Tim Washer. Keynote Speaker + Event Emcee
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Top Pumpkin Uses for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Midterm Elections

Top Pumpkin Uses for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Midterm Elections

I’ve been procrastinating for only half a decade or so on launching a weekly YouTube comedy series.  I’m a total hypocrite for preaching improv principles such as “follow the fear” and “there are no mistakes, only gifts,” while letting doubt hold me back.

To be fair, occasionally I have the opportunity to be a small part of some comedy productions created by folks who geniuses, so when I first experimented on my own, the comparison was embarrassing.  But I know I let that fact drift from reason into an excuse to hide behind.

With the help of my daughter, I completed and published episode #1 yesterday.  And I’ll be celebrating throughout the week.  Actually, probably only until lunchtime today, as I need to start working on the next video.  What the heck I’ve I done?!

Finding Creative Inspiration 

I’ve been building a list of ideas and even scratching out scripts for a while, and I now feel the pressure to fill the pipeline.  Disciplined YouTubers suggest having 4-5 episodes “in the can” before launching a series, but I’m not disciplined.  Most ideas are connected to my current personal struggles, like trying to manage as a single parent, dealing with post-divorce depression, and trying not to be overwhelmed by the fear that comes with the risk of transitioning from a comfortable corporate job to working solo as a comedian.  Usually, those are dependable sources for funny ideas.   It helps me to laugh at the pain, and hopefully, it might defuse distress for others.  One of the greatest gifts we can give is reminding people that they are not alone in feeling shame.

When those sources fail me, I look for visual inspiration.  I figure if there is a scene that I enjoy, others might appreciate the view as well.  Then I explore ideas on how I could build a comedy concept around the shot.

Enter the Pumpkin

Our church has been operating the pumpkin patch as a mission for over 20 years.  There have been times when I’ve been skeptical about the project, usually after spending a September Saturday morning helping to unload 2,700 pumpkins weighing-in at 45,540 pounds.  Sure, it’s a great core workout, but who needs a strong core if you can’t move your legs?

The heavy lifting is always good fun, and I’ve gotten to know many folks from the Ridgefield community who I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

The patch hosts a free movie night each fall which is a family favorite.

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We purchase our inventory from a 1,200-acre farm on a Navajo Reservation 2,200 miles away in New Mexico, so we’re just shy of qualifying for Buy Local certification.  But the revenue supports 700 Native Americans living in an area of the country with 42% unemployment.

Due to pumpkins high price elasticity of demand, during an economic recession, most households cut back drastically on their pumpkin spend.  In a good year like 2011, we sold approximately 60 tons, raising $57,000 — 100% of the proceeds go to fund charities both locally and around the world, including an orphanage in Mozambique.  The rain this year has thinned our customer traffic and reduced sales, so we may need to layoff volunteers.

We’re open for business through Oct 31st.  Keep up with the Jesse Lee Pumpkin Patch on our Facebook page, and be sure to join us next year.

Unrelated:  Does anyone have an idea for next week’s comedy video?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BtoB Magazine: Elements of a Great Story

Usually the first question I ask when I’m preparing to produce a corporate video is “Can we film this in Burlington, Vermont?”  It’s a beautiful location, especially August through October.  But on our recent trip, the temperature on the lake with the windchill was minus 40.  Communication is challenging when your jaw is frozen shut.

Frozen Lake Champlain

Stalling so we could stay indoors a little longer, Steve Shepard and I had a chat with Ann Handley about corporate storytelling.  It’s featured in BtoB Magazine this week.

Shep_Tim

Plan to shoot your next video there, and schedule stops at Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, and American Flatbread. But keep an eye out for the lake monster.