Scott Mirkin reviews his production work with Jay Z on Made In America Festival

Originally published September 20, 2012 – 10:36 AM on

Scott Mirkin of ESM Productions is the executive producer for some of this nation’s most acclaimed events. His resume boasts production on things ranging from the Phillies World Series Champions Parade Celebration in 2008 to Presidential speeches. Most recently he was networked in as one of the masterminds behind the hugely successful inaugural Made In America Festival, hosted by the historic and charming city of Philadelphia. Working under the creative genius provided by Jay Z, the event drew upward of 50,000 people in its first year.

Mirkin, while primarily responsible for all the coordination and execution of logistics, also found himself commissioned with the responsibility of being the Livestream Producer for the two day festival coverage. We caught up with Scott last week to get his take and perspective on Made In America, a festival that is still generating buzz and YouTube hits globally.

He began, “It certainly was, from my perspective successful.” Collaborating indirectly with Jay Z, Scott explained the different roles played in organizing a first year event of this scale. “Jay was very much in the mix on curating and selecting the talent and putting together, not just who played, but where and at what time. The recipe, if you will, of how it all came together.” Adding, “A couple of times our paths crossed, but most of the time myself and my team focused on the execution stuff. But Jay and his team were very, very much involved and a pleasure to work with and really passionate about the fan experience being 110%.”

Scott revealed, “I was essentially tasked with the responsibility of being the livestream producer. As we all know in the world of new media, to some degree, is still a very new and evolving space.” Teaming up with YouTube Mirkin explained how he put the pieces of the puzzle together. “It was our job to put together the creative and the mechanical, the nuts and bolts of broadcasting the experience via livestream to YouTube to a very large audience, and make them feel a big part of the show. We took the motto of let’s make this very, very high quality, HD network style production.”

That motto earned them an enormous response. An estimated nine hours of programming each day, filmed by a crew of roughly 24 +/-, combined with several hundred tracks of audio that broadcast to a reported audience of 1.5 million viewers over the course of the Labor Day weekend. With that kind of event-wide success and positive response on every front we wondered what lasting images imprinted in this event producer’s mind.

Mirkin’s response, “I love to see the audience respond and so Saturday night when Jay was on and it was the closing of the first night, to see that audience jumping for joy and having just a great time with Jay in this venue that we crafted,” continuing he added, “And seeing the reverse shot, as we call it in the business, of the crowd and then the Philadelphia skyline behind it, knowing that that went out to the world and the world got to see this amazing show and it’s sitting in the cradle of Philadelphia…That feeling was awesome!”

Building on that Mirkin went on, “That feeling only got even more awesome about an hour later when we were pulling up for a reception the Mayor and I hosted back at the hotel and what we saw was just this happy, worldly, peaceful crowd walking up the Ben Franklin Parkway; disbursing, if you will, into bars and restaurants and hotels. It was such a positive experience.”

Of course with such encouraging experiences and feedback from all sides of the event, it begged the question will Made In America then become an annual fixture on the festival circuit as is rumored? Scott was candid, saying, “I wouldn’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth, but I think that there’s intent to continue this. I’ve heard folks say that they’d like to continue this.”

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