Ever since he was a teenaged event manager in Melbourne, Australia, Wayne Fernandez has sought ways to work leaner, faster and bigger. Today he has dual roles as general manager of the Magic Box at the Reef, a downtown Los Angeles venue and small convention center with over 100,000 square feet of event space, and head of Curated Events, his event production company. Efficiency matters more than ever to him, and with his proprietary cost- and time-saving software, Exhibitor Management Tool, Fernandez is out to streamline how events are planned, managed and invoiced.

CAM+E: What was the inspiration for the software?
WF: I started it from scratch five years ago when I produced art shows. I had no money for staff and I needed to simplify production. 

CAM+E: What does your software do?
WF:
We simplified the event production element for our clients with free software. It centralizes all the data for their event, including invoices, in one place. We can customize all the materials planners need, put them in our inventory and everything is accessible through the dashboard.

CAM+E: How is the Magic Box different from other venues?
WF: We are not a pipe-and-drape event center. We use a hard wall system that I developed for art shows. We build a floor plan so it looks purpose-built for you. Once we decide on a layout, we can set up a numbering convention for the booths and parameters within the software. You can print name tags, send everyone emails with one click, and see in real time what documents are on file.

CAM+E: What special advantage do you provide to event planners?
WF: I’m one of them. I know the pain that they go through because I’ve been through it for most of my life. I’ll understand their event and give recommendations about how they can save costs and make it work the best way it can here. And unlike the other trade show spaces, we are a one-stop shop. 

CAM+E: What changes are you seeing in event production?
WF:
There is a movement toward more of an organic feel. Trade shows used to be very linear and corporate. Now people are looking for production that is a little anti-convention. Instead of building a floor plan on a square grid, we’re creating pod areas and making things more free-flowing. 

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On June 21, the MPI Southern California Chapter marked its 40th anniversary as members gathered for their annual installation gala at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. After a welcome reception in the Wetherly Garden, where cocktails were hosted by Mulholland Distilling and sparkling wine by South Coast Winery, guests moved into the ballroom for the awards program and dinner and the swearing in of the 2018-19 Board of Directors. The evening concluded with a lavish dessert reception in the Orchid Room.