Tuesday, June 19, 2007
The Best PowerPoint Presentation I Ever Saw
wasn't a Powerpoint presentation at all. It was an old fashioned slide show on a Kodak Carousel projecter. The presenter was George Plimpton and he was showing images about all the jobs he had done often as an amatuer competing in sporting events (or for example playing triangle with a symphony orchestra) then writing about his experiences.
The slides were photographs of Mr. Plimpton, and the real athletes he worked with, in action on the football field, the baseball diamond, the tennis court, or in a symphony hall.
As each image came up Mr. Plimpton would launch into a story in his distinctive, upper class, east coast, accent that somehow never seemed elitist and his stories always found their mark with grace and humor.
It was a great evening and the still best use of "PowerPoint" slides I've seen to date. Of course, not a single bullet point in the bunch.
By the way, I was the Theater Technician and so in charge of the slide projector that evening. I sat abou t 4 rows from the front and when Mr. Plimpton would indicate, I would advance the slide. I think I was 19 years old.
The inevitable glitch occured about half way through the presentation. The machine gave a little hic-cup and skipped ahead an extra slide. Mr. Plimpton (he will always be "Mr. Plimpton" in my mind) -well- Mr. Plimpton said, "That's alright just back up one slide."
Well, I tried that but when I hit the reverse button...the carousel ADVANCED...one more slide. I hit it again, and again it advanced, and again, and again. And...Mr. Plimpton held up a hand and said softly, "That's alright son," he looked at the screen then back at me, "I'll just tell them what they would have seen."
He looked at the screen a moment, turned back to the audience to begin but stopped, seeming to reconsider. He looked at the screen almost wistfully before turning back to me and asking, "Young man, (he paused) do you have a date tonight after my talk?"