With Jimmy Carilo from World of Light
In this episode we talk to Jimmy Carilo the Creative Marketing Director for World Of Light, an immersive art installation pop-up event debuting in Los Angeles next month. Jimmy shares the challenges and learnings from putting an event of this nature together – working with artists from around the world and transforming a space into an experience that people haven’t seen before.
- Designing a unique user experience
- Testing ideas, event production and logistics
- Long distance event management
- Research on immersive experiences
- Ticketing for immersive events
- Promotional tactics
- Encouraging an interactive experience
Upcoming Event: World Of Light
An immersive art installation debuting in Los Angeles from June to August, 2019.
Designed to be the world’s first fully interactive exhibition, with immersive installations, mixed media, live art and 360 VR mapping incorporated into the experience. A 50 thousand square foot space has been transformed into an other worldly journey of visual imagination.
Lisa: Welcome to Ticketbud Tidbits! My name is Lisa Carson, and I’m your Ticketbud host.
Today, we’re joined by Jimmy Carilo, who has experience in events and marketing. He runs Hint Creative Group, a boutique agency with an emphasis on visual and conceptual business strategy. Their event services include complete branding, development and marketing execution.
Jimmy is the Creative Marketing Director for World of Light, an immersive art installation event debuting in Los Angeles next month, and running into August. The experience is described as an other-worldly journey of visual imagination, with the transformation of a 50,000 square foot space, designed to be the world’s first fully interactive exhibition, with immersive installations, mixed media, live art and 360 VR mapping incorporated into the experience.
I’m really keen to hear about what’s gone into the planning and pulling all of this together. So, welcome to the podcast, Jimmy!
Jimmy: Thank you for having me. I’m really excited! Yeah, you pretty much said everything that I could say. I’m definitely glad to be here, and to be part of this podcast series.
Lisa: Wonderful! It’s great to have you here. So, what are some of the unique elements for putting this event together, like what needs to be considered for this sort of pop-up installation event?
Jimmy: I think that one of the first things that we considered when – sort of the conceptual part of this, was how to make the user experience unique. You know, everyone has been to an art gallery at one point or another, and been like “Oh, that was interesting,” or “This was that.”
We kind of put all our minds together, and started getting the pros and cons of all of the exhibits that we all had kind of gone to, and itemized everything that we were lacking, so to speak, in our experiences. That was probably the first challenge that we had, was to figure out all of the things that we haven’t seen, and how we could actually implement those to become what is now known as World of Light.
Lisa: What have been some of the key learnings, and like you said, challenges that have come up along the way, that you can now use for future events, and also share with other organizers?
Jimmy: I think there’s two levels to that. The first level would probably be the production side. Obviously, since this is like an immersive experience basically, we’ve taken 2D into 3D, and now we’re allowing people to walk through an exhibit with live installations. That was the production side of the difficulty, and it made things a little more difficult, how to basically achieve that.
And working with artists that would tailor their work to our needs was probably the first pitfall we had to kind of overcome. Working with the artists was probably, I would say, the first part of the challenge. Then, the second part was “Okay, now that we have the art, now that we have what we want, let’s get a space to make it work, and then let’s test it.”
So, I think that just through that experience right there, if I were to go into this now, knowing that, I would be a little bit more prepared with the conceptual side, now knowing that there’s capabilities of what you can and can’t do. Like trying to figure those out before you start having the installations.
I think if anyone was to put together an exhibit with the intention of having something that’s going to be groundbreaking or unique in any special way, I think it’s good to have tested those things and those theories, or thoughts and ideas, with production first, before trying to find the sourcing and the funding and all of that, and the space. That was probably the most challenging thing, I would say, out of all that we’ve encountered.
But we’ve prevailed! So, we’re really excited to share this with you guys. I think everyone has an idea at one point or another, and they want to execute that idea. But the reality of that, on the production level side, is really where it’s like “Okay, now it’s not just an idea. Now you’re actually implementing something in real life.”
