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Here’s How We’d Run a New Streaming Service

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Here’s How We’d Run a New Streaming Service
Here’s how we’d run Hollywood’s hottest new streaming service. Pixabay

Let us take a stroll through time to the simpler days of 2019. Masks were for Halloween, we took human interaction for granted, and almost no one had heard of a telehealth and video conferencing platform called Zoom. Yes, 2019 feels uncomplicated in retrospect, particularly for the entertainment industry. Back then, theatrical movies still ruled Hollywood’s roost as the global box office set an industry record with $42.5 billion in ticket sales. Amid the record-breaking year, I picked apart Hollywood strategies with a story about how I’d run a new hypothetical film studio.

But these days, who wants to put on pants to go out? Both the pandemic and the launch of major new streaming services (hello, Disney+) have expedited Hollywood’s transition to couch-based entertainment. Every major entertainment company restructured in the pandemic to prioritize streaming and estimates project that streaming video on demand (SVOD) subscriptions could grow to 1.25 billion by 2024, or roughly 16% of the human population. With the entertainment industry’s hierarchy changing, so too must my hypotheticals. My old faux film studio needs to be reborn as a faux SVOD competitor.

So without further ado, here’s how I’d navigate the minefield of the modern streaming wars.

Amazon Apple Netflix Disney Hulu
How Observer will differentiate its streamer from the competition. Chesnot/Getty Images

Customer Focus

Before we jump into our content strategy, let’s think about which segment of consumers our new streamer will be targeting. Primary players such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ are largely competing for first generation streaming viewers—meaning both younger cord cutters and older, higher-income viewers. The cutters receive most of the attention, but the olds are a valuable and sizable demographic.

“I’d focus my efforts on the folks who haven’t cut the cord, for whatever reason,” former entertainment executive, digital media professional and current industry analyst Entertainment Strategy Guy told Observer. “What are they watching? Why does broadcast still fit their needs? And how can I serve those?”

The streaming industry is more robust and diverse than ever. Domestic subscriptions are up 26% year-over-year, according to transactional data firm Antenna. The pie is growing. But with so many premium SVOD platforms—Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Starz, Showtime, Discovery+, Peacock, and Apple TV+—a saturation point is inevitable. Targeting an undervalued customer base with growth potential, and reaching them in creative ways, will be a necessity.

“While it’s a little easier to raise awareness among existing subscribers (masthead banners, in-app trailers, etc), the bigger issue is connecting with new audiences and turning them into subscribers, a challenge all streamers will continue to face, and one that’s becoming more competitive,” Anjali Midha, co-founder and CEO of predictive content analytics platform Diesel Labs, told Observer. “As the broadest media channels (like traditional TV) continue to fragment, targeted campaigns become critical, as well as driving enough audience engagement on social and video channels to help augment awareness efforts.”

Netflix Ratings Most Watched Animated Series
Animation is hugely popular, but also readily available across all forms of entertainment already. Netflix

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Much like when you’re day drinking, when launching a new product in a maturing field it’s always helpful to ask “What not to do?” For our new streaming service, we want to avoid existing market overlap so that we’re not just offering a carbon copy of what’s already available. That means we’re not going out of our way to produce expensive prestige TV and movies on the off-chance we can sneak into the Emmys and Oscars. Accolades and attention are nice, but no substitute for cold hard viewership for an embryonic streamer, but there’s a way to claw your way to the top organically without over-spending upfront.

“In my data, most Oscar-winning films do little to bring in new customers and deliver viewership,” Entertainment Strategy Guy said. “So I’d focus very little on trying to win awards, but let that happen as a by-product of making great shows that can drive lots of viewership.”

This also means bypassing high-upside genres that work for other streamers. Horror films are abundant across the entertainment landscape, with Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Shudder all investing heavily in that blood-soaked bailiwick. Animation is a major battleground of the streaming wars, but so saturated across the main combatants (plus CrunchyRoll) that it doesn’t make much sense for us to chase that rainbow. YouTube looms large as the king of kids content (particularly in AVOD), Disney remains the prestige kids brand, Universal commands the eyeballs of young and old with DreamWorks Animation and Illumination, and Netflix has spent more money than most millennials will earn in several lifetimes to become a go-to destination in animation. The harsh reality is that we’re too behind the ball to compete at this point (a struggle Peacock and Paramount+ are facing) and are better served directing our resources elsewhere.

