We Were Not Entertained

In the movie Gladiator, Maximus disposes of a combatant and then screams a question to the arena, “Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?”

Last night, an assembly of Kings slew the St. Louis Blues. Before the battle began, those who fancy themselves entertainers tried to inspire us into a frenzy with an audio and video presentation.

Was I entertained?

I was not.

I am a writer. It is my craft. Even if you present me with a dull and dry set of events, I will do my very best to weave from it a story that will hold your attention and leave you inspired, laughing and/or in a state of melancholy depending on the intended goal. Add great characters and an interesting history and I will work hard to leave a positive and lasting impression.

Last night, Danny Zollars and those who work with him sought to entertain, inspire and leave that lasting impression. I regret to say they failed. If last night’s entertainment was a book, it would be a series of fragments without a plot or theme.

Noise is not entertainment.

Visual effects are not a substitute for the story.

I respect the fact you may disagree. This is after all just my opinion, but I want you to walk with me for a moment and imagine if you saw this instead.

The arena is dark. Music slowly builds. This music is appropriate for the mood of reliving history.

Video Screen (each video is 5-15 seconds and transitions seamlessly):

The Triple Crown line and Daryl Evans’ Miracle on Manchester goal, fade to…

Luc Robitalle’s draft, first goal and winning the Calder Trophy…

The Gretzky trade and press conference…

Gretzky’s goal number 802…

The music, lights and effects build…

Gretzky’s game 6 overtime goal in the 1993 series against the Maple Leafs, fade to

Gretzky’s hat trick in game 7 of the Maple Leafs’ series and the celebration, including the locker room scenes, that sent us to the Cup finals…

The music style becomes more ominous.

Game 1 of the 1993 Stanley Cup finals and our victory…

Marty McSorley’s stick measuring video in game 2, penalty, followed by the game 2 loss…

The game 5 loss that gave Montreal the Cup…

Wayne Gretzky and Dave Taylor’s jerseys raised to the rafters…

Music fades more to the background

Video Screen (each video is 5-15 seconds, and ends in slow motion before it transitions to the next):

The 2001 playoffs, Eric Belanger’s game winning goal in game 4, and Bob Miller’s call of that goal, fade to…

Adam Deadmarsh’s overtime goal in game 6 and celebration…

Kings eliminated in the second round against the Avalanche…

Arena suddenly goes black and the music stops.

Without music and each of these videos in slow motion…

Rob Blake lifts the Cup as an Avalanche [this would lead to the fans’ rising emotions and you would likely hear boos]…

Pictures of Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis…

Kings eliminated from the 2002 playoffs…

Luc’s jersey raised to the rafters…

Flashes of the past two playoffs and the series losses against Vancouver and San Jose.

Everything stops to a thunderous and unexpected single beat that shakes the place and you feel in your heart. The arena is silent as is the music, lights, all of it, for just a few dramatic seconds. Then, slowly, the music begins again. This music is more inspirational, more emotionally charged…

Video Screen:

You see the words, “That was then…” followed by a Dustin Brown hit and Bob Miller’s call of that hit…

A game winning goal and celebration with Bob Miller’s “He scores! Kings win!”

The music and lights rise in intensity.

You see the following sequence of videos.

The drafting of Dustin Brown and putting on the jersey at the draft followed by a few of his hits and goals…

The same with Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Bernier, and Kyle Clifford followed by their highlights…

Jack Johnson after he arrived, and then Justin Williams, followed by highlights of their hits and goals…

Jonathan Quick followed by a 10-15 seconds of his most amazing saves as the music continues to rise…

All of these videos present the theme of the new blood, the music culminates and then goes to another level as we transition to…

5-10 seconds of Simon Gagne’s scoring highlights as a Flyer and Lightning followed by a written media quote (just the words in quotes) on the screen about his acquisition at the time it occurred and then the video of him holding the Kings’ jersey…

10-15 seconds of Mike Richards’ scoring, hitting and fighting highlights as a Flyer, followed by a written media quote on the screen about his acquisition at the time it occurred and then the video of him holding the Kings’ jersey…

Video Screen shows LA Times, ESPN and other media quotes about the Kings as a contender this season…

At this point the music has built to a frenzy with the laser lights and we transition to…

Video Screen & on the ice:

Justin Williams’ face comes on with a regal and sharp background, he looks up and says, “Our time”, followed by the same with…

Jack Johnson, “This is our time…”

Drew Doughty, “We will become…”

Simone Gagne, “The Kings of hockey…”

Matt Greene, “We want the Stanley Cup…”

Mike Richards, “We want the Stanley Cup…”

Anze Kopitar, “We want the Stanley Cup…”

Jonathan Quick, “We want the Stanley Cup…”

Dustin Brown, “Nothing less will do…”

There is then a series of goals, hits and celebrations in rapid fire form as the music has reached its climax, followed by a booming beat, a picture of the Stanley Cup on the video screen and ice as the Kings’ logo fades into it and slowly takes it over.

That leads to the final shift in music and the players’ entrance.

I could write a separate article about that entrance, that high school drama class castle and the lack of style with the entire presentation but we can save that for another day.

