Just a reminder that there is no BetheMarriage LIVE! (On Ice) tonight. Feel free to watch archived episodes here.
Remember that time when I used to blog about stuff in my life, like important stuff, thoughts and hopes and dreams and cures for cancer and solutions to the health care crisis and posts that brought families together and made you laugh and cry?
Yeah, me neither.
However, I have noticed that I've used this space to promote what I'm working on (Woke Up Dead, Valemont), my dog (she is cute when she eats ice cream), the GAP (Miz Brat, your gift certificate is in the mail, I swear), the show I host with my husband every Saturday night (except for this Saturday night, we'll be seeing my nemesis Paul F. Tompkins and friends at the Largo.)
I haven't written about anything going on in my life because I haven't been living my life right now.
As a writer, you breathe life into your characters on the page. While you're supposed to know what their favorite color is and how they feel about their father and what they've got in their pockets, your characters live and die on the page. (And eventually, on the screen if you're doing that sort of thing.)
But when you're working on a project that covers multiple platforms - call it outreach, call it viral marketing, call it transmedia - your characters are always living and breathing. On Facebook. On Twitter. They react to events. They converse with their friends. They pick fights. Sure, they promote your project but they promote it simply by existing. By being themselves. Unique voices. Unique perspectives.
It's a pretty exciting time, seeing how people react to these beings out there - part pixel, part actor. The audience can choose to accept them as real and participate, or watch them as a separate storyline, or ignore them completely.
Just like they'd do with living, breathing human beings.
Except that these characters need someone to breathe life into them.
And currently I'm performing a lot of CPR. ;)
Last night I attended Digital LA's "Characters Go Digital," which was held at the WGA. The night promised some interesting speakers, including my friend the Brilliant Jay Bushman (no really, that's his name!) as well as panelists representing brands from Looney Tunes to Spongebob to Wall-E to the Muppets.
When I read about it, I thought it was a can't-miss panel. With an hour of networking prior and after the event, I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet people within the digital entertainment community. The fact that they were mostly kids' properties made the virtual pot even sweeter. I'm a Kids' TV writer with animation experience with over thirty produced episodes of television. I've written on the upcoming web series "Woke Up Dead" and I created all the online content as well as the ARG for MTV's Valemont.
THESE ARE MY PEOPLE.
Networking events can be strange, because a lot of the times there seems to be little networking going on. The first thing that I do when I go to a digital event is let people know I'm going to be there, so I was announcing it on Twitter, Facebook and the like for days before. However, I still didn't know anyone in the room (except for my friend Jay, but I was there! to network!) The room was oppressively hot and it was difficult to read everyone's nametags, and while I'm generally good at walking into a room of people I don't know I felt sort of skeevy walking up to someone and saying THIS IS WHAT I DO.
I was thinking about this last night, wondering if there was a way to make these a little more specific - would I pay more if the people who ran the events actually "hosted," introducing people to others? I honestly don't know, but I need to figure out a better strategy. Again, this is an issue where I blame myself, not the organizer. However, I'd be curious what others in the tech community think.
The panel was great - even in instances where they covered ground I already knew, it reinforced some ideas that I already had and gave me additional ways to fight for those ideas when talking to studios and the like.
However, the impression I got (and it could be wrong) is that a lot of the online voices are being handled by marketers as opposed to writers. Or that marketers and writers are blending into one thing. While web TV has taught me to wear many hats - writer, producer, marketer - at the end of the day, I don't have a marketing background. I can't talk about ROI or clickthroughs, but I can discuss which characters should have a twitter and why, speak in multiple voices (I currently tweet over seven different character accounts) and engage with the community in the context of the narrative.
Do I need a marketing background? Or do I need to market myself to marketers?
As we drifted away from brands and into ARGs, there was some talk about choice and the letting your audience discover things on their own rather than pushing them to do so. Valemont has taught me that even though you drop certain clues, people will interpret them and pick up the conversation and even though it's not what you imagined or planned, it's even better. Because your audience is now participating, they're using their wits to so and they have a stake. Sure, I'm laying track while the train is running, but that's the brilliance of immediacy of doing this all online.
At the end of the panel, everyone rushed to speak to the panelists and I watched and listened while people discussed specific bits of business, and in a couple of instances, tried to get money for their web series. While there's something delightfully egalitarian about the whole process - I admire anyone who can go up to a stranger and ask them for money - I couldn't figure out how to make an impression in thirty seconds that would make me stand out.
At the moment, I'm not looking for a job or money, I'm looking for information and people within a community who are interested in telling stories any way they can. After my current gig with Electric Farm Entertainment is over (end of November) then sure, I will be looking for a job and money.
But even if I have neither, I'll be looking for a way to tell stories any way I can.
LAGenX Radio is auctioning off their soul show to the highest bidder!
