This Mama Needs a Night Out

by Regan
July 18th, 2014 | ShareThis

And that’s just what I got, well I was working, but it was still a night out with amazing women and stories that made me laugh, cry and feel inspired.

When Mimi Desmond, a great friend and colleague, contacted me asking if Tam Communications wanted to be involved with Mamas Night Out, I was excited. It was an event I had heard about for years, even though I had never been able to attend. I just knew it was something we would want to be involved in.

One challenge was I had been pushing to keep our non-profit efforts focused on one organization at a time so we were not over-extended. We were already way beyond our “limit” with commitments to the Santa Cruz Derby Girls, Event Santa Cruz and the City of Santa Cruz 100 Year Anniversary of the Wharf. So how was I going to convince Tam and Susan to take on one more project when I was the one trying to set limits? Well, I must have made a very convincing argument (or they’re pushovers) because we were on board.

I worked closely with Michelle Riddle, co-founder of Mamas Night Out, to understand the event and the goal of the video. Michelle told me, “I think until you come to Mamas Night Out, you have no idea of what the event is really about. I was so happy when I met you and you volunteered Tam Communications time and resources to cover the event.”

After that first meeting, we were all in, fully committed. How could we not be? Mamas Night Out provides women, mostly mothers, a night out with friends where they can dance and socialize and, in the process, learn about and raise money for pediatric cancer.

In addition to these take-aways, the event is also an opportunity to show love and support to the Warrior Mamas—those with children diagnosed with cancer and those that have lost their children to cancer. And although tears were shed throughout the speeches, it was also a time to reflect, to be thankful for what you have in life, and to find a way to be the change, however you can.

As an organization, Mamas Night Out is being that change. They raised $60,000 that night and over $150,000 over the last four years––an awesome accomplishment. We’re exceedingly proud to be a sponsor, creating a video to reach more potential sponsors and more women, to make next year’s event even bigger.

Michelle added, “You and Tam really got what the event was about, and through this video, captured so perfectly what makes Mamas Night Out such a special evening.”

Thanks Michelle! We enjoyed producing the video as much as you enjoyed watching it. Take a look and see for yourself the tremendous efforts that Mamas Night Out is doing for our community and pediatric cancer.


A Rite of Passage

by Regan
June 23rd, 2014 | ShareThis

What came first? The client or the concept? In this case…I’m not so sure. What I knew was this:

  • We wanted to turn our annual Summer Special on its ear
  • We wanted to take what was already an authentic brand and combine that with the new trends of story telling. It was a natural combination.
  • My son, August, was finally tall enough to ride the Giant Dipper

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s main message is “creating memories that last a lifetime.” How many memories surrounding the Boardwalk are stronger than that first Dipper experience? Not many. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!!!

So when we suggested August’s First Dipper ride as one of the segments for our summer special, it was an immediate green light by the Boardwalk marketing team.

This was my vision: Create an experience for the viewer to feel like they were right there with August as he made the walk down the Boardwalk to the ride. Feel how he felt from taking his first steps into the building and walking up the ramp; to waiting in line and stepping into the front car; the nerves, excitement, fear, joy, everything he was feeling at that moment and then carry those feelings throughout the ride.

All of that was captured on camera the day he took his ride. It was palpable being there with him and, I believe, it transitioned into the lens.

And what was the ride like? Well, everything I expected to be and nothing I expected it to be. He was nervous but brave when the train dropped down and into the tunnel.

When we hit the hill, he looked around and was scared but excited. As we dropped, it was intense but fun. He put on a big smile for the Dipper camera.

Everything was going great until we reached the crest of the next hill. He flew up, out of his seat, which freaked him out. He later told me, “I totally thought I was going to fly out of the ride.” The rest of the ride he kept saying, “This is the scariest ride ever.”

When the ride was over and he was “safely” at the station, you could see the pure joy on his face of having accomplished this important moment in his life. And while he wasn’t so sure about riding it again when he first got off, it didn’t take long for him to want to tackle it again.

Today when I ask August about his first ride he says, “It was fun, exciting, thrilling and amazing.” And when I tell him about all the people that have been touched, inspired and overjoyed by watching his experience, it makes me smile to hear him say, “It feels crazy to know that people have been inspired by me.” What a gift and what a wonderful thing to have shared with so many.

Thank you for being so brave, August, to take your first ride on the Dipper, ride in the front car and let us document the event to share with the world. Now, here’s your chance to ride along with August as he experiences a rite of passage.


Spring + Thanksgiving = SPRINKSGIVING!

by Regan
May 20th, 2014 | ShareThis

So what do you get when you mix a beautiful spring day with the concept of giving? It’s Sprinksgiving, of course! It’s a new tradition at Santa Clara University and it comes complete with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce sandwiches that were absolutely delicious.

Sprinksgiving is celebrating its second year at SCU. It’s an opportunity for students to give thanks to donors who help fund their student experience. This includes everything from new buildings to scholarships to academic and athletic programs and equipment to student initiatives, just to name a few.

This was the second year that Tam Communications was called in to help document the event and to create a video that could be shown to those that help make that experience possible — friends, family, and supporters of the University.

There were a few unique aspects to this project. First, it’s about thanking donors for what they’ve already done versus the typical “ask” most fund raising videos include. Will it encourage the supporter to give again? You bet!

Secondly, it puts a face to the donation. Supporters can see who is being helped through their financial commitment. It’s not just an organization’s executive director or president listing off what was done with their contribution.

Finally like last year, we arrived on location not totally sure what to expect. Sure, we had objectives, questions, a schedule, and a location. But the organic nature of the event requires that you go with the flow…making certain the magic is “in the can”.  That organic nature delivers authenticity and makes this year’s story different from last year’s. Different people; different stories; different notes of gratitude. In the end, it made it a powerful illustration of how much these students really do care about the support they’re given. It feels really good to help create that connection.


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.