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FIlm IndePendent
ELLE Greenroom decor Steve Buscemi visits the Netflix House Host Rainn Wilson rehearsing the day before the
Acura and Tourism Australia are each sofa, and retro trinkets in the living room bent out of shape, threatening collapse
sponsoring a tent where guests and coffee table. and flooding. Davis and the team from
VIPs can linger, lounge and watch the Classic Party Rentals, which builds the
show on a plasma television. Abel says Film Independent has allowed structures, quickly replaced the poles.
him to push the creativity envelope as
Larry Abel, of Larry Abel Designs, a each year passes. Another year, as the crew was preparing
marketing company that specializes in to leave, Zahn-Storey heard a strange
creating branded entertainment experi- By mid-February most of the architec- gurgling sound from the hillsides sur-
ences brainstorms with each sponsor ture and style details have been ironed rounding the parking lot. She walked
to come up with ideas. They begin by out. Six days before the big event, as the over to inspect with a flashlight since
creating an “inspiration board” where sun is rising, co-producer Shawn Davis it was well past midnight. A water pipe
Abel and his team place ideas, textures, arrives at the Santa Monica parking lot to had broken and sent a cascade of water
colors and themes that render a mood. begin the hard labor. They bring in fork- toward the main tent. In a matter of min-
lifts, golf carts and bicycle barricades to utes, her team had formed a sandbag
“It’s a challenge because the tent has to begin the transformation. damn to stop the flooding.
be built from the ground up,” said Abel.
“But it also has to be seamless—not like For that week, Davis and Zahn-Storey “We’re prepared for all kinds of weather,”
a tradeshow with sponsors.” are the first to arrive and the last to she said. “I guess we wouldn’t be ready
leave. Since the event is in February, for snow, but in Los Angeles who would?”
Last year, Abel and ELLE decided to rain and harsh weather have become a
create a tent using an ocean theme and tradition—and a headache. They come But the work does not end once the
fashion. The result was a tent decorated prepared with a “traveling kit,” carrying show is over. The day after, Davis and
with two 10-foot tall sea horse sculp- everything from rain gear, to flashlights, the production crew are out there again,
tures made from flip flops and walls with to sandbags. garbage bags tied around their belt
printed patterns of sea shells and waves loops. The awards ceremony is now a
in tones of purple, yellow, and aqua. “It is taboo to say the word rain on sight,” “zero-waste” event, so everything from
said Zahn-Storey, noting that every year, the Astro Turf to the food is recycled,
For Netflix’s sponsor tent, Abel and his miraculously the clouds disappear on composted or re-used. All of the genera-
team created the Netflix House for blog- the actual day of the event—except last tors will be using bio diesel.
gers to interview presenters and nomi- year when the host’s name was Rainn.
nees by Jiminy Glick—Martin Short’s “By now, we are a well oiled machine,”
fictional and famously ignorant televi- One year at nightfall, waterspouts be- said Davis. “On Monday after the event,
sion interviewer—complete with green gan forming over the horizon. By morn- you can’t even tell we were there.”
shag carpet, a bright orange herculine ing, a few of the tent’s poles had been
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