Newport Beach Film Festival
The Newport Beach Film Festival is a non-profit organization founded in 1999 that works to bring international and independent films to Orange County. Once a year, they put together an eight-day festival to celebrate and showcase different cultures through film. Over time, the festival has grown in popularity and now has over 58,000 attendees each year. I had the privilege of planning the 22nd Newport Beach Film Festival Irish spotlight on October 24, 2021.
My team and I had 6 weeks to bring the Irish Spotlight to life. Our mission was to bring the incredible art and culture that Ireland has to Southern California. The Irish Spotlight does not just show a film during the event, it also produces different performances related to traditions along with food and other activities loved by the Irish community.
The Irish Spotlight took place at the Regal Edwards Big Newport & RPX where we had the opportunity to showcase three Irish films. In the main lobby, guests were able to have their picture taken on the red carpet by one of our photographers. We also had the pleasure to welcome a live performance from the McNulty School of Irish Dance. Before the films were shown, my team and I, along with CEO of the Newport Beach Film Festival, Gregg Schwenk, had the opportunity to go to each theater and give a speech thanking our supporters, partners, and sponsors for their contributions to making our event a success. After the film, guests were able to enjoy our afterparty at Muldoon’s Irish Pub where we provided food and entertainment from local Irish band, The Fenians.
As a non-profit, my team was responsible for finding entertainment, photographers, and videographers that were willing to volunteer their time for the Irish Spotlight, as well as identifying and establishing relationships with partners and sponsors who have a strong connection with the Irish and Irish American communities in Southern California. By using marketing techniques to promote the Irish Spotlight, creating content on social media, and continuous outreach with our sponsors, partners, and supporters, we were able to pull off a successful event.
In Fall 2020, I became the Bid Day Chairwomen for the Sigma Kappa Epsilon Tau chapter at California State University, Fullerton. Bid Day marks the final day of recruitment and is a celebration for the new members who received bids. As Bid Day chair, it was my responsibility to plan an event that was welcoming and made them look forward to what’s to come in chapter.
The first Bid Day event I planned was during COVID-19 in Spring 2021. Despite being online, I wanted new members to have the option to have some type of in person experience that followed CDC guidelines. In order to do this, I created a spreadsheet with time slots for new members to visit the Sigma Kappa house so they could receive a bag of gifts including a shirt I designed for everyone in chapter. We had a handful of members fully masked at the house to welcome the new members. The backyard was decorated to fit the theme, “Welcome to the Dream House” so girls could take pictures and be welcome with the energy you have at a slumber party.Later that night, I organized a zoom call with everyone that had fun activities so the new members had the chance to meet some of the girls in the chapter.
For my second Bid Day in Fall 2021, we were back on campus so I had the opportunity to plan a normal event. This included finding a venue that would hold 130 people, a DJ, a photobooth company, and a food caterer that fit everyone’s dietary needs, as well as buying decorations and creating designs for t-shirts and banners and making decorations. My budget was $8,000, so staying on top of finances was crucial to making sure my event was a success. Due to people rescheduling events that were postponed because of COVID-19, finding a venue that was in my budget was difficult, but I was able to make a deal with Newport Beach Marriott Bayview. This event was our first in-person event and I wanted to make sure that it was not only the perfect welcome home for the new members, but for the active members in the chapter as well. The theme I decided on was “Party Like it’s Your Bid Day” so I geared everything towards a large birthday celebration with a pastel aesthetic. All the new members received birthday sashes with their names on them, we baked cupcakes, and covered the venue with streamers and balloons. When I presented the theme at our recruitment training, I encouraged everyone to go all out with their outfits and they did not disappoint. I spent almost every day of my summer planning this event and being able to see everything come together is a moment I will never forget.
My favorite part of planning these events was being able to have full creative control. I had the opportunity to design our t-shirts, banners, and hand paint our giant letters that are on display at all of our events. To stay under budget for my second event, I bought a dozen vases from the Dollar Tree and hand painted them all so it would match the theme and put together a balloon wall backdrop for the photobooth so we didn’t have to pay for them to provide one. Having this position was the most rewarding experience of my life. I was tested in so many different ways, and being able to navigate all the problems I had to face has not only made me more confident in my event planning, but also my leadership skills.
Tusk Magazine has produced its 23rd edition with the intent to make hard conversations easier and to provide a creative outlet for those of us who have struggled with the weight of the world for the past two years. Our team created this edition with the hopes that you, the reader, will not only find joy but also be reminded you aren’t alone in whatever you’re facing right now.
The Tusk Staff is a diverse group, just like our CSUF campus, and we wanted our diversity to shine through this 2022 edition. From Black voices being amplified to creating LGBTQ+ safe spaces in our content, we want this magazine to be inclusive, uplifting and to continue disturbing the status quo.
COVID-19 is still in our lives, which has created some challenges for our staff, but nothing we couldn’t overcome. Tusk fosters a strong sense of community, so when a staffer is struggling, we all pitch in to help. Through these trying times, we have all had to be each other's cheerleaders.