This past weekend, Blizzard and their Heroes of the Storm team invited me out to do press/media coverage for Heroes of the Dorm, an annual collegiate tournament where teams from colleges and universities across the United States and Canada compete to crown a champion who will receive tuition for their college careers. Last year, Heroes of the Dorm was at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, but since then, Blizzard set up the Blizzard Arena, their own studio in Burbank, CA near Hollywood. The Blizzard Arena is a full-blown production studio and stadium, and part of the media day leading into Heroes of the Dorm was an Arena tour. The Arena was actually pretty amazing, and people who actually know me well know that I don’t really give out compliments too often, and even when I do, the word “amazing” usually doesn’t get thrown around too often. The media group got to see all the behind-the-scenes production rooms and equipment, as well as the different stages used for different games. Luckily, I had clearance to take photographs of everything.
(Full 2018 Heroes of the Dorm album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157691099653260)
After a long two weeks of preparation with the team house and bringing in our new players, the day is finally about to come. Our team house is finally in livable condition (though it still needs a substantial amount of additional furniture), the players are ready to perform and compete for the first show, and all the visiting Tempo Storm staff members have arrived in Las Vegas and have all gotten lodging settled. People were originally prohibited from posting photos of the rehearsal stage to the public because they didn’t want untasteful pictures of a construction area being released (this is also why I didn’t do day-to-day vlogs with the team). However, as the stage neared completion, they lifted that ban, so I was able to snap a few photos during our team’s rehearsal: In celebration of the premier of the H1Z1 Pro League, Twin Galaxies set up a welcome reception atop the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in the VooDoo Lounge. Although I’m not really a fan of parties, I still attended for the sake of getting some free food and taking photos of the Las Vegas Strip from a really tall building. Our Chief Business Development Officer and one of our social media specialists also came along, so I attended to accompany them as well. We arrived early enough that the sun was still up and we were able to see the buildings. This is a photo facing southeast from the Masquerade Tower at the Rio; the most notable buildings present are those composing CityCenter, as well as the Panorama Towers and the Martin beside it: After-the-fact, I realized that I probably should’ve brought along my tripod and set up my camera for a time lapse of the sunset and all the lights coming on, but unfortunately, I didn’t think of that idea early enough. Instead, I just have photos from after sunset – this next photo is at a similar view southeast; the one following it shows the more northern side of the Strip: One of the Rio’s attractions is the VooDoo Zipline that extends from the top of the Masquerade Tower all the way to the Ipanema Tower. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch anyone riding it, and I wasn’t really too interested in riding it myself, but this is what it looks like:
(Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157694126820331)
I think saying that April has been and will be a busy month is a catastrophic understatement. With Tempo Storm setting up a brand new team house in Las Vegas, the prep and opening week of the H1Z1 Pro League, Ninja’s Fortnite event at Esports Arena Las Vegas, a ton of people coming in from Southern California to Las Vegas for these events, the new Hearthstone expansion The Witchwood and two new Meta Snapshots in two different languages to go along with it, plus a massive change to Tempo Storm’s operations division, my schedule is going to be pretty packed. With the H1Z1 Pro League being the biggest thing coming up for me right now, I’ve been traveling back and forth from my apartment to the Las Vegas Strip to take care of incoming players and attend H1PL-related events and seminars. Yesterday was the official induction of all 75 new competitors into the H1PL during the orientation. And of course, at this point, it wouldn’t be a real Adam Parkzer blog post without some food photos … this was some of the catering they had for the attendees (couldn’t get photographs of everything because a lot of it was in covered containers right up until people started grabbing at the food):
(Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157665766074197)
Although I “specialize” in a few particular fields – namely entertainment and psychology – I am very much a generalist within those fields. For example, if you present me with a production-related project, I’m a king-of-all-trades in that I can basically do all parts of the production process myself as a one-man crew to an above average level (planning, filming, editing, post-production, etc.), but there are very few things where I can say I am the top 0.01% in the world. Historically for Tempo Storm, my role has been to oversee larger projects as the director, then focus in on post-production and polish before pushing things live to the public. However, lucky for us, we now have two dedicated executive producers who are actual experts in the production field, as well as a brand new studio in Hollywood. This also means that I had the opportunity to join in with them and attend the 2018 NAB Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Our executive producers were interested in the technical aspects of the show because they were looking for new and innovative solutions to issues they’ve been having during their work. On the other hand, I was just interested in getting more first-hand exposure to other areas of the entertainment industry. Unfortunately for me, we spent a majority of the time looking at studio equipment and solutions without getting too involved in film or software, so my sub-fields of interest were never soothed. Instead, I just felt like a confused child wandering around taking photographs of flashy and shiny things. It was definitely still an interesting and valuable experience, though.
(Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157667680160648)
Literally three days after moving from Southern California to Las Vegas, I got on a plane and went straight back to California to visit Hollywood and Burbank for Tempo Storm’s Fortnite team’s onboarding. (Yes, I could’ve just chosen to move after the onboarding, but then I would’ve had to miss the Esports Arena Las Vegas grand opening, so that posed another problem. On top of that, we ended up postponing this Fortnite event by a week, so I was actually originally under the impression that it would happen before I moved.) I was hoping to turn this entire trip into a vlog, but unfortunately, I committed an idiot and literally forgot to bring my camera battery charger. I explain it in greater detail in this video segment, but long story short, this is the only video footage that I have from the event: That video above were from travel day, as well as the early morning before the first day of onboarding. Yes, we ended up just eating at Denny’s, and our players all successfully made it from the hotel by crossing the street without any fatalities. The first day was mostly composed of video interviews and photo shoots – we wanted to get as much media footage of the players as possible so we had some stuff to work with when creating features and segments. Our executive producer Doug was the one who primarily ran most of the interviews, while our photographer Bills captured head shots: Later on in the day, Greg Grunberg stopped by to direct a pilot episode of a talk show with one of our players. To conclude the day, we went up to the Observatory to enjoy the view of Los Angeles. The second day was show day. We had the players participate in a 10-in-5 challenge, where our team had to get 10 wins in 5 hours. We didn’t realize how easy it would end up being for them – they blasted through with 10 wins in a row in right around 3 hours, then spent the remainder of the time doing silly stuff to entertain the audience, like queuing up for 4-man squads the splitting up half-and-half to wipe out everyone else on the map and meet in the middle. The evening concluded with some group photos, followed by a trip to all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ and an escape room.
(Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157689199589840)
I have a big day coming up on the 20th which requires a substantial amount of preparation. So how am I spending my time leading up to the event? … Going to a meet-and-greet, apparently. During my final days of availability in this area, Rentaro convinced me to attend the meet-and-greet she was holding with her fans at the Yard House in Pasadena. I obviously hate going to events and just driving in general, but I figured I may as well go at least to take photos and video. The vlog ended up not working out too well because the lighting was catastrophically bad and there was a lot of background noise, but at least the photos weren’t completely terrible. I’m particularly bad at photographing people (though I guess I’m getting better at it, since I technically have to photograph people at events because a big reason of esports photography is to capture players and influencers’ moments), so most of the photos I ended up taking were of food, but I do have one group shot: In my opinion, the food photos ended up a lot better – I personally had the poke nachos and black truffle cheeseburger, but I started taking pictures of the meals of people sitting around me too: And of course, a photo album would not be complete without a shot of Mango the Yorkshire Terrier, who was also in attendance:
(Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157693847676894)