Girl from North Country

Well gang, here we are again. Me at my computer, you at yours. Well get ready for it, because here it is: Lifestyles of the Unpaid and Basic Cable Intern! (that reference didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped, but it’s too much effort to erase it now.)

First off, let me say I feel I have been lied to. The Beach Boys have sang to me (directly to ME, no one else) all about the magic of California since my childhood. They told me it’d be warm and tropical. They said the guys were cooler and the chicks ever cuter- and for the longest time, I BELIEVED THEM. I’ve started singing “California Girls” with an inkling of pride (not nearly

SNOW- You GOTTA be kidding me.

as much as “Back Home Again” mind you), I’ve been to the beach, I’ve driven by the Hollywood Bowl, I’ve even considered going to San Francisco simply to put flowers in my hair (not a Beach Boys song- that one’s by Scott McKenzie, but still a valid Pop Song reference). But it has occurred to me that I have been LIED TO! Proof of this: it snowed this past weekend in Burbank. SNOWED- as in frozen particles of water from the sky, it HAILED- as in clumped frozen particles of water the size of peas, it was 40 DEGREES! This is NOT what I signed up for.  What I thought would be all binkies and pina coladas has been mostly sweatshirts and Guinness (the later drink by choice of course). Everyone swears this isn’t normal for Los Angeles and that this is the longest cold spell they’ve had in decades. Well I didn’t come here for excuses; I came to watch the sun from a distance inside a house, under an umbrella, while wearing 75+ SPF (I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, but I’m pretty freaking pale- I prefer the term “ivory”). ANYWHO -You’re really grinding my gears, California. And Beach Boys- next time you see me coming you better run.

Well this past week has been pretty run-of-the mill. That doesn’t mean work has become boring or monotonous, rather, I think I’m hitting a good stride. I feel like I now have a better understanding of what  needs to be done first thing in the mornings, the lunchtime duties, followed by show and post-show clean-up tasks. I still absolutely love it, and it’s nice to feel like I am getting the hang of it. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else this semester.

Despite the usual tasks, things did get mixed up a little this week. Oftentimes a Basic Cable intern is called to do something awesome. This past Thursday was one of those days. The Boss-Man brought his adorable, intelligent, energetic son to work and SOMEONE had to play with him. I was one of those someones. I spent a good majority of my Thursday morning playing (and being bested in) Super Mario Bros. for the Wii. It was one of the best Intern Tasks I’d ever been assigned.  Just more proof that day in and day out, you never know exactly what you will be doing here. You can only hope for the best and in the words of my Mario teammate, “KEEP TRYING!!!”

Once again I participated in the weekly CoCoCam.  In the same vien as last week, wearing food was involved. This week I was a Cake Catcher, where I jumped on a trampoline and caught cakes that were thrown at me. I’d like to thank my Dad, Mom, and Kickball for honing my athletic abilities. I feel I was generally successful due to my cat-like reflexes until Bley (the guy who runs the CoCoCam) caught me by surprise. I also had a nice following of Facebook and Twitter fans rooting for me in the comments feed, which was nice. I’ll let you be the judge, feel free to check it out here: http://teamcoco.com/content/live-coco-cam-february-25-2011  Go ahead and jump to the 20 and 42 minute marks to check out the Meg Action but I’m all over it this past week.

Outside of work this week was pretty eventful. My friend (YES I HAVE FRIENDS NOW!), Kiren, and I were invited to a Reggie Watts comedy show at UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre). There were many special guests performing, including a certain Zack Galifianakis, so the show was awesome. As Reggie’s friends, we were asked to join

Exhibit A of awesomeness: Zack Galifianakis at UCB

him after the show at a bar next door. Upon entering, we found a table and a man wearing a baseball hat and the scruffy beginnings of a beard, congratulated Reggie on the show then introduced himself to us, “Hi, Jon.” I shook his hand and said, “Hello, Meg.” He asked if we would like a drink, and like any good Irish girl, I quickly responded, “a dark beer, a Guinness.” (I have found that out here, a girl drinking a Guinness is considered impressive, must have a lot of wimpy chicks out here) While he went to the bar to get mine and Kiren’s beers, I wracked my brain trying to figure out who he looked like. He brought the drinks back and as I thank him, it hit me: “Hi, Jon” was JON HAMM of Mad Men and 30 Rock and being an attractive Man’s Man fame. Playing it cool the best I could, I waited for him to leave, then pulled Kiren close to tell her the news. We giggled in spite of ourselves each time we made eye contact for the rest of the night. —– I don’t really like telling “who I met” stories, but this one was too ridiculous and will probably be the last time I do anything like it. This blog is for Basic Cable Intern Adventures only and will continue to be as such.

Until next time, stay fly till you die!

