Drama King: Jeff Storley protrays the Wizard in the Rockwell spoof of The Wizard of Oz.
Attention Mel Brooks: One slip up and Rockwell Automation's Alan Howard could replace you as one of America's funniest screenwriters. Alan, who has done multimedia development in Rockwell's marketing department, has been writing and producing theater presentations for more than a dozen years. And many of his creations make their way to the big screen—at least the big monitor Rockwell uses in its trade show booths. Charged with illustrating the benefits of Rockwell technology, he has avoided the trap of producing boring PowerPoints and opted instead for dramatizing the technology with his own tongue-in-cheek mini movies. Among his latest: an adaptation of the Wizard of Oz that shows the global orientation of Rockwell's products. His cast: fellow Rockwell employees. It was one of the "feature films" at Rockwell's Automation Fair in Orlando, FL, in late October.
In the film, Dorothy (played by Rockwell's Mark Moriarty) has to convince the wizard (Jeff Storley) of the power of Rockwell's products. Rhiannon Sterling plays the Tin Man, Kerri North plays the Strawman, Jim Baker plays the Good Witch, and Jason Weber plays the Wicked Witch.
The filming—at Rockwell's headquarters—was not without its funny moments. The little dog in Toto's role barked at everyone through nine takes. In fact, the barking was so loud that one employee not connected with the spoof called Security thinking a stray mutt had entered the building. Then there was the "falling nose" problem: The Wicked Witch's fake nose kept coming loose and falling to the floor.
Still, the show had to go on and they kept filming through their travails. The result: a hilarious presentation that makes a great point about Rockwell technology—and the spirit of Rockwell employees.
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