Merging of Two Passions – Work and Roller Derby

by Regan
October 16th, 2013 | ShareThis

Passion, I am thankful that I have passion in my career but there is other passion in my life and when I’m not working or spending time with my family I’m pursuing another passion of mine on a flat track with 13 other women. Yes, I play roller derby. And for me, there’s nothing better then when I have the opportunity to combine two of my passions.

My roller derby team the Boardwalk Bombshells of the Santa Cruz Derby Girls is attending the Division 2 WFTDA Championships on November 10th in Milwaukee. And although we have the privilege of watching the best teams in the world compete against each other for a weekend long tournament, WE are only playing in one game. That’s right, traveling across country to stay for four nights for one game. You might ask yourself, why are we staying so long for one game, well the answer is because we need to. We found out at our Division Playoffs that less than 24 hours arrival (traveling three time zones) prior to playing an extremely crucial bout was surely not enough. And it showed. As we nearly lost our first game to the number 8 seed, mind you, we were ranked number one going in. So the more time we can adjust to the time change the better, we can relax, watch amazing derby and just get ourselves amped for our game on the final day of play.

Now…I can talk for hours about what a dream come true this is and all the hard work that went into our team making it to Champs but that’s another post for an entirely different blog.

So back to the merging of two passions…Tam Communications, recognizing the hard work that the team had put in all season and the expense that we were undertaking to make this trip happen, took it upon themselves to produce a fundraising video. The goal of the video was to assist the league in offsetting the cost to fly 16 of us on this once-in–a-lifetime trip.

So what did Tam do to make this happen? Well, the talented Susan O’Connor Fraser stepped up to the line and came up with a great concept and script and then the equally talented Mildred Fierce (aka Kim Luke) added her wit and flavor to it. We spent half a day shooting at NextSpace in Downtown Santa Cruz and in the end produced a very fun video that showcases the personality and gratitude of the Bombshells. Although only six of us were on camera, we spoke for the entire team in thanking our fans, the Black and Blue Crew. It was clear while shooting that my teammates share so deeply in my passion for roller derby and are overjoyed about our upcoming trip to Champs.

So do you want to be a part of making history? Then visit santacruzderbygirls.org and click on the donate button and help the Bombshells and their “Serious Baggage” get to Millie-wah-kay.


One Hundred Years and Counting

by Susan
October 10th, 2013 | ShareThis

In the high tourist season, getting down to the City of Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf is hard enough and once at the Wharf entrance you may find yourself staring straight at the rear end of bumper-to-bumper traffic, inching its way along, drivers’ and passengers’ eyes wide for that coveted empty parking space. It’s the nature of the symbiotic relationship between tourists and locals. You’ll find it in any travel destination–tourists are the ying to locals’ yang. Travel and tourism is the lifeblood of the Santa Cruz economy and we’re glad to share our little slice of heaven with the rest of you from Memorial Day to Labor Day and whenever else you’d like to drop in throughout the year.

But the best-kept secret about Santa Cruz is that our summer typically lasts right up until Halloween so there can be no better time to venture out and enjoy what there is to do right in our own backyard including the Wharf. Come on Santa Cruzans, lets do it!

This coming year is extra special because it’s the 100th Anniversary of the Wharf.  Over the course of the next year, the City of Santa Cruz Parks & Recreation Department is celebrating that milestone and it’s all kicking off this Saturday, October 12th. The two-hour long event includes food from Wharf restaurants, wine from Vino Primo (also a Wharf merchant), and an opportunity not only to hear and see Wharf history but to be part of it as well. Local historian Geoffrey Dunn will be leading an interactive discussion and hopes to build on the story by crowd-sourcing photos, stories, film, and memorabilia related to the history of the Wharf. Dunn is excited by the possibilities, telling Lisa McGinnis at the City, “At the Chinatown Pop Up last week, some people brought photos that had never been seen before, including a collection of color slides from the late 1930s of the last Santa Cruz Chinatown. Wow! I’m betting we get some of those this weekend.”

If you have photos to share with us, we’d love them to have them become part of our archive and maybe it will become part of a permanent display on the important role the Wharf has played in the history of our community. And it’s a great opportunity for locals to reconnect with the Wharf and share the love. We hope to see you all there.


Grab Your Pom Poms

by Susan
October 3rd, 2013 | ShareThis

Those that knew me when know that I’m a recovering cheerleader, ready to fall off the wagon at a moment’s notice watching any sporting event devised by man. I even got into curling when we went to Canada to escape the Y2K Apocalypse that was going to bring the U.S. to its knees. Hey, I wrote some of those programs (for defense contractors) that were hastily being rewritten to avoid accidentally bombing the now-defunct USSR.

