I've created this page to reminisce about some of the fun and interesting things we've done over the quarter century.
Meeting James Bond!
We've done photo shoots with several celebrities over the years, but perhaps my most favorite was meeting Sir Sean Connery when I handled the public relations work for the Tourist Board of Scotland. We were able to secure a spot on CBS Sunday Morning on the history of the kilt during Tartan Week in 2000. Sean Connery was leading the largest pipe and drum parade in history in NYC. We had access to his assistant who was wonderul and said Sean would love to be included in the spot. So we met with Sean Connery and his lovely wife at the Waldorf Astoria before the Tartan Ball. He walked right up to me and said, "Risa, it's so nice to meet you." He was as impressive and as gracious as you would imagine he would be! We filmed the segment which aired the following weekend. It was spectacular.
Trade Show Disaster!
I love when clients ask me to help with trade shows. I have flown all over the U.S. to man booths, work the press room and set up and break down. There are so many great shows, the optical show, toy fair at Javitz, CES in Vegas, and many more. These shows can be quite exhilarating, but they can also wear you out. At CES many years ago I was working with a small electronics firm, believe it or not, we were pushing 3D TV! People said it would never work!!! But we had a great product and were there to launch it. We worked the show and created a Hawaiian Island theme for the booth (I don't remember why, but in any case...), it was the end of the first night and we were heading back to our cars to go to the hotel. I was to travel with the president of the company and the other four people were taking a van back. We all walked to the parking lot, they got in their car, wished us a good night and drove off. The president of the company and I looked around, saw the car, but didn't see anyone else around... he didn't have the keys, the car lot attendant did. He was no where to be found. It was dark and we were all alone. We weren't sure quite what to do. It was late and it wasn't a good area (L.A. back then).
Nervous, we walked until we found a bar, well, not quite a bar, if you know what I mean. We asked for the number for a taxi and no one seemed to speak English or didn't want to help us (yes, this was before cell phones!). I waited by the door while the president negotiated with the owner to get us a ride. Eventually a car pulled up that didn't quite look like a taxi, but we got in. I remembered at that point that I wasn't at the same hotel as the rest of them, there were no rooms when they decided to ask me to go. I was at a little hotel without a recognizable name! I was dropped off and had to find my room. Oh, first I stepped over the homeless man who was sprawled out in front of the doorway! They showed me to my room which was small enough to truly be a closet. It had one small bed and a sink...... yeah, that's it! No bathroom! No shower! The shower and bathroom were down the hall! I was terrified to stay there but thoroughly exhausted from the day and the previous ordeal, so I managed to fall asleep. I was up at 5 am the next morning and informed the president that if he didn't find me another room in a hotel with a name I could recognize, I was taking the first flight back to NY first class at his expense! A room was found and the show was successful.
Kicking off my heels!
One of my favorite clients is Morton's The Steakhouse (okay, I love all my clients, but it's tough to beat a perfectly cooked Cajun ribeye!)! I was asked to be the photographer for the grand opening of the Brooklyn Morton's a few years back. I arrived early to find the perfect spot for the ribbon cutting, set up my tri-pod, cleaned my lens and I was all set to go. As the restaurant filled up with VIPs and Morton's staff, I got excited knowing that I would have an opportunity to photograph New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg. By the time he arrived, the restaurant was packed, not only with guests and VIPs but with photographers from various newspapers and other media. Fortunately, since I was the official Morton's photographer, I was able to go to the front door to get isolated shots with Morton's CEO and the new GM all by myself! Super, until the camera froze for a few seconds (along with my heart!). But I fixed it and got some great shots! Then it was time for the official ribbon cutting, but by the time I got back to my "perfect spot" it was obliterated by all the other photographers and everyone else who had crowded in for the momentous occasion. Now, I'm short, 5'3.5" to be exact and even with my heels there was no way I was going to get a good shot without moving around. So I got a few good ribbon cutting shots by ducking down into to the crowd and looking up! And when it came time for the bigger group shot it was time for drastic measures! I couldn't see anything! So I whipped off my heels and jumped on one of the brand new Morton's booth seats and was able to get a fabulous shot of Mayor Bloomberg who took the opportunity to look directly at me while everyone else was looking the other way! (You can see it here.) I was tickled pink! I had the shot framed along with the date and Morton's grand opening information and sent it to him, thanking him for looking in my direction at just the right moment. I understand from someone in his office that he has it hanging on his wall! Very cool. :)
The Early Bird
So over the years I have worked with MANY different types of people; some easy to work with, some not so easy. My goal however is always the same, get them visibility! So when I had a woman come to me with a unique nail polish product, I was intrigued and thought that it would be well-liked by the media. she had developed a polish protector; 10 little plastic covers that are placed on your fingers and over your nails and have a hinge and fold down like a little "door" to protect your nails until they are fully dry. It was a cool idea, but they were a little uncomfortable to wear and were a little flimsy. No matter, the idea was interesting and she had already sold a few hundred. My job was to get the product into the top women's magazines. So when Woman's Day called to say they wanted to interview her at 9 am on Friday morning, needless to say, I was ecstatic! I called her to let her know and instead of being as enthusiastic as I was, she responded with, "9 am! You expect me to get up that early!? Make it later in the day." Well, the interview never happened, we parted ways, and the product never took off. Remember: The Early Bird Catches The Worm! If the media wants to interview you at 5 am! Get up! :)