CNN Experience Seen Through a Nerd’s Eyes

cnn CNN Experience Seen Through a Nerds Eyes

NERDSociety was featured on CNN last Thursday but since a lot of you guys have been wondering what the experience was like, I thought I’d share it with you.  As well as the items I brought for the interview:

So two Friday’s ago, I got an e-mail from CNN producer JD regarding nerd power in Hollywood. What caught his attention about NERDSociety was the poll on the homepage regarding movies. The poll was CCFMDS (my longtime friend and writer) idea from the very beginning, so thanks to him for that! I called back JD and we discussed what nerd culture was all about. I also told him that my site is a blog but throughout the past year, we’ve been invited by movie studios for press screenings and interviews with celebs. He invited me for an interview.  At first I thought it was just going to be on the phone. Then he said he wanted me to come down to the CNN building in Hollywood so it can be videotaped. I agreed and we set up the interview for last Tuesday. He also told me to bring my collection so I knew he was excited about the interview as I was. Afterwards, I was in shock that a major news network would contact me. It felt surreal and I told my co-workers about it.  They were really happy for me and told me to represent the nerds well….pressure was on me!  Haha.

Fast forward to Friday night and I couldn’t sleep, I was too nervous for the interview that was 4 days away. I kept thinking what questions would JD ask me and how should I answer it. How will I represent my fellow nerds, would I make them look good or look bad? I probably got 3 hours of sleep that night and the next day I was a zombie.

On Saturday, I went over my toy, statue, movie, comic and video game collection to see what I should bring. I decided to bring items that brought me fond memories. Below are the items I brought for the interview:

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LOTR poster signed by Ian McKellen and John Rhys Davies

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Bartman signed by Matt Groening.  Dwarf General signed by Tim Burton and Danny Elfman
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1:1 scale of Buzz.  Vintage toys including Joker, Rambo, Chuck Norris and original Ghostbusters!

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Mighty Muggs Wolverine and Darth, Hot Toys Joker in back

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Damn these ones look dusty as hell.  Medieval Spawn and 18 inch Hellboy behind

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Comic books that I brought

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These weren’t seen but it was part of setup: Blade 2 signed by Guillermo Del Toro, MGS 4 signed by David Hayter

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Threadless shirts with Mario and Scooby Doo designs

On Sunday, I e-mailed JD the old poll results that dealt with movie related questions.

Monday night, I pack all of the items I was going to bring to the taping in a big ass box. For some reason, I was calmer than Friday and I had a good sleep of about 8 hours or so.

Tuesday, the big day is finally here.  I woke up ready for the interview but as I was driving on the freeway, I was getting more nervous.  JD called to confirm I’d be there on time and told me where to park so I didn’t have to pay for parking.  I arrive at the CNN building in Sunset. (next to Arclight theatre and Amoeba records, right JD ?? )  I’ve seen this big building before but didn’t really pay attention that it was CNN’s.

I park the car and I ask the parking attendant to help me carry the poster since I was carrying the big box.  We go into the CNN building and I see a glass door.  I knock but the parking attendant told me that I have to use the phone to my left.

“I’m here for an interview with JD.”  The guard buzzes me in and I go through the first glass door.  He verifies who I was and calls JD.  Then a second glass door opens and he walks me to the waiting room.  We passed by the Larry King set.  I talked to the guard shortly but he was also a nerd, so that made me a bit calmer.  I wait for about 5 minutes and JD comes in.  We introduce ourselves and we stop by at the make up room.  JD asked the girl if I needed make up and she said my skin didn’t need any powder.  Yay for beautiful skin.  Haha.

We walk passed the 2 glass doors and onto the elevator.  Destination: 3rd floor!  As soon as the elevator door opens, I noticed that there was already a room ready for my interview.  We walk to the room and as I pass by the hallway, I noticed how awesome the office looks. It was huge but well kept.  Saw the customer service area to my right.

We go inside the room and I was introduced to the cameraman, Chris.  Chris turned out to be somewhat of a nerd himself and that’s why JD picked him for the interview.  Didn’t know that certain cameraman’s are picked for specific assignments but it makes sense.  The table where I was going to be placing my toys had a black clothing on top of it.  At first, I thought they just wanted me to display my toys as they pan over it.  Then JD told me that it will be seen as I’m being interviewed.  Yay!  Now my collection can be clearly seen.  They already had a poster holder ready for my framed LOTR poster.  At first I displayed the items on my own and Chris would move some of it around to have better composition.  We let Chris do his magic, while JD and I get water.  We go to the break room and the view from there is pretty damn nice.  You get to see the Sunset strip.  They also had free sodas but I chose my trusty H20.

