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<editorsnote> Hi, I'm Jen Friel, and we here at TNTML examine the lives of nerds outside of the basements and into the social media, and dating world.  We have over 75 peeps that write about their life in real time. (Real nerds, real time, real deal.) Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the stories!! </editorsnote>

 

 

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Monday
Jul222019

#ThatAwkwardMoment: When the girl who has a TV show based on her life goes out with a guy who has a movie based on his

I'm so proud of my costume this past weekend that I had to share. I went to the Vegan Prom hosted by my very dear friend @smasherbrown (hosted at Pollution Studios)

I'm wearing a feathered piece (found on Amazon & faux of course - although I didn't realize that even feathers can be vegan), with red glitter lipstick (found on Instagram) that matched my Dorothy red sequined shoes (Dorothy is my actual middle name)

I even got to see my friends before prom (as my GF Carlee was having her bday party not far from where the event was being held). As someone who never took prom pictures with my friends, I was excited after all these years to have the life experience. 

Onto the actual post.

Maestro ... 

Last year, on Bumble, I got hit up by a guy whose opening message read "your life is being turned into a TV show? My life has already been turned into a movie." 

Remember, I lead my digital marketing efforts with the fact that Jerry Bruckheimer bought my life rights (twice AND IT SOLD)! 

Convinced he was kidding, I responded back with a gif similar to this ... 

"Have you seen [insert movie title here]?" 

Oh shit, I thought, he's not actually kidding knowing that the movie he mentioned was actually based on a true story. 

Statistically speaking, I averaged 434 (unique) messages a week on dating apps (Tinder and Bumble), and there is a one in 217 chance I'd actually go out on a date with someone.

As someone who doesn't serial date anymore, I (at the time) only allocated two nights a week for dates ... and never two in one weekend.

One date during the week, and one on the weekend ... sometimes with the same person ... mostly not.  

I then responded with my number (as in phone number and not dating average), and he politely texted before saying he would call later that day. 

Ladies, that's one of the best ways to filter guys, btw. I do not EVER accept a date over text, and if a guy can't pick up the phone to call you BEFORE THE FIRST DATE, is he really worth your time? 

We exchanged a series of calls and texts back and forth. He gave me his full name for googling (which I appreciated but had already figured out and had already cross referenced said name in social to discover our mutual friends.) 

54 friends - most of whom are people I am IRL friends with. 

Later that Saturday, we met up early for dinner and if we liked each other afterwards, the plan was to head over to the KCRW opening ceremony for their new campus. 

I then got in the LYFT and updated him on my appearance while sending over my ETA. 

I was wrong, it's actually spelled lasik, but either way ... I was then dropped off at the pier and fought my way through the sea of tourists (knowing that the restaurants on the pier are at the end)

A showers worth of a solid Purell pour later, (and sometime around the time I should have been arriving) ...

  I looked down and noticed a text. 

His text in the address included the word "pier" so I assumed it was on the Santa Monica Pier.

Had I just entered in the restaurant name, I would have arrived no problem.

Much like everything in my dating life... 

 ... apparently even my arrival would be dramatic (knowing that I had to painstakingly walk ALL THE WAY BACK UP THE PIER facing the crowd YET AGAIN)

Not taking any more chances, I then entered the restaurant into google maps ...  

... and never one to half ass my mistakes, I put on my big girl pants as I worked my way back through the crowd.

True to my word, I arrived about 10 minutes later.

My glasses were fogged up (from the heat), and my makeup was runny, but fuck it- I said.

I'm enough of a pro to know shit happens in life, it's not about the actual shit, but rather how quickly you recover from said shit. 

I wiped the sweat off my glasses and from under my eyes as I entered the (thankfully air conditioned) restaurant. 

"Your date is outside," said the hostess. 

Oh fuck, I immediately thought remembering he JUST texted that to me.

Enjoy it while it lasts, I thought temporarily cooling off as best as I could.

I approached the table with confidence. 

You made it, he said excited as we embraced ... 

... making my already warm body even warmer. 

I politely excused myself to use the restroom where I quickly ran cool water on my wrists (a simple trick if you want to cool your body down quickly)


I re- approached the table at a more appropriate body temperature.

I then took a sip of my rose (which thankfully was also cold), as we began the "getting to know you" portion of the date. 

I opened with hard core questions ... 

He opened with the most common question I get asked, "are you going to write about this date?" 

<tangent> This is a two fold question; I've learned in my old age that it's less about the "actual writing of the date" (should that even occur) and more about their own exposure.

Understandably, people don't ever want to look bad and dating is a very vulnerable thing. 

24 year old Jen who started this website didn't fully grasp that.