So, making sure that things like this could be done was more of the question. I think, again, if anyone is really interested in challenging what isn’t already out there, and you want to take that on, you’ve just got to make sure that the production side can meet that standard, before you start selling yourself on this idea.
At the end of the day, we want to be just as immersed in that experience as the person that goes to it. We wanted to make sure that we were also excited about it.
Lisa: Also, you’ve been organizing some of this from a different city. What is some of the advice you have, coordinating something when you’re not in the same city as the event?
Jimmy: I think at this point, given our day and age with technology, and just accessibility with what we’re doing now; conferencing in different cities, I think you can pretty much do anything. As long as you have a wifi signal, you can pretty much be anywhere in the world, to get what you need done.
The only difference would be on the press side of customer interactions. That’s the part that has been kind of derailing me being a little bit more effective, because I think people just feel a little bit more connected to you, when you’re in the same city. When you’re reaching out to them, being like “Hey, I can’t wait to meet you! Come to the press night!”
I think that was the only thing that I’ve encountered. But other than that, as far as getting this going off the ground, I would say like 90% of my clients are all over the world. So, it’s never really been an issue to get what I need to get done.
But I think that on the interaction press side, I think that’s probably the only thing that I’ve been kind of encountering. But that’s going to change shortly, obviously, when I’m there in a couple weeks.
Lisa: I was going to say I would have thought the event space would have been the other issue, like being able to visually see it, and choosing a location.
Jimmy: Yeah. Again, our technology, anyone can FaceTime the whole experience. They would record the whole space, and what I would end up doing is sort of conceptually coming up with the plan, and then rendering the idea to them. Then, pitching it to them several different ways, until we came to a conclusion that this is the one we wanted.
So yeah, I think that ultimately, you can literally be anywhere in the world, and still achieve what you need to get done, as long as you have the capabilities to do so. Don’t ever feel like if you’re in a different city, you can’t be helping someone in a different part of the world.
I think that kind of relates to the whole theme of what we’re going with, kind of as a testimony. Like we’re bringing people from different countries over here, so it didn’t make sense that I wasn’t also in a different city, to be able to work on this.
Lisa: We were talking before about the artists bringing different cultural experiences, and that’s part of what this is about.
Jimmy: Yeah. I don’t think we really elaborated on that. The whole premise behind World of Light was, outside of just being a unique experience and having some visual and sort of sensorial, auditory experience, we found that it was interesting in our research, that the consensus driven data was drawing toward people were more interested in visiting or experiencing or going to, recreationally, things that they didn’t see regularly, or that was like a short-term experience.
That kind of relates to a lot of the pop-up installations, and things like that. So, we figured that part of that data was driven from the fact that people don’t have the opportunity to go to different countries to see art and things that could be inspired from different countries.
So, the premise behind World of Light was to bring that opportunity from all of these different countries, and sourcing talent, whether it was already discovered or undiscovered talent, and bringing it to a space, so that way everyone can see it, if they never had the chance to go visually be there, physically be in that country to see it.
That was kind of what was interesting about this. I thought that would be helpful to people that just want to be inspired by art, or just want to see something interesting. I thought that was the most unique thing about this project, that I really, really admired from inception. I was like “This is great!”
Because I’ve obviously traveled to different countries and stuff, and I’ve seen the art, and I’m always inspired when I come back from that. So, I can’t wait for people to see, to bring that element of excitement to people locally and domestically, obviously.
Lisa: I know I want to go and see it!
Jimmy: You’re going to come.
Lisa: I’m going to have to go and see it, now! I was going to ask you some questions more specifically around ticketing. One of the things that we’re aware of for these sorts of events is ticketing usually needs to allow for scheduled bookings by date and time. Can you talk a bit about why that’s important for this sort of experience?
Jimmy: I think ideally, because of our day and age again, we’re very social media driven. So, everyone, I think, is at one point or another going to stop and want to take a picture of one thing that they think is interesting, or whatever resonates with them, whatever installation resonates with them the most.
