Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Recovered ~ Early Suck Up Attempt by Stoddard Media Founder to Land Job with Industry Titan

(discovered in unnamed archival records & pasted verbatim complete with typos & improper punctuation for which heads would roll at Stoddard Media offices today due to unyielding zero tolerance policy for run on sentences & just plain bad writing without any punctuation only photos have been added to identify the two blameless people named important to note that no job offer resulted only a meeting for coffee that was a lot of fun but produced no income)

Thrilled to discover you tonight via google search. I went to Ridgeview High School, 2-3 years younger than Jamie. I was a not very good large but slow football player, and he was a rare nice upperclassman who treated the likes of me more kindly than he should.

Phil, Nancy and my classmate, Kay McLelland, performed a Wits' End Players afternoon "assembly" in our high school cafeteria, the lone assembly event I recall that ever offered any entertainment value whatsoever. It was a riot. Only then did I realize Jamie was the scion of celebrity parents, but I never exploited the opportunity to suck up to him.

I then aspired to seek out and attend Wits' End performances but never did, perhaps because I lacked a convincing enough fake ID in high school. Following 1979 graduation from UGA I took a job and moved to Chicago in 1984.

There I became a Second City junkie.

Uncanny that Thinks Wits thrives in corporate production I envisioned 20+ years ago.

I met with the late great Second City matriarch Joyce Sloane in her office circa 1995 re private event live stage corporate satire, employing Second City ETC and traveling troupe members. My day job was in conventions and trade shows.

In our meeting I presented a script of potential skits to parody all things related to Chicago’s convention center, McCormick Place. The event to trot out the concept was TS2, then the trade show for execs who ran corporate trade shows, to be hosted at McCormick Place later that year:

- Union shakedowns of exhibitors.
- Hokey canned & scripted exhibitor presentations - and smarmy audience retorts.
- Nefarious activities in VIP hospitality suites.
- Padded expense reports.
- Scary late night encounters after conventioneers stray too far from downtown.
- Headquarters hotel rip-offs, consequences from booking at non HQ lodging.
- Gout resulting from 7 days/nights of travel dining.
- Sworn employee secrecy re antics of corporate Chairman while traveling.
- Best lines at Chicago watering holes for conventioneers to get lucky.
- Obligatory requirement that every Chicago conventioneer pay full price admission to attend Second City - plus a $250 bar tab.

Joyce detested scripts, as each time one was ever presented to her re Second City it failed miserably. Her stages were all about improv. However, knowing nothing about trade shows she thought my rough outline was a foundation for success – and a whole new income stream for her beloved starving creative talent. Joyce and I were excited about the potential, but our day job obligations prevailed, and I shortly thereafter took another job in Philadelphia. Alas, shoulda coulda woulda, and time ran out.

I just moved back to Atlanta to dwell for the first time since 1984. My 10th grade son Kevin is in the thriving East Cobb drama and chorus programs at Walton High School. From ages 5 to 12 he owned the stage at every venue where he performed. Typical of his age he now is shy and lacks his former stage presence. However, he retains his uncanny lifelong skill to memorize scripts (and Billy Mays infomercials) after only 1 or 2 exposures.

Last year Kevin scored typical underclassman roles in Shrek, the Musical, Legally Blonde, and 9 to 5. I keep hoping Walton will stage a whimsical all male production such as Twelve Angry Men, but I digress.

Despite his expert instruction I appeal to Kevin to employ these stage techniques to hone his craft:

- visualize your audience members naked.
- shake your whole body loose all over before taking stage.
- project your voice like you're yelling at your brother.

But what do I know? These methods are dated, and if asked to perform on stage I would likely soil my Depends.

This is not an appeal for my son to audition for anything. I searched your website and find no “youth development” programs. If one exists it would be nothing but a bonus.

I now reside on a houseboat at Lake Lanier when not traveling. I gather and regret there is no metro area Atlanta venue where I can pay to enjoy the fruit of Think Wits labors. Please advise if that is not the case.



Stoddard Media
1400 Market Place Blvd
Cumming GA 30041

No comments:

Post a Comment