Lastly, it’s become en vogue for streaming services to guard ratings and viewership data like it was the Chamber of Secrets. It’s true that this walled garden approach offers the advantage of keeping the media and the competition in the dark while enabling a streamer to control the narrative. But it also infuriates creative partners as well as interested audiences. We want to foster an environment of trust. So in the spirit of transparency, we’re offering a techno-utopian approach where we’ll share the viewer data we collect with creators. This should help attract talented writers, directors, producers, and stars while greasing the wheels for future overall deals.

Content Focus

So how do we go about building out our library? That’s the multi-billion dollar question.

“On the topic of catalog composition, we also see Netflix and Disney+ on opposite sides of the spectrum here as well, with Netflix favoring drama and comedy (together 47% of this years originals) and Disney+ favoring comedy and action/adventure (together 43% of this years originals),” Midha said.

Netflix, Amazon, Disney+ Shows
Catalog composition: Genre breakdown for Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ originals year-to-date. Diesel Labs

We want to zig while other streaming services are zagging rather than run the same exact rat race. But there’s a way to do this while still attacking the high-upside genres—such as comedy, drama, action and adventure, and sci-fi—that have proven to be the streaming industry’s bread and butter. We already have a handful of unmade sci-fi and fantasy intellectual property that is ripe for adaptation.

“Frankly, I’d see what was working on broadcast TV for the last few decades and copy that much more seriously,” ESG said. “Meaning sitcoms and procedural dramas. Meaning cops, doctors and lawyers. If I were a major streamer, every quarter, I’d have a drama featuring a police officer solving a crime, lawyers putting a case together and/or a medical team solving emergencies. And I’d put them on twice a year, rotating to always have episodes.”

Not the most creatively ambitious small screen strategy — but if we learned anything from Quibi (RIP) or even Yahoo Screen (RIP x 2), it’s there’s a limited window to reach safe cruising altitude as a young SVOD service. Once we build a baseline subscriber foundation, we’ll have the freedom to unearth the next Sopranos or Breaking Bad. Until then, we’re going to focus on what works. And procedurals work.

According to Nielsen data provided to Observer, shows like NCIS, Criminal Minds and Grey’s Anatomy have all ranked among the top-10 most-watched programs across U.S. SVOD services for four straight weeks. These are Netflix’s most valuable library series following the departures of Friends and The Office. Entertainment Strategy Guy also points out that two of Prime Video’s longest running series are Bosch, a cop show and Goliath, a lawyer show.

Netflix vs Disney+
2021 original content releases for Netflix and Disney+ Diesel Labs

Speaking of valuable library additions, we’d make aggressive attempts to partner with Sony, Hollywood’s premiere arms dealer, in a licensing deal. While Sony Pictures Television hits such as Seinfeld, Breaking Bad, Community, and Mad Men are all currently tied up in existing streaming deals, we’d put ourselves in pole position to be next in line the moment they expire. We also recognize the value of reality television, which is inexpensive and highly addictive to audiences. With Discovery joining forces with WarnerMedia, we’d try to turn to A&E, which is half-owned by Disney, for some juicy true crime documentaries which have proven to be highly effective for HBO, Netflix, etc.

Tying it all together, we’d look for fresh talent with potential to keep initial costs down and form productive relationships with the next generation of storytellers.

“Also, I’d aggressively hire new showrunners,” ESG said. “That feels like the market inefficiency. Everyone focuses on writers who have already run a show, because it’s safer. But since they’ve worked before, their rates tend to be higher.”

Release Strategy

“Building a streaming platform requires a very different approach to catalog curation than most traditional media companies are used to,” Midha said. “It’s no longer about needing a new drama to fill a slot on 9 PM on Tuesday—the challenge has shifted to architecting a catalog that continually builds audience subscribership and mitigates churn.”

Netflix and Disney+, the two dominant streamers at the moment, approach this issue from opposing starting points. Netflix floods the market with original content (with about $1 billion worth of content in active development alone), while Disney is more selective, opting to lean on its famed vault of content — stocked for a near century — with the mega-franchises it’s acquired from Marvel, Pixar and Lucasflim providing new titles. It’s clear that no matter where you are on the catalog composition spectrum, having a healthy mixture is critical to success. But we need to generate buzz in order to entice prospective audiences, which means raising awareness among viewers.