You can see this publicly. People are taking pictures all the time, in front of things, so part of what we wanted to do was kind of control that traffic. So, we had to set a time limit for the whole experience, of up to one hour, for the general ticketing. That kind of restricted the lingering, and the ability to just sit around and get that perfect pose, 40 pictures later.
Lisa: “I need to take this photo 20 times!” There’s always those people.
Jimmy: Yeah. The variables are extreme, sometimes. So, I was like “Okay, we’ve got to give everyone at least ten minutes for each installation.” That’s kind of how we came up with the framework.
But then, we also enable people to buy a ticket for a higher premium price, that they can have an unlimited tour of it.
In terms of the ticketing system, I think that that was also a very unique part of this, because I’ve never actually been to an exhibit where anybody restricted the time that you’re in something. What I found extremely helpful was that you guys, to be honest with you, I would say out of ten ticketing companies or ticket system third parties that I went through, you guys were probably the best one, and the most resourceful and accommodating to what we needed on how to modify things.
I couldn’t say how good of a service you guys are. I definitely, as a testimony, could just scream about how important and how much of an impact you guys have helped with our ticketing system. Compared to the other ones, there was no comparison, I guess you could say. I really appreciate you guys.
Lisa: That’s really good feedback. That’s great to hear! It’s been exciting working with you. One of the things that we definitely like to do as a team is, where there’s things that we’re like “Oh, we don’t necessarily have that yet. Let’s develop it. What can we do?” We’re constantly getting feedback with the customers. That’s, I think, probably how we’re different. If that’s something that’s important to the customers, we’ll have to bring that in and improve that experience.
Jimmy: Yeah. You’re definitely off the charts, in comparison. Literally, it was no comparison. I called a couple of other people, and I was working with a couple of other teams. And I ended up just ending the communication shortly after meeting you guys, because the way that the customer service was handled, from inception, was just way beyond what these other guys were offering. So, I was like “That’s it.” Ticketbud all the way! Team Ticketbud!
Lisa: I love that, Team Ticketbud! You mentioned that you’ve got a few different types of passes. How did you go about determining the ticket prices, and then the ticket programming?
Jimmy: Basically, the way we did the math was just to cover the production and the investor costs. As the Los Angeles starts, we’re really using that as the launchpad to kind of get us off the ground, brand recognition. We weren’t really looking to make a huge profit. We just kind of wanted to cover the costs, cover the artists’ fees, cover the production, and get prepared for the upcoming World of Light cities that we’re going to be doing.
As of now, we have New York scheduled, as well as Miami, for Art Basel. Then, the following year, we’re going to be doing Coachella, back in L.A., and just build something that’s going to be unique. That’s part of what we’re always going to do.
We’re always going to be finding the next new thing, the next guy from that one country that no one knows about. We’re going to find him and we’re going to bring him to your city, so you can see what this guy is doing. In the end, he’s going to grow, and become a renowned artist somewhere, in his life.
That was the whole goal behind it. We weren’t looking to make millions and millions of dollars. We just wanted a brand that we’re proud of, that we can put our work into, and also be able to establish and showcase artists that deserve that recognition that I think maybe a lot of them aren’t getting right now.
Lisa: I wanted to ask you some marketing-based questions, as a marketer myself. Also, I think it’s a really important part of the event process, getting the word out there. What was the marketing strategy for this event, and what mediums did you use for promotion?
Jimmy: We have three channels, obviously; social, local publications, and there’s also a third element that we’ve been testing recently, which is more of the guerilla-style of marketing, which is placed ads on – I guess you could say that one of them is wepasting. We have soliciting, like third parties that are putting a lot of their branded collateral out in front of their retail shops, and stuff like that.
Then, because this is an immersive light-based installation, we were thinking “Okay, that’s all cool. We’ve done those two things, and everyone can do that. But what makes us unique?” So, we’re in the process right now, which I’ve sent a rendering over, to basically illuminate the entire City Hall building in downtown Los Angeles.
