L.A. Day 14 – Home safe!

Just in case any of you are superstitious, I couldn’t leave by L.A. blog at day 13. ¬†ūüėČ
I have to mention the wonderful family I stayed with in Santa Clarita — Ron, Cheryl, Michael, and Luke. ¬†Luke graciously slept on the living room floor for my whole 2-week stay, so I could use his bedroom. ¬†I offered to pay for a car rental, but they wouldn’t hear of it — they lent me their Honda Civic hybrid for the whole length of my stay, and I know I logged a lot of miles!
Throughout my stay they took care of all of my needs, including lots of yummy dinners, sightseeing, and laid back time together. ¬†They even let me introduce them to the first couple episodes of Chuck… ¬†I imagine they’ll all be hooked now. ¬†I had to leave them with something!
After getting packed up and carefully distributing the weight of all my video, audio, and computer gear in my luggage, I headed out with Ron to an “authentic” Mexican restaurant. ¬†Of course he treated me — how could he break an L.A. trend?
I hope when I have guests to Toronto I can treat them as well as I’ve been treated on this trip. ¬†I honestly feel I’ve been treated like a king!
This wraps up my amazing L.A. adventures… ¬†thanks for reading!

Just in case any of you are superstitious, I couldn’t leave by L.A. blog at day 13. ¬†ūüėČ

I have to mention the wonderful family I stayed with in Santa Clarita — Ron, Cheryl, Michael, and Luke. ¬†Cheryl was my wife’s roommate for 3 years, but she got married to an American and moved to California long before I met my wife. ¬†It was great to finally get to know them.

Luke graciously slept on the living room floor for my whole 2-week stay, so I could use his bedroom. ¬†I offered to pay for a car rental, but they wouldn’t hear of it — they lent me their Honda Civic hybrid for the whole length of my stay, and I know I logged a lot of miles!

Throughout my stay they took care of all of my needs, including lots of yummy dinners, sightseeing, and laid back time together. ¬†They even let me introduce them to the first couple episodes of Chuck… ¬†I imagine they’ll all be hooked now. ¬†I had to leave them with something!

After getting packed up and carefully distributing the weight of all my video, audio, and computer gear in my luggage, I headed out with Ron to an “authentic” Mexican restaurant. ¬†Of course he treated me — how could he break an L.A. trend?

I hope when I have guests to Toronto I can treat them as well as I’ve been treated on this trip. ¬†I honestly feel I’ve been treated like a king!

This wraps up my amazing L.A. adventures… ¬†thanks for reading!

L.A. Day 13 – Ball is rolling – and Jeremiah S. Chechik

It’s a little sad… ¬†my last day in L.A. ¬†As most of my other days here, I had appointments fall through, but good news on other fronts.

I was unfortunately not able to make a personal meeting happen at WB. ¬†However, I had an encouraging phone conversation with a WB publicist, and she assured me that she is working the case with her bosses. ¬†As many other people have been asking, she wanted to know “when will you be back in town?” — I guess sooner than I thought!

NBC and Chuck’s parent company Wonderland Sound and Vision both have copies of my pitch, so I’ll be working all three of these companies when I return to Toronto.

My time with actor¬†Mark Christopher Lawrence also fell through, as he was in San Diego, and I couldn’t swing the time to drive down there and be back for my coffee appointment with Chuck director¬†Jeremiah S. Chechik. ¬†Mark was really nice on the phone though, and said we’ll get together for sure the next time I’m in town.

The highlight of my day was definitely having coffee with Jeremiah Chechik (who directed National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Benny & Joon, among others). ¬†We met at the Urth Caff√© in Hollywood, and from start to finish he was charming, interesting, funny, and very excited to talk about his life, his work, and the industry in general. ¬†He also happens to hail from Montreal, Canada — he was surprised to find out Ali Adler is from his home town.

Jeremiah happens to love Twitter — when his Chuck episode airs in March, we plan to have an interactive interview where you can twitter your questions for him while the interview is in progress.

Tomorrow I’m off to Toronto… ¬†I may not be blogging for a few days, but I’ll try to give an update on any loose ends from my L.A. trip toward the end of the week. ¬†Also, I should be starting a pretty busy podcast release schedule beginning next week.

Thanks for following along with my L.A. adventures!

L.A. Day 12 – Podcast Awards nominations open!

