We Move Audiences!
In 1979, Rob Riordan joined the Milwaukee Chapter of SME — Sales and Marketing Executives. One of their welcoming benefits to new members was “The Two Minute Forum”, in which the members were given an opportunity to take two minutes — and no more — to tout their wares. Rob seized the opportunity — to suggest we produce the “perfect” two-minute demo show. This is no small challenge to any producer — they know (as clients rarely do) that producing shorter can be tougher — and more expensive (unless you just don’t care). The result was a 9-projector mission statement for Sorgel-Lee-Riordan. The reproduction below can not do justice to the clarity of the slide image, the incredible soundtrack, or the slide animation technique. In fact, it was digitized from a VHS copy of the show — the only remaining vestige of what was to become a Crystal Winner at an international festival.
The 2 minutes you just viewed were missing an elegant touch often including in showings of this presentation — a strobe light which flashes just after the announcer closes with “Can we move one for you?” That last element of surprise often led to laughter or gasps on the part of our potential clients — and softened them for the rest of the pitch, which would consist of selected projects that somehow would relate to their needs.
Ric Sorgel often claimed that AV people were in fact frustrated performers — and we always featured our people as voices or faces in our productions. They liked it, and they were already paid for.
“We Move Audiences” became a favorite among our fellow producers across the country (if not in the Milwaukee area!) Like the AVL Commitment Show which would be produced 2 years later, it hit home — “hey that’s just like us!”
Credits for the project, as best I can remember them, were:
- Producer: Ric Sorgel
- Writer: Rob Riordan
- Concept (moving audience): Brien Lee
- Multi-image designer/programmer: Ric Sorgel
- Artist: Dave Sorgel
- Photographer: Linda Barton (Westermann)
- Camera Effects: Dave Sorgel / Clark Blomquist
- Soundtrack: Paul Setser
- Narrator: Durward McDonald
- On-Camera Talent: Larry Roscioli; other pro’s not remembered
- “Free” On-Camera Talent: Linda Duczman (writer), Linda Barton (Photographer), Dave Sorgel (edit suite), Durward McDonald (Voice-over), Paul Setser (Audio Producer), and others.
Multi-Image is an art form that is nearly non-existent in today’s video-based world (see last chapter, Chapter 6: MultiMedia becomes Multi-Image). It was at its best when its inherent rhythms created an additional language level that created a suspension of disbelief. We always knew we “had ‘em” when an audience would look over their shoulder to see “how they did that”.
Quick story: I had the honor of accompanying the show to its screening at the AMI Multi-Image Festival. I got there with just a bit of time to spare before our show was to be shown (festival rules insisted the show be accompanied, even though the shows were professionally staged). I discovered in handing over the show at check-in that someone had forgotten to pack the strobe. The strobe light was triggered automatically by the multi-image control computer. Standing outside the Atlanta Convention Center, I waited until I saw someone walking by with a photographer’s case. Boldly, I asked him if he was part of the festival, and if I could borrow his strobe. Luckily, he was Ralph Colby, a multi-image pioneer, and enthusiast, and he said “sure”. I rushed to the auditorium, but I didn’t have time to figure out how to hook the strobe up to the massively staged festival equipment. So when they ran the show, I powered up the strobe’s battery, stood in the back of the room, and, doing my best “Statue of Liberty”, triggered the strobe manually. I got it right, and we got the gold… er, Crystal.