Friday, September 4, 2009

Breaking News...

I made a quick trip to KTLA's 10 o'clock nightly broadcast last night (thanks to @stevenjacobross who humored my lifecasting/blogging) and was lucky enough to witness what happens when another live broadcast runs into your usual time slot. In this case it was last night's Raider game, and it ran at least 20 minutes past 10.

Despite this little snafu, it was business as usual in the news room. Behind the scenes, the producers and crew mercilessly chopped the story lineup left and right for the time allotted, and for the most part, the talent took it all in stride and adjusted as necessary. It was interesting to witness what goes on behind the camera in a situation like this: here was a team of people who had put together a very tight hour of news packages only to find out that they now could use maybe half of their work. But despite the circumstances, the broadcast ran like a well-oiled machine on-air, and you truly wouldn't know there was anything out of the ordinary happening off-camera(except for the fact that I've now told you!)

See? Pretty cool, calm, and collected looking if you ask me. But why? If I had to put my money on it, I'd credit the producer. The crew of a ship can only be as calm as its captain, and in this case, even if the adjustments are ones that they have to make on a regular basis (so as to not run past 11pm and into the Friends rerun time slot) it still takes some skill to do it well. I sat down for a few minutes after the show to get the inside scoop on what goes on in the producer's head at times like these and what has to happen to get the job done. Take a look:

P.S. Did you know that KTLA was the first TV station to broadcast west of the Mississippi river? They were also the first to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Too. Cool.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why I Love Webisodes

As big of a TV buff as I may be, I absolutely have this hot hot not so secret super crush on quite a few web series that are out there right now. I'm not talking about those flash in the pan "Chocolate Rain" or "Dancing Around the World" videos- I mean, I dig those too, and they're good for a quick laugh. What I'm talking about is a nice, meaty, interesting series with a real story to tell and real characters that are telling it.

My favorite for the last few months has been a little gem called Merri Me, starring a bunch of kids I went to college with (and somehow couldn't figure out why they all looked familiar until almost episode 5!) The production value on this mini-show really ups the ante for all other web videos out there. And it's like, you've got a group of kids that have an option- they can keep trying to get parts in other people's films, they can spend a lot of money and create their own film and then try really really really hard to get it into a film festival or two, or they can spend just about the same amount that they would on a student thesis film for an entire season of episodes, put it online, and let millions of potential viewers (instead of a very limited selection panel) decide whether or not they've got what it takes. The latter is exactly what they did, and I am pretty much obsessed with this show:

Now I'm not saying you need 100k in the bank and the Hollywood hookup for locations and actors- this is certainly not what the internet is about by any means! And yeah, Merri Me sets the bar pretty darn high, but that's not stopping the rest of us from telling our own stories. Like I touched on yesterday, having the right equipment does often make things easier, but more importantly, having the right story that you are excited and passionate about is sometimes, no always, what matters the most.

At the total opposite end of the spectrum is another series I recently discovered: Ikea Heights, a guerrilla soap-opera set in everyone's favorite self-assembled furniture store. There are no fancy lights, or cameras, or hair or makeup people, and no big name actors... and yet, for some crazy reason, I am completely hooked on this insane show. I'd venture to say that it was potentially shot on a Flip HD or a similar consumer hand-held, but in this case, none of that matters- concept is key. (And really, there's nothing better than the actual shoppers' reactions wondering what the heck is going on as they unknowingly walk into the scenes.)

IKEA Heights from DaveAOK on Vimeo.

See? Nothing super fancy. Still telling their story. Still getting laughs and hits and links and retweets and embeds and I'm still talking about them a few paragraphs later so they must be doing something right! So like I said yesterday, if you want to make something happen, get out there and do it. Don't wait for budget, or all the pieces to fall into place. After all, once the e-dust settles, the constraints may tighten around this wild wild west of a cyberspace. BUT- until then, it is the perfect time for experimentation, no holds barred. (Did I mention I'm a mad scientist? Muhaha.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Behind the Scenes of "What's Happening LA?"