But after shooting a video in our own backyard this weekend, I feel I need to go back to rehab. “Hi. My name is Susan. And I’m a cheerleader.”

Seriously, Sunday at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on the City of Santa Cruz’s main beach, had me cheering for squads—none of whom I knew. Mothers would turn to me with a strange smile like “Who are you and why are you cheering for my daughter?”

Then there was actually being able to lead the cheerleaders in singing the Boardwalk song or scream the Board-Squawk, the audio exclamation point at the end of each Boardwalk commercial. I was in cheerleader heaven. If I could have done a cartwheel, without breaking a hip, I would have done one right then and there.

I know cheerleaders, like mimes (although they are nothing like mimes), drive some people nuts but how can you resist all that boundless energy and all those ear-to-ear smiles? My Spartan past wouldn’t allow it. Yes, I was a Spartan cheerleader at Pacifica High AND San Jose State – how weird is that? I just had to join in. Go, fight, win!

Now put that energy right in the middle of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and it made for a really fun albeit exhausting day (I hadn’t busted so many moves in one day in many a moon). Great fun, non-stop entertainment, and the lines were practically non-existent. And just think of it, when you’re screaming like a girl on the Giant Dipper, you’ll sound just like everybody else.

All you Santa Cruz locals out there, mark your calendars for next year’s cheer competition, September 27th and 28th, 2014. If it’s as beautiful as it was this last weekend at the beach, you’ll find me there. “Here we go Boardwalk, here we go.”


Your Chance to Win a New Car and Help Our Schools

by Susan
September 23rd, 2013 | ShareThis

There are a few things I’m very passionate about (OK…maybe more than a few) but education is at the top of the list. That’s one of the reasons we support Drive for Schools. This eight-year old partnership between our fave client the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the Capitola Auto Mall Dealer Group has successfully raised more than $1.8 million for Santa Cruz County schools.

How does it work? All elementary, middle, and high schools in Santa Cruz County are invited to participate. From what I’ve read, more schools are participating this year than ever before and when it’s over, each participating school gets to keep every dollar they raise. AND they get to decide how to spend the money to serve the needs of their school and their students. Now that’s cool. As we know, Santa Cruz is a diverse community so the needs of a school on the east side will be different than one on the west; Scotts Valley will be different than Aptos which will be different than Soquel or Pajaro.

Tickets just went on sale last week and they’ll be on sale until the 20th of October. They’re $5 each or six for $25. You can get your tickets at the school of your choosing by contacting the school’s coordinator.

The list is shown here.

So besides supporting your local school, why should you buy one? How about the chance to win a new Suburu Outback or Toyota Prius or $25K in cash? But that’s just the grand prize. Check the entire list of prizes. It reads like a Who’s Who of all the great things to do in our own backyard. Now go to school!

Regan Eymann (aka Shamrock N. Roller) supplied the voice over for the spot while Tam Communications’ Tam O’Connor Fraser edited the spot using supplied auto manufacturer footage.

Kudos to the Boardwalk, Capitola Auto Mall Dealers Group and to all the sponsors for making this investment in our children. I’m loving the public/private partnerships going on in Santa Cruz and how we’re all working together to achieve such great results. Interested in doing more.


Santa Cruz: A Sports Town – Who would’ve thunk it?

by Susan
September 18th, 2013 | ShareThis

We almost missed one of the most fun and exciting recurring events that happened in our own backyard this last winter and spring: the debut season of our new NBA D League team, the Santa Cruz Warriors – the official development team of the Golden State Warriors. Not having been much of a basketball fan through the years (a lack of interest dating back to high school), I had heard about the great time people were having inside our new Kaiser Permanente Arena. Then when our good friend Marq Lipton from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk suggested we check out the game and, more importantly, the interesting back story of the players, I was engaged. As usual, the idea of a good story will always get me hooked. So we met with Warrior management and threw around ideas and headed to our first game. Score!

All I can say is “Holy Three Pointer, Batman” this was some of the most fun I’d had in Santa Cruz all year. Even though the season was winding down, our Warriors looked as if they could win it all so there were definitely some thrilling games to come.

The venue itself is intimate (seating capacity is about 2500) but when sold out the energy is electrifying and contagious. The entertainment factor is high from before game action even begins to fun half-time events that gets the crowd involved to players who will come out to sign autographs after the game. This team appreciates its fans and they show it.

