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BLOGS: OTA Looks Back at 2018

The 18th year in the millennium was a year of many firsts for Out of the Ash Productions. From a strange and exciting foray into the logistics and warehousing world to taking part in a plethora of new events, the calendar year kept us on our toes. To say the least.

On January 1, OTA began work under a contract with Red Bull to warehouse and manage all infrastructure logistics for activations across the Rocky Mountains, including Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Exactly six months later, on June 1, OTA signed an additional contract with Red Bull to manage identical operations throughout Utah. Within a year, OTA has established two warehouse complexes (Evergreen, Co and West Valley City, Ut) and an office headquarters in Evergreen, Co.

“Adding these warehouses and these logistic programs was a big pill for us to swallow in a very short time. Tarik and I spent a lot of hours over many different days staring at The Great Salt Lake and pondering this progression into Utah. The transition went better than I could have imagined,” says OTA President David Unterreiner. “The real story though are the guys on the ground who are making these connections and establishing a network for the company. I’m proud of the logistics side of operations but I think I’m more impressed with the progress made on the event side this past year. We added a lot of events to our schedule in 2018 that have never previously been there. Our scope and reach is expanding and that is a direct testament to the crew making it happen.”

With twelve never-before-seen projects shaping up in 2018, a new project was added for each month of the year. Seven of those new events were in the form of music festivals, an entirely new landscape for OTA. Having been involved very minimally in the music festival scene previously, the music vibes were a fresh feel for the staff.

“It’s easy to enjoy every event we do but it was really nice to be able to enjoy good music this year as well,” said Tarik Berrada, OTA foreman. “It was just something a little different to help break the rhythm of the logistics world. We did get to see some iconic music and musicians in some unique venues. We have very good stories to tell after this year….stories we probably shouldn’t tell.”

As far as events go, 2018 was plush with new projects. A foray into the motorsports world brought OTA crews to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Co, Travis Pastrana’s Nitro World Games in Salt Lake City, Ut, and an exhibition Formula 1 event in Miami, Fl.

 

“Obviously anything that Travis Pastrana touches is instant entertainment and we will always love being anywhere that Travis is,” says Unterreiner. “The Formula One world though is on a different level. The scope and scale of an actual full Formula One race is so incredible and dynamic and massive. It was very fun to gain an understanding of that sport a bit and to actually be on the ground and see what it takes to make even one street block safe. To have an entire race through downtown Miami is hard to wrap a head around….I really hope they can pull it off. That Biscayne Bay area in Miami is absolutely perfect for it.”

Despite the pull towards different scenes, it was back on the home terrain that OTA got its biggest kick of the year.

“It’s the last week in January and we’re rolling up to Jackson, Wyoming for this thing called Kings and Queens of Corbet’s. Brand new event and I’m thinking we’re just rolling in and helping with the party,” explains Unterreiner. “Didn’t even bring my ski’s. We roll in late at night and the next morning we are on the gondola before it’s even open to the public and I’m trying to fit into rental boots and skis on the way up. I didn’t get my boots strapped until I was standing on top of Corbet’s and beginning to grasp the reality of the event.”

The reality: skiers were going to have a trick contest off the top of the iconic and massive couloir that is Corbet’s. An inaugural event that saw relatively unknown rippers become overnight internet sensations.

“The idea behind the event would be strange enough for most people,” says Aaron Green, OTA foreman. “The levels that the athletes took their tricks to bordered on insanity for anybody. Free-falling front flips off Corbet’s? Who does that?”

“We are just in the middle of this constantly progressive industry of who can do what next,” Unterreiner adds. You got some teenage kid standing on top of a massive couloir about to drop in….who know’s what they’re going to do. There is a live-feed drone in their face and they’re going to try to do something nobody has ever seen before. Every time you wake up there’s a new boundary. Just yesterday, I saw a video of two guys flying INTO an airplane. It’s fascinating.”

Here’s hoping the fascination continues!

The Digital Content Transition: Bog Down or Fly?

    OTA Productions is embedded deep into an ever-changing landscape of logistics, event production, and digital content. As we wade forward into 2019, and reflect back on the last two years, we’ve noticed an obvious and major industry transition. A massive shift from localized, community-orientated brand building events towards a jockey for position in the digital content world. As it was just two years ago, it is no longer satisfactory to have your brand recognized by 30,000 people in one community. Your brand needs to be seen by millions of people all over the world.

