The inaugural South African of the Year Awards 2014 of ANN7 (DStv 405) held on Saturday evening at the Sandton Convention Centre and broadcast live in DStv, stunned those who attended with the terrific stage design, incredible gala dinner layout and setting and beautiful, slick production values and attention to detail.
The flow of the South African of the Year Awards 2014 was literally multi-layered, taking place and sweeping attendees across two instantaneous levels and three different areas of the Sandton Convention Centre, with the red carpet arrivals taking place on the 4th floor, and a cocktail lounge areas on the 5th floor, and the awards show stage and gala dinner tables and seating behind it.
The lavish cocktail area on the 5th floor was spread out making it easy for people to both mingle and to be helped fast, with an amazing array of beautiful tables and minibars, beautifully decorated and filled with a wide array of snacking delights.
The South African of the Year 2014 stage design, electronic screens and banquet hall was quite a surprise - extremely well done and beautiful, and trounced anything the South African Film and Television Awards, SA Sports Awards and other local TV awards shows have done in the past.
Even Sun City and Mzansi Magic's Miss South Africa pageant can look and learn as to how not just build ramps and meandering walkways but how to incorporate it practically yet beautifully into a made-for-TV live awards show where its both functional and integrated and aesthetically pleasing.
The stage design, table layouts and settings rivaled the level of finesse, attention to detail and apt innovation that's only been shown really by the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year Awards and some years in the past by the Channel O Music Video Awards - as well as last month by M-Net and MultiChoice's spectacular Galaxy of the Stars made-for-TV event.
On the left the South African of the Year Awards 2014 stage incorporated the ANN7 logo backdrop with three dynamic, curved and overarching rainbow-beams (those looking at the details would have noticed three differently coloured strobe-lights projected at times on different sides of the beams).
On the right the stage had a massive video wall with an amazing baobab-inspired "tree" constructed out of thin, two-dimensional panel screens towering over the whole height of stage.
The vivid and rich colours, beautiful background images and sharp visual displays was a delight to watch and done with great effect to enhance what would have been or easily could have been a dry awards show.
Interestingly, ANN7's South African of the Year Awards 2014 kept the viewer in mind - realising, conceptualising and splendidly executing a live awards TV show which was not about awards with entertainment - but about entertainment, with awards.
The viewer at home has to get a take-away; a pay-off for tuning in and staying tuned-in, and the South African of the Year Awards 2014 delivered that.
The slick and very well-produced awards show was light on talk and the number of awards handed out, and filled with great dancing, music and live performances with a great balance between local and international artists and acts.
The sit-down menu was great and courses arrived seamlessly as the awards production took place, and the table settings looked amazing.
One more like this, and ANN7's South African of the Year Awards will suddenly have shot to the top of best produced live TV award shows in South Africa - crazy, but very true.
When money, time, creativity, concerted planning and effort goes into TV production you don't just instantly see it - you feel it.
This is how ANN7 should have launched a year ago on MultiChoice's DStv - a live TV event filled with great surprises, extremely well put together in all facets, a slick sophisticated look and smoothly executed with very few noticeable mistakes.