My time with Zac’s agent unfortunately fell through, as many appointments here do… ¬†She’s being very helpful, though, and is giving me input on my pitch.

I had another down day, so after church and a yummy lunch of chicken wings, I decided to get my suitcases packed up so I will have less to do on my busy Monday and Tuesday.

Ratings update… ¬†we’re currently #6 overall (all categories) out of 69,000 podcasts worldwide, thanks to you!


Our next task is the Podcast Awards — nominations open today, and we could definitely use your nomination and your vote! ¬†A win in this contest will help both my pitch and also my U.S. visa application.

To nominate us, please click here and carefully follow the instructions. ¬†DO NOT nominate us for both Best Produced and People’s Choice, as that will disqualify your nomination. ¬†Take your pick of the two — by the time everyone has nominated, I’m sure we’ll have nominations in both. ¬†You can also nominate us for ONE sub-category — i.e. one of the top two, and one additional category. ¬†You only get to submit the form once. ¬†Lastly, please quote the name of the podcast as exactly “Chuck vs the Podcast” (i.e. no period after the “vs”).

Thanks!

L.A. Day 11 – Calm before the storm

My day today was pretty uneventful — I had no appointments, so I spent some more time working on my pitch, and doing some gift shopping. ¬†It’s hard to believe I’ll be back in Toronto three days from now!

Tomorrow I will be getting together for dinner with Zachary Levi’s agent Tej Bhatia Herring.

Monday morning I aim to finally do the WB studio tour. ¬†At some point in the day I plan to pitch to WB and/or NBC… ¬†I’m still waiting for a time to be set up. ¬†I’ve also tentatively set up to get together with actor Mark Christopher Lawrence and also one of Chuck’s directors, Jeremiah S. Chechik… ¬†However, my pitches will have to take precedence. ¬†No matter what happens, it will be a very busy day!

If you haven’t had a chance to vote for the podcast yet this month, I ask that you please do so, and spread the word to other Chuck fans… ¬†every vote will count when I pitch to NBC and Warner Bros.

Thanks!

L.A. Day 10 – Writer Phil Klemmer, ratings milestones

It was another great day! After I said “hello” to Kevin Mock and Scott Pellet, Ali Adler took me around to meet some of the writers I hadn’t had a chance to meet yet. Ali “voluntold” them that they must have interviews on the podcast — because everyone else has!

And guess what else I found out today? ¬†Ali is Canadian! ¬†Her IMDB profile incorrectly says she was born in the US, and I guess it never came up in our podcast interview. ¬†I’ve told her that when she comes to visit family in Toronto that she simply must come over for dinner.

Then it was time for lunch with Phil Klemmer. ¬†He gave up a free sushi meal to dine with me at the WB commissary. ¬†We drove over in one of the fun WB golf carts, and walked past Clint Eastwood’s car to get to the cafeteria.

I hope you’re not tired of me saying this by now… ¬†he paid for my meal, and is a super nice guy. ¬†I know, I know, that’s the way I describe all the people I meet here… ¬†but it’s the honest truth. ¬†We talked about our kids, living in L.A., Chuck’s future prospects, our favorite shows, and all sorts of stuff in between.

After visiting Warner Bros, I turned my attention toward my pitch to become a full time podcaster, as described in my previous blog post. ¬†I posted a call for votes at chuckpodcast.com and on this blog, and sent out a few emails. ¬†Guess what? ¬†We have already hit bigger milestones than ever before — #1 in the TV & Film category (usually we don’t beat all the film ones), and #7 overall out of 69,000 podcasts worldwide. ¬†Thanks so much for your votes! ¬†And please keep them coming, because I’ll need as high a rating as possible when I present my pitch to WB.

L.A. Day 9 ‚Äď Night at the Roxbury with Scott Krinsky

Earlier this week, Chuck director Norman Buckley suggested that I pitch to the studios to work for them full-time, doing podcasts for several shows.  I love the idea, so I spent the morning preparing my pitch, and spoke to an NBC publicist around lunchtime.  He said that he would forward my info to some others at NBC, and suggested I try Warner Bros as well.  I plan to do that tomorrow.

Then, in the evening, I had a chance to attend Chuck actor Scott Krinsky’s standup comedy routine at a Beverly Hills cafe, called the Roxbury Cafe. ¬†It is a small, intimate place run by a friend of his.