Netflix’s endless sea of content is great for reducing churn, but Disney’s content succeeds more in generating conversation and engagement. A black diamond mountain of television doesn’t do much good if everyone consistently opts for the bunny slopes instead.

Disney vs Netflix
Share of voice analysis: media company content releases* vs. engagement. Diesel Labs

As part of this effort, we’re not going to lock in a reductive uniform release strategy. There’s no binge versus weekly debate. We’ll tackle shows on a case-by-case basis, similar to how HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu all experiment with rotating release strategies. For example, HBO dropped the final five unaired episodes of finance drama Industry on HBO Max on Nov. 27 even as they continued to air weekly on the premium cable channel. Streaming offers the freedom to get creative.

We’ve seen shows from both binge and weekly releases transform from little-hyped upcoming originals with muted pre-release buzz to full-fledged phenomenons after gaining steam. We’re trying to generate similar post-release breakout hits as well.

Netflix, HBO Max, Disney
2021 post-premiere breakout hits, proportion of total engagement after launch. Diesel Labs

The Bottom Line

Okay. So we’ve laid out a techno-utopian approach to data sharing, the better to attract the young showrunners who’ll keep our costs down as we amass a rotating slate of new procedurals, existing true-crime docs, reality TV and eventually Sony Pictures Television properties. Is this a guaranteed strategy for success? Far from it, otherwise every we — and every single studio executive — would be sipping grande lattes atop golden jet-skis. But by examining the common mistakes to avoid, honing in on proven genres, carefully constructing talent relations, and staying open to creative innovation, we believe we can launch a hot new streaming service. Just don’t expect a “+” at the end of our name.


Movie Math is an armchair analysis of Hollywood’s strategies for big new releases.

Here’s How We’d Run a New Streaming Service

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For artist Jonathan Saiz, things are looking up

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For artist Jonathan Saiz, things are looking up

A successful art career requires two crucial skills: the ability to think up new things and the drive to make them real. It’s not about creativity; lots of people have that. It’s more about owning the capacity to see ideas through to the end — to produce fresh objects, over and over again, and then to present them to the public.

That stamina sustains Jonathan Saiz and keeps him in the top-tier of Denver artists. He’s an art adventurer who stays in the spotlight by constantly surprising. One day, he’s presenting miniature paintings at the Denver Art Museum, the next he’s applying an oversized mural to a bare concrete wall downtown. He’s been known to paint giant waves or intimate portraits or antique furniture. He’s illustrated a best-selling tarot deck and is now working on a children’s book.

It’s part showmanship, part substance and fully experimental — things don’t always work out. But, as a critic, he’s one of those creatives I always watch to see what arrives next. I recently came across a social media post with photos of a large-scale, and very complicated, mural that he painted on the ceiling of his own living room.

It looked impossible, and so I asked him some questions.

Artist Jonathan Saiz at his downtown Denver home on September 15, 2021. Said spent nearly a month using paper board and balsa wood to create a piece of art for his home that he shares with his partner. The ceiling piece is inspired by temples and Moroccan art. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Q. I have a lot of questions about your work, but I have to start with the ceiling mural because it is a wonder — delicate and monumental at the same time and, no doubt, very difficult to pull off. Can we begin by getting some specs so people know just how grand it is?

A. The mural is 350 square feet in a two-story atrium of a condo, located 14 stories up in the Uptown neighborhood. It’s painted with regular house latex on thick paperboard panels, nailed to the ceiling with hand-cut balsa wood trimming. It’s not my biggest mural to date, but it is my first ceiling creation!

Q. And how did you manage to create a piece so high off the ground? Sounds a little dangerous, to be honest.

A. It was a scary, stressful ordeal to install. I mostly created the panels on the ground to minimize the dangerous install periods up on the 25-foot-tall scaffolding. My trick to avoid focusing on my fear of heights was to hum and sing made-up songs to my dog Oscar while I worked.

Q. It’s a very orderly mural, full of symmetry and strict geometry. But within that there is quite a bit of free, artistic expression, a mix of styles and historical references and probably some personal moves.

