It’s an Aloha Summer at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

This year’s Season Kickoff Show for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk was Polynesian themed and aptly called Aloha Summer. This was inspired by Cirque Polynesian, one of the highlights of a jam-packed summer entertainment schedule at the West Coast amusement park. The Boardwalk’s ties to Hawaii go way back to when three Hawaiian princes brought surfing to Santa Cruz.

The half-hour special, which aired on KTVU, Channel 2, is intended to introduce the summer schedule as well as promote the Boardwalk in general. This is the fifth year Tam Communications was tapped for the project and is always one of the highlights of our annual production schedule. As usual, Tam Communications Creative Director/Executive Producer, Susan O’Connor Fraser, wrote the script and she and I collaborated on the production schedule. Lex van den Berghe and Julie Courtney once again, hosted this year’s show. Their on-screen energy and chemistry is infectious and makes for a really fun (albeit hectic) day of production.

We went a little off our normal routine this year as we typically start the day with Lex and Julie on the Hurricane deck doing all of their stand-ups together. The “stand-ups” make up the “story line” of the show including their open and close and any pieces in between. We like to get it out of the way early, before the show opens. But for this year’s show, Julie kicked off production by interviewing Santa Cruz Seaside President, Charles Canfield at the Carousel. His interview focused around the carousel celebrating its 100th birthday at the Boardwalk (a very impressive milestone). Charles talked about the Carousel’s history with and his own passion for the ride. He even pointed out his favorite horse.

While we were shooting his interview the rest of the team was setting up on the Hurricane deck so that we could roll with the interviews and still get them out of the way before the show opens. As usual, the stand-ups were a fun time with Lex and Julie cracking jokes between takes.

Once we wrapped up top, our crew separated into two teams, each with its own schedule for the rest of the day. Team A included Lex, Susan, Director of Photography, John Barrett, and Production Assistant, Jessika Wilson. I headed up Team B, which also included Director of Photography, Victor Valverde and Production Assistant, Jill Combs. Director, Tam O’Connor Fraser, and Andy Olson and Thomas Norres (our super lighting guys) floated between crews as needed.

Team A focused on season passes, interviews with Karley Pope (the Boardwalk’s Director of Promotions & Entertainment), members of the Family Stone (who performed that day and were on the summer’s entertainment schedule), and Cirque Polynesian performers. Team B headed up and down the Boardwalk interviewing the Vice President of the Millions of Memories store, employees at different games and food vendors and as many boardwalk guests as possible.

This year we had such great interviews from everyone and the Boardwalk guests did a wonderful job talking about their favorite ride and food and even played games with Julie. The day wrapped with Surf City Sky Divers landing on the beach and a concert with Family Stone.

After production, it was off to post-production where Tam did his magic to pull all the elements together including a pretty complex sound mix to make sure that all the pertinent audio was clear through the sounds of the lively Boardwalk.

The Kickoff (or what we call “Look Live” because it looks like a live television program) is always one of those events we at Tam Communications enjoy each year. It’s a long but extremely fun day of production. Each year, I look forward to it more and more because we have the process honed to perfection and we know we’re going to have an enjoyable day on the Boardwalk.