 

CALIFORNIA IS DIFFERENT:

15) Motorcycles are allowed to do ANYTHING. I really don’t know if there are any driving laws for motorcycles here. They are encouraged and allowed to weave through traffic as they please, use the carpool lanes, and go at whatever speed they see fit. While it may sound like fun, it is extremely dangerous. On the plus side, it has made me less of an aggressive driver.

16) Everyone calls everyone by their first name, unless warned otherwise. I thought this was a phenomena found only at CONAN, but I have found it true almost everywhere I go. Regardless of age, rank, seniority, or position everyone is called by their first name. Maybe it’s the MidWesterner in me (which as become a very obvious thing apparently- but another topic for another post) or maybe it’s the Catholic rearing, but I have always called my elders and people in places of authority over me by their Mr., Ms., Miss or Mrs. prefix.  Here it’s all flashy cars and “Call me, Johns”. Besides the hip aspect of calling everyone by their friendly name, I assume the real source of this is to maybe hide one’s age- people often seem older when referred to formally. But I have a hunch this really stems from everyone thinking they are or wanting to be chummy with everyone else: “Oh yeah, my good buddy, Clint… Clint Eastwood- we’re pretty close, first name basis actually. He’s probably going to invite me to the Oscars next year… you know, because we’re such good friends.” Classic Hollywood.

Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain

Before I begin, let me just say: HAPPY PRESIDENT’S DAY!!!

For the first time in a long time this past week I fell asleep to the sound of rain. I also woke up to the rain.  I don’t think it has rained that long in Los Angles ever (which is totally hearsay, hearsay spread by me, it actually rains in bursts like that when is does actually rain sooo I guess what I just said is void) ANYWHO the rain was welcomed by many. I like the rain anyway, and so appreciated the change of scenery from sunshine and whatnot. According to my sources back home, Indiana has had better and warmer weather than Burbank this week. Congrats. You really pulled out a great team effort, Hoosiers!

I work at Stage 15, but for some reason this was a worthwhile picture.

It’s interesting working with the different levels of celebrities who walk into the green room. There is a mix of “A Listers”, “B Listers”, and whatever else you want to label them. I have to say, though, some of my favorite guests to work with are the musical guests or comedians. They are so excited to be there. It reminds me of how I feel everyday at CONAN and how I can’t wait to get to work every day. It’s the kind of joy I hope to have when I am writing for/performing on/hosting my own show someday. Many regular guests react in a similar fashion and it’s really great to see these famous people, often people who have influenced me, be so excited to be working with Conan for the day. It’s inspiring.

Something I haven’t talked about was a few weeks back when I got to attend a taping of the show. Usually the staff watches the taping on the zillion monitors up in the offices or the green room or the kitchens, but sometime I think in week three, we needed a seat filled and I got to fill it. The guests that day were Professional Stunt Man Steven Ho, Comedian Patton Oswalt, and musical guest, legendary rockabilly singer, Wanda Jackson. The coolest part about this show was that I go to see both the rehearsal and the actual taping. I saw Conan work through the stunts with Steven Ho, saw what jokes were reworked and what bits were cut from the show altogether. I

guess I usually see that every day, but it was so intimate this time and I felt like I was in on some secret from the rest of the audience. That and Conan is completely on fire during the shows. Just being in the audience you can tell he absolutely loves what he does and he’s really good at it. If you ever get a chance, DEFINITELY come out and see a taping of Conan, and if you can’t make it to CONAN there are plenty of other good late night shows happening right now (with the exception of one- I’ll let you figure that out). It’s a great experience to be in such an intimate setting watching someone perform.

Another helpful hint for anyone going to a taping of I assume anything: LAYER LAYER LAYER! I even had to layer the words LAYER to get my point across. While California may be glorious and sunny and never fall too far below 50* for too long a time outside, inside is awholenother beast. (yes, “awholenother” is not a word, but it is a commonly used phrase and one that is quite frequented in my lexicon- but I do want to point out that it is indeed, NOT a word, but I digress). Inside every building is somewhat chilly. The AC is on so that everyone may be comfortable. But in a studio, were anything is being recorded: Be prepared

for the frozen tundra that is a soundstage. I assume that because onstage, the lights are hot and beat down on the Talent, so to keep them comfortable, the entire building must be kept very cool to counter that artificial heat. For being in California I never thought I would be this cold all the time. It’s exactly the same as the routine I’d be doing now in Indiana, just slightly reversed. At school, I’d layer to walk to class, rush to get there in time, then be sweating while the indoor heating blasts in the building. Here I DON’T layer, so while I’m rushing to and from work- going on runs, what have you, I’m not sweating, BUT as soon as I get inside, I freeze. This seems like a no-win situation. It’s a delicate dance we Basic Cable Interns must master. I’m working on it. More to come as this story develops.

