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PlanetChristmas Magazine September 2014

there to greet me, give me my badge with show details and then point me in the right direction. Somehow I even ended up with my very own Christmas Expo license plate. It was a great first impression. The class information had already been pub-lished on the website so I knew what I would attend but first I wanted to get to the keynote address by the guy that was in charge of deco-rating Disney’s Spectacle of Lights in Orlando. Five million lights dancing to the music. His talk was amazing! He even talked about run-ning his own decorating company (a dream I’ve had for years.) I managed to ‘accidently’ bump into him later that day and he shared some Disney tricks with me. I felt like I was really special and couldn’t be more excited. The classrooms were your typical convention center spaces with no windows. I’m thinking I already said I like windows. The classrooms seemed a little more intimate. The video projec-tors were bright and the screens were the right size for the space. Most of the instructors were very engaging and never tried to talk over my head. My favorite class? Something called “Great music, great programming, great show.” Instead of talking about technical stuff the instructor focused on what people responded to in shows. How to build a story, work with emotions and keep people engaged were the main topics. Just what I needed to take my work to “the next level.” My next favorite class? It wasn’t a class but a panel discussion with many of the participants in ABC’s 2013 Great Christmas Light Fight. After 72  PlanetChristmas  |  September 2014 the class I talked with several of them and got some great ideas. Don’t tell anyone but I got my picture made with one of the winners holding the giant Christmas light bulb trophy they fea-tured in the show. The vendor hall was really impressive. Compared to the Texas show, I’m guessing there were three times more vendors and the booths were dense and well stocked with mer-chandise. Christmas Light Show (www.christ-maslightshow. com) ended up being my favorite followed by Geek My Tree (www.geekmytree. com) and Action Lighting (www.actionlight-ing. com). There’s something important about seeing and touching the merchandise as well as talking face to face with people that work for the companies. My favorite item had to be in the corner of the vendor hall where Winterland and Light-O-Rama had a giant animated tree with the lights dancing to the music (I think it was 25 feet tall) and it became the place for selfies. Behind the giant tree they had some branches removed so you could view how it was constructed. It was a great way to see how the pros work their magic. The tree was for sale but I never saw the price though I dreamed of how great it would look in the center of my front yard this Christmas. What made the vendor hall unique was tele-vision. ABC’s Great Christmas Light Fight was there looking for 2014 participants (yes, I gave them my name). Shark Tank was roaming around looking for show participants (no thanks, too mean) and there were multiple times I saw local TV stations doing on-camera interviews. Christmas in July is a pretty good hook, I guess. In the back of the vendor hall was a stage and video setup on a giant screen. It was used for a video conference with Ray Wu from China. That didn’t go too well. He was hard to under-stand and there were some technical glitches communicating with the other side of the world. Maybe he’ll attend in person next time. Christmas Expo was sharing the convention center with some sort of dance competition way down the main hallway. Just as they thought we were a strange g Typical Christmas Expo class roup for a Christmas show


PlanetChristmas Magazine September 2014
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