There were a number of comics, but in my opinion Scott definitely had the funniest routine.

Afterward, we sat together and shot the breeze… ¬†he’s a great guy, very humble. ¬†We talked about standup comedy, his favorite Chuck moments, living in L.A., the podcast, and lots of other stuff.

And, of course… ¬†when I went to pay the server, he told me that he had already covered my meal. ¬†These Chuck guys are incredible!

If you are ever in L.A., you should definitely plan to check out one of his shows.  If you need to find out upcoming dates, just send an email to mail@chuckpodcast.com.

Tomorrow I will likely finally try for a WB Studio Tour, and then meet up with Chuck writer Phil Klemmer for lunch. ¬†It looks like I will not be meeting Yvonne Strahovski — dems da breaks.

L.A. Day 8 – Research

The last half of my trip will have less Chuck-ness, as one of the main purposes of my trip is researching the job market in L.A. for my field of reality TV editing.  I was going to go to a Chuck sound mix today, but felt I was a little behind on my job hunting, so instead I took the morning to get organized.

I had my first interview in the afternoon, and it went quite well, but the company was not a good fit for what I am looking for.

Tomorrow I plan to do more job hunting, but I will be attending one of Scott Krinsky’s standup comedy shows in the evening. ¬†If you’re in the L.A. area, it would be great if you could come too — I’d love to meet you!

Time: Tomorrow from 8:40 pm to 10:40 pm
Venue: Roxbury Cafe
459 N. Roxbury Dr.
Beverly Hills 90210

Time: Thursday Oct. 1st from 8:40 pm to 10:40 pm
Venue: Roxbury Cafe, 459 N. Roxbury Dr., Beverly Hills 90210

I’ll be the guy who looks like me… ¬†you’ve probably seen enough photos by now to recognize me! ¬†ūüėČ

L.A. Day 7 – On set on Zac’s 29th birthday!

I’m exhausted as I write this so please bear with me…

Today was in one word:  incredible!

I’ve been in the industry for many years, but as I have always been in the editing rooms (called “the dungeon” on many productions, as they are often very dark), I had actually never been on a studio soundstage. ¬†All that changed today!

First I met up with NBC publicist Jamie French at stage 10 of the Warner Bros lot. ¬†Chuck takes three stages — stage 10 houses the Castle, the Orange Orange, and an area they use for temporary locations. ¬†Another stage next door has all of the “at home” sets — the courtyard, Chuck’s pad, Casey’s apartment, etc. ¬†Then the last stage houses the massive Buy More set. ¬†I spent most of my day in stage 10, and took some photos of the home set, but was not able to get into the Buy More set, as they weren’t shooting there today.

It’s fascinating how they shoot — because of the separate stages, they could be shooting in three separate locations at once. ¬†Today, Zac and Kristin Kreuk were shooting a scene in stage 10 at the same time that Ryan McPartlin and Sarah Lancaster were shooting at the home set.

Despite these time savings, there is still a lot to do… ¬†Kristin told me that they shoot about 8 script pages a day, which is apparently quite fast, and makes for some rather long days.

Much of my day was spent waiting in the Castle.  I had my equipment set up in the gun room, and an NBC crew was set up in the main room.  As we waited for the various actors to become free, we hung out and shot the breeze.  Jamie French, Laura Bass, and the NBC EPK crew (TJ, Rick, and Pandora) were all very friendly and down to earth.

First up was Kristin Kreuk. ¬†Because there was a scene shooting at the time, our interview was interrupted and we had a few minutes to talk. ¬†Boy, she is a sweetie! ¬†But she’s also very intelligent, and passionate about helping people. ¬†She is in the process of building an online community to strengthen teen girls, Girls by Design. ¬†She also told me about how she loves to travel, but not in a touristy way — she researches different cultures, and does her best to go “off the beaten path.”

Then came Zachary Levi and Joshua Gomez. ¬†They were entertaining as always! ¬†I wished Zac “Happy Birthday” from all of us at the podcast and ChuckTV.net, but he pretty quickly changed the subject to how thankful he was for the podcast and the fans’ efforts in helping Chuck be renewed. ¬†What a humble guy!