Most exciting thing to happen this past week was my appearance on the Live COCO Cam- a live hour-long webcam that streams every Friday at 2pm EST/ 11am PST. The prep is always fun and requires many random runs on Thursday to gather goodies for the events.  Common themes of the COCO Cam are people dressed up as edible delights, employees in Animal suits, writers being “interviewed”, and interns being humiliated. This week I was a

featured intern on something called “Eat It or Wear it!” which is exactly how it sounds. Two other interns and myself were brought in front of the camera, introduced to the audience (by audience I mean people on the internet who are watching the COCO Cam instead of working or trying to make the world a better place). Shortly after our introduction the hilarity ensued as those persons watching the internet got to vote whether we were to EAT or WEAR whatever food was brought out before us. Some of the edible items were: cream of mushroom soup, chilli, oatmeal, sprinkles, gravy, pizza sauce, chocolate syrup, goulash, and my absolute least favorite which may have only been outdone by mayo, ranch, or ketchup, was the dastardly MUSTARD! It smelled horrible. Four days later, I still worry I smell like a hot dog condiment. Gross. After the fun and games we were allowed to shower in the dressing rooms and hang out for a while. To be honest, I love making an idiot of myself for the sake of comedy, but I was more excited that the intern chicks got to be in on the fun this week. A lot of times the guys are eating something ridiculous like hot sauce, which I don’t have any desire to do, but I love to be part of this stuff. For those of you who missed it, check out this link: http://teamcoco.com/content/live-coco-cam-full-episode-now and cut in to about the 20 minute mark to check me out!

Don't let the beach fool you, LAYER!

CALIFORNIA IS DIFFERENT

13) National Holidays rock because the traffic is cut in half. No one is on the road. Here’s do all the bankers, mail workers, baristas, school teachers, government employees, and people who take this day off because they can. Holidays make everyone more pleasant because no one was stuck on a highway for more than an hour today.*

14) Apparently a nickname for my hometown here in LA is “India-NO-PLACE” which just isn’t true. We have a place- the heart of Indiana- THE FREAKING CROSSROADS OF AMERICA. We are WAY better than Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Louisville, Knoxville, most of Alabama, Flagstaff, and Oklahoma City, AT LEAST. I’ve had to become a fierce defender of Hoosierdom since arriving in California, rest assured my fellow Hoosiers- we shall not be slandered to my face!

*If you were, I am sorry, but don’t blame me that you found the one stretch of road with an accident or bad drivers today. That sounds like a personal problem.

I’ll Be Your Man

Well here we are. I am sitting here in front of the computer desperately looking for the right words for this week. Not that this week was difficult to describe because, BIDOOF, it was awesome, but I’m having difficultly encapsulating all the wonderful aspects of the week into one meager blog post- because as much as I dream and hope and promise it, I just don’t know if I’ll be able to become biweekly, but I am known to surprise. <- See what I mean? Writing an intro to this blog period is proving challenging.  Ok, well I have given up on trying too hard for this and am just going to let it flow or grow or blow or tow or snow or fro or…stow? Whatever: BLOG 6!!!

"NOOOOOO!!" Kevin reacting to the tar pit scene AND my brain reacting to writing this blog

This week my Talent Internship was in full swing. I worked in the Green Room for a good deal of the week. Since the show is still new, there are a lot of finishing touches we are working on all over the building, but definitely in the Green Room. For those of you who may not be familiar with this term (I know, I’m so “industry”) The Green Room is where all the Talent (guests/ musical, comedic or special performers- INDUSTRY”) hang out and relax before the show. We’re in the process of gussy-ing ours up. We’ve been hanging pictures, adding lights, you know- general sprucing up. Each guest is provided a dressing room; complete with bathroom, vanity, and a cheese & veggie tray- yeah, we do it up big here. I’m in charge of making sure those rooms are lovely looking, clean, and have fresh towels- yeah, I don’t want to brag or anything but it’s pretty impressive. Additionally I make sure all the lights are turned on and to the right intensity, organize and restock the fridges, lay out the food and clean up at the end of the night- once again, I’m really talented.  I act as the hostess for the Green Room and make sure everyone is happy. I must mention, in addition to working the Talent people and handling more responsibility as an intern (which are both really cool), I get to eat up ALL the leftovers. As I mentioned, we sever a lot of food- mostly cheese & crackers and fruits & veggies, so when we clean them all up at the end of the night, I get to scavenge though the goodies and feast. Since I’m an unpaid intern, I like to save where I can so basically I haven’t bought any produce or cheese since I’ve been here which is saving me on groceries (INDUSTRY!!!)

Yeah, this is the cutest thing you've seen all day.

