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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

A Grand Canyon of Gratitude

There are days when you realize that there is no way you’ll ever return the favor to a friend and today is one of those days. Last night I participated in SleepOver 2.0 with 8 other Chicago women, but it was three of my friends that worked behind the scenes to bring it to life that I am indebted to.

Scott F Murphy (who wrangled our tech), Shifra Werch (who wrangled us) and Andy Hannon (who took over the tech for the last 5 hours).

A few weeks ago, I had dinner with Scott one night, drinks with Shifra another night and spilled the top-secret plans for SleepOver 2.0. I told Scott that we’d be doing live-stream for 18 hours, using the hotel wifi and our laptops. He went into production mode and explained what it would take for the broadcast to be watchable-dedicated internet for proper bandwidth, real cameras with wide angle lenses and microphones.

My eyes glazed over and Scott made a list for me of the ideal equipment list. In my hands, and with my rolodex, the list was only a list. He turned it into a living, breathing webcast

. Scott opened his contact list and by the time we went live last night we had cameras provided by Panasonic, dedicated hi-speed internet provided by and a wide-angle lens, microphones, router and countless other working parts from Pixel Bros.

We met at noon and then he stayed until 5AM – working the camera, moderating the UStream chat room, trouble shooting internet and keeping me sane. The original plan didn’t include him staying until 5, but he did. I’m grateful, so very grateful and know there is nothing I can do to compensate his time, knowledge or wrangling. The only thing I can do is remember, like the Godfather, and be ready when it is his turn to ask me for a big, audacious favor.

Thank you, Scott.

Shifra Werch is a friend with an amazing career in theater. A director extraordinaire, she answer our call for a floor director (even when we didn’t know that’s what we were asking her to do.) She wrangled us, taught us how to safely pillow fight, asked us questions to keep the conversation flowing, called room service, ushered people in and out of the room and countless things I don’t even know she did. I won’t go on, not because I’m minimizing what she did, but because we embarassed her enough last night by waxing on about her amazing talent on-air. She took a bunch of women, only a few of us with any performance training, and turned us into an entertaining broadcast.

Thank you, Shifra.

Finally, thank you to Andy Hannon who tuned in at 4:00PM and stayed in the chat all night. Then around 4AM we started to harrass him to come and play his ukelele. He showed up, ukelele in tow right after MC Hammer called. (Yes, MC Hammer.) Then he tagged our Scott and took over the tech for the last five hours. This from a guy that I’ve only met in person once before. Wow.

Thank you, Andy.

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