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Phoenix. Tucson.   Phoenix. Tucson.   Phoenix/Tucson, Phoenix/Tucson, Phoenix/Tucson, Phoenix/Tucson...

Each time I have the opportunity to head south I think to myself I made a REALLY BIG mistake selecting Phoenix over Tucson as the city for me to settle in way back when – especially now that Phoenix has transformed itself, actually, been transformed into The Valley of The Brown Cloud. So much for moving to Arizona as the 'cure' for bad lungs.

El Presidio, Mount Lemmon, the U of A campus, the Catalinas, Barrio, the truly green desert... However, I have to say Phoenix is the engine of Arizona and there is much to be said for its vitality, the insane entrepreneurial possibilities that are all about us here by comparison to a more laid back, Sonoran vibe of The Old Pueblo.

As Wayne Rainey and I talked about the layouts he was provided by associates at R & R Partners he explained to me that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona was looking to really pitch southern Arizona and that we should focus on finding as much of what we could in the Tucson area. Terrific. 'A pair of middle-aged gals taking a power-walk through a suburban desert neighborhood', 'colleagues meeting' in a restaurant or some interesting public space, a family day trip hiking in 'the wilderness', 'siblings playing in their front yard with mom and her neighbor or her sister out watching the children play'; you know, lifestyle stuff. The options I found Wayne and his agency colleagues in Tucson that are first-glance recognizable by any local there were, in my mind, a really fresh representation of life in Arizona, a welcome counterpoint to the standard Phoenix/Sedona/Grand Canyon-based requests I often get with print and teevee ad campaigns I work on. Ultimately, the project was split between Tucson, Phoenix and, of course, Sedona. Damn. You just gotta have them red rocks now dontcha!

Much thanks go to Peter Catalanotte of the Tucson Film Commision. He gets so much done for us with only a phone call down to his office or cell phone, and Debbie Knoblauch at the Phoenix Film Office for her boundless patience and amazing gift for 'keeping a litter of wild cats in the yard, behaving more like kittens after a warm lunch on mom'. How could production take place in either city without the help of these two seasoned professionals? Wayne's shoot was produced by his friend and representative, Michael Muratore – Store 44 Reps.

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