Hugely wonderful and important this week, I was granted the pleasure of a quick visit from Kevin McLane, for those of you who don’t know, Kevin McLane is this guy I’m known to spend a lot of time with- I think he’s had a crush on me for the last like 6 years or so which is cool, but I don’t want to jinx it by going on and on about it. Kevin flew into the Bob Hope airport Wednesday night and stayed through Sunday morning. I had gotten him a ticket to the Thursday taping of CONAN, let’s just say I know people, and my internship coordinator got him a pass onto the lot for the day. Tracy was kind enough to bring him to Warner Brothers around noon to check in for his ticket instead of letting him hang out for hours like a bum in the parking garage when I went in at 9 that morning. Around 12:30 I get a text from him asking where my building is because he’s just wandering around the lot. I guess they just let ANYBODY with a pass wander through the place. I took lunch and showed him around a wee bit then back to work.

It was great to have Kevin around for more than just the fact it’s nice to have your boyfriend around. With him I was able to go do things that I normally can’t do with all my California peeps who grew up around here and aren’t impressed anymore. I’m not going to bore you with all the details of our adventure filled weekend, but here are some highlights. Friday we went to a farmers market. We hung out for a night in Pasadena with Kate and Aaron- ate more meat than I have ever had in one day in one BBQ dinner, watched RED, and had drinks. It was a lovely time, especially because we haven’t really been able to do those things with them before.  Saturday took us from Chicken Hoagies at the killer Lee’s Hoagie House in Pasadena to the LeBrea Tar Pits- actual tar pits in the middle of LA-they’re real and the park even features faux ancient animals suffering a tar filled-fate (click the upper picture for a better look, you won’t regret it). We had a little snack at the Tar Pit Park and decided to find a beach. Since neither of us is cool enough to have internet-savvy phones, I had to manipulate my Garmin to figure out just how close/far away we were to the ocean. Once we found one, we began the journey to Santa Monica Pier. This was absolutely incredible. We got to the beach around 5:30 and the sun was just beginning to set. We walked to the end of the pier (which is a lot like Navy Pier in terms of a Farris Wheel and people performing awkward talents to get money, except it looks out over an ocean, not Lake Michigan) and watched the sunset. It was beautiful and the first time I ever saw the Pacific Ocean. I couldn’t have imagined a better way to see it or wrap up our time together.

All good things must come to an end though, and before I knew it, I was dropping Kevin off at the Bob Hope Airport, pretending to be a big girl, Sunday morning. Luckily I had something to look forward to: MY FIRST IMPROV CLASS with UCB!!! UCB= Upright Citizen Brigade.  Sure, it’s improv 101, but everyone needs to start somewhere and everyone needs to perfect the fundamentals. The class began with mostly talking: introductions, rules, awkward sizing up of peers, you know- the usual. Then we worked on basic agreement for a bit. Right now, there’s really not much else to report. All I know is Improv cures what ails you and even the little bit of actual improv we did felt so good.

Well that’s all for now, folks! Stay tuned for more!

THINGS ARE DIFFERENT IN CALIFORNIA:

11) This state is a classic Contradiction as proof by their Groupons. Only since being in LA have I gotten Groupons for both $10 Baker’s Dozen Cupcakes AND 50% off Laser Fat Removal… ON THE SAME DAY!

12) Everyone really is shorter than you think they are. Almost every celebrity or guest has been significantly shorter than I expected them to be*. And it’s not that the famous people are the only short ones. There are a lot of tinier people here. I’ve never considered myself tall, maybe above average but never tall and here I practically feel like an Amazon… which could be a worse thing- this means I’m Wonder Woman.

*a lot of women wear some form of heel too- so for all I know they are even SHORTER.

With a Little Help from My Friends

I’m going to be honest, I don’t even remember week 3. Since last week was my 4th week here, I have decided to trudge forth by combining the two weeks into a haze of good times. Hopefully this works out and I will be able to start fresh and normal from here on out. (I feel like I say this every blog, but like I warned you in the beginning, I have no idea what I am doing so I wouldn’t believe anything I say if I were you.)

So week three started off with a bang. This Basic Cable Intern is now both a General Production intern (doing tasks for everyone) AND a Talent Intern. Duties include but not limited to: hosting the green room, making sure guests are comfortable, working the Talent Entrance, escorting Talent where they need to be, answering phones, and generally being a bad ass- which I already do so I didn’t have to learn much for that last one. So far it’s been pretty interesting. Definitely a different pace from what I was doing. Being a General Intern for even a day is tiring- lots of running around (both by foot and car) and trying to keep order to general chaos.  I love it, but I am looking forward to developing this new position.

