In my last reader survey someone commented that I should write more about my day-to-day life. In reality I usually only write about my travels, but my day-to-day life has been so fantastical lately, that this request is kind of easy to fulfill. Besides, the posts do involve travel, so it works!
This past Thursday and Friday I was back down in Southern California, Burbank this time to see the culmination of a work project that was several months in the making: my company’s Facebook launch event. Known as the Dolby Update Theater it was an event featuring Adam West: super hero Batman, voice of mayor Adam West on The Family Guy, cultural icon and all around funny guy.
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It involved a live broadcast from my company’s theater in Burbank in which Mr. West was engaged to read people’s Facebook statuses live. There would be the live broadcast, the re-broadcast, the cutting and editing of individual status reads so that people could share them, as well as videos for ‘the best of,’ ‘the making of,’ and bloopers.
Bottom line there was a lot of work to be done!
Having just come back from the Grammy rehearsals the prior week I had a brand new understanding of the complexity of pulling off a live broadcast. We were no where near the level of the Grammys, but it is complicated none-the-less. And stressful!
There is a lot of preparation that needs to take place to ensure all the equipment – audio and video – is working properly. The set has to be properly arranged and lighted. I am not going to bore you with all the details, instead I am going to show you fun stuff!
Here is part of the crew on Thursday doing run-throughs and testing. We spent many hours doing this and there was lots of waiting.
At one point I got to be the stand-in, sitting in the wing-back chair meant for the “talent” and holding a fake cognac, which was eventually switched to milk!
At 8 PM we left the most technical of the crew still doing testing and a small group of us went out to get dinner. It was going to be a long night after an equally long day, so taking a break to get some decent food was the sensible thing to do! The target of choice was a new restaurant called The Federal Bar which labeled itself as a gastro-pub.
They have great beers on tap and equally delicious starters but most of us were disappointed with our main course selections. I had an amazing Egg, Ham & Cheese Biscuits starter with a perfectly cooked over-easy egg on top of a yummy southern biscuit, the cheese was perfect, but the ham was a bit much, I would have skipped it or tried a different variety, it was almost like prosciutto which didn’t work the best. Another starter we had was the cheese plate, no complaints there, it was well prepared.
The burger menu was well-rounded and I had a lamb burger which came with: cucumber, tomato, olive, feta, oregano and tzatziki, I think some of those ingredients should have gone in with the lamb meat as opposed being toppings as I found the taste of the actual burger patty to be underwhelming.
Another colleague had the Pork Belly burger which was served with smoked provolone, but it was a bit misleading as it is actually a beef (or could have been pork) patty with pork belly on top. Someone else tried the lamb meatloaf with mash potatoes, the only complaint being that there was a layer of unadvertised bacon under the sauce on top.
Given the fact that they had only been open for two weeks, I will give them the benefit of the doubt that things will improve. Very eclectic ground, it was fascinating to people watch!
It was enough food to get the team through the early hours of the evening/morning as they culled Facebook status until nearly dawn.
Up and at ’em early the next day, we headed back over to the offices to get ready for final preparations and testing. Mr. West was set to arrive at 9:30 and with the live event starting at noon we had a tight schedule of activities that needed to take place.
There was no chance of going hungry on this day as craft services had been set up to ensure that every desire was accounted for. Want a bagel for breakfast? No problem. Prefer an English muffin? You go it. Rather have toast? You betcha, white or wheat? And it went on and on and on. Here is a photo of just one of the snack tables!
Once the last checks were finalized and make-up and wardrobe were complete, Mr. West was brought in to check wardrobe and make-up on the set and under the lights, as well as the placement of all the equipment including the teleprompter was validated and dress rehearsal was filmed.
I chose the photo above because I absolutely loved the outfit of the wardrobe girl (fitting!), Kayla McGee. Later in the day I got to sit down with her a bit and she told me that 90% of her outfit was from H&M! I told her I used to shop there quite a bit when I was working in Switzerland as I did not have that many places to shop on my lunch hour in the tiny town I worked in! Take a look at it up close because it is adorable!
Here is some of the crew keeping busy as Mr. West met some fans and signed autographs. On the right is Kelly Hunt responsible for hair and make-up. She has done make-up for Brook Burke, Britney Spears, Giada De Laurentiis and many others. So when I got to spend a few minutes with her I asked her what shade of lipstick she thought I should wear. I know, I know…totally taking advantage, but that is one of my life’s pursuits the perfect lipstick shade and the perfect purse!
After Mr. West signed autographs and prior to final preparations for go-live, I had an opportunity to speak to him about what I am trying to achieve long-term with my company’s social media strategy. Mr. West is an avid user of Twitter and Facebook and was interested in hearing about our plans. It was a brief conversation, one in which I was ordained with a new nickname…”dimples!”
The actual broadcast was amazing to watch, Adam West is hysterical, great with the one liners, and a consummate professional! For me it was a nerve-wracking hour in which I was cut-off from the outside world. No cell phones were allowed on, or PC and laptops. Nothing that would make a noise or a signal, absolutely nothing that would distract Mr. West from his reading and acting. I did not know how it was going! Turns out the event was a success, Adam did a great job and the hour sped by like a blink of the eye.
And here is the cursory post-event photos which was taken right before Mr. West jumped into a car to whisk him away and the rest of us went into tear down and re-broadcast mode.
Several hours later I headed to the Burbank airport only to learn that my flight was delayed two-plus hours due to weather. Let me tell you, as a seasoned traveler, nothing irks me more than an airport that has no outlets, no power stations, nothing that will help a business or frequent traveler keep their devices loaded to keep themselves occupied. I worked and blogged until my laptop died, then I moved to my phone until that died, then I turned to a book.
Amazingly enough, despite the fact that I was annoyed, I am sure it was meant to be as the book I purchased was Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed. I had read really, really fast when it first came out and it was about time I re-read it to digest it properly. Since Eat Pray Love was such an inspiring book I wanted to devote myself to reading Committed in a well, more committed manner! You see everything happens for a reason. I still think Burbank airport needs to do some upgrades!
I am likely heading to LA again next week, but don’t want to detail what for until I know it is happening for sure, you’ll just have to wait until next week to see if there is another road trip report!