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

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.

West Marine University

Monday, March 12th, 2012

West Marine has been a client of ours for many years. We used to produce all of their national television commercials. You can imagine how tough that is…production in places like southern California, northern Washington state, and south Florida. (Wonder why we love our work?) Then they stopped buying TV. So you can imagine our delight when they contacted us to produce a couple of videos for what they call their West Marine University. We’ve produced videos for this event – where they bring their Store Managers, District Managers, Regional VPs and outside and inside sales reps for the Port Supply wholesale division to train and inspire them. Inspiration is right in our wheel house.

This year’s video was all about the big reveal of the new company tag line and to build up to the reveal we first recapped the origins of the company and the years leading up to 2012. Working with the talented Aaron Dingman, we took the West Marine logo (2D graphic of a piece rope) and turned it into its 3D counterpart, which then became the timeline for the history of West Marine. As we traveled along the rope, we entered a series of archive photos or video. The first chapter begins in 1967 when Randy Repass founds West Coast Ropes. We hear a bit of Randy’s vision, over a series of historical stills, then move back to our timeline and onto the next chapter as West Marine is formed and touts their Quality Boating Gear and Apparel. More historical stills with music and then we’re off again to chapter three and “We Make Boating More Fun”.

“We Make Boating More Fun” has been their trademark tagline for as long as we can remember. But West Marine had literally outgrown the tagline. Their stores were really super stores of an active lifestyle based around the water. It’s not just about boats and boat owners. With stunning imagery and a rousing sound track, we introduced (drum roll, please) “For Your Life on the Water”. We seemed to have accomplished the inspiration objective. According to our client, “As expected, the video went over really, really well! The audience cheered, and I think they really “got it.” So it was a great success. The “walk out” video was also well received and was used not only at the end of Geoff’s keynote speech, but throughout the week at various dinners and other group functions. I can tell you that the response to the new tagline has been overwhelmingly positive, and I think that’s due in large part to the way the video worked to establish a context for our new brand positioning. As always, you guys did a great job pulling this all together in very short order. Thanks!”

No, thank you! For the business and your continued confidence in us. Until next time!

Tribute to Butch

Friday, February 24th, 2012

We lost a very dear friend of not only Tam and Susan’s but our company on December 21st. Butch Butler was not only a giant in the carnival/amusement industry and the much-loved patriarch of the Butler family but was simply a great man.

Tam and company spent an entire summer with Butler Amusements and the Butler family capturing the life of the traveling family carnival. Following our lives as carnies (including one circus jump from Santa Maria to Turlock), we’ve edited it and re-edited into numerous different reality television shows with titles such as The Carney Life, Carnival Kings and the latest version Ride Jocks. While network after network express interest in the show and the world, there seems to be some expectations that the “reality” of the carnival world is more like a circus midway with strange characters like the Bearded Lady or something. Instead, we’ve seen this “reality” show as an interesting traveling venue for a family business. The reason all four of the Butler daughters are in the family business as is Butch’s first wife, Mary, the husbands/partners of the daughters, and too many grandchildren to count. And they all travel from town to town, from February to November.

We’ve found it to be a really interesting world to explore. Here’s a bit from the treatment:

Ride Jocks takes viewers deep into the world of the traveling carnival, a view that the every day patron does not get to experience. An experience where hard-working all-American men and women live an adrenaline-filled life on the road and where every night is a gripping thrill ride filled with unexpected twists and turns. Rides are built, repaired, torn-down and transported in torrential down pours and sweltering heat. Mother nature may not be the only one doing its best to break into profits, there are also difficult safety inspectors ready to impose costly fines if the rides don’t pass inspection. Workers on the carnival circuit become a true family and, like any family, there’s more than enough drama to go around. The grueling life of the carnival keeps crews on the road ten months out of the year, working seven days a week from daybreak till midnight, living in cramped quarters and dealing with unruly customers, a lifestyle that takes a toll on everyone. Ride Jocks is an in-depth look into the non-stop work that goes into running and preserving one of America’s dying traditions. There’s never a dull moment on the topsy-turvy thrill ride of carnival life and the ride jocks are at the heart of it, as they say, “there’s no business like show business.

Until a network gets as excited as we are about our Carney friends, we started a YouTube channel to show some of the stories that could have been featured; you can watch Ride Jocks at And for our friend Butch, thanks for the memories and your hospitality on and off the road. We’ll miss you.

A Peach of a Client!

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

One of my favorite clients Peachwood’s has been very busy lately with launching a new company and rebranding their restaurant and weddings/special events. We have been working hard for them and we’ve still got more to do, launching a new website and creating a new section to their current one. If you’ve never had a meal at Peachwood’s Steakhouse then you are missing out! The lunch is delicious and the dinner amazing. The dinner features a five-course meal, with generous portions at a really great price. The other arm of Peachwood’s is the weddings & special events and it is where I got married, my brother got married and we have had all of our big events from birthday parties to anniversaries throughout the years. And the Peachwood’s is branching away from their home at Pasatiempo with the creation of PeachGirl Catering & Events, a off-site way to enjoy Peachwood’s cuisine and the experience of their event specialists in a location of your choice.

Our main work with Peachwood’s and PeachGirl is executing their marketing plan, working closely with Jenifer Smith Ringel and Shannon Finney-Candelario, we have assisted them with redesigning the restaurant menus, catering menus, wedding brochures, social media outreach, advertising plan and ad creation, palettes at Costco, e-newsletters and so much more. It’s a chance to be creative in ways that is not limited to video and really take our experience beyond the television.

Check out Peachwood’s current site here.