Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thanks? You're quite welcome

Friends are often surprised to learn I write speeches for corporate executives. “They don’t write their remarks themselves?,” they ask. My mother has a different question: “Did they thank you for the speech?”

She used to ask that of any project I wrote: annual reports, websites, newsletters, articles.

I’d tell her my thanks came in the form of a check: a fair exchange of work for monetary reward. I expect nothing more.

That’s why I was so surprised to be invited to a client’s celebration of its brand launch and website redesign. Sure, I worked on the project. I put in many hours. And I was paid for my efforts. My only hope after cashing the check was to be considered for future work.

When I got the email invite, I thought it must have been a mistake. My name was on a project list, so I was probably included by oversight. They wouldn’t possibly invite a vendor to a company celebration, would they?

I emailed another vendor who had worked on the project. “Did you get this email from the client? Are you going to the launch party?” He wrote back: “Yup. And you should, too.”

So I sent back my RSVP, cleared my calendar, and went to the party.

I had been writing about the company’s culture of caring and compassion for months. Now I was seeing it in action.

How unusual, in today’s environment of budget-cutting and downsizing, to extend such generosity and welcome to a vendor. It says more than I ever could convey in words about the company and its core values.

Not only was it unexpected to be included in the client’s corporate family, it also turned out to be a lot of fun.

Thanks to me? You’re quite welcome BAYADA Home Health Care.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Laugh out loud bad

Bad movies have never been badder. And riffing on them has never been funnier than when the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000, or MST3K, is on the job.

It seems like only yesterday that I was laughing out loud in front of my TV as the cast of MST3K turned B-movie drek into some of the funniest, memorable scenes ever. But the show is long gone from the airwaves, running from 1988 to 1999.

But it was just yesterday -- well, last week -- that I was once again doing spit-takes and laughing till my jaw hurt courtesy of the MST3K crew. This time, the fun was live and onstage at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

The creator and original cast have resurrected "the tradition of riffing on the unfathomable, the horribly great, and the just plain 'cheesy' movies of the past."

Titled Cinematic Titanic, the show we saw was a double-header of incredibly bad science fiction flicks:
  • "The Astral Factor," featuring a convicted strangler who can make himself invisible, as do Stephanie Powers' pants throughout the movie.
  • "Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks," with a mad scientist, Neaderthals Ook and Goliath, a hunchback cook, a revenge-obsessed dwarf, and two "dead-sexy biology students."

I thought I'd miss seeing the 'bots -- Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot -- but hearing those same engaging voices and sharp wit was enough to recreate the magic.

Good to see the old irreverent gang again: Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu (Crow, Dr. Forrester), J. Elvis Weinstein (Tom Servo, Dr. Erhardt), Frank Conniff (TV's Frank), and Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forrester).

"We've got movie sign!"