On our way back, Chris was still arranging the shot so we talk to David and Jack whose desks were right outside the room.  We talked about Inception and for once everyone agreed that the ending wasn’t a dream.  Never had that happen before.  At this time, I was calmer but still a little bit of nervousness.  Talking to several people beforehand really calmed me down.  It also helped that everyone was down to earth and treated me like they already knew me for a long time.  After about ten minutes, we go back into the room.  Chris told me to sit on the chair so he can test the lighting.  At first, the glare from the poster was really obvious so he had to move the poster and light around. As we were doing the test shots, I noticed several people outside were looking at the toys.

Two interns came in, Grace and Jessica.  They watched the setup and ended up testing for the shots as well.  Haha.  The setup took about 45 with figures falling all over the table, Joker losing his guns several times and just seeing what looked good.  Chris knew about comics so he put Superman #75 right next to me since he knew it was iconic.  Seeing how he worked was really cool, he made sure my collection popped but didn’t distract from me.  JD also made some suggestions on the angles.  Once everything was set, I was given a microphone.  Grace and Jessica left and another intern, Alex came in.

I took a deep breathe and the interview began.  JD had a list of questions ready and I was instructed to look passed him so it doesn’t look weird on camera.

First question: “Please state your name”

After that, we discussed nerd culture for about 20 minutes.  The nervousness was still there but JD was really a good interviewer.  He would listen to my answers and have questions based on it.  So as the interview went on, I became more comfortable.  At one point, I even joked around about being single and how Monica Bellucci should contact me.  When JD asked about which movies nerds would be watching that upcoming weekend: Expendables, Scott Pilgrim or Eat Pray Love and I responded with “we’re not going to watch that Julia Roberts movie”, he knew right away that would be in the closing segment.  Once again, I was intrigued by his mindset.  He already thinks that far ahead.

Afterwards, Chris asked me several more questions regarding movies and comics.  So we discussed that for another 5 minutes or so.

Then onto the b-roll footage of my collection, this probably took about 10-15 minutes as Chris zoomed in on the toys.  If you watch the video again, you’ll notice that he played around with the depth of field on the zoomed in shots.  Again, I wouldn’t have thought of this but Chris was automatic when it came to the shots.  As Chris was shooting footage, JD called in Rick, who was wearing a Star Wars shirt.  This guy was a nerd as well and he pro wrestled before retiring about a month ago.  So we talked about his pro wrestling experience.

Afterwards, I sat on JD’s desk and I was shot for about ten minutes checking out the site.  Chris told me to scroll up and down several times on the site and to check out a couple of pages.  Once that was shot, I was introduced to Doug as he was sitting across from me.  I don’t know what Doug does but he had a sealed copy of Super Friends Season 2 laying on his desk and once he found out I was a nerd, he gave it to me.  Very cool guy as well and thanks for the DVD Doug!

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Here's the DVD, Doug gave me. Hopefully I'll have time to watch it over the weekend.

After that I packed up my collection and said goodbye to everybody.  To tell you the truth, I still didn’t want to leave because everyone was so cool.  I didn’t expect the CNN staff to be so friendly.  The way they interacted with each other made it seem like they were family.  There were no ego’s and no one person was really the boss, they just talked like they were close friends.  It’s not like in the movies where there’s rivalry between the staff.

After getting a voucher from the security for my parking, JD walked me out to my car and I thanked him for the opportunity.  We shook hands and said our goodbyes.

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JD, the man behind the nerd segment

Total time at CNN: Around 2 and a half hours.  I wish I brought my camera so I could’ve at least taken pics with the staff but I was too nervous and forgot it in the car.

Fast forward to Thursday and I’m on my way to San Francisco when I got a message around 2:30 pm from CCFMDS (he lives on the East Coast), saying he just saw the segment and it was a great piece on nerds.  For the next 9 hours or so, I was getting text messages from friends and it continued until Saturday night.  Several people recorded the show, so thanks to Asriel, Tim and Jon for that!

I finally watched the video with family around 11 PM as we got to the hotel.  Everyone was really into it and laughed at the last comment I made.  I loved the segment because it showed that the nerds have a major pull in Hollywood and for once we weren’t shown in the stereotypical bad light.  I’ve also talked to fellow nerds and they felt the same way!

I’ll never forget the experience and I want to thank JD again for the opportunity.  I learned so much from the interview, but more importantly, I met some really good people.  Also thanks to everybody that supports my site!

It’s crazy to think that my first interview was CNN!

Below is the NERD power segment:

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