This was less than 1 hour of thought on my part. How much time and resources did Danny Zollars and crew have?

What we saw last night was a disjoined series of videos, a sound mixing that was unbalanced, a story telling without imagination, creativity and, most importantly, a failure to do our story justice, as it should have been told and shown.

I don’t doubt Danny Zollars’ heart is in the right place. I am certain he cares about his job, about the end product and wants to do his best. What I wonder though is this – is what we saw last night his “best”?

You may say, “Scribe, your expectations are too high.” Perhaps. Maybe last night was also a product by someone who doesn’t have the LA Kings’ history at his finger tips, didn’t live it and can’t relate to it. I wonder sometimes if those who are placed in positions of marketing, entertainment and such within the organization should have that background and history to be effective. Regardless, what I do know is this is Los Angeles. AEG calls Staples Center the “sports and entertainment capital of the world.” Is it too much to expect the entertainment to meet the very standards imposed by such words?



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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25 replies

  1. Why don’t you have that job??? That sounds like it would be the greatest season opening video ever!

  2. Justin Williams’ face comes on with a regal and sharp background, he looks up and says, “Our time”, followed by the same with…

    Jack Johnson, “This is our time…”

    Drew Doughty, “We will become…”

    Simone Gage, “The Kings of hockey…”

    Matt Greene, “We want the Stanley Cup…”

    Mike Richards, “We want the Stanley Cup…”

    Anze Kopitar, “We want the Stanley Cup…”

    Jonathan Quick, “We want the Stanley Cup…”

    Dustin Brown, “Nothing less will do…”

    … Terry Murray, “I like cheese.”

  3. I think the difference is fan vs. professional. I’m not saying you aren’t a professional, I’m saying he isn’t a fan… yet.

    All of those moments are poignant ones throughout the history of this franchise. Some happy, some sad, some just bring out the anger (Blake-Cup-Avs, Playoff Losses). These are things that only fans will truly understand, and I can’t expect Danny to be on the same level.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, you write a fan blog. You don’t get paid (that I know of) to do this. It’s pure heart (and I’d imagine a great outlet). He gets a paycheck.

    Give him time to come around, and let him steep in the fan culture for a bit.

  4. There’s no nice way to say any of this stuff without someone getting their feelings hurt or people thinking your head is stuffed way up your backside. Having said that, I am in the same boat with you, Bobby. Last night left me speechless with how remarkably off the mark the entire thing was.

    My dad was with me and the entire time, he himself couldn’t stop talking about how lackluster everything was and he’s 66 years old!

    I got phone calls from friends who’s first comment was, “Dude, nice game last night,” immediately followed by vehement disgust for what happened before and during the game itself. I guess one of my buddies was yelling at his TV during the whole thing.

    It was all almost dreamlike (nightmarish, really) with how poorly produced it was. Got me to thinking today that it was like one of those gag gifts you get that’s MASSIVE so you’re freaking out about what it might be. Then you unwrap it and there’s another box inside, and another, and another and so on until you finally get down to the smallest box and all that anticipation is gone and your actual gift is rubber dog shit.

  5. You must have had your mind elsewhere when you wrote the script for the players speaking parts… unless the Kings signed a different player on July 2nd.

    http://twitter.com/#!/engageme4

  6. I for real got goose bumps reading this.

  7. This is exactly the kind of thing we should expect. Those aren’t high expectations. I consider something like this to be of mediocre expectations. What they actually do at games doesn’t even hit the bare minimum because they aren’t even playing the right game.

    As for the fan vs. Professional thing DHKF, the fans are their audience, and this is a sport, the entire thing is built around and based on a fan base. It isn’t unreasonable, but rather necessary, that anything the team produces be with the mindset of fans at heart, and our shared experiences and history are at the core of that. If Zollars himself isn’t aware of these things then he must have people working with them who do, and he damn well better listen to them.

    I will say I have seen some story driven videos from the Kings in the past, a few that hit the mark, many that fell short. I’m very curious to see the new video packages on Saturday, but considering my expectations weren’t high to begin with, I can’t imagine I’ll come away being pleased.

    And I got a goose bump or two as well reading this. Great stuff Bobby.

  8. Separately, something i will never understand is the usage of the Addams Family music as a vehicle for ‘(so and so team) sucks!’ chants. I find it outright retarded.

    I know the response will be ‘everyone joins in with the YOU SUCK chants! People must like it’ and i will respond to say that is a baseless and illogical argument. Typical post hoc ergo Propter hoc bullshit that sheeple use to support things as good when they are only perceived that way because we are talking about sheeple.

    People just love to say YOU SUCK. Plain and simple. Give them any outlet to yell it as a group and they will chime in. The Addams Family music means nothing except it’s a bogus ‘tradition’ that was forced down our throats. I’m so fucking sick of those 4 stupid notes I can’t even begin to express the extent of my disgust.

    • Agreed Jacob.

      Then again what to do when things actually do suck? Great read as always, excellent article by bobby and I have ranted on and on about my thoughts on the paperthin refuse bin frazzled crap that is being passed on as “entertainment” at hockey games so I will try to keep this short.