The rendering is basically going to be inspired by the countries that we’ve chosen from the artists. The whole installation is going to be like a ten-minute show, where the whole City Hall will be illuminated.
Lisa: I love that!
Jimmy: Yes. I’ve put together this really interesting graphic that’s going to be using the colors of each country’s flag, of the artists we’re using. Basically, it’s just going to show gratitude to them, and at the same time, just kind of prepare Los Angeles for what’s about to happen.
Lisa: Nice! I think that’s a really good idea. That’s wonderful. You mentioned social channels. Which social channels are you using? Do you have a different approach for the different social channels?
Jimmy: I guess you could say we didn’t want to really buy into what everyone else is doing. My personal thing is that I’m big on organic traffic. I don’t like paying for things. I don’t like things – like if it’s meant to be, if it resonates in peoples’ eyes, and if your work shows integrity, I think people will follow it and look at it and be inspired by it, or want to see more of it.
That was the biggest thing that I’ve done. In comparison to what I’ve found our exhibit to other – not necessarily similar, but just other art galleries and other things that I’ve seen; festivals, events. What I’ve seen a lot of them do is that they would buy a lot their engagement.
So, you would see the contrast of what they’re offering on their social posts, and see the engagement numbers were just skewed completely, from what they’re saying that they’re projecting that they have, in terms of engagement. I felt like I didn’t want to do that. I told them, from the inception.
I go “Look. If we’re going to do this, this is going to happen organically. Their investors need to know that, that we’re not rushing to make a dollar. We just want to let this happen, and if it happens, it’s going to happen the right way.”
So, we took sort of an unorthodox approach, I would say, compared to what I’ve seen other people do. I think the organic traffic has been all from people that are really inspired by this kind of art, are interested in this kind of art.
We think that that was really the goal, to make sure that the right people see what we’re putting out for our content.
Of course, when it came to the actual content itself, the biggest part of that strategy was to just kind of highlight the artists in a unique way, making sure that we were pushing everything in; visual, video, animation. Not doing anything static. That was our big thing. We didn’t want anything static. Everything has to move. Everything has to have a life.
Everything that we did was, in a small way, resembled what we’re going to be offering to the public.
Lisa: So, have you used influencers? Or like you were saying, putting it in front of the right people, the key people that are in the art community, that you’re sort of trying to -?
Jimmy: Right, yeah. Instead of by saying – the unorthodox method is that we’re not using influencers. We’re not promoting it. We’re not doing what everyone else could be suggestively saying to do, to get something promoted. We’re just simply relying on local publication, putting it in calendars. And then, the social channels are just -.
Lisa: Word of mouth.
Jimmy: Yeah, exactly.
Lisa: Okay. It is a very different experience, so it lends itself, I guess, to people being intrigued in that way, and talking about it.
Jimmy: Right. I think in hindsight, that was actually what was going to probably make us more credible, that if people hear about something that was interesting and they experienced it, then that would inspire them to want to go. Versus like an influencer hold a t-shirt, and saying “Had a great time at World of Light!”
Lisa: I wasn’t actually thinking that. I was thinking more the artists who were involved, or that sort of thing.
Jimmy: Well, those guys, the artists are all going to be in World of Light bikinis!
Lisa: Oh, dear! What about at the event itself? You mentioned that people are welcome to take photos. Are you encouraging people to share and engage, and check in? Or are you just letting them do what they want to do?
Jimmy: We kind of, it’s just kind of a free canvas, to do whatever they want. The biggest problem I think all of the patrons and visitors are going to have is which picture they’re going to want to post, and what installation? Because every one is so unique.
But then, at the same time, we’re working with a developer right now, that’s going to be doing our app. And when we have the app, we’re going to have very interesting filters, kind of like when you want to take pictures of things or selfies, and things like that.
Lisa: Oh, that sounds fascinating.
Jimmy: And we also a photo booth that’s going to have a lot of technology. We’re still in development of that. We should probably have that by next quarter, before New York. I’m looking forward to that.
