.
I think Simon selflessly put his hand up to drink the coffee…
We can’t wait to see it all come together!