      Fuck You Zanny Dollars.

      Your idea of what “IS” entertainment is what is KILLING pro sports and causing people to have seizures.

      This whole gathering of trite and hackneyed BOOM! AWWWWWW! BOOOM!!! AWWWWW!!! FLASH!!!! WOWWWWW!!! is good for one thing and one thing only, FIREWORKS.

      An excellent observation is watching grown men skate out of a pressboard high school quality castle set after being told “THIS IS NOW!” because fuck me if it doesn’t stink allot like “THEN”.

      And by the way? WHAT THE FUCK IS SO WRONG WITH THEN?

      We made it all the way to the finals once and that is pretty good. We have had a few Hall Of Famers on our team and that is also pretty good. I find it sort of insulting to want to turn out backs on our history if only that we will be condemned to repeat it if we do.

      I don’t blame the people who look at all the flashy shiny things and get all geeked out or here some lame assed thematic score and get all googley eyed. They can’t help it. It is how they have been conditioned to behave. Ding! Bark! Ding! Saliva! and on.

      I only hope that Zanny Dollars isn’t get paid a whole bunch for what he brings to the table.

      Shouldn’t the fucking fan experience be about the mother fucking game of hockey itself? ISN’T THAT WHAT WE ARE FANS OF IN THE FIRST PLACE?

      I am going to grab my blanket and go right off to the pumpking patch with Mr Howe and Perant to wait for the great pumpkin and let the “sheeple” (gawd I love that one) have my share of the “FAN EXPERIENCE” for now.

      That said, I am looking for assistance attending a game around the second week of December if anyone can help me out I promise not to shake my cane at anyone or cuss even once.

      Or if I do any of these things it will be in NewFie French Dialect so nobody will understand me anyways.

      BOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!! GUY COMES TO THE STAPLES CENTER!!!FLASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!BOOOOOM!!!!!!!! NOISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAY!!!!!!

      Legs and arms twitching and eye’s slowly rolling back into head. Bliss……

      Thanks for another fun observation Jacob and Bobby.

      • Wonder is anyone noticed that the players seemed to be laughing at the presentation?

        No wonder they turned away from the camera.

        Northstar
        Having been there since before the first crude attempts at marketing at the Forum (adding loud music and preventing fans from exiting between periods to indulge in personal libations and impromptu partying) I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. Thanks.

  9. Apparently a lot of folks over on Hammond’s blog think noise = entertainment, because quite a few liked the in-game entertainment production. I am not looking forward to this part of the experience on Saturday. I have never thought that the loud music played constantly during every break in the game is entertaining.

  10. Scribe FTW!

    Had I seen your scenario on the ice before the game, I would have been in a crazed fervor the entire game, and far into the season Bobby. It’s very obvious to me that to entertain Kings fans, you need to be a Kings fan. Takes one to know one, and all of that.

  11. 1993…………………………..wasn’t it Toronto in the Finals, not Montreal???

  12. Dude!!! I’m impressed! Not bad man I’d be into it. It would us long time fans some painful and incredible moments and some newer fans to catch up on a little history but overall it sounds about right where the team is today. I think all the boys from last year really felt that sting of getting knocked out early again and its redemption time.

    Maybe you “consult” that Zollars guy. :D

  13. Well, nothing will beat Bobby Orr waving the bloody shirt. Dear Lord, may we have such a moment when all the bullshit over all the years becomes justified and the pain subsides? I promise, having learned stoicism the hard way, to celebrate inwardly. I may even love my brother, for a few minutes.

    But would Zany even let me/anyone enjoy the inward weight of such a moment? Or must I, at that moment, PAY ATTENTION? I think I could ignore the stupidity at that time, but wouldn’t their silence let us say it all? We don’t need them.

    I like Baily – mascots are always goofy and, if well done, kind of endearing. They remind us that this is a game. They are like big kids – without the snot.

    • I dunno why it is, but every time I scan quickly past your name I think I just saw the word “Fellatio”.

      Is this some optical device you use to grab our attention?

      • Interesting theory, and quite funny as I consider it. Would make for excellent inadvertent comedy – wish I could oblige!

        But no, it is your brain (emphasis on “your”) processing that optic information… As you see, I’ve read your posts.

  14. What you wrote is spine tingling and OMG!!
    I did not see that very beginning last night.. rushing to seats due to numskul
    friend being late.. seriously ..
    1) Would you in all Seriousness consider submitting that to Luc/AIg or whoever
    that is Exactly what We need
    2) Where could I find any video of Gretzy and the locker room celebration?
    Or any other highlights for that matter..
    has there Ever been a Video out on the Kings History?
    If not .. why not???
    Anyone out there have that talent and access… it woudl be a HUGE $$$$ MAKER!
    GO KINGS GO!!!

  15. I agree with the presentation ideas from Bobby scribe. My only note would concern a bold mention of one of the greatest kings of all time…..Vladimir Tsyplakov. If that could be inserted….awesome.

  16. I was picturing it all as I read and it actually gave me goosebumps.

    That would get me super pumped for the game and would be something I remembered all season.

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