#TBT: Dudez APlenti

 

All week Conan’s been celebrating his 20 years on the air with classic clips from the Late Night show. I’ve been watching every night and it’s so fun reminiscing on some of the best bits he’s ever done, and also recognizing some of the sketches I was there for/helped out with.

I was only 16 years old when this sketch aired, but it’s one of the staff favorites (and my all time favorite). If you remember that old reality show on ABC, Making the Band, then you’ll definitely appreciate this. If not, you still will, because it’s hilarious.

Basically, Conan is putting together his very own boy band to market to the world, and hilarity ensues.

Recycling Colors

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Last week I got the new limited edition Laura Mercier Artist’s palette.

I missed out on last year’s edition because I didn’t know about it until the YouTubers started doing tutorials with it, and by then it had of course sold out.

The good thing about this year’s version is that there are about four repeat colors. Normally I don’t like when brand’s recycle colors from palette to palette, but in this case it worked out for me.

Urban Decay on the other hand does it a lot, and I have almost every UD palette. Which means I have about six of some of the same colors.

So, I guess what we’ve established here is that if it works out in my favor, I’m fine with it.

#TBT: Signed Magazine

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Interning was hard, no question. But I’m a quick learner and adjusted fairly easily. One thing I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out was how to answer and transfer calls. I was terrible at it. So I avoided all tasks related to the main office phones, or most of the producers’ assistants’ phones. There was one set of desks I had no problem with–Conan’s assistants’. You’d think those would be the scariest phones to cover, but, miraculously, early in the morning no one ever called–(except Conan himself once, but that was pretty cool). Therefore, I wound up helping his assistants out a lot, since it freaked me out a lot less than answering the pesky office phones.

Since I clocked so many hours with them, I got to know his assistants pretty well, and I asked if it would be possible, for my birthday, to get Conan to sign my copy of Entertainment Weekly. He did!

Holiday Tutorials

One thing I’ve noticed about YouTube tutorials is how, once a guru gains fame, the tutorials stop. When I first got hooked I was spoiled by at least three tutorials a week from one channel, and now, if we’re lucky, subscribers will get one a month.

As someone who learned how to apply makeup because of these videos I have mixed feelings about a guru slowing down: for one thing, how many ways can we learn how to apply makeup? Once you learn the basics (shimmery colors on the lid, matte in the crease for a big-eyed effect/dark on the lid blended up to the crease for a smoky eye) you can figure out how to do a million looks.

On the other hand, I LOVE TUTORIALS. I can’t help it. The hollow sounds of the wood-handled brushes clinking together, the shimmering swirls of powders floating through the air.  I can’t get enough. I wrote a book about it, for crying out loud.

Then between October and January it seems as though we’re inundated. Gurus are posting tutorial after tutorial, week after week. The only thing is, the entire month of October is filled with Halloween tutorials.

Lipstick should never be used to portray a gash of blood.

So, as much as I enjoy the flood of makeup tutorials in my YouTube inbox this time of year, it’s sort of a moot point because I know I’ll be skipping the majority of them. Makeup and horror are two words that don’t go together, and using gorgeous, velvety shadows to indicate a horrible wound seems just plain wrong.

Not all the Halloween tutorials are gory. Some show you how to have a Little Mermaid look–by pulling a fishnet stocking over your head and then applying green shadow to the side of your face for that natural, scaly effect.

No. Just…no. I love Ariel, but let’s not get that authentic.

 

FYI: This is about as crafty as I can get on Halloween.

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#TBT: The World’s Biggest Umbrella

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Going on runs at Conan wasn’t always so bad. If it was a nice day out I used to enjoy the fresh air, a long walk, and some time away from the chaos of a late night talk show. It’s a lot like going on vacation–you don’t realize how much you love coming home till you’ve gotten away for a while.

When the weather was bad, well…that was a different story. Since the show couldn’t really afford to send us anywhere in cabs (unless there was the report of a monsoon complete with sleeting rain and hurricane winds, or an apocalypse), we were expected to walk/take the subway whenever possible. Even if it was pouring rain.

But then we learned about The World’s Biggest Umbrella. That’s when runs in the rain got a lot more fun.

It was kept tucked under the haphazard pile of the girls’ purses, next to the receptionist’s desk. There was only the one, so we tried to stagger runs in the rain till the intern with The Umbrella came back for the next intern to use it.

Now, everyone knows about umbrella etiquette–when you’re walking the streets and you have to hold the umbrella up high when passing short people, crouch low when passing tall people, and gracefully go side to side to potentially avoid anyone we can’t see peripherally. From anyone watching from their high-rise apartment it must look like some awkward waltz. A dance of umbrellas, if you will.

This monstrosity of an umbrella made that etiquette VERY difficult. Still, I expected to be forgiven. I imagined getting looks of awe, followed by shouts of “where’d you get that amazing thing?!” to which I’d smile and reply casually over my shoulder, “I’m a Conan intern!”

Instead, I really only ever got a lot of extremely angry looks from people (and sometimes the finger), since I couldn’t manuever it without actually hitting someone else’s umbrella. Or someone in the face.

During the last week of shows we found out one of our intern parting gifts was our very own giant Conan Umbrella. The night I brought it home, I excitedly took pictures of it in an attempt to capture its size. I know it’s bad luck to open these in the house, but I already got cursed out by every passerby in the city when I popped them in the face with it, so, technically, this umbrella owes me good luck.

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(random bonus: since I took this pic right after coming home from work you can also see my intern badge. And bracelets. And chapstick.)

