Tuesday, November 22

From Texas to the Windy City

In mid October, as temperatures were falling in Iowa, we welcomed the heat of Texas with open arms, as we headed south for an exciting new show.

Texas brought incredible views, a serene venue and a dynamic and informative show, as we produced the 2012 Kia Motors National Press Introduction. Nestled in the hills outside Austin this show took place at Travaasa Austin, a resort overlooking Lake Travis. As luck would have it, the drought stricken state got rain the first two days we were there, making outdoor rehearsals a challenge. In typical Texas form, however the rain stopped and we were back to business.

While working in a variety of buildings and locations around the property we incorporated the beautiful scenery into almost everything we did. From the set design in the business meeting, to staging the outdoor car display, we truly embraced our surroundings.

Working in such a serene environment brought the challenge of not disrupting the resort atmosphere. As one can imagine, semi trucks, loads of lights, speakers, sets, and computers, as well as a full production staff, aren’t always staples of a resort experience.  We creatively found ways to fit technical gear into the landscape for outdoor events, move in and out of the show venues during off hours and create beautiful events around the property in a quiet and discreet manner.


While half the team was in Texas, the other half of the Bow & Arrow team was in Chicago and hard at work preparing a two day business meeting for over 600 participants. The show brought together a dynamic set, striking visuals, and a variety of presenter formats.

The Chicago show highlighted our commitment to provide a comprehensive and integrated approach to communication and production. Everything from the set design, graphic design, lights, audio and video, as well as the show execution and management fell under the Bow & Arrow umbrella. We understand the importance of a company's ability to effectively communicate their message to both internal and external audiences, and all of us a Bow & Arrow are dedicated to making that a success. 

Hunting for a Cause

At the beginning of October, we had the opportunity to volunteer our services with the North Branch Wildlife Foundation to help with their annual Whitetail Challenge. The Whitetail Challenge is an event dedicated to allowing disabled hunters the opportunity to experience hunting in some of Iowa’s greatest hunting grounds. Over a dozen hunters joined friends, family, guides and volunteers just outside Earlham, Iowa for a weekend of hunting and hospitality.

The weekend began with an opening dinner and program on Friday night followed by 2 days of early morning and dusk hunts. Each hunter was paired with a guide that would assist during these hunts. The Whitetail Challenge is also equipped with handicap accessible blinds and lifts, including a hydraulic lift that would carry hunter (wheelchair and all) and guide nearly 30 feet in the air giving them perfect position for both morning and evening hunts.
The 2011 Whitetail Challenge also hosted the inspirational archer Matt Stutsman, an internationally known armless-archer, who broke the world record for longest accurate shot in September of 2011.  The weekend was topped off by several demonstrations from Matt.

Matt Stutsman

Bow & Arrow Productions is proud to volunteer for events such as the Whitetail Challenge. For more information about the Whitetail Challenge or how you can get involved visit www.northbranchwhitetails.com/hunts 

Monday, September 26

Kicking Off the Fall Show Season!

Hard to believe that fall is officially here! With fall comes a show we do every year with one of our oldest and very valued clients, the Iowa Bankers Association.

It’s great to see how this event has evolved since we joined them nearly 15 years ago... from a small production, to the elaborate sets, sophisticated video pieces, and dynamic speakers of today.

This year, our client was celebrating 125 years of their convention, so the set combined relics of old photographs, with new and modern pieces, creating an innovative and exciting platform for presenters and entertainers alike.  This set played home to some exciting presentations from speakers including best selling author Dan Clark, the always exciting and extremely entertaining Dr. Lowell Catlett as well as an inspiring story from Richard Picciotta, Chief of the New York Fire Department on 9/11.

Dr. Lowell Catlett presents
It’s always great to do shows right here a “home” and equally as great to have such a terrific and long lasting partnership with a great client. Congratulations to The Iowa Bankers Association on 125 years of successful conventions - it’s been our honor to be a part of them!

Friday, August 26

Sacred Acre Book Release

A week ago today our staff had the opportunity to work on a very unique event in small town rural Iowa.  If you are not familiar with the Ed Thomas story, I encourage you to take a minute to watch this short video on Ed's life.

This tragic event shook the Aplington Parkersburg community but as Coach Thomas taught them, you have to get up and dust yourself off to move forward.  With an incredibly resilient spirit, the community has come together and rallied after this tragic event, led again by the Thomas family.

Coach Thomas’ life and legacy has now taken another step towards being properly remembered in a book titled the Sacred Acre.  The book captures the story of Ed Thomas’ life and the remarkable path of forgiveness and grace which the Thomas family and the community showed after this tragedy.

Last week we had the opportunity to produce the national press event and official book launch of the Sacred Acre. It was truly an honor bringing together family, friends, government leaders, local and national celebrities, former players, NFL standouts and community members into a powerful night, launching the book and celebrating the legacy of Coach Thomas. 