Lisa: Why do you think these types of experiences are sort of growing in popularity? What do you think the appeal is?
Jimmy: Again, back to the research. I did some extensive research on galleries and festivals, and what made them unique. Everyone has kind of done the whole music thing. Everyone has done art things. A trend right now has been for a lot of brands to do pop-up installations in remote areas.
By watching those trends, I was like “Okay. It’s basically the same thing, just in a different location. But what makes it interesting?” Well, it’s because it’s only there for a limited time. I think the time limitation is probably a key factor to these things.
The underlying element behind that, like I mentioned earlier, was that I think that people just want to see what’s going on, on the other side of the world, where they’re not. The fact that we can bring that to them locally is really what will hopefully inspire people to want to come and see this.
Lisa: I wanted to finish up by asking if there’s any advice that you wish you had been given at the start of your career. Maybe you could share that.
Jimmy: I would say, again, going back to the integrity of the work. I feel like if you every shortcut anything, you’re only going to get that much back. And if you really believe in something that you’re working on, and you are diligent with it, and you do your part – that means research it, test it, try to find out as much as you can. I think that’s probably the only advice I would say to anybody.
I would say look, if you really believe in something and you want to put something out there, or if you really believe in what you’re doing for people as a service, then you’ve just got to learn everything you can about it. Then, always be challenging yourself.
My biggest fear is complacency. I do not believe in complacency. I’m the opposite of that. Whenever I find myself feeling complacent, I will stay up an extra couple of hours, to do something else that I feel like is going to further me, or be more productive.
You end up, inevitably, you’ll see the return on that. That’s all I’m going to say to people, whenever people ask me that kind of question. I’m always like “Look. It will happen. Just stick it out.”
It’s going to be tough in the beginning, but stick it out and stick it out. When it starts getting harder, that means you’re right around the corner from it being good. That’s all I have to say.
Lisa: I also think what you said about testing ideas – quite often people are “I think this is a great idea.” I’m like “Test it, before you go too big on it.”
Jimmy: Yeah, like I said.
Lisa: Yeah, you were saying that. I think that’s brilliant. You’ve got to sort of do a test case. Pilot it. See whether it floats.
Jimmy: Exactly. Like I mentioned earlier, on the production side, that was the first thing we did. We were like “Okay, now we have this idea. Now, let’s put it to work.” And we actually had to test all of these things. They were just off our heads, off paper now, in real life, in front of us. That was expensive! That’s all I can say!
So obviously, be prepared for everything that you’re doing. Know your limitations, of course. But yeah, just stick it out. Don’t give up, and just keep working through it.
Lisa: My last question is, seeing we’re talking about events, I wanted to know a great event you’ve attended, and what you loved about it.
Jimmy: I also work with a lot of fashion clients. This year, we had a lot of pop-up installations in New York, that I thought were kind of unique. Nothing specific offhand, but a lot of production companies that I was working with were doing a lot of interesting installations here and there, throughout the city.
The New York Public Library was interesting. One of the designers took over that space. I think that’s really what it comes back to, is finding a unique – something that’s different, and sort of challenges the medium that most people are used to, when they go to something. I think that’s really what makes an experience unique.
So, I would say yeah, that’s always going to fall in your favor, if you’re ever trying to put something together.
Lisa: Everyone is looking for a unique experience.
Lisa: Well, thank you for coming in and chatting with us on the podcast today. World of Light will be open June 6th to August 4th, in Los Angeles. If you’re in L.A., don’t miss out on this unique experience!
Tickets are on sale now, through Ticketbud!
Jimmy: It’s TickebudWorldOfLight.com, and obviously, our socials are WOLExhibition, which is short for World of Light. Then, #WorldOfLight.
Lisa: We’ll share that on our website, when we put the podcast up, as well.
Thanks for joining us! Until next time, this was Ticketbud Tidbits!
Jimmy: It was my pleasure. Thank you so much!
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