    Brand building companies across the world could be compared to the beginning of a sailboat race before any of the boats cross the line. It’s a hectic, pressurized, and constant jockey for position. Who can get the momentum and the wind? There’s a hundred boats in one small area and they’re all trying to cross the starting line in the exact same spot. Not every boat is going to get the wind. Not every brand is going to get the views. Watching it unfold and being immensely involved has become thrilling as each company tries diligently to stand on top of the globe. As a result, the media content we are now seeing is astonishing. Whether it’s the Discovery Channel showing you the day to day life of an obscure animal that lives in an underwater cave or it’s Tesla sending a mannequin through space in an orbiting car or it’s Red Bull hooking up Felix Baumgartner so he can free fall 128,100 feet….the push for progress is fascinating and quite unbelievable.

    Not secluded to this industry alone, the transformation to digital content is widespread and worldwide. Are you even a player without multiple social media platforms? A YouTube channel? Or, as our biggest client has done, its own TV network streaming its own digital content 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year?

    Much of today’s content is unadvertised as it’s happening. The majority of the money is wrapped up in projects that the general public is not yet aware are taking place. Ten years ago, if any company was to spend money on an event or an athlete project, colossal dollars went towards local advertising for the event. It was the only way to make an impression on the public. Today, it is likely that a major production may spend absolutely zero dollars on local advertising. Opting instead to push all the funds towards marketing to an audience far removed from the filming location. Get the shot, get it online, and watch the views pile up. That’s the objective.

    This insane ability to instantly reach everyone in the world with an internet connection has drastically separated the rich from the poor in the event industry. Those still clamoring away one local audience at a time will lose the fight. Years ago, a motivated company may be content with a single impression on the general public (meaning one person) for each dollar spent. In terms of impressions, the value of the dollar shot up faster than Tesla’s rocket.  A million dollars reaches much further than it did ten years ago. In addition, revenue streams flow as advertisers desire to cuddle up with viral digital content. In turn, the money making train rolls on for those companies who have successfully made the transition to digital content. Bogged down in the mud, somewhere way back there, are the companies who didn’t.

THE YISH BEARS DOWN IN NEWTON

Only a salty three moons lie between now and The Phenomenon . All hands are on deck. Stack the chalk. Mark the balls. Label the bats. Cut the grass! It’s time for another run at the Ole Yish!

#stayed tuned for the evolution of Montesquieu! Pictured above (sometime before now)

WIFFLEWORLD ADDS THE PHENOMENON TO 2017 SLATE

WiffleWorld, a partner with OTA Productions, is happy to announce the addition of The Phenomenon in Newton, Illinois to the 2017 slate. The Phenomenon, a sixth annual slugfest, is brought to you by The YISH.

Activities begin Friday, September 22, 2017 and championship play takes place on Saturday, September 23. You can find all the necessary information, including registration details, location, rules, and regulations at www.WiffleWorld.com.

“Overwhelmingly, the one thing excited participants and first time scoper-outters provide as feedback, ‘why do you only have this once a year and why did you build all of this just for one tournament,'” says YISH representative Darrin Sappinfield.

In the true spirit of WiffleWorld, The YISH has a good answer: “we have this opportunity to GIVE because we are ALIVE. We are healthy and able.”

Easy to support that.

Show up or follow along this weekend at Facebook.com/wiffleworld. WiffleWorld will roll from The Phenomenon in in Newton, Illinois this weekend to the 21st Annual Wiffleball World Series at Sherwood Yards in Cape Girardeau, Mo next weekend (WBWS tournament play on Saturday, September 30). The WBWS will continue it’s long time support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Good to see the pearly white plastic ball bringing people together. Long live wiffle!

WIFFLEWORLD EMPHASIZES CHARITY AT 1st NATIONAL CONVENTION, ANNOUNCES WINTER MEETING DATES

Denver, Co – As wiffle leagues across North America finish up their 2016 slates and determine league champions this week, all eyes are beginning to set on the Heartland of America for next month’s 1st ever WiffleWorld Online National Convention. The first ever WiffleWorld Online National Convention will take place December 21-28 and precede the fourth annual WiffleWorld Winter Meetings, which will take place in Denver, Co January 2-5, 2017.

