Alumni ProfileKelly Planer '93
Producing community

planerKelly Planer’s ’93 creative juices work overtime. So there are sticky notes on her car’s steering wheel where, as she drives, she can jot things down—like a song for the Crayola company.

One evening last fall, the senior producer for First Generation Visual Communication in Allentown, Pa., left work after a client meeting. The task she’d been given: create a music video for the Crayola company that would inspire customers.

“Did you know that Crayola crayons are one of the most recognizable smells in the world?” Planer said. “Everybody grew up with them. So Crayola wanted an image piece, one that would trigger people’s memories and also help them see that working with Crayola products leads kids to discovery.

“So, on my seven-mile drive home I got this mental picture of a woman coming home and finding that her mother had dropped off an envelope of drawings she’d made as a child. The woman is dressed in her nurse scrubs, and as she looks through the drawings you see that as a girl she’d drawn all these cute little nurses.”

The things I am to be I’m now becoming.

“That line of the song is something my junior high principal used to drill into our heads at assemblies. He’d roar, ‘What you are to be—you are now becoming!’ The lyrics and the music came to me right along with the mental picture, because I’m a very visual girl.

 “When I played the song for my client, she said, ‘That’s exactly what I wanted!’ I connected with Crayola’s vision, and we sent out this happy message about family and legacy. That was a really nice moment.”

But not, Planer adds, an everyday moment.

“Other parts of my job involve producing training videos for Mack Trucks and Volvo. I write a lot about diesel engines, and I do not have that background at all! But I know who to go to for the information I need, and then I try to put it out there creatively.”

Other instructional videos she’s proud of: a series for employees of an electric utility on workplace safety. “Their safety statistics have improved since we started the series,” Planer said. “It’s really gratifying to be part of that.” Also a date-rape drug-prevention video for classroom use. “I’ve had people ask me for a copy of that one so they can show it to their daughters.”

Whether about crayons or diesel engines or drug prevention, her audio-visual productions are really “all the same thing in different outfits,” Planer said. “They’re about inspiring people to do one thing or another.

“And,” she added, “this work transcends personality. Like all of us, when I started I had this idea that I was going to get my message out there and change the world. Little by little I’ve learned it’s not about me. It’s a collaboration between the client and a team of creative people. Together you make something bigger than any one of you. As a producer I get to provide an opportunity for community on a deep level. I love that! That’s what it’s all about for me.”