For over 25 years the citizens of Central Florida have been dreaming of a Performing Arts Center. Kathy Ramsberger, the President and CEO, has been working on it for almost 12 years. I knew her when she was the Orlando Film Commissioner and we’ve stayed friends for many years. When my mother started fighting cancer I wanted to work on a project that would keep me close to home. Fortunately, my skill set matched what Kathy needed and in January of 2014 I started working on what would become one of the most exciting and challenging launch projects of my life. Until December of 2014, I was the Creative Director for the Dr. Phillips Center reporting directly to Kathy and interfacing with every department responsible for this over $400 million landmark. What follows is a few of the main projects we worked on through the year.
Ultimately I would be responsible for the creative materials representing the building. I built and ran an internal creative team including a copywriter, graphic designer, videographer, and editor as well as worked closely with the advertising agency, communications director, and Kathy, to shape the experience that would happen inside the building. This included everything from the digital video screens, menus, uniforms, the website, an app, social media content, education content, and many presentations.
This video launched the We’re On campaign. It was created early in the process and was used to motivate press and the community to spread the word that after 25 years the Arts Center was becoming a reality.
There were two major challenges at the Dr. Phillips Center: 1. We had no building so we needed to visualize what it would be and 2. as a non-profit in the process of constructing the building, budgets were a constant consideration. A volunteer crew and talent shot the sizzle above in two days in a donated studio. We filmed 42 different types of performing artists who moved through 4 stations. They each did a filmed performance, then they took stills, then we filmed more abstract close up footage of them, and finally a testimonial interview. These images and videos became our building blocks for everything that followed. We were able to use them in everything from print ads, to online ads, promotions, and the open itself. These elements formed the creative collateral that helps promote the Arts Center at a fraction of normal costs.
We created several commercials to promote the launch of the building and various opening campaigns. This was edited by our agency but the footage was shot by my team and directed by me.
Over the year I worked at the Dr. Phillips Center I produced this documentary along with filmmaker Famor Botero to capture the essence of art in the community and the contributions made toward the creation of and the opening of the Arts Center.
To further awareness of the Dr. Phillips Center in the creative community and their supporters, we created 13 short films called Focus On Local where we matched volunteer filmmakers with local artists to create short films. This is one of them about Benoit Glazer (Musical Director at La Nouba – Cirque du Soleil) and the theater he built in his home for the community. Both the #ARTSFOREVERYLIFE documentary and the Focus On Local short films were tremendously valuable for promoting the Arts Center within the community and were seen on television and at a local film festival as well as online through YouTube and other social media. You can see the other 12 films here.
The first year of operations for the Dr. Phillips Center was a tremendous success by every definition; attendance, gross revenue, net revenue, membership, and the amount and quality of the programming. It far out performed every projection and the Arts Center is working on the second phase of the building. Currently the creative team I helped build is still working there. It’s a special place and I’m truly grateful for having been a small part of it. The following video is a look back at all the achievements made during the first year of operating the Dr. Phillips Center. It is hard to appreciate the scope of this ambitious project until see all the lives it touched in the community. The great work continues. If you live in Orlando please come here often. If you are visiting please come and experience it.