Sacred Acre Book Launch

We we're also joined by an artist we absolutely love working with, Michael Sarver, who performed 3 powerful songs for the event.

Michael Sarver

Coach Thomas' life work lives on in every member of the community. From the moment you drive into town, Falcon Pride is as strong as ever and the values and lessons Coach taught for so many years are present throughout the town.

While getting ready for this event we had some time to visit main street of Parkersburg where we were welcomed like it was home. Going in and out of local stores, visiting with store owners, residents and a few town guests, you couldn't help but be floored by strength, resilience and warmth of this small Iowa town. In almost every person or family we met, we hear a story about Coach and the lessons and values he taught.

Parkersburg, Iowa

A common theme among Parkersburg residents was that they were better people for knowing Coach Thomas.  We couldn't agree more. What an incredible town, incredible story and incredible event. We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have spent time in the A-P community and with the Thomas family.

For more information about Coach Thomas or to learn more about the foundation his family has created in memory of him click here.

And be sure to order or pick up your copy of The Sacred Acre today!

What's new at Bow & Arrow

It’s been longer than normal since we’ve given you an update on our blog and for very good reason.  In the past few months we’ve literally traveled coast to coast having the opportunity to work in some amazing venues.  In this post we’ll highlight some of our summer travels and preview a few new things coming to Bow & Arrow this fall.

Line Leaders
The summer season started in Orlando with a week long corporate forum event.  These meetings are extremely content heavy so our clients rely on our staff to help them incorporate their content into the technical aspect of production.  For us this is more than clipping on microphones and playing videos.  Many times we are working through speeches, powerpoint presentations and print material. We enjoy this process because it gives us the opportunity to assist our clients in creating a lasting impression on their audience.  This event was also the first time our Aluminum Frame set which will be previewed in our next blog post.  
In the first week of June we held an event in historic Union Station just blocks away from the White House in our nation's capital.   As you can see, the beauty of the venue made our job extremely easy from a scenic standpoint.

Union Station, Washington D.C.

We also had the opportunity to bring in one of our favorite bands, Big Shot. We absolutely love working with these guys and would recommend them to any of our clients. 

Big Shot performs in Union Station

Big Shot

President’s Conference
In July we headed to San Francisco for an event in Davies Symphony Hall.  This had been a huge technical undertaking and took many months of collaboration between our staff, the venue and the headline artist, Carrie Underwood.  Jim Jacobs, Davies Symphony Hall Technical Director, who has been with the venue for over 20 years said our event was by far the biggest production the symphony hall has seen to date.

Stage for the San Francisco Symphony Hall
Bow & Arrow Producer Mike Mars with headliner Carrie Underwood
Set pieces on the San Francisco Stage

SGA worked with our team to develop custom stairs for the client's recognition ceremony.  This is the second time we've had the chance to work with Corey Ploetz of SGA.  Corey will be highlighted in our next edition of the Quiver, our Bow & Arrow Newsletter.  

SGA's build of the stage. 


Our staff can't thank our clients enough for giving us the opportunity to work in these beautiful venues and the chance to travel across the country.  Of course, our vendors continue to be exceptional extensions of the Bow & Arrow staff and we cannot thank them enough for their support.  We look forward to an exciting fall and winter events season and some new materials to further help our clients with their events.  

This summer has also been an opportunity for us to use utilize some new scenic pieces.  In the photos below you will get a glimpse of these new pieces which are all designed to fit in many different venues.  We now have three new scenic looks that can be mixed and matched to create different combinations and figurations to fit many different venues.  We're extremely excited about presenting these pieces to our clients and discovering new and innovative ways to communicate their message.

Check the summer edition of our news letter for more on some of our exciting new sets!

Monday, August 15

Tragedy at Indiana State Fair

After seeing the shocking video from the Indiana State fair this past weekend we want to extend our deepest sympathy to the family members of those who lost their lives in this tragic incident and wish a speedy recovery to those injured.  

One of our close vendors spends their summers working state fair shows throughout the midwest and has  used structures identical to the one that failed in Indiana.  He responded to the accident by saying, "We have always been criticized for being overly cautious in situations like these so we can only hope this is a wake up call to those in the industry who don't understand how quickly things can go wrong."
Bow & Arrow show with outdoor stage in Maui
Over the past few years we have used similar stages in multiple climates and weather patterns.  As I watched this footage last night I couldn't help but think about what I would do if we would have been responsible for this type of incident.  This only reinforces the statement above, you can never be too cautious and reminds us that equipment can become dangerous wether it's a speaker on a stand or an outdoor stage.

For those of you who haven't seen the footage, below is a video uploaded from Youtube.  Again, our deepest condolences from the entire Bow & Arrow staff goes out to those involved.  

