Friday, July 22, 2011

Kscope 11 Opening Session: Behind the Scenes

Frankly, most opening sessions at software conferences, with a few exceptions, are pretty forgettable.  I will never forget the Kscope11 opening session.  This is my backstage story.

The ODTUG Board of Directors, myself included, had no idea what we were getting into when Edward Roske was named the Conference Chairman.  I knew Edward had a flair for the dramatic; does anyone else remember the Solutions session from his company that was structured as a musical?   So, what did Edward have in mind for us?  Well, instead of announcing the location of Kscope12 with a slide or two, Edward wrote a 'screenplay' spoofing reality shows starring, you guessed it, the ODTUG Board of Directors!  Yes, we all had plenty of opportunities of make fools of ourselves in public!   As we were so close to LA, we had a professional film crew put together these spoofs!  We filmed all of these videos over about a 7 hour stretch on Saturday, one day before the conference started.   I was in the first four of the videos.  The first reality show?  Survivor!

As people were dismissed from each reality show, they were introduced as the next speaker.  Edward was dismissed in Survivor, via unanimous vote no less, and went on stage to welcome attendees to the conference.  Next up?  American Idol.  Keep in mind as you watch this video that we all selected our own songs and tried to make them very funny.  Further, the panel, comprised of interRel employees Terrance Walker and Danielle White, joined by ODTUG Board Member Mark Rittman (who played a spot-on Simon Cowell), had no idea what songs we were planning to sing, so you get to see their real reactions.

I picked the my song, 'Thank God I'm a Country Boy', as I thought it would crack up the panel, especially if I dressed up in some nice threads for the gig.  Actually, I did grow up on a farm in Michigan, so I really am a bit of a country boy..  Karen Cannell, the ODTUG Journal editor, cracked me up with her song.  She had actually never heard the song before and had to learn it out in the hall just before her performance.   Trivia note: Karen is wearing my Michigan hat that I got a the 2008 Citrus Bowl when my Michigan Wolverines beat the Florida Gators.

Next up was Big Brother.  We filmed all of these videos on Saturday afternoon and I was exhausted after the board meeting all day on Friday and the Saturday Community Service Project (where I restored 3 foosball tables at a Boys and Girls Club).  I was actually sleeping on the floor during portions of filming of this spoof.

There was a scene cut from Big Brother due to the lack of time.  I was supposed to do a 'surprised coming out of the shower scene' as they feature on Big Brother.  Unfortunately, due to my utter exhaustion, I didn't think of a really funny ending for the next spoof, The Bachelorette., until the next day.  More on that after the video.

Yes, Cameron and I, the EPM guys, both met our demise in The Bachelorette  We thought Danielle would certainly give us a rose as she is also a good EPM citizen, but we were sadly mistaken.   By the way, the drama after the dismissal, with Cameron refusing the hug and me having to give her an 'uncomfortably long' hug were both late script changes, but they were actually planned.  Of course, I didn't mind doing my part for ODTUG.     

OK, back to the cut Big Brother scene..  I woke up the next morning and realized we had missed an opportunity for a big laugh..  My thought is that the shower scene should be at the end of 'The Bachelorette' and after I had been dismissed.  I would be surprised coming out of the shower and would exit stage left while the camera stay focused on the shower door.  After about 5 or 6 seconds, Danielle would peek out, look both ways and then sneak away..  I think it would have been a huge laugh!

Cameron and I were then introduced and our job, on-stage, was to introduce the keynote speaker, Joey Asher.  Joey is an author and the founder of a company called SpeechWorks that helps companies communicate better.  The thing is, we introduced a fake version of Joey; it was actually geek comedian Don McMillen.  Don was extremely funny.  Here is a video posted to YouTube by someone in the audience.

After Don McMillen and the real Joey Asher spoke, the next spoof was 'So You Think You Can Dance'.  Board Members David Schleis and Month Latiolais absolutely cracked me up in this video which, by the way, I didn't see until just before the opening session.

Finally, the last spoof was 'The Amazing Race'.  Most of the race was held on Segway's through the sidewalks of Long Beach.  Actually, the entire ODTUG Board did a Segway tour of the facilities on the Thursday before the conference.  It was fun and only a couple of us fell off our Segway during the tour (Hello Edward and Fred).

The race ended on-stage with ODTUG President Mike Riley edging out Board Member John King by a nose.  Mike then had the honor of announcing that KScope12 is coming to San Antonio, Texas!  Next year, we will be at the JW Marriott Hill Country which features 2 TPC golf courses, a spa, an on-site 6 acre waterpark and an on-site, 100-acre nature preserve.  Plan to bring your family to enjoy the facilities while you learn the latest from the experts in the Essbase, Planning, HFM, OBIEE, APEX, PL/SQL, Database Development and Fusion Middleware.

The Kscope12 website is now open.  You can register for the conference, book a room, or even submit an abstract to be a speaker at

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