I sat in on the daily morning production meeting this morning. I was really excited to do so, because I love to see how everything comes together. Every day I learn some new piece of the puzzle. For the meeting, everyone comes down to the Green Room. The talent, music, PAs, assistants, clips, research personnel- everyone gathers up. The meeting is led by the head writer, director and executive producer. Today’s meeting went pretty quickly. They discussed some of the funny faux pas of the Super Bowl that will be used as material for today’s show. By doing this they are giving everyone a heads up on what they need to have done by rehearsal/show time. It is amazing how much gets done between 8AM and 1PM (when rehearsal starts) and 2pm (when rehearsal usually ends) to 4:30 (when the show is taped). It takes every single person working here to work their hardest and be on the same page to get the show polished and on the air by 11:00pm.

Basic Cable Interns have a life outside of the office, too-it usually involves hanging with other interns, but such is life. The third week of my LAness, one of the interns rallied a bunch of us to create, write, and shoot a pilot promo for a New York Film festival. This all sounded great and a lot of us got on board, which was good because all this work had to be done in 5 days time to be submitted correctly. Needless to say I was up writing most weeknights that week, writing a script that was WAY to long for what we would be able to create in one day of filming. Several group meetings and one-on-one writing sessions took place. On a Saturday we filmed from about 9am to 10pm and the next day another intern edited and fancied up the entire thing. It was a great group effort, but more importantly to me, it was a great experience. I had never made a short film like this before unless I was asked to improvise a scene after being called to a shoot 5 minutes before filming. This was a chance for me to actually write. It was great- a real amateur Hollywood happening, I suppose.

In addition to working together on projects outside of work, there have been several intern-based parties. They’re always a good time and it’s nice to know I now have friends and people to do things with out here. Now that I have friends *fingers crossed- let’s not jinx this, Meg* I go to shows and apartments to watch TV and make merry. We’ve also got a nice tradition starting up of attending a Friday Happy Hour where we find a nearby restaurant and take advantage of Happy Hour specials as soon as we are done for the day. When you work for free, you live for specials.

Old friends have also played a big part in entertaining me while I’ve been out in LA. Kate and Aaron took me to my first Upright Citizens Brigade show at the UCB Theatre: Sentimental Lady. It was awesome. I miss improv so much. I had to fight myself from giving sideline support in the form of sound effects or voice overs for their scenes. The next day, I trolled the UCB website for classes and I am proud to say I start my first improv class (Improv 101) this coming Sunday. Kate and Aaron also took me to a farmer’s market at a place called The Grove, which is half super fancy outdoor mall with Burberry and Apple stores, and half crowded marketplace filled with cash-only vendors, some of which carry old fashioned toys that happen to be politically incorrect (see photo). So it’s pretty much the best of both worlds. Kyle and Allie have also been broadening my horizon here in LA, taking me to a delicious home-cooked style restaurant, Forage (LA people- YOU WANT TO GO TO THERE), and inviting me to a Super Bowl Party hosted by a bunch of original CSz Milwaukee people- making the Green Bay win even more exciting. AND most importantly, they found me a bar within walking distance to my house.

I’m starting to learn my way around town more. Slowly the layout of the land is becoming clearer to me. It helps if I ask questions like, “so what neighborhood are we in now?” and “so how far is this and in what direction is this from Conan or my house?” Everyone has been wonderfully willing to help me out. Know that your explanations and patience are greatly appreciated.

This is exactly what you think it is, and yes it's holding watermelon.

Well, not the most exciting post, but it is what it is. I KNOW I’M EXCITED TO BE WRITING THIS!

More to come! Stay tuned. Basic Cable Intern OUT!

CALIFORNIA IS DIFFERENT:

9) People dress up to go to Target. I definitely did NOT get this message. When I do my typical errand running (grocery, Target, CVS), I’m lucky if I remembered to brush my teeth before I go.  This is new to me, and I doubt I will change my ways.

10) Everyone does P90X- the DVD workout system that claims its the most effective workout of all time is in your living room. It is like an ultimate total body shredding workout program designed to get you ripped in 90 days… if you have the discipline to do it, don’t over exert yourself the first time, and have the attention span for a 90 day plan. I’ll just stick to running.

Turn, Turn, Turn

I have to say, I am horribly behind on this blog. Partially for good reasons, partially for desire to sleep- either way I want to catch up.

Week 2 on the job went pretty well. Things move incredibly fast here and half the battle is just being able to keep up. From runs outside the lot to runs on the lot for coffee, faxes, mail, and extra side jobs that sometimes come out of nowhere, you have to be ready for anything. I cannot count the number of times I have been approached by my Internship Coordinator, Katy, prefaced with, “So I’ve got a really weird request for you…” followed by a seemingly random task that tends to be more fun that what could be considered “standard procedure”.