The quality of the game play itself? To me, it’s as good as big league NBA play. After all any of these players could get called up at any time and a lot of them are working to get themselves back to the NBA. And you don’t have to be Jack Nicholson or Ice Cube to be nearly on top of that really great play. There’s no doubt that the fans have an impact on the players and the game itself. Why? Because some of the visiting teams are lucky to get 500 fans to their own home games. So when they come to Santa Cruz, they have to play in front of a rabid fan base, five times the size of what they’d see at home.

The Santa Cruz Warriors are in our own backyard and they’re a definite MUST GO in my book. Fortunately, even if you missed their first season in Santa Cruz, they’re coming back. Opening night for the new season is November 23rd and tickets are already on sale.


Stop and Smell the Redwoods

by Susan
September 12th, 2013 | ShareThis

One of the perks of our job is that we have clients who operate in one of the most beautiful places on earth and we get to tell their stories. Some times I wonder…how did we get so lucky? Then, when we’re out on production and I’m taking in the beauty of a redwood forest or I’m soaking in the sun of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk or feeling the wind on my face as we sail on the Chardonnay II, suddenly it hits me. This is my backyard. We live here. So many of the other people that flock to these destinations don’t enjoy this vantage point every single day. Not that there aren’t other beautiful places on earth or that Northern California as a whole isn’t one of the most incredible areas to live, but people travel here, plan their vacations here, from all over the world. Have you listened to all the languages spoken as you walk on West Cliff or on the Boardwalk?

And then I realize…how often we take for granted what we have. We complain about beach traffic or how difficult it is to find parking downtown on weekends but do we regularly stop and appreciate what brings all these people to OUR little slice of heaven? Or do we get so involved in our own daily lives so that when we finally plan that family getaway, we forget what our own backyard has to offer?

Take Roaring Camp Railroads. Really…take it to the top of Bear Mountain. It’s certainly a favorite among young children but Roaring Camp Railroad offers so much more for everyone. Sure, there’s the 19th Century Redwood Steam Train, where you travel through towering redwood groves, over trestles, surrounded by awe-inspiring views, up a winding narrow-gauge track to the summit. It’s a breath-taking ride. As the conductors narrate the history of Roaring Camp, the railroad and the forest itself, children and adults alike learn about the history of our area and get to know a little bit about the wildlife that still populates the forest.

You can picnic in town or on the grounds, hike through the forest, or meander through the town of Roaring Camp and enjoy an interactive walk through history. If you haven’t ever been or haven’t been lately, put Roaring Camp Railroads on your list of things to do this Indian Summer.

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to share our unique view of Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, and Silicon Valley. After all…it’s our own backyard.

Backyard Buzz – Did you know? Roaring Camp’s steam engines date from 1890 and are among the oldest and most authentically preserved narrow-gauge steam engines providing regularly scheduled passenger service in America.


We Won an Award!

by Regan
June 17th, 2013 | ShareThis

Tam Communications is proud to announce that a recent promotional video produced for the Mineta San Jose International Airport has won 3rd place in Video and Film Productions for the Airports Council International – North America.

This video was produced for and in collaboration with Creative Director, Jim Barnes of Los Gatos-based Barnestorming Advertising, to promote the airport in the international arena and to encourage more international airlines to add Mineta San Jose International Airport to their routes. Emphasizing how many high tech companies are so close by and how many billions the market opportunity represents, the video makes a compelling case for Silicon Valley’s airport. As quoted on the Airport Council International’s website, “The video captures the spirit of Silicon Valley and San José by highlighting the cultural diversity of the area, the global crossroads of high technology and innovation, and world-famous destinations surrounding SJC.”

The video was showcased at the World Routes Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates last year. Since the conference, SJC has launched flights between San Jose and Tokyo on All Nippon Airways and announced Virgin America joining the SJC lineup of airlines, as well as, more airlines adding additional routes and frequencies.

We’re proud of our award and the work we have done to assist SJC in their goal of adding new airlines and bringing more travelers to Silicon Valley via its closest airport.


Loyalty…Good Business Practice

by Regan
December 27th, 2012 | ShareThis

Customer loyalty is something we all strive for. Going above and beyond, delivering consistent quality time and time again, regardless of the size of the project or request, is something that clients have come to expect from us. And, it’s been rewarded with their loyalty. Certainly, it’s a fragile relationship that must be nurtured. We like to connect with our clients not just professionally but personally. And that objective has led (in our experience) to friendships and partnerships that last decades. It’s, literally, what has kept Tam Communications in business through good times and bad.

