Huge banners adorned the Los Angeles Convention Center as part of sponsor and exhibitor activation for E3. (VT Photo by Jay Nguyen)

With move-in and teardown, E3 2015, the Electronic Entertainment Expo ran for 20 days, three of which were showtime, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. A huge undertaking, one of the most memorable aspects of E3 is the exterior sponsor activation.

The huge signs on the building's exterior not only attracted passersby and attendee attention, they also served as huge shades, blocking out sunlight and helping keep the normally bright and lightbuilding's air conditioning bill under control, said Ellen Schwartz, LACC VP of sales and marketing.

Yet another entrance wrapped in signage for E3. (VT Photo by Jay Nguyen)

E3 is also unique in that for such a big show, there are not that many exhibitors. Each builds out a large and elaborate space with a tremendous amount of lighting and display.

Acting as liaisson with the city's fire and building and safety departments in permitting all of those booths is a big part of the day for Frank Keefer, LACC event manager. Keefer moved to LACC 18 months ago after more than seven years at the Long Beach Convention Center.

E3 is the top of line show he's ever worked, partly because the booths are bigger than most people's houses. Most take two weeks to build on-site, plus prearrival work. Keefer also remarked on the quality of people attending. It is a trade show, not a public show, and attendees are highly engaged all three days, he noted. “It is the Super Bowl of electronics to a lot of people.”

As event manager, his job varied day to day, from coordinating the parking operation to turning on lights, checking air conditioning and putting out fires. A major source of potential fire is in permitting the booths.

Bandi Namco Dark Souls 3 was introduced at an indoor exhibit. (VT Photo by Jay Nguyen)

Many of the booths are four times the size seen in a normal trade show. Most exhibitors utilize a general services contractor and an exhibitor appointed contractor. LACC has to coordinate permits for all of those designs and the safety of all those structures. Sometimes, the booth that was preapproved is different from the build-out, Keefer said. “We get the appropriate people involved and spend time with the exhibitors who don't know all the rules in Los Angeles.”

LACC works directly with the city and pulls all the permits for the “houses” being built for E3. “We schedule the inspections,” Keefer said. The challenge was getting everyone on the same page during the two-week building phase.

Keefer estimated there were 2,000-3,000 workers on hand daily during move-in, which began June 2 for the June 16-18 show. The last person left the building Monday, June 22, so LACC staff could prepare for the BET Experience and the Buiding Owners & Managers Association show which began move-in June 23. Keefer took a breather, as his next event manager project is the Special Olympics in July.

This was Keefer's second E3, so he knew what to expect for most part. But there are always “wow” moments. This year, it was “the amount of signage in and around the building.”

One big sign took up a third of the front of the building. GES had a huge team of riggers in town for the event. Some signs took three to four hours to hang, he said.

The Nintendo Treehouse Live at E3 was introduced last year, featuring game developers playing and discussing the game. (VT Photo by Jay Nguyen)

Taste of L.A. by Levy provided food and drink for the thousands who set up the show and for the thousands who attended. They set up a food truck village outdoors to handle the concessions needs for the show, which does not involve any meal functions.

The show occupied all of the 720,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space indoors and outdoor space along Gilbert Lindsay Drive and in the plaza as well.

Move-out involved a lot of recycling, part of the convention center's sustainability efforts.

Madeline Kruzel, general manager, IDG World Expo, handled show management for E3 and
Jon Roberts was the point man for GES – General Service Contractor and Electrical.

Interviewed for this story: Frank Keefer, (213) 765-4655; Ellen Schwartz, (213) 765-4660