A. The inspiration started with a rose motif from the Bahia Palace in Morocco, but quickly evolved into a mashup of my personal loves of Art Deco, Native American textiles and sacred geometry. Without a client to please besides myself, I was able to experiment — even adding rose oil, rose petals, love notes and other secret magical ingredients into the paint and behind the panels to give it some extra ritualistic energy. I wanted it to become the calm, glowing heart of our home.

Q. I wonder how you view it? Is it decorative to you or is it a painting, a work of art?

A. Decorative art sets the tone for a shared space — design calibrates our energy. This mural is decorative and so much more.

1635165261 648 For artist Jonathan Saiz things are looking up

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 15: Artist Jonathan Saiz at his downtown Denver home on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Said spent nearly a month using paper board and balsa wood to create a piece of art for his home that he shares with his partner. The ceiling piece is inspired by temples and Moroccan art. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Q. OK, last question about the piece: What is it like to live with it, to have it over your head all day? We think of artists as making objects to sell, but this one is for you, no?

A. It’s wonderful to see it every day and night, to share it with my partner, Dean Prina, and to finally have something for myself that can’t be sold or removed. Living with it also reminds me that it’s possible to create whatever we imagine we can, (that) we could still build epic temples if we wanted to.

Q. I was looking back at your work over the past few years, and I think the piece you are best known for might be the tower of 10,000 tiny, 2-inch square paintings that you created for the Denver Art Museum in 2019. And you have done many, many of these small pieces in various configurations.

A. Working in multitudes of small pieces to create a larger whole is liberating for me. The pieces can evolve in unexpected ways, and I get to use a much higher diversity of materials. I love working with multiple elements that interact with each other to create a multifaceted whole.

Q. I just saw this new piece you did, taking an old, ornate, antique cabinet, painting it and filling it with mysterious objects. What is that?

A. I found this 19th-century cabinet, dusty and forgotten, in an antique store and I felt I could connect with its history like a time machine. I wanted to preserve it by collaborating with it, creating new clay and gemstone objects within it to activate its theatrical personality and to fill it with 21st-century curiosities. I plan on collaborating with more found historical objects and artisans like that soon.

Q. Another avenue you’ve explored: the tarot deck. Can you tell us about your deck of cards?

A. The Fountain Tarot deck is made up of 79 of my paintings to create a larger interactive world, and its history is deeply connected to our global metaphysical past (a lot like the mosaics and cabinets). It’s a dream to have created something that is now used in multiple languages around the world and was just added to the library at the McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica this month. It’s part of the history of tarot now. It was a random passion project that changed my life.

For artist Jonathan Saiz things are looking up

Provided Jonathan Saiz

Jonathan Saiz created 79 paintings to illustrate “The Fountain Tarot.” The deck, co-created with Jason Gruhl and Andi Todaro, is sold at bookstores across the country.

Q. We’ve seen you create big things and small things, portraits, tarot cards, and I hear you are now illustrating a children’s book for the Clyfford Still Museum. That leads to the existential question: What are you? Most artists describe themselves as painters or sculptors or photographers.

A. I’m a creator who likes to stay busy to keep the existential demons at bay. I’m the type of artist who will dive fully into any type of project or medium if it sparks my curiosity or presents a worthy challenge.

Q. So many artists want to work at it full-time but few manage. Many other talented artists have a hard time making a living from their work. Why are you able to do it?

A. A wide diversity of projects keeps me afloat. And it also helps for me to look at the commerce of being an artist as a game. Some free projects really do pay something more valuable than money, and some projects are worth taking just to survive.

Q. One last big question: You recently pledged to reduce using materials in your art that might be harmful to the environment.  Is that a personal choice? Or do you think that as an artist you have unique social responsibilities?

A. I think 21st-century artists can be powerful agitators for important social causes or they can bury their heads in the sand like past generations. I’m having fun finding creative ways to inspire solutions and making resolutions that create a more sustainable planet. I believe artists must honor that responsibility in order to access the higher creative muses.

Q. Bonus question: What is your dream project?

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The “magical unicorn” behind Camp Christmas and other immersive fare in Denver

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The “magical unicorn” behind Camp Christmas and other immersive fare in Denver

On a recent autumn afternoon, Charlie Miller was walking around the Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park pointing out the various buildings that will soon host Camp Christmas.

