The Boardwalk Gets Flash Mobbed

What a blast!!! We just posted the video for the “flash mob” we produced at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on YouTube, check it out!

The idea of the flash mob came from Creative Director/Executive Producer (and lover of musicals) Susan O’Connor Fraser, she was inspired by the dance sequence at the end of Slumdog Millionaire and some other videos on YouTube and wanted to do something at the Boardwalk that would be fun and entertaining. The first challenge: the song. The Maids of Honor, a Santa Cruz alternative rock band had created such a great version of the “California Sun” jingle for the Boardwalk radio and television commercials, but had never had the full-song version of the featured (other than on closing credits of the Boardwalk’s summer entertainment preview). We felt that this would be the perfect song and a great way for it to be featured in its entirety and so that it could get some real play. Challenge met.

The second challenge: Get the Boardwalk on board. We approached the Boardwalk about the idea in March and were given the greenlight in early April. We were on our way and by the end of the month we were working hard to pull it together in time for our performance date of June 11th.

But how to get our dancers? We reached out on Facebook, Craig’s List, local dance studios, high schools, colleges, cheerleading organizations, etc. to see if we could get a great mix of age, color and dance experience. It was important to us that we have it feel like real visitors at the Boardwalk who spontaneously broke out in dance and then returned to their time at the park. Interest was slow at first and then it started picking up speed as word of mouth took off through social media. We understood we were asking a lot of our participants—learn the dance, hopefully attend four practices plus the performance day but by the first practice we had a committed group of dancers that were beyond excited about the project.

Photo by Donaven Staab

We brought on Quelddy Angelina, a local dancer and dance teacher, to choreograph the moves. We recorded the dance and then posted it on YouTube so the dancers could practice between our collective practices. For me, it was so fun to be able to assist with the moves that we wanted to see in the dance and to work closely with Quelddy to bring our visions together. In the end, it was a fun dance that was easy to learn. This was an important aspect of the dance because we wanted people to be able to see what we were doing and join in if they wanted to during the duration of the dance.

Once we had the dance choreographed and everyone practicing, we went into pre-production mode. Where were we going to place cameras? How many cameras? Who was going to shoot what? Where would the dancers enter from and when? We decided on three roving HD cameras and five stationary GoPros.

Tam checks cameras. Photo by Donaven Staab

Two days before performance day, we had a dress rehearsal at the Boardwalk by the carousel, the spot for the mob. It was early in the evening, the Boardwalk was closed, but there were still patrons milling about. We started practicing the dance and the patrons all stopped and watched, we even had some join in and start learning the dance with us as we practiced over and over again. We finalized our entries, got the dance dialed and called it a night. The Boardwalk was so happy with the final product, we decided to add a third performance to our already planned two.

The day of the flash mob was electric, the dancers were excited, we were ready to do our first live performance. The first dance was perfect, everyone nailed it, and the patrons that were present had a great time. In between performances, we took the time to shoot some little scenes with our dancers so we could show them enjoying different parts of the Boardwalk prior to the dance starting. The other two performances were just as great and by the end of the day, we were still buzzing from the performances.

After the weekend ended, we went straight into post-production to create the second aspect of the flash mob, the edited dance. The final product delivers a highly entertaining two and a half minutes of good fun. It’s definitely an experience I will never forget and am excited at the thought of producing more of these in the future.

Great concept for a trade show attract video, a corporate morale booster, or sales meeting video, don’t you think?

The Flash Mob Crew