Archive for the ‘It’s a Wrap – Recent Projects’ Category

This Mama Needs a Night Out

Friday, July 18th, 2014

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

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

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!

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

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

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

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 and click on the donate button and help the Bombshells and their “Serious Baggage” get to Millie-wah-kay.

One Hundred Years and Counting

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

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.

Your Chance to Win a New Car and Help Our Schools

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

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.

We Won an Award!

Monday, June 17th, 2013

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.


Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

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…

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

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.

Global Winter Wonderland – A huge marketing success!

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Many families look for ways to celebrate the holidays in new and unique ways. Those same families may have annual traditions. This past year, nearly 420,000 people visited Global Winter Wonderland off Great America Parkway in Santa Clara and added a new experience to their holiday checklist. That’s right – over 400K in just 27 days. Most of this was thanks to a marketing campaign, which we played a huge part in.

49ers Total Access - Joe Fonzi and Melissa Galvin

Tam Communications teamed with the International Culture Exchange Group producing television and radio commercials, creating two dozen viral videos, managing social media campaigns and handling web work to spread the word about the United States premier of the Chinese Lantern Festival. We worked with our media partners to deliver promotional programs and even edited press releases. And since this event was targeted at a multi-ethnic audience, we also worked closely with other agencies that took our work and translated it into Chinese, Spanish, and other languages. We also produced the Opening Ceremonies, the press preview, and other events. I was also the media spokesperson and was interviewed by a number of television stations. We even worked with the 49ers Total Access team and had Joe Fonzi and Melissa Galvin hosts on-site for their stand-ups (Check out Show #16). Needless to say, we were busy bees.

Why was the marketing so important? If you didn’t go to the event, ask yourself what would be your image of a Chinese lantern? Prior to the event, my own concept (shared by a lot of others) was what you might see hung outside a Chinese restaurant–typically round, red and maybe a little more than a foot in diameter. This Festival showed us that Chinese lanterns can be much, much more than that so capturing the imagination of the Bay Area and getting them to Santa Clara was critical to the Festival’s success.

Just about every structure on the six plus area Festival grounds was a Chinese lantern. Along with playful holiday displays, Global Winter Wonderland also featured landmarks from around the world including the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Pyramid of Chichen-Itza. Some of these structures towered 50 feet high while others spanned 100 feet. And many of the lanterns were green—not just in color but in the materials used. Plastic and glass bottles, CDs and DVDs, and other materials were used in construction. And most of the structures used energy efficient LED lights. The Fortune God was lit by a solar panel. In addition to these structures there was also a Dinosaur Maze along with food, entertainment, and carnival rides and games.

Complicating the marketing challenge was that this was the U.S. debut of the Festival. Since there was very little video to work with and we had to be on-air before the event opened and before the Festival Grounds were even constructed, producing the commercials was more than a little challenging. We met the challenge by bringing our cast into the studio and shooting them on green screen and then compositing them against what little video did exist along with stills and animated backgrounds. It made for a fun casting session and shoot with our multi-generational cast having to pretend like they were being amazed by all the beautiful scenes or enjoying clowns and magicians or being scared by towering dinosaur animatronics. But our cast stepped up and delivered great performances all around.

As with any first-time event, there were definitely lessons learned and areas for improvement but without a great marketing campaign there wouldn’t be a 2012 edition of Global Winter Wonderland.