- Chris Mars

Monday, June 6

Working Backwards

It's been a busy couple weeks and we're gearing up for another great event in Washington D.C.  Part of my preparation process is reflecting on the challenges our team has encountered in the past month and evaluating our performance.  This post will highlight our approach of "working backwards," allowing us to better serve our clients in all areas of business.

Chairman's Conference,  Maui
Many people, in almost every industry, get stuck focusing on the little details of a project. This keeps them from seeing the big picture and ultimately, hinders creativity.  As a rule of thumb, our staff starts with the 5,000 ft approach and drills out the little details as the project progresses.

By doing this, our staff avoids a monotonous routine, and instead are able to think outside the box when facing even the simplest challenge.  Doing this while keeping the client's goals in mind allows us to keep and open, creative mindset to provide a superior service.

Load-in at Diamond Cross Ranch
As a plan begins to develop and take shape we allow ourselves to be driven by communication. Letting our client's message drive our focus allows us to take a unique approach to the way we run a show, and ultimately our business.  The creative material we develop, the staging we build and the gear we buy are all driven by the needs of our clients and the direction of their business.

Being a smaller, boutique company who deals with large corporations means we must focus on how we can best serve our clients, yet continue to stay cutting edge. This may not mean buying the latest and greatest gear, but instead buying the necessary tools to deliver the message.

The result is a tailored and extremely unique product for our clients to take their events to the next level.  We've essentially avoided the "fat" of the business world all together to provide lean, more focused and extremely competitive service.

Over the last few months we've worked on the beaches of Maui, a beautiful horse ranch in the Teton Mountains and a major conference center in Orlando. Our ability to stay extremely flexible has proven to be a key to our success as we look forward to another great event in Washington D.C. this weekend.

-Chris Mars

Friday, April 22

Office Watchdog

Those of you who have visited our office in the past have already met our office mascot, watchdog and creative companion here at Bow & Arrow Productions.  For those of you who have not, we would like to formally introduce Katie Mars, a three year old Golden Retriever who is a vital part of our office culture.

At Bow & Arrow Productions we rely on teamwork to function properly both in the office and on our show sites. As we all know, working in teams can be a difficult task when stress levels are high. In this article, published by Aaron Crowe of AOL Jobs, Crowe finds that dogs create a more cohesive work place, act as an "Ice Breaker" and can provide a creative spark in the office.  Katie is an excellent example of how a canine can positively affect an office environment.

When renovating our office our goal was to create an atmosphere where clients can escape the daily grind and focus on their upcoming event. Katie couldn't be happier to greet them with one of her favorite toys as they walk through the door. She plays a big role in setting the relaxed mood the moment a visitor steps into our our office.

According to Crowe's article, many businesses who rely on creativity also rely on dogs to keep the creative juices flowing.  High stress levels and tension in the office are things that can adversely effect productivity.  Playing fetch, going for short walks or just being a foot warmer are all things Katie has mastered to help us refocus on the task at hand.

Wether we're working individually in our offices or meeting in a conference room, Katie can be found laying under the table or waiting to play tug-o-war. We find these brief escapes from the daily routine can provide more than entertainment, they are a way for us to clear our minds and refocus on the task at hand.  The concerns and obstacles of the day seem to disappear when Katie comes strolling into your office.

Katie has become a vital member at Bow & Arrow Productions, specializing in the tangible things to keep our office culture focused yet relaxed.  We're extremely lucky to have such a positive member on our staff and hope you all get a chance to meet her at the door of 820 Prairie Street in Adel sometime soon.  

Thursday, April 21

Maui 2011

Our latest journey took us across the Pacific to the island of Maui for a gala event and headline concert on the Kaanapali golf course.  In 2007, we produced a similar show which is still regarded as one of the most impressive events ever produced on Maui.  This year's event was a great opportunity for the new staff members at Bow & Arrow to prove their skills on the island.

After months of coordinating, conference calls and planning, it was finally time to let the ship set sail as construction began April 10th, 2011.  The event was located on the 5th hole of the Kaanapali golf course which sets directly between the ocean and the beautiful Honoapiillani Highway 30 ocean drive.  It didn't take long before the island was a buzz with excitement to see a major production back on the island.

After six days of load-in and smaller events on the island, we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful sunset as 1,800 guests enjoyed dinner in anticipation of the headline act.  Just as the sun tucked away for the night, one of America's great rock & roll bands, Huey Lewis and the News took to the stage and put an excellent show capped with fireworks synced to custom music.  

Producing a show of this magnitude can be a daunting task with so many moving parts and uncertainties.  We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work on these extraordinary projects with great team members from everyone involved in the event.  Be sure to sign up for our next newsletter for a full recap and photos from our ten days in Maui. 