Customer loyalty is a two-way street. While we’re always committed to those long-term relationships with our clients, we’re just as committed to our vendors including freelancers and talent. We have freelancers that we consistently work with, and our loyalty to them as often as we can, creates a solid working relationship that then produces the best end-product for your clients. Every time you work with a freelancer each of you becomes better and better at getting to the most creative and effective solution in the most efficient way possible. As a result, a short-hand almost Vulcan mind-meld type of communication develops so that a gaffer has the right light available before Tam asks for it; the production assistant is on-the-spot with model releases before I ask; the artist burns the midnight oil to get a new render ready; and the DVD replicator rushes an order at no extra charge so we can meet a deadline and they can prove their loyalty to us.

We also like to hire great talent (actors and narrators) multiple times as long as the projects are in different business sectors. That’s why you may see some of the same faces or hear some of the same voices in our videos. When we have a great experience with a particular actor, we know we can depend on them to deliver and they know we’re creating great videos that will help them build a reel of great work.

In the end, we all try harder to get the best result and, at the same time, have fun on the set. Talk with our actors and freelancers and they’ll tell you how much they enjoy working on a Tam project.

This practice of customer loyalty has kept us going strong for over 30 years and will continue to keep us going for many more. Happy New Year!



by Regan
October 23rd, 2012 | ShareThis

Tam Communications’/Coast Guard Channel’s Video Featured at Philadelphia Museum of Art

A few years ago, we were on the East Coast developing stories for our Coast Guard Channel, web-based news and entertainment network. Part of that trip included a stop at the Chicamacomico Life Saving Station on Cape Hatteras. Long-since decommissioned, the Station is now home to a museum dedicated to keeping the story of the Life Saving Service (now part of the U.S. Coast Guard. At Chicamacomico we were fortunate to witness and document the buoy breeches drill performed on weekends there during the summer by active duty personnel from nearby Stations Hatteras Inlet and Oregon Inlet. Using actual equipment of the era, the drill re-enacts the process used to rescue passengers and crew from shipwrecks just off the coast. It was a vital piece of rescue equipment when seas were too heavy to launch a surf boat.

What we didn’t realize at that time was that four years later, the Philadelphia Museum of Art would contact us about using some of our video in an exhibit honoring Winslow Homer. We, of course, jumped at the chance to be able to help the Museum, honor the Coast Guard, and showcase our work. The exhibit, Shipwreck! Winslow Homer and The Life Line, features Homer’s masterpiece The Life Line, painted in 1884. The painting depicts that very same drill and depicts the real human costs of such wrecks during the early days of sea travel and commerce. You can watch the video here on our YouTube Channel.


Up, Up and Away…

by Susan
October 16th, 2012 | ShareThis

We weren’t flying by the seat of our pants but there were definitely times over the last few weeks when we worried about running out of gas, on-time arrival, and missed connections. All puns intended…our work for Mineta San Jose International Airport was, at times, challenging (because of the very effects-driven creative treatment), crazy (because of the deadline), and fun (when you work with fun people, you have fun).

The objective: Craft a video to be shown to International Airline execs that would illustrate the $1 billion travel market opportunity that SJC represents. As Silicon Valley’s Airport, SJC is surrounded by a “who’s who” of technology companies with employees, customers, and offices all over the world. The diverse population that lives in the cities of the South Bay also has families and friends that live on the other side of the globe, creating additional travel opportunities especially considering it’s also the gateway to Northern California with its attractions, landmarks, and natural wonders. To be shown in Abu Dhabi at World Routes 2012, the video needed to capture the attention of a trade show audience and keep the attendee engaged enough to get the message.

Working with Jim Barnes of Barnestorming Advertising, our job was to bring Jim’s copy to life. The first rule…no voice over. Tell the Airport story through images and text with a good dose of special effects. Enter Mike Baxter from Makai Design. While Director of Photography, Tam O’Connor Fraser and our client traveled across the Valley, capturing high definition video of high tech companies and Silicon Valley cultural and ethnic diversity (definitely on display at San Jose’s Santana Row), Mike went to work on storyboards and special effects concepts. Behind-the-scenes, Regan Eymann and Susan O’Connor Fraser were on the hunt for stunning stock footage beyond what was already in the Tam Communications library. Thanks to the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay Convention & Visitors Bureaus for their assistance.

The back and forth between live action and effects, getting the right images in the right order in the right aspect ratio, took awhile. Getting the right text treatment to make sure it was readable and stood out against other visuals required a bit of trial and error but we got there. The end result is a 3-minute video that is true collaboration between three creative agencies—each of us bringing open minds and sharing an obsession to make the video great and make our airport client ecstatic. Judging by the applause, we accomplished our objective.