After a yummy chicken quesadilla lunch at the WB commissary, I had interviews with Ryan McPartlin and Sarah Lancaster.  Both were very gracious, generous with their time, and genuinely thankful for the fans.

I also had a surprise interview with a guest star who I unfortunately can’t tell you about, except to say he is a name you will know.

After packing up my gear, I ran into Zac’s agent, Tej Bhatia. ¬†She seems very down to earth; ¬†we’ll be getting together for lunch later this week.

Last but not least, I had to get a photo of the Nerd Herder.  Then all I had to do was brave L.A. rush hour traffic back to Santa Clarita.  Much of the trip was at about 2 miles per hour, but I managed to get home in a little over an hour.

Tomorrow:  Chuck sound mix, and an appointment with a reality TV contact given to me by Kevin Mock.

L.A. Day 6 – Norman Buckley and Kevin Mock

Wow, today was awesome! ¬†I had to postpone my Warner Bros tour yet again, because I had way too much to do to prepare for this busy week. ¬†Instead, I put the finishing touches on my demo reel, burned a few copies, and then did some “thank you” cards for people I’d visited already.

Then it was off to meet director/editor Norman Buckley. ¬†If you haven’t listened to his interview on our podcast, you ought to… ¬†He is incredibly talented, with a huge track record, and yet he is one of the most humble people you will ever meet.

Norman seems to live by the concept of “Pay It Forward” — throughout our time together he was constantly thinking about different ways he could help me. ¬†He listened intently as I told about what I was thinking, and offered many helpful ideas on things I could do. ¬†Several minutes after our time together, I already had a text message from him saying he had followed up on one of the leads he had suggested to me.

Of course he treated me to lunch… ¬†I’m wondering if I will get to pay for anything on this trip? ¬†Everyone I’ve met so far is so generous, helpful, and kind.

Then it was off to Warner Bros. ¬†Wow, I finally got to meet Ali Adler… ¬†and Robert Duncan McNeill… ¬†and¬†Zev Borow… ¬†and Scott Rosenbaum… ¬†and Jeff Granzow… ¬†and Ben Thompson… ¬†and Scott Hatcher… ¬†and Scott Pellet… ¬†and of course Kevin Mock.

After getting a mini-tour by Ali Adler, I got to hang out with Kevin Mock and Chris Fedak as they worked through some network notes on episode 303, and then I spent ¬†the rest of the day (about 5 hours) hanging out with Kevin and Scott Pellet. ¬†I hope you don’t get tired of me saying that they all are AWESOME.

Finally, after almost everyone had gone home, Scott Pellet gave me a more finely detailed tour, including several non-spoilery photo ops of the writer’s room, and a chance to play the Missile Command arcade game from Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer.

Tomorrow I will be on set on the day of Zachary Levi’s birthday, and I will be conducting video interviews with a number of the cast, hopefully including guest star Kristin Kreuk. Wow!

L.A. Day 5 – Getting ready for packed week

I didn’t have any Chuck-related appointments today, so I accepted an invitation to travel about an hour north of L.A. to Lake Buena Vista. ¬†It’s a man-made lake (or man-enhanced, if you follow the history), so it’s nothing like what you might find in the Rockies, but it’s still a very refreshing change from the brown desert you see in much of the rest of the area.

It was over 102 degrees Fahreheit, which is about 39 degrees Celcius. ¬†It didn’t feel that hot, because the air is very dry here, but we still needed shade or water aplenty!

We had an outdoor church service and barbecue… ¬†It was lots of fun, but unfortunately I couldn’t stay too long afterward for water sports because I had quite a few things to do back in L.A.

What exciting things, you ask? ¬†Laundry… ¬†updating my demo reel… ¬†fixing an issue with the podcast’s iTunes feed… ¬†swatting about 30 flies… ¬†tidying the room I’m staying in… ¬†planning appointments for the week… ¬†remotely helping my daughter with her French homework… ¬†updating my blog…

OK, I did do some fun stuff too. ¬†I watched the premiere of FlashForward (two thumbs up), the season premiere of Smallville (OK but nothing to write home about), and episode 102 of Glee (some fun moments but not holding together in my opinion — I think I’ll give it one more episode before I give up on it).

Up next tomorrow:  finally touring the WB lot with tour guide Emily, lunch with Chuck director Norman Buckley, and then hanging out with editor Kevin Mock in the Chuck editing rooms.