Thursday, February 01, 2007

My Worst Presentation Ever: Part 1 of 3- The Omen

Almost exactly one year ago I started production on a new kids album called “Cool Tunes.” It was to be an extension to The Safe Side kids safety product line (if you want more background on The Safe Side you can read my post The Postman Always Passes Twice).

I had engaged a well-respected producer and writer to create the project, and given him and the other writers plenty of background content on the subject matter to be covered on the album- scripts, Hot Tips, and other material that would provide plenty of fodder for crafty clever lyrics. The idea was to create a fun kids record for 4-8 year olds. You know the kind, fun bouncy music that reeked of Wiggles and Doodle-bops. No Barney please.

Then something very interesting happened. A few days before the planning meeting with the producer to finalize the creative direction of the record, my wife and four girls settled down to our weekly Friday night Movie Night, complete with popcorn and drinks. Rental movies, our film library and pay-per-view sat idle that night- the girls said there was a new Disney movie that night and they wanted to watch it. So we settled in to watch High School Musical on the night it premiered Jan. 20th, 2006.

I was floored. Great music, fun lyrics, and I witnessed all four girls, 4 to 12 years old, totally and completely enraptured by the movie and the music. I take special note when kids content can keep the attention of kids across an age span of 9 or 10 years. It is not very common. I knew halfway through the movie that we were watching something special.

Monday morning I had my meeting with the producer. We jumped in to the matter at hand right away- “Chris, I want to totally change the direction of this record. Friday night I watched a great movie with the girls called…” I started. Chris chimed in “…High School Musical! Me too! I watched it with my girls (he has 3) and they loved it.” So we were in agreement, and we set out to do what everyone in the music business does- steal good ideas and concepts. Cool Tunes was finished 90 days later.

And so began my journey to the worst presentation I ever gave.

One of the key points of the marketing plan for Cool Tunes was to get Radio Disney to listen to the record and accept it for airplay or maybe for promotions, safety special features, interstitials, whatever we could land to increase exposure. I got the meeting set, and made plans for my trip to Dallas for the big day. I was fortunate to have landed a 90 minute meeting with Mrs. J, the head of programming. I had met her on a previous occasion while at my previous company.

As the day approached and I exchanged E-mails with her assistant regarding the meeting details, I was warned that the Radio Disney building was hard to find, and instead of giving detailed directions about navigating a maze of side streets and parking lots that had no street signs, I should call them when I was close and they would guide me in.

The day before the meeting I completed my fancy-shmancy PowerPoint presentation, gathered demo copies of the record, and practiced my presentation. It was important that I hit a homerun and landed this opportunity. The next morning I got up early, gathered everything I needed, and headed out to the airport for my in-and-out one day trip.

A harbinger of disaster made itself known as I sat in my seat for the flight to Dallas. I had forgot my Blackberry/cell phone in the car. Not good. A very bad omen indeed. I had dozens of urgent E-mails to handle, and I also needed it to call Radio Disney when I got near their building. I thought I would be ok- I had the address printed out, and my laptop with me for a wireless E-mail session when I got there. I settled down for the hour and a half flight.

Then the pilot announced we would be delayed due to a mechanical problem and sat at the gate for an hour. I wasn’t too worried- that still left me an hour to get to the meeting after we landed, figuring the taxi ride to Radio Disney would be well under that.

Continued...My Worst Presentation Ever: Part 2 of 3- Roadkill







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1 comments:

Karen Shanley said...

Can't wait to see where this goes... :)