“We’re pretty excited about this convention,” says WiffleWorld representative David Unterreiner. “Essentially, this is an opportunity for Wifflers to get together, from the comfort of their own couch, and talk about what a great wiffleball weekend needs.”

This year’s convention will include Facebook live broadcasts, live conversations with organizers, players, and fans, and highlights from past tournaments, as well as many other topics.

“Let’s cover everything we can. We’ve got some rule changes we want opinions on, there has been discussion regarding the live concert aspect of the event and this needs to be nailed down, we’ve talked about adding additional “non-running” divisions, considerations on having or not having umpires next year, the list goes on,” Unterreiner says. “Plenty to talk about.”

Perhaps at the top of this years priority list will again be the expansion of WiffleWorld into new cities, including Denver, Cleveland, and St. Louis.

Chuck Chandler, WiffleWorld’s eastern US Ambassador, is confident in Cleveland’s chances to land a 2017 bid. “Cleveland is the City of Champions,” says Chandler. “The fact is that every event in the country wants to come to Cleveland right now. This city is amped up, intense, and ready to party. Everybody wants Cleveland and all Cleveland wants is WiffleWorld.

But it takes a lot to bring a successful WiffleWorld event to a new city and we’re not about to half-ass this. When we get to Cleveland, Cleveland will remember us.”

There is no doubt that WiffleWorld saw vast growth in 2016, tripling tournament registration and increasing tournament attendance by 400%. The April 29th WiffleWorld Summer Classic saw world-class folk act The Creek Rocks play through a rain-soaked evening for over 300 people.

“It was pretty incredible what we pulled off at The Summer Classic in April. It was truly an example of what we try to encompass at WiffleWorld,” said Unterreiner. “A group of people, over 300 strong, came together to turn a two-day event into a one-night event. It took everybody. Volunteers were building our game fields in pouring rain, teams were adjusting to last minute schedule changes, The Creek Rocks was making on-the-fly changes to ensure an amazing performance despite the rain…it was just amazing. It was a community coming together to make something happen. I simply couldn’t be more thankful. It’s exactly what we are trying to embody at WiffleWorld. To be able to turn a bad-weather situation into a 100% success should be a point of pride for all those involved in making that happen.”

Although wiffleball, live music, and fun take center stage on WiffleWorld weekends, Unterreiner says it’s important to remember that charity is at the forefront of this march.

“The most important aspect of this entire idea is to, somehow or someway, positively affect the community that we are in,” notes Unterreiner. “It’s easy to show up, play some wiffleball, and right a check. And yes, a check does help. But how do we get the most of this? We need to do more. This will be an important point of discussion at the convention: How else can we help the community? How can we extend our reach?”

The Christmas week convention is open to the public and all are encouraged to participate. To stay up-to-date with the live schedules, follow along on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wiffleworld/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wiffleworld

Web: https://wiffleworld.com

In the meantime, Chandler says December is about gearing up. “We wouldn’t be having a convention and winter meetings if we weren’t excited. This is a free-trade league. We don’t regulate payrolls or trades or farm systems. We aren’t sitting on pins and needles about important business decisions. We’re talking about strikes and dingers. The Summer Classic has had three champions in three years and the boys sitting on the couch in their undies eating popcorn and watching Tom Brady won’t be the fourth.”

“Who’s preparing?” asks Unterreiner. “Who’s inside their house throwing wiffleballs at the walls and driving their wife crazy? Because I am. And I’d like to know that I’m not alone.”

OTA Looks back on 2016

What started on the frigid steps of the Cathedral of St. Paul ended on the frigid streets of downtown Breckenridge, Colorado last week. With the final two skies flying off the Jersey barrier and onto Main Street, the 2016 event production season was in the books for Out of the Ash Productions.

Knotching a third full year on its belt, the OTA crew saw, yet again, another season of miraculous feats, fast cars, massive crowds, and insane projects. “It’s pretty damn remarkable what we get to witness year in and year out,” OTA owner David Unterreiner says. “Being there to bring all the facets of a production together is fun in itself. Then to have the opportunity to watch whoever is doing what with the thing we just built makes it all worth it, no matter how cold or hot or miserable or hungry or sleep-deprived we’ve been while building it.”