Friday, March 4

Communication Manager Update

By: Chris Mars

As we reflect on the first two months of 2011, I've been updating our communications pieces and took step back and evaluate the work we have done so far.  A new version of our website should be sent live in the next few weeks with an updated portfolio and the addition of some video elements we've completed in recent months.

Along with these updates, we are currently working to better describe our Mission Statement, Creative Excellence Through Effective Partnership.  This new material should be helpful in describing what drives Bow & Arrow Productions and separates our company from the competition.

As I work on these updates I began to think about the mission of this blog and how it can benefit our readers.  As a staff, we feel this can be a tool for our readers to get a sense of who we are on a more personal level, highlight the business relationships we develop, and the struggles and successes we have along our journey.

In the next couple weeks we will be updating this blog in hopes of giving you an insider look at what makes Bow & Arrow Productions unique.

Fast Start to a New Year

The new year has been extremely busy for our staff here at Bow & Arrow Productions. We started  with shows in Chicago, Orlando and two events in Las Vegas in the months of January and February.

One of the Vegas events gave us the opportunity to spread our creative wings and work with a new client.  The event was for Sealy Mattress Company and their Global Sales Meeting.  The goal was to launch their new Posturepedic mattress line and advertising campaign developed by the Leo Burnett Advertising agency.

We bid on the event 2 months out and put the show together in just over 3 weeks time. For a show this size, we normally bid the show at least six months in advance and work with the client's on messaging for three to four months before the event.  In years past, these meetings have been your basic production with little excitement or energy.  It was our job to take the event to the next level and give Sealy's new product a proper launch.

With limited time for planning, Sealy turned to us to bring the event together and support their messaging.  We produced several custom videos showcasing the rich history of Sealy and blending in their new marketing campaign.

This meeting would be the first time attendee's would be able to view the new Posturepedic line and Marketing material.  Sealy is the number 1 mattress company in the nation, yet they haven't done any marketing or promotions.  The sales representatives were dying for a new product and the tools to sell the product.  What better way to present a new product than put it front and center throughout the entire show?

Our staff worked with the Sealy Research and Development department to implement the new Posturepedic into our set.  We were able to shoot branding and video onto the surface of the mattresses, a simple design with unlimited capabilities for sharing Sealy's new Marketing materials.

Attendee's had the opportunity to preview new marketing material, hear from company officers and get to view the product first hand.  In a three day span, they were given the tools to fully understand the development, special features and how to effectively position the new Posturepedic line.

The event concluded with a recognition dinner and closing comments from Sealy's President and CEO, Larry Rogers.  The product launch was a huge success on multiple levels, from Marketing to Product Development and Sales.

Tuesday, March 1

Special Olympics Promotional Videos

This past week we've been working with the National Special Olympics Organizing committee on promoting the 2014 National Games to be held in Princeton New Jersey.  
We've developed a great relationship with this group so it was nice to touch base with some familiar faces.  The request came in to produce two promotional videos which would highlight the athletes of the National Games and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.  

This was a great opportunity for our company to stay in the loop with Special Olympics and take on a project most would turn over to someone other than a production company.

As part of the 2010 National Games we produced a series of videos highlighting Special Olympics Athletes from around the Nation and the Legacy of Eunice Kennedy Schriver.  These videos were played during the Opening Ceremonies to help share the message of what it meant to be a part of the Special Olympics.  

We took the same approach to these promotional videos in hopes that we could convey the energy at the National Games and the true passion of the Special Olympics organization.  The videos were extremely well received and we hope they continue to be a tool for Special Olympics to use into the future.  

With the trust of the Organizing Committee and solid understanding of the desired message, we were able to take the creative lead on the project's direction.  We feel this is a true testament of our mission statement "Creative Excellence Through Effective Partnership." 

Living by this motto has opened doors for our staff to grow into more diverse roles than simply production.  In this case, promotional material for the Special Olympics Organization.  

Monday, January 3

December Meetings

By: Ashley Reutter 

Being the newest member on a team can be a learning experience for anyone, but the true test is when your new company sends you to three different states in three weeks to produce eight shows.  Long story short, I survived.  But not only did I survive, I learned why someone would hire Bow & Arrow to be responsible for producing their events.  The attention to detail and effort put into making sure every “t” is crossed and “i” is dotted is what makes this company stand apart.

The shows produced were annual Kick-Off meetings, which consisted of the company leaders discussing the future of the company. These messages are extremely important for the audience who serve as the face of the company.  Along with presentations and messaging, a fun game of Family Feud was played testing the audience’s knowledge of key information from 2010. 

Being able communicate key messages to start the year is highly important to our client. Making sure these meetings were well organized and executed at a high level is what makes Bow & Arrow Productions so valuable in all aspects of our client’s events.