Excerpts from a brand new gig

It’s no secret that I have a day job as a graphic designer. In all honesty, it can be a pain sometimes, but most of the time it’s very rewarding. Since 2001, I’ve been part of a fabulous group called the Greater Lehigh Valley Ad Club. It’s a regional chapter of the American Advertising Federation. (The organization recently changed its name to something really long and cumbersome, and I’m not gonna bore you with that.) What matters is that these folks are my colleagues and my friends.

On the first Friday in March, we hold an annual event called the ADDY® Awards. It’s a big hoo-hah for the advertising folks (nationally) – rewarding them for creative excellence over the past year. We usually get some local radio or tv personalities to emcee the event, by reading off the list of winners and undoubtedly mispronouncing most of their names.

This year, however, I was very honored to be asked to co-host the event with our board vice-president, John Mulder – owner of 3SEED Marketing & Design in Kutztown, PA. John and I actually wrote the script to fit this year’s theme – Pop Art. There are at least five graphic designers on the committee, and they poured so much energy and enthusiasm into the show, it was bound to be a hit. And it was.

As part of the promotional materials, the designers created a postcard featuring a take-off of Milton Glaser’s Bob Dylan. Sarah Sterner did the illustration.

ADDYs Save the DateThey also produced videos which were played during the show. As part of the Dylan theme, John Mulder wrote advertising-related lyrics to the tune of Mr. Tambourine Man, and called it Mr. Clever Ad Man. They asked me to perform the song for the video. At some point, we decided it would be cool to integrate a live performance of that song into the show. This was easier said than done. But as I’ve learned from Dave Fry, every creative risk you take makes you a better performer and entertainer.

So, we embarked on a 3:27 video with less than two minutes of live performance, which would require six hours of video shoot, (countless hours of editing) and two hours of sound check and rehearsal. The end result was a fantastic, fun, happy time, with an audience of 225 people singing along to the song’s chorus as it scrolled across the bottom of the screen behind us. Here’s an excerpt of the script that preceded the video.

“It’s a good thing we don’t allow our winners to give acceptance speeches, otherwise it might become a confessional like Jodie Foster at the Golden Globes – remember?  Oh, what the hell. (pushes John out of the way) I have control of the stage.  And, well, I’ve been doing this for a lotta years, and I’ve faced a whole lot of rejection … and I’m just so happy to have come to this watershed in my life when I don’t have to care what anybody thinks … and right now Tracey’s over there thinking “Oh no, what is she doing?!” … I ‘m just going to put it out there, loud and proud. I am, (deep breath)… (lean in to the mic) … I’m a singer songwriter”

The final video, and a snippet of the live performance:


My thanks to a very cool group of people who had faith in me to pull this off. And thanks to John for keeping time on that tambourine, man. You have no idea how important that was.

If you’d like to see photos of the event, click here. Christopher Elston Photography

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