Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's been real, unreal and surreal: The rest of the LA trip!

All right, now that I told you about the Jib Jab experience, it's time to fill you in on all of the other exciting moments that happened in LA! Before I do that, let me remind you of the top 5 reasons why I wanted to go to LA:

5) I Haven’t Left the Time Zone.

If it wasn't for terrible jet lag the first few nights (Sarah can attest to how I was practically sleepwalking at the jazz cafe we went to!), then I really would have enjoyed it more. But I think I was like a little kid when I kept thinking what time it is in New York! It was actually the first day, when we walked through the Third Street Promenade in the late afternoon and I saw the Yankees-Red Sox game on the TV at a restaurant bar that I got really confused!

4) Have you been to Binghamton?

Apparently we went during the worst overcast time, and the one day we were prepped for the beach, it wasn't beach weather, but even seeing the palm trees everywhere were enough for me!

3) I want to see the celebrities!

AND THAT WE DID! I almost died when I saw Dermot Mulroney (The Wedding Date, My Best Friend's Wedding,jeez...the guy loves matrimony!) at a table right next to us at this new cafe! It was at that same cafe we saw "Trey" from "The OC." So two celebs in one sitting--not to bad! Then it was the next day for dinner that we saw the actor who played "Napoleon Dynamite" at a restaurant! Not to mention seeing and taking pics with Bob Saget at The Laugh Factory and Jay Leno at The Tonight Show! Also we went to the Bill Maher show and saw Ben Affleck on the season finale (not to mention Kevin Costner and Jordin Sparks on Leno!)! But the excitement didn't end when we got back to New York. JC Chasez, formerly of N'SYNC, was spotted when we got offthe plane! I guess I didn't need to leave NY after all to see some stars!

2) I want the golden ticket!
Like the American Idol hopefuls, I want to say, “I’m going to Hollywoooooooooood!!!

All right, now coupled with my Leno experience, I didn't think that an idol reference was going to turn into a reality! It turns out on Tuesday night, after Sarah and I checked out my cousin, Damon's work on the Comedy Central show, "Lil' Bush," we walked our way over to the Kodak Theatre. Damon suggested that there could be a chance there may be some unused Will Call tickets. So I power walked my way up to the theatre.

"Tickets!" the usher cried out.
"How do I get tickets!" I replied in a panic.
"Go try at the box office. Show starts in 5 minutes!"
So Sarah and I headed down to the office, where we were told they can't give out any tickets at that moment. So we hovered around that area and stood next to a security guard. The woman calls over the security guard two minutes later and tells him "Go start finding people to give out these tickets."
"I have two girls right here," he said.
"All right take these two."

And so I was handed an American Idol ticket and quite frankly, I think I was lifted up to our seats on Cloud Nine.

If there was anywhere in the world I wanted to be (sorry if this sounds cheesy) but it was right there at that Idol show--and since we were in LA anyway--why, we just HAD to be there! We didn't see the real finale, but we saw the night that really counted, and therefore, add Ryan, Paula, Simon and Randy to the list of celeb sightings!

1) This is my big break!

All right. Now what didn't I do out in LA you ask? Let's see, not only did we see celebs, view the shows American Idol, Jay Leno and Bill Maher, GO ON THE SET of the filming of National Treasure 2 by chance, but we checked out Universal Studios, Rodeo Drive, toured the Celebrities homes, checked out the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theatre, covered the Santa Monica Pier, shopped at Third Street Promenade, The Grove and The Farmer's Market, walked along Venice Beach and ate at some great restaurants! Now I don't know if this was my big break--that I'll have to get back to you years from now, but I do know that this trip was an unreal, and surreal experience that I will truly NEVER forget.

I think Sarah and I are extremely fortunate to have done all we did in Los Angeles. As you can see, a lot of our cool stories and experiences all happened by chance! It all couldn't have been possible without and Jib Jab Media!


The Jib Jab Experience: Nuckin' Futs!

I think I speak for Sarah and myself when I say that this trip to Los Angeles was WAY more that we could have imagined. Our main destination was the Jib JabMedia office in Venice, California, as part of the amazing prize we won to job shadow the creators of JibJab Media. By the end of the trip, we not only learned more about the digital media business, working in the entertainment industry, and living out in Los Angeles,but we got to experience first-hand some of the greatest entertainment shows out there on our trip!

Let me first talk about my Jib Jab experience, because after all, that was the reason I was able to go on this entire trip to begin with! Sarah and I woke up bright and early (5:30am that is) to head over to the office, which apparently is within walking distance of Venice Beach! (not to shabby, right?) We sat down with Jenny, who is the Production Coordinator, responsible for overseeing pretty much every aspect of the videos from start to finish. It sounds like a really great job! Especially for someone like myself who likes to get my hands on a little of everything! Jenny told us how she landed in Los Angeles herself, and I think it further reinforced the notion in Sarah's mind that she NEEDS to be out in Los Angeles for her career!

As for me, I was really intrigued after sitting with Andy, one of the writers for Jib Jab. He talked about how hard it is to come up with new ideas, break into the business and keep things funny. Andy sent out some "specs," or short scripts to different shows with the hope that he can get some episodes under his belt. I love the idea of writing comedies, but I must say that I was a bit discouraged. I'm not sure I'm passionate enough to write and write and write some more, and THEN handle what really seems to be an extremely competitive field of work. But I really would love to write a movie script someday and his advice really made me think with the right attitude, time committment and direction, it could happen!

The folks at Jib Jab treated us to coffee and lunch, and it was at our second Starbucks run that we were able to sit down with Evan, one of the co-creators of Jib Jab. Evan could quite possibly be one of the coolest bosses to ever work for. He has a laid-back attitude, but passionate desire to see the company grow. It really seemed to be a fun dynamic to be around! He really was so humble too, as he joked about he still felt like he's in his Brooklyn garage with his brother, Gregg, where the idea of Jib Jab came about. Evan brings to the table the artistic and web-based knowledge while Gregg, the other co-creator, is more focused on the creative writing and business side of Jib Jab. Those assets really do compliment each other!

Unfortunately that day, we couldn't meet with Gregg, the other half of the brains behind the business, so again, Sarah and I woke up at5:00am to get to the Jib Jab office by 7:00am for an early breakfast with Gregg (who mind you, got in the office at 5:30am!)

When we came in, we saw Evan sleeping on the couch in the break room. He didn't go home that night before! These guys are WORKAHOLICS!

They literally told us they put in about 12hr work days, if not more. So while at breakfast, most of our questions were answered the prior day, butit was interesting to pick the brain of a Wharton School graduate! Sarah and I grilled him on how the company actually profits (which at the moment, it does not!) and gave advice on the best ways to target our demographic for their new features--which aren't targeting those interested in politics like their previous works!

Overall the Jib Jab experience was great. Sarah and I even got to play in front of the green screen where they do the filming for their short videos. I really learned a lot about the business, the future of digital media, and life on the other side of the country. Seeing Gregg on Thursday was well worth it! Not only did he help round out the Jib Jab experience, but after telling him we planned on going to try to get Jay Leno tickets that day, he replied confidently, "I can get you guys tickets!" Little did we know that the tickets he got us were the two best seats in the house--directly in front of Leno when he does his monologue! (We also got to take a poleroid with Leno prior to the start of the show after being called up to the stage!) Seeing Jay Leno was one of MANY incredible stories that happened out there! But our time at Jib Jab really was an incredible experience.
I wish I could find a job that allows me to be as passionate about my work as both Evan and Gregg are about Jib Jab!