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DCYE-SeasonFinaleOn my career aptitude tests in junior high, being a volunteer promoter for a Live Radio Theatre company never came up. And yet, here are the results of another season of helping Don’t Close Your Eyes Live Radio Theatre get their message out.

It’s an interesting challenge, because in the tradition of classic old time radio, the two writers (Keith Suta and Ryan Cassavaugh) write and stage the live one-hour shows on a tight weekly schedule. During the week that Keith is writing a show, Ryan is doing a table read, a dress rehearsal and two performances with the cast of his show. Then the next week, Ryan is writing while Keith is staging. As a result of this whirlwind production schedule, the cast—and even the title of the show—sometimes isn’t nailed down until the Monday of the week that it’s staged!

To help them get the word out, I started doing these little promos with photos of cast members and their roles to post on Facebook. This way, the actors could be tagged in the image, and fans would know what show was playing and who was in it. (Theatre companies are notorious for not realizing that audiences actually care who the actors are!) The tricky part was finding photos each week. Often I could grab photos that the talented Nina Tucciarelli took during the first and second seasons, but sometimes I had to resort to trolling Facebook for mugshots! I tried to make the mugs look appropriate to the show theme, but sometimes it was quite time consuming to dig around to find mugs that would work. All for a little FB buzz!

I made the date/time block a different color each week to help differentiate the shows, and fooled around with different treatments for the photos to make each promo look a little different from the last. Otherwise I tried to give them a relatively consistent branded look.

This is the last week of their season. Should be a big time! I happen to be an OTR nerd, but I think it’s about the best family entertainment around. I raised my kid up listening to The Bickersons, Red Skelton, Burns & Allen and Edgar Bergen… And she grew up to be an unpaid Live Radio Theatre sound effects technician! (But that’s another story…)

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Acronym Haters of America hat

I know this is kind of silly.

In my line of work, I frequently create publications for educational programs (PEP).

Many my educational clients insist on naming their programs with Incomprehensible Acronyms that Mean Nothing to Anyone Outside of their Organization (IAMNAOO). It drives me nuts!

I may just be your everyday writer/editor/designer/illustrator, but I also know a little about branding. And naming your thing with a perplexing, hard-to-remember, impossible-to-say acronym that carries no implications or connotations that connect in any way with what the thing is about is—to use some high powered branding terminology—just plain dumb!

I would love to be able to sneak up on these educators while they are sleeping and surgically implant in their heads the idea that meaning should be part of a name! But usually by the time I am hired, the program is already named some sterile, meaningless, off-putting acronym, and it’s too late for them to benefit from my wisdom.

So, for therapeutic reasons, I decided to start an imaginary club called Acronym Haters of America. I named it AHA!

Then, since the first thing I do when I think of anything is to create some merch, I made a Cafepress page full of “AHA!” merchandise.

I later found that I wasn’t the first person to have thought of this painfully ironic club. I did a web search and realized somebody had created the AHCA “Acronym Haters Club of America” on Facebook, but they haven’t posted anything since 2009, so apparently the anti-acronym hysteria has died down a bit.

If I get rich on my AHA! merchandise, I will entertain the idea of splitting the proceeds with the AHCA, for charitable or educational use.

But that might be a while, as I have yet to make my first sale.

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