I also feel I have become the “booze run” Intern. I swear I have bought more alcohol in the past 3 weeks than the last 12 months. It’s kind of fun because it usually for the musical guests- they come in early and rehearse all day then perform in the show. Now they aren’t getting sloppy-they’re just being rock n’ roll. My dream is one day they’ll be like “wow Meg, thanks for the Guinness and Harp we asked for. How about you come chill with us all day and have some Half and Halfs.” Also in this dream the artist is The Black Keys, Bob Dylan, or the Paul McCartney/ Ringo Starr tour that will announce and kick off their surprise tour on Conan after I suggest it to them… What just happened here? Sorry I blacked out for a second.

ANYWHO I have neglected to mention the absolute best part of this internship. I would wake up every morning and love what I do regardless, BUT the best part of every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday is that I and the rest of the interns are asked to sit in on rehearsal. We spend roughly 1-2 hours watching the raw creative process of the Conan writers, crew, and Conan and Andy themselves. It’s really inspiring and fun. While nowhere near as high pressure of their 4 show a week schedule, it reminds me of how I’ve worked through bits and sketches on shows from high school all the way through Full Frontal Comedy. The process is the same. Even a single word swap can make a phrase funnier, a different vocal tone can make a joke hit harder, and a different energy can send a sketch home. It’s also interested to watch the interaction between everyone. Sometimes emotions run higher than others, but usually everyone is on the same page when something doesn’t work right. You can tell everyone really cares about this show and wants to make it the best it can be every single night. I could watch these people work all day and it just inspires me to keep trucking because I’m already on the right path.

That and did I mention that uncensored, improvised Andy and Conan are brilliantly funny? Because they’re downright hilarious.

Well kids, here is a scenario for you: if you’ve ever had a parent, teacher, relative, total stranger, or girlfriend *coughKEVINMCLANEcough*  tell you to learn to drive a stick shift, manual automobile, you’ve probably said to them something like, “That’s an outdated technology. Why would I want to learn that? I can already drive an automatic perfectly well!” While I’m sure you can drive that regular boring car very well, I’ve got one reason enough to convince you otherwise: You’re well paid famous boss will drive a Porsche! And there is a good chance that luxury vehicle will be a manual. AND there is an even better chance you will be one of the few lowly interns who can drive one, which means you are mentally and physically superior to EVERYONE (not really) and you get to drive that car to the gas station and fill it up with premium gas. – This is really just a long winded way of saying I got to fill up Conan’s sweet Porsche to the gas station and back because of my awesome skills. However awesome this opportunity was, the 6 years I have been driving an automatic car could hardly prepare me for this pressure. I was shaking. I got in the car, it was ridiculous. Also, Conan happens to be one of the tallest men in the world so I had to risk moving the seat to drive the car safely. This thing is worth more than I am at this point in my life. I tried to remember all the good safe driving habits I’ve forgotten. The only thing I could remember was my Grandma telling me once that seniors will do everything in their power to avoid making dangerous left turns. The rest of my mind was absolutely blank. Nothing can happen to this car. NOTHING. So I took all right turns until I found a gas station, then took all right turns till I found my way back to the WB.

Thanks, Grandma. I wouldn’t have made it without you!

Ok, well this post is getting long and at this point you probably can’t even remember why you stumbled onto this site in the first place.

Thanks for reading! More to come soon!

This week in THINGS ARE DIFFERENT IN CALIFORNIA:

7) Everyone drinks coffee and will do anything in their power to get you to join them. WB sponsored a “free coffee truck” outside our studio and being a college student anything “free” must be taken advantage of. They may be converting me to the dark side. DAMN YOU CAFFE MOCHAS!

8 ) All the streets have the same names in different parts of town, which leads you to believe maybe they connect. THEY DO NOT! Never fall victim to this. Roads in LA have no meaning. Just turn wherever and whenever the Garmin tells you to. DO NOT QUESTION IT.

One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)

Well for a Basic Cable Intern, feigning knowledge is of the utmost importance. While encouraged to ask questions, you don’t want to come off as a No-Common-Sense-Nancy. At Conan there thankfully is no week-long orientation or something to bore you away from staying, instead, you’re thrown right into the mix. “Meg, can you go on a coffee run?” Sure! Do I know who to ask if they want coffee? NO so I’ll just ask everyone (this proved to be right). “We need someone to go tidy up the green room.” Oh! ME!  Do I even know where the Green Room is? NO so I figure it has to be somewhere around the office and gosh-darnit I’ll find it! (there was also a handy map on the wall I used -and still use- for reference.) “Can anyone scour the internet for a copy of House of the Dead the obscure DVD and find someplace in LA where we can buy it then go buy it?” YES I CAN!!!

Half the skill of this job is convincing people you are competent enough to take care of anything without too much explanation. The reason you are here is to do a job someone else is too busy to do themselves. Bogging them down by asking for too many details isn’t helping anyone. EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: If it is of utmost importance, has a LOT of details already- ask away and take notes.

