Not Just Another Ordinary Day: Goodnight As the World Turns

September 26, 2010 at 2:24 am (Uncategorized)

It was just about a year ago that The Guiding Light went off the air. I confessed to you then that years before I moved to Raleigh and became an artist, I spent a summer in the fictitious town of Oakdale, Illinois, the setting for As the World Turns.

When I was teenager, I started watching As the World Turns. As a sophomore in college, I worked for WIOD Radio in Miami. The News Director there suggested that I could get a wealth of television production experience working for a soap opera. The following year, I sent off a resume to As the World Turns Producer Lisa Wilson. I interviewed for an internship position and in the summer of 1989, packed my bags and moved into the dorms at New York University to begin work as a production intern on the show.

Although I did fetch coffee and lunch for the producers and directors, copied scripts, and ran errands, I also learned the value of working hard, going above and beyond the call of duty, and for at least a summer, was a witness to a piece of television history.

With the immortal words “Good morning, dear,” actress Helen Wagner (Nancy Hughes) opened As the World Turns on April 2, 1956. As the World Turns (ATWT) was the creation of Irna Phillips who, beginning in the 1930s, had been one of the foremost creators and writers of radio soap operas.  It was the first television daytime drama with a 30-minute running time, along with The Edge of Night, which premiered the same day. 

ATWT became the longest running dramatic series created exclusively for television. Wagner, incidentally, who passed away last May, is also acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records as being the longest-running character played by one actor or actress on television.

I will always look back on my summer in Oakdale fondly. I have to confess that this week I have missed coming home after picking up my kids from school and watching my recorded episodes of As the World Turns.

“And so, a perfectly ordinary day in Oakdale comes to an end.  Oakdale may be an ordinary town filled with ordinary people, but it’s an ordinary town where extraordinary things happen ever day.” [Dr. Bob Hughes, Final Episode, September 18, 2010]

After he delivered these final thoughts, Dr. Bob closed the final episode by leaving his office and saying, “Goodnight.”  

And so I too bid you goodnight, As the World Turns. You will be missed.

View this classic clip of As the World Turns with Nancy (Helen Wagner) and Dr. Bob (Don Hastings) from 1963, in the middle of which Walter Cronkite breaks in with breaking news of the Kennedy assasination.


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Lesson Learned from Mama Chili’s

September 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm (Uncategorized)

“The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing. ” Thomas Edison

Last week, I met my husband for lunch at the Chili’s in Knightdale, North Carolina. My husband and his coworkers frequent this Chili’s at least once a week, and for the last few weeks he has been hounding me to come and see why.  

For the last seven years, Amber Spencer, also known as Mama Chili’s, has been greeting and seating people first at the Chili’s in  Triangle Town Center in Raleigh, and now at the Chili’s in Knightdale. When I walked in, Mama said to me, “sit down, put your feet up, stay awhile” and “you know, I appreciate you.” She said it with such certitude that I really believed that she did. 

While I was sitting waiting for my husband, I watched other customers come and go. One older group of women who were leaving the restaurant bid Mama goodbye, to which she replied, “let me know the next time you all are coming in and I’ll join you for lunch.” Another group walked in to which she said, “come in, the water’s fine.” Each and every customer was gratuitously greeted with a smile, some with a hug, and all with honest purpose, which one business website calls “saleslove.”

The definition of “saleslove” is “unselfish and loyal care for the good of a customer, prospect, reseller, and/or team member.”

“Follow through with all service needs and requests until your customers and prospects confirm their needs have been handled. Gladly give them your continued attention and increase the chances you’ll become (and remain) their resource.” []

Over the last few  years, I have had many young artists come into my studio asking for advice, mostly on how to get started selling and marketing their work. I have looked at countless portfolios, sketches, and designs, and while most of these artists can design circles around me, they don’t have any business or marketing sense.

My overall business philosophy, personified by Mama Chili’s, is pretty simple.

First, find one thing, and do it better than anybody else. Many of the designers who come into my studio soliciting advice, wire wrap, weave,  fabricate, and who knows what else. Their portfolios are chockfull of pieces that show a wide variety of techniques and mediums, which at best demonstrate an inconsistent body of work.

Second, remember that the key to business, especially in a down economy, is in fact personal relationships. For me, that means developing personal relationships with my prospective customers, collectors, galleries, and suppliers. 

“Unless you love everybody, you can’t sell anybody” (Dicky Fox, from Jerry Maguire).

Lesson learned from Mama Chili.

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