Not FOREVER, mind you (because that would make me sad. You don't want to make me sad, do you? JERK!)
Nope, just one show. One one-hour show where say whatever you want, promote whatever you want... It means that there will be less Gina, Jason and Jeff talking about them and more Gina, Jason and Jeff...talking about YOU. (Or whatever you want.)
(And I like Gina, Jason and Jeff...so you'd better be interesting!)
You don't have to live in the Los Angeles area. You just have to bid. What are you waiting for? Click on the image below to go to the LAGenX eBay Auction.
When I was in college, Wednesday nights were sacred. The TV snapped on at 8pm (or was it 9? Apparently it wasn't sacred enough that I remember) and my friends and I prepared to worship at the altar of Aaron Spelling.
(or Nine-Oh, to my friends.)
Even though I was an Andrea, I totally rocked the Kelly look.
But Nine-Oh was just the hors d'oeuvres, the soggy pig-in-a-blanket to the main course mac-n-cheesiest:
Melrose Place was awesome, because, y'see, after college I was moving to Los Angeles! Billy could be my roommate, and I could watch, mesmerized, as he practiced soccer shirtless and the pool of sweat collected in his strangely-shaped bellybutton (ew.) Allison would be my best friend, who would listen to me for countless hours while I crushed hard on Matt. I would secretly want to befriend Jo and would totally be taken advantage of by Sydney.
THIS WAS GOING TO BE MY LIFE AFTER COLLEGE!
College graduation, 1994. Melrose Place here I come!
Except that when I moved to Los Angeles, I soon discovered the only thing that Melrose Place, the actual location, and Melrose Place, the show had in common was that it was made of up 99% white people. The actual Melrose Pl. was littered with antique stores, ivy-covered buildings, and too many Rolls-Royces to count.
I've lived in Los Angeles for 14 years now, and my life hasn't exactly turned out like Melrose Place. There hasn't been any drama, like a whirlwind romance that resulted in us getting engaged after five weeks, and then getting married five months later...
Okay, but I don't have a crazy Kimberly who blew up my apartment building. I have a hoarding landlady who could possibly set the place on fire.
Maybe I don't live in Melrose Place. But I'm MP-Adjacent - at the Hobo Camp next door.
You have been warned!
Two things said to me in the last week:
Real Conversation #1:
The vomit should be more...chunky? Definitely chunks of things in it. Less transparent, more vomit-like.
Real Conversation #2
If the TV guy gets here in the next ten minutes, I won't be available. I mean, I'll be here, but I won't be available. I'll be in the bathroom. Because...well, you know. Okay, I'll be pooping, okay? I WILL BE POOPING!
I don't want kids because I was trying to avoid vomit and poop. But clearly IT IS LEGION.
You still have one more day to win a pair of free jeans from the GAP! More info here.
I was born to do anything but fit.
I've written about it here enough times that I should have neck problems from all my navel-gazing. But my problem wasn't just fitting in with people. It was fitting in clothes.
How do you buy for a six year old with hips? An eight year old who needs a bra?
Early onset puberty made clothes shopping was a nightmare. My body, which had I wanted to use to climb trees and run bases and shoot baskets, became a source of shame and embarrassment. I donned armor in the guise of sweatpants. The weigh piled on and it became something else to worry about. Something else to be ashamed over.
In my late 20s I decided to stop measuring time and happiness by a number on the scale. I'm not always successful, and when I was asked to be a GAP brand ambassador, I was a little nervous. I love clothes, but I hate shopping. Even at 50 pounds lighter each time I step foot in a dressing room I have to remind myself that just because something doesn't look good doesn't make me terrible human being.
With puppies being kicked and wildfires raging out of control and children who don't have access to clean drinking water or health care, my tears in a dressing room are a first-world non-problem. People should be so lucky.
Flash forward and I have the opportunity to invite my blogger friends to a "Born to Fit" party at the GAP pop-up store in Beverly Hills on Robertson.The one promise I made to myself is that no one was going to complain that they were fat. No one was going to cry in a dressing room. Even though we were all different shapes and sizes, everyone would go home feeling beautiful. We'd all be born to fit.
Hosting a party is making everyone fall in love with you for thirty seconds at a time, then introducing them to other people and making them fall in love with each other.
At the GAP party, it was mini-matchmaking sans pants.
Everyone went home with a pair of jeans that made them feel like a million bucks.
Modeling the "Long and Lean."
Photo by Janet Barnett.
Photos from the party can be found here. Thanks to Kae of Are You Ready to Rock? and Janet Barnett of Barnett Lifestyles Photography for their photos. You can read more accounts of the party by Kae and Julia.
Did you get this far? Good, because I've got a GIFT CERTIFICATE for FREE PAIR GAP JEANS! You can enter THREE times.