All that aside, the rest of my first week went pretty smoothly. I unloaded popcorn, made small talk with the boss- like really small talk: “Wow, got enough popcorn there?” Me- “Hardly!”, learned my way around the different departments- meaning I figured out where they were all located. Who knew so much went into this? There’s a Digital Team that works with the website and social networking, the Control Room, Editing Room, and Graphics departments that all make the show look pretty. There’s wardrobe, hair & make-up, props, not to mention the entire filming, lighting, and sound crew. Upstairs there are Talent Coordinators, Clips & Clearances (finding clips to use on the show then getting legal rights to use them), Research (every guest must be researched), and Development. And then there are the groups you’d expect, Talent, Writers, Producers, and Conans.

All of these departments and people are vital to the show, and I am sure I’ve forgotten groups too. Learning names is another important skill to master, which I am still working on. Luckily for me, there is an INTERN BIBLE that has a picture/name index of almost everyone who works at the show. My first week I spent free time trying to memorize it, which proved to be a nearly impossible task because there are tons of people, it needs to be updated, AND I’m a Basic Cable Intern- I don’t GET free time!

This job still is incredible. I can’t believe what I am doing and who I am doing it for.  My favorite part of being here is my internship. I guess, the 75* weather isn’t bad either, but seriously, I have the best internship ever.

In this week’s edition of:

THINGS ARE DIFFERENT IN CALIFORNIA

5) Everyone in California surfs. And it is yet to be proven if any of them are any good or at least as good as they think they are. If nothing else, everyone loves to just TALK about surfing and everyone wants to teach you. Last time I checked, the sun and I weren’t friends. My fair skin fries in the sun, so I’ll have to pass… darn!

6) Lawn fountains are all the rage. For a state that is horribly in debt and constantly in a drought, you think they’d try to conserve this precious resource.

The Saga Begins

Monday, January 10th– a day that will live on in Basic Cable Internamy, also known as my first day at CONAN.

Before we get to this momentous occasion, we need to understand the mindset of the night before. The Sunday before I was to be thrown into the free-labor market, was an informative one. Kyle, my friend and an employee at Lopez Tonight, got my parents and me walk-on passes to the Warner Brothers lot where he and Allie gave us a personalized tour. We saw the behind the scenes of outdoor sets, like the faux Chicago L-line, and the “New York” and “Anywhere America” sham buildings. We saw sound stages where classics such as Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy, ER, and Friends were filmed- and let’s not forget Batman and Robin or Wild Wild West. These huge barrack-like sound stages that are often featured in Warner Brothers promotional ads and logos, hold decades of cinematography history. Yes, the tour was exciting and I was relieved to know exactly where I would need to go the next morning to arrive at CONAN.

After the tour I gathered my things from the Hotel, and caravanned in my Jeep to Kyle’s house where I stayed for the week. Mom and Dad flew out Monday morning, and I heard after dropping me off after dinner, they tore up Sunset Boulevard, but they’ll have to start their own blog to tell you about that.

I called it an early night and was surprisingly able to sleep the night away. At 6:15 am, the alarm went off. It was time to start my day- a quick run, shower, actually putting time into hair and makeup, dressing myself in what I had laid out the night before, and a 10 minute drive. It was time for CONAN!

I arrived to work about 30 minutes early. That seemed a little eager so I sat in the parking garage for about 10 minutes. Then crossed the street into the Warner Brothers’ lot where I proceeded through security to Stage 15. My heart was racing. I had no idea what to expect.  Much to my relief, all I was confronted with was a room full of friendly interns- some veterans of the show (some dating back to The Tonight Show) and a bunch of newbies, just like me. Our supervisor doesn’t believe in long winded boring orientations and threw us right in the mix. Within minutes of my arrival, I was following veteran interns on coffee runs and learning the ropes of the office basically on my own. Around 10am the newbies were rounded up and steered like cattle to receive our WB/ CONAN ID badges. These allow us to get on the lot, in the buildings, and the parking garages. They also don’t say anything except your name and show, so it looks like you’re more official than an intern, but I’m not just any intern, I’m a Basic Cable Intern! Only the best for me!

The first day was going just fine. I was breaking down cardboard boxes in the main hallway when all of a sudden, I looked up, and saw Conan O’Brien wandering in and out of offices. My first reaction was confusion. I thought to myself, “Why would Conan O’Brien be here, where I work?” and I proceeded to break down boxes. The about a half second later, it hit me: “Meg! He’s not visiting YOUR work, you’re breaking down HIS boxes for HIS show in HIS studio.” Frozen in awe- I belief the reality of this internship hit me at that exact moment. I don’t know if there are any words to adequately describe that type of revelation.

The rest of the day went by faster than it began. Before I knew, I was back at Kyle and Allie’s apartment and they were taking me out for a celebratory 1st Day Dinner of bumpin pasta. I called it an early night as to mentally absorb that day and prep for the next.