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And here’s what it looks like open. It’s hard to see accurate scale from a pic, but just to give some perspective, my older brother is actually underneath it.

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It’s easy to see why all of Manhattan hated me on rainy days from January 2008-February 2009.

Writing Style

I usually talk about makeup and style here on Saturdays, but since it’s still National Book Month I thought it would be fun to talk about a different kind of style: writing style.

It’s so interesting to me how everyone has their own method that works for them when it comes to writing. And we’ve all heard that phrase, “are you a plotter or a pantser?” (it sounds a bit like a bad pick-up line, but really it just means do you plot your story or fly by the seat of your pants).

Technically, I’m a pantser. But since I’m also a very structured person I always start out by saying I’m going to be a plotter. I promise myself with every new manuscript that this will be the start of my neat and orderly writing process. I will plot this one out thoroughly. I’ll be so concise I’ll even do character bios, so that I can pull from an encyclopedia of information any time I want! Yup. That’s exactly what I’m going to do!

 

I’ll be so incredibly organized writers everywhere will ask me how do I do it? And I’ll be like, “I don’t even know, I just love plotting! It comes naturally to me…”

And then after about 2.5 minutes of fantasizing about how organized I’ll be, I get a great idea.

 

I can’t stop to outline the idea though (seriously, who’s got time for that?), I need to just write. And then that idea sparks something else. So I don’t bother figuring out where to put it. I just type it up before I forget.

Before I know it I have my ending at the top of the page, my climactic scene last, and my beginning somewhere in the middle.

It’s weird and headache-inducing, but it works for me.

So, all thoughts of neat and orderly plotting forgotten, I wind up just rattling off everything that’s in my head. And it’s a giant mess. For a very long time. But I learn to make peace with that mess (sort of).

I also work out of at least three different files. One has my working title and consists of the bulk of my story, one has the entire development of the love interest (I usually title that file with the love interest’s name), and one is for any backstory I may or may not include but feel I should know regardless.

Besides my computer files, I also keep a journal by my bed for the inevitable 4AM stroke of “genius.”

Between the files, and the illegible handwritten notes scattered everywhere it can all get pretty overwhelming when trying to make sense of it.

Obviously this is all just my first draft mode. Although it should get cleaner with each revision, it tends to get worse before it gets better. But, then, somehow, it all comes together! And when that happens it feels pretty great!

 

#TBT: Name plates

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The graphic department at Conan was responsible for making up the guest’s name plates to be fixed onto their dressing room doors.

One thing that surprised me to learn was that if there was a guest we liked in particular, we could ask the studio Page to put the name plate aside after a show for us to keep.

Above is my little collection. Believe me, there were many others I’d have liked to have, but the bigger the star, the quicker you had to be to nab the plate. I nearly broke a leg falling over myself to get Steve Carell’s and Hugh Laurie’s. And while I was in the elevator holding Hugh Laurie’s name plate, I found out from some segment producers that a lot of upper level staff (including the most upper level you can possibly get) would probably want it if I didn’t hide it once I got back up into the office.

That was the thing about working there–if it wasn’t nailed down, and it was up for grabs, it was gone in the blink of an eye. Needless to say I kept all my SWAG goodies in my handbag, and my handbag glued to my side pretty much everywhere I went.

Reading, Writing, and..that’s it. Because I hate Arithmetic

I thought I’d talk about something a little different this month, since it’s National Book Month (yay!)

I’ve been enjoying working on my WIP (work in progress) a lot. It’s very different for me and I need that. It’s really fun writing a protagonist who is so unlike my last MC, Lacey, and a love interest who is so unlike my last one, Devon.

This is also the first time I’ve worked on something after feeling I truly found my voice with my last book. Although it’s a bit of a challenge maintaining my writer’s voice, but switching up my MC’s voice, it’s definitely not as hard as I thought it would be. I’m still in the earliest stages with it, and I know never to get attached to any one idea since it will change and grow with every revision, but it’s extremely exciting to create a new world and new people.

I’m also reading a lot of great books lately. I just finished Sara Shepard’s LYING GAME series and am now reading FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell. I know November is NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month, so I think October should be NaBoReaMo — National Book Reading Month. Let’s see how many books I can get through this month!

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In the meantime, this is hysterical.

#TBT: Rehearsals

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Rehearsals were by far my favorite thing about working for Conan.

It was important for Conan and the writers to have unbiased people in their target demographic to test the jokes and sketches for the day. When I first started my internship, it was smack in the middle of the Writers Guild of America strike, so I didn’t know what a real rehearsal was until weeks later. During the strike, Conan would spin his wedding ring on the desk and time it, and do all kinds of improv since they had no writers. Sometimes he’d just tell funny stories, like this one:

 

Thankfully, improv is Conan’s specialty, so these rehearsals were an experience all their own.

Once we got the writers back, a traditional rehearsal went down like this: the sketches for the day were rehearsed. If a bit was going to involve an audience member, interns were used! Then they moved on to monologue, where he’d read about 20 or so jokes off a list and check off the ones that got the best reactions from us. Then the producers and writers huddled at his desk and they worked on narrowing it down to maybe 8 or 9 for the show.

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Naturally, it was fun to play around and take pictures on set. Every intern gets a “Desk Picture” on their last day, and during the last week of shows we just had fun at rehearsal running around and taking pictures of anything and everything. Also, trying to figure out this strange tambourine/maraca hybrid was a never-ending mystery.

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