The ballots have been counted, red carpet’s being rolled out, fashion houses are aflutter…all in anticipation of the Oscars. It’s the night Hollywood’s newest royalty will officially be crowned!
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been mesmerized by awards shows. Don’t tell me you’ve never imagined what it would be like to stand on a stage and accept one of those gold statues in front of millions of viewers? How about wishing you were a fly on the wall to hear what conversations go on between celebrities backstage? Although most of us will never experience the thrill, a few years ago I did along with 350 other people get the opportunity to listen to someone who has!
In 2007, I had the pleasure of bringing fourteen time Academy Awards producer, Gil Cates to Tampa for a nonprofit’s fundraising event. Mr. Cates shared personal photos and stories of his many experiences producing the Oscars. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at what it takes to produce tinseltown’s hottest awards show. Since this year’s show is days away, I thought it would be fun to share a few photos from one of my favorite galas…Behind the Scenes with Academy Producer Gil Cates.
When selecting a venue to host an event that featured an award winning producer, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate one than the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. At the start of the night, an elegant cocktail reception was held in Ferguson Hall’s lobby. Guests enjoyed divine hors d’oeuvres, sipped wine and mingled as entertainers belted out hits from the musicals, Hairspray and Dream Girls. As the dinner hour approached, attendees were ushered into Carol Morsani Hall, a gigantic lobby with soaring ceilings for a sumptuous four-course dinner.
When booking the space for the gala, I knew the massive lobby would pose a few challenges. One of the biggest would be to create an intimate atmosphere on a small budget. Remember, this event was for a nonprofit. Their goal was to fundraise, not to spend money frivolously. Normally, I’d utilize pipe and drape to condense the space. In this case however, it wasn’t feasible. To drape the room with fabric would have depleted most, if not all of my decorating allotment.
One day while shopping for plants to landscape my yard, the idea hit me! Trees! Branches! Forest! I’d create dramatic centerpieces from curly willow branches, crystals and orchids to trick the mind into thinking the ceiling was actually lower than it was.
Candlelight softened the space and gave it a warm glow, while enhancing the dramatic look. Basically, I knew I had one chance to make a huge impression and I intended for everyone entering the lobby for dinner to be awed by the beauty. When choosing a color palette, my inspiration came from old Hollywood and the diamonds worn by leading ladies. Platinum satin linens adorned the tables and draped the chairs. A shag overlay added glamour and texture to the tablescape. Custom menu cards printed on silver shimmer cardstock were placed inside each guest’s cummberbund folded napkin. In honor of Mr. Cates, tables were named after award winning movies like Forrest Gump, Terms of Endearment and Driving Miss Daisy. The room that evening was drop dead gorgeous and the gala a financial success for the nonprofit!
My vision couldn’t have been brought to life without help from my team. A huge thank you again goes out to the wonderful people from…
The Arrangement Florist – (813)-886-1518