I work at a TV show. I work at CONAN. How freaking awesome is that!?!

More to come! Stay Tuned!

In this week’s edition of “Things are Different in California”:

3) Alcohol is available whenever you want. Sundays? Late night? Cold? Not a problem. I can walk into a grocery store and get whatever I want whenever I want. Not that I do, but the option is always there. It isn’t hard to pass, however,  sales and alcohol taxes are ridiculous here.

4) To a Californian, meeting a Hoosier is like meeting an Alien- We’re exotic and possibly primitive: “Oooohhhhh, You’re from Indiana!?! What’s that like?” On one hand it’s fun to be the different species for once, on another hand, it may be considered insulting- either way I’ve been giving a lot of crash-courses in Hoosier life and times.

Heading Out Californy Way!

Before we get too cozy here, I want to warn you: I am not a professional blogger. I have never had a blog. I just learned how to use GoogleDocs this year. If you’re looking for am amazing feat of internet brilliance, I cannot help you. If you’re looking to hear the triumphs and failures of a Basic Cable Intern- hopefully with a few laughs along the way, then you’ve come to the right place.

Welcome to the life of the Basic Cable intern.

Since receiving the internship offer in early December, my life has been a whirlwind. I had about 4 weeks to find out when I was leaving, how I was getting there, where I was living and why I was going. The day I left, January 5th, the only questioned answered was how I was getting there- the only solution- Gold Jeep Wrangler.

My Mom and I set sail early that morning. I’d be lying if I said it was easy, but I’d also be lying if I said I was able to contain my excitement. There’s nothing quite like driving across country. It’s one of those things I’d read about and romanticized but never really considered doing. Luckily, I was forced to do it. It took us three days to get to LA. First night we stopped in Oklahoma City, OK. The second day we traveled through the top tip of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, stopping in Flagstaff where surprisingly enough there were several inches of snow on the ground. I didn’t know it snowed in Arizona period.

After a restless couple of nights, approximately 24 diet cokes/Dr peppers and roughly 26 hours in the car, it was finally time to make the final trek to Los Angeles, known to many as the “Place the movie pictures are made”.

Yes, the trip was quite an adventure.

Once in the city of Los Angeles, Mom and I began the hunt for the Holiday Inn Express. We looked to the left and the right, and found nothing. Suddenly to my left I noticed the famed Forest Lawn Holly Wood Hills Cemetery where famous classic performers like Lucille Ball, Bette Davis, Buster Keaton, Gene Autry, Ricky Nelson and more recently Brittany Murphy and David Caradine are buried. Momentarily in awe, I slowed the car to catch a look at the famed memorial grounds when Mom sends me flying out of my skin, ” MEG! LOOK AT THAT!”

Worried I had rear-ended a Ferrari of some kind I slam on the breaks, then look to my left. And that’s when I saw it: The Warner Brothers water tower.

That’s when it hit home for me. That’s when I knew I’d arrived. It was invigorating. It was just like The Animanics said it would be.

The rest of the weekend was a blur. Dad flew in from Indy, only to fight the worst traffic in the world to get to our hotel. The folks and I met with several people who will be key players in the rest of my adventures: Tracy- the sassy, eccentric, independent woman with whom I’m living, Kate and Aaron- the husband and wife dream team that are the closest thing I have to family out here, and Kyle and Allie- the fun loving, easy going twosome that let me crash at their place my first week in LA- special credit to Kyle, KBB as I like to call him, for getting my resume and cover letter to CONAN in the first place.

While I’m thanking people, special love and shout outs go to my family for all their support, especially my parents, I love you Mom and Dad. Without you none of this would be possible. Thank you for encouraging me to follow my dreams!

I promise future posts to be more detailed and interesting. But for now I’ll leave you with the first of my hopefully reoccurring segment, “Things Are Different in California”:

1) Everyone drives like a jag-off. That was the first lesson I learned and the last one I’ll forget. But watch out California, Meg Elliott’s here and she’s been driving aggressively since 2005.

2) Many of the streets, districts, and cities have Spanish names. Despite being colonized by the Spanish and heavily populated by Mexicans, nothing is pronounced in proper Spanish. For example, the area “Los Feliz” one would assume is pronounced, like “los fEEliz” as in Feliz Navidad, HOWEVER, Californians are adamant that it is “los feLiSSSS”. And any street that includes the double L’s- a common staple in Spanish that makes a sort of “yee” sound- is pronounced like two L’s. Example: Camarillo St. should be “CamarYEEo” but is prnounced “Cam-ar-iL-Lo”

These Californians think they’re SOOO great. I can drive a stick shift in a tornado AND took about 9 years of French. I got this thing licked.