The dilapidated Peerless Gas Station will hold pounds of gingerbread creations. Down the pathway, in a red barn, a flock of fabric sheep will graze metaphorically and blaze with lights. A “glampsite” is where the kids will be able to visit with Santa, yes, from a healthy but engaged remove.

The fourth installment of installation wizard Lonnie Hanzon’s immersive extravaganza of lights, holiday memorabilia and more opens Nov. 18 at this outdoor site just west of Wadsworth Boulevard and a few blocks south of Alameda. The city of Lakewood has been relocating little landmark buildings from Colfax Avenue as well as other structures to this gently sloping expanse of acreage that was once legendary philanthropist May Bonfils Stanton’s hobby farm. It’s a perfectly zany location for a rather mad installation, one that came out of a collaboration between Hanzon and Miller, who heads the Denver Center’s wild-child, Off-Center.

A gift with creatives

“Impresario” is a little too imperious a description of Miller, who has grown in his role as the curator of Off-Center. Catalyst, to be sure. Nurturer, absolutely. It’s not so much his sensibility that is shaping Denver’s immersive scene as it is his gift with creatives — and a growing reputation, local and national, as a champion of immersive work.

When a friend saw David Byrne and Mala Gaonkar’s installation “Neurosociety” at an art gallery in the San Francisco Bay Area, he gave Miller a call, knowing it was just the kind of work that would excite him. It did.

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

LAKEWOOD, CO – OCTOBER 08: Charlie Miller, curator of Off-Center’s Camp Christmas and associate artistic director at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts at the Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, site of this year’s Camp Christmas October 08, 2021. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

Thanks to patience, timing and the relationships that Miller and Off-Center have been cultivating since 2016’s blockbuster production “Sweet & Lucky” — created by Third Rail Projects and former Denverite Zach Morris — Miller made contact. DCPA Off-Center and Byrne had plans to premiere what has become the show “Theater of the Mind” in 2020. Then, COVID-19 hit and it was postponed.

The production is back on track for a 2022 world premiere, with an announcement of a ticket on-sale date and venue in the offing.

Miller has a measured delivery, even as he talks about the things that thrill him. He’s no huckster. He’s a thoughtful enthusiast. So, when he recalls meeting the former Talking Heads frontman, his voice doesn’t give away the pleasure of that evening when Byrne visited a potential location for the piece before heading to Red Rocks — his smile does. “And that night I got to see ‘American Utopia’ at Red Rocks … at like the fifth-row center,” he recalled. “Shortly after that, we were able to figure out how to make it work.”

For his part, Byrne told Rolling Stone magazine “The Denver Center for the Performing Arts have done immersive things like this before — not quite like this — but they’ve cultivated an audience in Denver.”

Figuring out how to make the artistically wild, logistically tricky experiences that draw audiences in has been an aim of Miller’s even before Off-Center got its clever brand name in 2010. At the time, Miller and assistant company manager Emily Tarquin were a couple of millennials eyeing the Denver Center’s under-utilized Jones Theatre for less traditional theater, more experimental work. Having sharpened his multimedia storytelling skills as an undergraduate in Harvard’s Visual and Environmental Studies department, Miller wanted to create a lab. And Tarquin was keen to present edgier theater.

“Often in ‘traditional theater,’ the exchange with the audience is passive and transactional,” Tarquin wrote in an email. “The production team creates a beautiful production, the audience buys a ticket, doesn’t unwrap any candy, and watches.”

1635164650 604 The magical unicorn behind Camp Christmas and other immersive fare

Adams VisCom

David Byrne (center) and the creative team for “Theater of the Mind.” Not pictured, co-writer Mala Gaonkar.

Tarquin left the Denver Center in 2016 to become artistic producer of Actors Theatre of Louisville.

“We knew that to break this barrier, we had to build narratives that centered the audience and welcomed their full participation. Off-Center was immersive from the beginning, and I still reference the recipe we created over a decade ago!”

That “recipe” had five ingredients that each of Off-Center’s projects had to contain. “Ingredients that I still feel are very relevant,” said Miller, sitting on an aged glider on the porch of one of the buildings at the Heritage Lakewood. “Immersive for us was about the audience having a more active role in the inference, not just being passive viewers. Convergent, which was about bringing together different art forms and technologies. Connective, which was about being in conversation with the community, bringing people together. Inventive, which was about innovation and experimentation. And ‘now’ was about being relevant to the moment.”