I've been hosting and producing a 1-2 minute spot called "What's Happening LA?" for the last, oh, three years now and I've gotta say, nothing teaches you to get out there and get something done quite like running your own show. Luckily I got to cut my real-world producing teeth on a short promo spot, and equally luckily, it's something I've been able to do all by myself when need be (although I prefer to collaborate with a team simply because the idea bounce is a little better!) So without further adieu:

Producing Lesson No. 1: If Something Goes Wrong, Guess Who Gets To Fix It?
That's right! That handyman (or handy lady) would be you, the producer. Okay, maybe if you're some big budget blockbuster movie producer who's writing a check (or a celebrity who lends their name and money for the title of "producer") then you won't be getting your hands dirty because seriously? Your manicure was far too expensive. But on the smaller projects that, let's face it, 90% of producers work on at any given time, you will be traipsing through the mud. Whether it's trouble shooting, equipment issues, forces of nature, or no-shows, I guarantee you will see at least one if not all of these issues at some point in time. And you will have to find a creative way to still make it happen, especially if you're doing your program on a weekly basis (or you won't be for long!)

Doesn't this sound utterly glam so far???

In my situation, the "creative fix" is completing the project as a "one woman production team" just about every summer. Because in my mind, having something to show as a finished product is almost always better than not having anything- consistency is key, and the troops will be rallied sooner or later! And then that something that you already have down pat will get even better. (Okay, now back to editing...)

Community = <3

I went and caught a screening of the new NBC show "Community" last night at LACC with my friend Danielle (her blog is here) and I gotta say, I'm kind of digging this show so far.

Starring Joel McHale and Chevy Chase among many other talented actors, this program shows a lot of potential to not only have a decent storyline, but plenty of laughs as well. A good portion of it is actually shot at LACC, and it was super cool that just about all of the cast (and the producer!) showed up for the Q&A last night. Really shows these guys are standing 100% behind their work here. I'm impressed. Another pic from last night's session:

Yes, that would be Joel showing off his "ROTC" boots to the guy that asked, "What's with the boots?" Chevy was feeling a little less than manly in his "princess slippers" next to Joel, but dealt with the whole thing fairly well. I was also pleasantly surprised that the audience questions were a good mix of show related and random, and the answers followed suit to a T, each one more hilarious than the next. NBC had a ton of cameras there, so hopefully they'll post some video of it on their Facebook page in the next few days.

Oh! And they hooked us up with some sweet sweatshirt schwag, which I probably should've taken a picture of before I got back inside my 100 degree apartment and became a big melting snowman of a mess. (Also should've checked the mirror before rocking a full-faced smile. Nice reception snackums I'm apparently saving for later up in the front there. Ugh.)

Until this little gem of a show airs, here's a reminder about when that's going to happen for those of you who don't feel like reading anymore. (I know I don't!)

UPDATE: NBC has added the Q&A panels- check them out here!

And While We're At It...

Here's a look around my new digs. (Not gonna lie, they kind of rock...)

Getting to Know You- Getting to Know All About You...

Hoping to liiike you, hoping that you'll like meeeee.... (and if you didn't make it that far darlings, you've come to the wrong place. Hehe.)

Welcome to the wild and wonderful world of Veronica: TV Host, Producer and all around Entertainment Industry Rodeo Clown at your service. I am knee deep in a whirl-wind drastic life and job change at the moment; I lost my roommate to grad school, my apartment to a downsize (see previous statement), my pet fish Roscoe to fate, more than half of my plants to heat exhaustion, and my boyfriend to, well something I'm sure I did, and all within the last few months... and now I am about to leave my steady 40 hour a week job to dive back into the world of semi-freelance TV producing because apparently I am crazy! And yes, I am also crazy enough to tell the entire internet all about it, blow by blow.

Oh but don't worry dears- this isn't going to be some "woe is me let me snarp about my sad pathetics for hours on end" situation. Oh no- it'll be far more annoying I'm sure. Bouncing post to post, waxing not-so-poetic at random, seemingly hopped up on a million cups of coffee and coke slurpees on a daily basis. But, if you can get past the hyperactivity and random pop-culture references, you're going to see one thing is certain: I know my shiz. Whether you're interested in production, contemplating a career in entertainment, or just along for the ride, hang on tight to my cyber coattails, and find out (alongside me) just what it takes to get to the top.

Thumbs up let's do this!