St. David's Foundation Toast of the Town Live Stream Series
What we did: Comprehensive creative and technical direction of a 13-part livestream series that raised more money than any event in the fundraiser's 30 year history, and the full service creation of its promotional microsite.
What made it special: We created a branded OTT app for Roku, Fire Stick, and Apple TV, so guests could experience the stream on their televisions while interacting with the event using their phone, tablet, or laptop. Drawing on our relationships in the music industry, we helped secure top talent like Clint Black and Nancy Wilson of Heart.
Unlike the off the shelf event platforms, our custom built web platform allowed attendees to video chat in Q&As with talent. We built a number of automated processes to dynamically update the program, including a Google Sheets script that allowed our client to remotely push chyrons to the live feed.
More about the project
A thirty-years-running tradition in Austin philanthropy, Toast of the Town is an annual series of small-group parties where celebrated authors, musicians, and academics mingle with donors and hosts in private homes across the city. It's an intimate, up-close experience, and it's the antithesis of Zoom.
Asked initially to create a microsite promoting 2021's Covid-safe, online-only series, we soon found ourselves building the very platform on which the Toast of the Town virtual events would run, and serving as Creative Director for the thirteen-part series.
It was easy to assemble a list of everything people didn't like about online fundraisers they'd attended: with gimmicky features meant to mimic the gala experience, the go-to off-the-shelf platforms somehow managed to amplify the isolated, at-home reality. So, inspired by the 2021 Inauguration Day livestream, we set out to create an experience that could be shared by small groups of friends, without huddling around a laptop or being tethered to their mobile devices. We wanted these parties to be on the big screen.
With special guests like Clint Black, Kathy Valentine, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Nancy Wilson, and H.W. Brands, all thirteen of the Toast of the Town events streamed live on our custom TV app, which guests downloaded in advance to their Apple TV, Fire Stick, and Roku devices. Using their phone or laptop, guests could check in with each other on a custom page with features like a dynamically updating gallery of photos, a text chat, and an invitation to join the stream in a one-on-one video Q&A. The series was a huge success, raising record donations and attracting talent who would have otherwise been out of reach in an in-person format.
Live Stream Excerpts
Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go's: The Three Ps
BBQ and Bourbon with The Daytripper
Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go's: The Good Stuff
A Deep Dive Into National Security
With General Vince Brooks, Professor Robert Chesney, and Professor William Inboden