OTA’s year started in St. Paul, Minnesota with the year’s biggest event, Red Bull Crashed Ice, an event produced and managed by Hangman Productions. Working under Hangman Productions on a number of projects throughout the year provides an avenue for OTA to witness massive builds, gigantic crowds, and unique feats. In addition to Red Bull Crashed Ice, Hangman Productions brought Red Bull Cliff Diving and Red Bull Flugtag to the table.

“What we get to build on Hangman events is remarkable, especially in St. Paul. Building a downhill ice track off the face of a majestic cathedral, over open and active public roads, in the dead of winter, on the coldest street on earth is far more impressive than what the athletes actually do on it once its built,” Unterreiner says. “The same could be said about Flugtag. Watching ordinary people try to fly with homemade crafts is fun, but its not as fun as building a flight deck on a barge.”

Red Bull Cliff Diving is a different story. At Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas, the Hangman crew constructs a diving platform on Devil’s Island 92′ above the water in Hell’s Cove. The boat-access only event sees the world’s best divers compete in a televised international competition in front of thousands of boats. “The build on that one is impressive and loads of fun, but it’s unique in that what the athletes are doing is far more impressive. Those men and women on that tour are a different breed. Truly amazing athletes.”

The 2016 season saw OTA come together with States and Kingdom Productions in downtown Detroit for Red Bull HartLines, in Pomona, Ca for Red Bull Straight Rhythm, and in North Carolina, Los Angeles, and Seattle for Red Bull Global Rally Cross.

HartLines might be my favorite event of the year. I love being in downtown Detroit. The people and culture in Detroit right now is one that we vibe well with,” Unterreiner said. “Ryan Sheckler has been able to capsulate that vibe into competition. It’s the only competition we work where the athletes are right in the mix with the general public. If you’re a skateboard fan in Detroit, this event is a dream come true. The world’s best skaters are simply playing around in Hart Plaza with the locals all week. Very, very unique and very cool.”

OTA joined Big Mountain Events in 2016 as well, helping to produce Dew Tour in Breckenridge and managing the Hanuman Festival in Boulder, Colorado.

Perhaps the most unique project of the year was turning a massive field into an inaugural music festival in Buena Vista, Co for the first ever Vertex Festival. “When we got there it was simply a couple massive fields with a creek running through them and a spectacular backdrop of mountains,” OTA employee Tarik Berrada said. “How it become a circus in two weeks….I don’t really remember, but it did. And it had everything. And it was my favorite place. Then we had to tear it all down.”

WiffleWorld, an OTA-owned event, saw dramatic growth in 2016, tripling tournament registration and increasing public attendance by 400% with two championship tournaments. The winter of 2016 also brought the exciting news that WiffleWorld will be adding a third tournament in 2017 at a new location near Cleveland, Ohio. WiffleWorld’s Director of Operations, Chuck Chandler, says bringing the charity tournament to the North Coast is a great addition for the city.

“The fields we’re looking at for 2017 are immaculate, the setting is astonishing, the people are amped, we couldn’t have picked a better spot for expansion,” Chandler says. “There is going to be a new King of Cleveland come late July and it won’t be Lebron unless Lebron shows up and hits a bunch of dingers.”

2017 projects include a unique and massive community clean-up production near Durango, Colorado, further travels into the world of music festivals, and a new logistics wing to the OTA profile.

“I love it all, each and every event,” says OTA employee Jesse Mueller. “That said, the best part of the year is probably being in-between projects and anticipating a phone call. Your imagination is wandering, what could possibly be next?”

“Who know’s what’s next,” says Unterreiner. “If I had it my way, we’d be jumping a dirt bike into space by the end of July. I need NASA to get their shit together though. In the meantime, we’ll be playing wiffleball and building the next thing we didn’t imagine we’d ever build.”

Sortin’ out the Wiffle

Good story on our favorite game! See link below.

Two weekends of @WiffleWorld tournaments kick off this weekend in Newton, Il! Join us for The 6th Annual Phenomenon and the 21st Annual Wiffleball World Series. www.wiffleworld.com

“The Wiffle Ball company has cultivated this all-American, family-run story with their “it just works, who could possibly explain it?” mystique. There is innocent nostalgia baked into the game. And yet, understanding how the ball works its magic takes none of that folk glory away. Instead, it increases respect for the sport, by showing how much is possible within it.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/09/wiffle-ball-physics/539982/

GO BIG.