The pair had the support of the Denver Center Theatre Company’s producing artistic director at the time, Kent Thompson. And Miller enjoys a similarly encouraging relationship to the Theater Company’s current honcho, Chris Coleman. A good thing, since, said Miller, “I think we’re still in the rise of immersive and experiential in town and nationally, and it will be interesting to see what happens as we reemerge from the pandemic and whatever form that is going to take.”

1635164650 691 The magical unicorn behind Camp Christmas and other immersive fare

Adams VisCom

A scene from the immersive blockbuster Third Rail Projects’ “Sweet & Lucky,” with Meredith Grundei.

Kind of a “magical unicorn”

“Thought partnerships” is a Miller phrase that gets at the heart (and mind) of the type of collaborations he continues to champion. While he has reached beyond the Denver area to find new works, he is dedicated to raising the profile of local talent.

“He’s kind of a magical unicorn because he is an artist himself,” says Amanda Berg Wilson, who is co-founder of the Boulder-based, experimental theater company the Catamounts.  “He comes from an artist’s background. So he has this unique perspective of understanding what artists need and how they tick, but really wanting to be a facilitator of artists’ visions. I always get excited when his name comes up on my caller ID because I know that it’s going to be some kind of new idea or opportunity.”

In 2017, Wilson directed Off-Center’s “The Wild Party,” a 360-degree production of the musical by Andrew Lippa, which invited audiences into the bathtub gin-soaked, quite naughty soiree of the title. In 2019, Miller tapped Wilson and local director Betty Hart to be assistant directors on “Theater of the Mind.”

Hart produced the Arvada Center’s Amplify, a series of video performances that put Black artists front and center in the wake of the George Floyd protests. She’s directed a number of area shows, including Vintage Theatre’s searing production of “The Scottsboro Boys,” one of the last shows in town before the pandemic shuttered in-person theater.

1635164650 349 The magical unicorn behind Camp Christmas and other immersive fare

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Erin Miller and Emily Van Fleet in 2017’s 360 production “The Wild Party” at Stanley Marketplace.

“Charlie introduced me to Andrew Scoville (“Theater of the Mind” director), and then he left, and it was just Sco and me in a room,” recalls Hart. “(Charlie) took the time to bring a diverse group of people before (Scoville). That was intentional. I think he has a fundamental belief that if you have a quality product with quality people and you create a setting and an atmosphere of belonging and creativity, you’re going to get something wonderful. And I think that’s what (Miller) does. He does his part to ensure that a culture of belonging and genuine curiosity can be fostered.”

Long before they embarked on Camp Christmas together, Miller and Hanzon had been having lunch routinely. “At first, I would take lunch with a lot of different artists to get to know them. And we really hit it off,” Miller said. “Lonnie’s very meticulous and was a real student of immersive. He was feeding me information that wasn’t on my radar. And I was encouraging him to just start trying some things.”

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Need a last-minute Halloween costume? Hit up the most magical shop in Denver.

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Need a last-minute Halloween costume? Hit up the most magical shop in Denver.

Editor’s note: Each week in Staff Favorites, we offer our opinions on the best that Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more. (We’ll also let you in on some hidden gems).

It’s the same scenario every year: a last-minute costume party invite, followed by the most depressing closet raid.

Some people’s wardrobes are filled with costume-worthy pieces — I’m looking at you, renaissance fest types — but my closet of basics just doesn’t cut it, and I usually find myself throwing together something deeply lame at the last possible minute.

Not this year. This year, I went to The Wizard’s Chest.

From the moment you step inside this 16,000-square-foot magic castle at 451 Broadway, it’s hard not to feel the Halloween spirit.

Photo By AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post

An interior view of the Wizard’s Chest on Wednesday, February 24, 2016.

Giant dragons and wizards loom over the entrance, which opens up into a wonderland filled with treasure chests and witches’ cauldrons, fairy wings and wigs in every color imaginable. Originally opened in 1983, the family-owned store has nearly 40 years of magic under its belt. The interior design — filled with murals and ornate castle-like details — is modeled after “the fantastic world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth,” according to The Wizard’s Chest’s website.

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