34 year old Jen TOTALLY does (or technically 33 year old Jen at the time of the date)

At this age, 9/10 that's what guys mean when they say that to me.

At 24? They. All. Wanted. To. Be. Written. About. 

I wasn't aware enough to understand when it was happening, but it was a passive aggressive way of saying "please please please write about me." 

I vividly remember sitting at bars not knowing that I was recognized by someone, and they would either spill a drink or do something aggressively stupid just because they knew about this website. 

It was a mutual exchange the more that I look at it. Like a dog, they got to pee on a post (if I fell for it), and for me? I got the content. 

FYI, 34 year old Jen is a lot happier than 24 year old Jen. </tangent> 

"I don't serial date anymore," I admitted. "What I've done on my blog is a collection of nearly a decade of documented adventures - I couldn't be that same person if I tried." 

"If I ask you to not document this date, will you do that?" 

Not expecting the next part of the date to occur (more on that in a minute), I assured him I wouldn't. 

This is the part where I wasn't true to my word. 

After a great dinner, we half walked/ half Lyfted our way to the event. 

I like to walk while I think, and his conversation really got me thinking.

As a notorious sapiosexual, I don't give a flying toss what you look like, I look for someone who can keep me on my toes (which is why dating has been so hard)

From my perspective he was doing this. 

We arrived at the event which had a line that spanned at least a block.

Knowing this would give us more time to talk, I was excited. 

He then mentioned something about an obscure town back east, to which the guy in front of us overheard.

"Are you from [insert obscure back east town here]?" he asked interjecting. 

"Yes," my date said. 

"ME TOO!" he said excited introducing himself. 

With the line moving at a glacial pace, I was willing to make it a "no person left behind" in the category of stimulation. 

"I'm Jen," I say outstretching my hand as my date introduced himself as well. 

I'm ... let's call him Jiminy Cricket.

Now, when someone with the name Jiminy Cricket introduces themselves as Jiminy Cricket - you remember it. This person's first name was very memorable and without even knowing his last name, I realized I recognized him.

Super excited I said "I KNOW YOU! IT'S ME JEN FRIEL!" 

Without a breath or interruption, I asked about how his dog was?! 

<tangent> His dog went missing sometime back, and he posted about it throughout social media. We are friends on FB and because I am a MASSIVE animal lover, Facebook kept showing it in my newsfeed ... I religiously followed along with his journey. </tangent> 

"I WAS SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT SHE WAS EVENTUALLY FOUND AND YOU GUYS WERE REUNITED." 

What happened next completely caught me off guard. 

"Talk Nerdy To Me, Lover," he said with a tone registering somewhere between disdain and disgust. 

... I thought. 

"I've waited six years to confront you." 

Recognizing my luck up until this point, and the fact that this guy seems AWESOME ... meant that life would OF COURSE introduce a surprise third act (not in my favor). 

Buckle up Buttercup, I thought as I quickly glanced over at my date. 

"You wrote about me six years ago. You made me seem like SUCH A CREEP! You kissed me back! How was that creepy if you were into it too?" 

I immediately remembered what he was talking about - it was a night at the Chateau Marmont and he was in a swimmer's costume. 

The timing of this conversation was less than stellar considering my date had JUST ASKED ME NOT TO WRITE ABOUT HIM, let alone the fact that dudes don't want to hear about other guys you've made out with (reluctantly or otherwise) ON THE FIRST DATE. 

I stood my ground as I said "I stand behind everything that I've ever written." 

"BUT YOU MADE ME SEEM LIKE SUCH A SLEAZE!" 

From my recollection he was being sleazy, but not in a "hey let me get you a drink so I can roofie you" - there was a playful innocence in our exchange. He just is who he is and is very open and loving - I was just surprised and caught off guard by how forward he was then and now. 

"I'm sorry my post made you feel that way," I said not apologizing for what I knew to be my version of the truth, but with empathy that this person has held onto a single blog post for SIX YEARS. 

I wasn't sure if I've ever elicited that kind of response from someone before. 

We then parted at a somewhat satisfied state.

Jiminy Cricket left satisfied that he had a release six years in the making. 

Just not the one he wanted on that particular evening ... 

I left, well as I stated, impressed. 

My date? 

I won't put into words what he was feeling, but he didn't immediately walk away so I had that going for me. 

I'll keep the rest of the evening private, but as I got in my Lyft to head home, I found the post Jiminy mentioned.

My date had already messaged before I could hit send ... 

We never did go out again, but that felt more like timing than anything else. I had to travel for work the following week, and when I came back he was already gone on his own work trip. 
Ladies of LA, if a guy says his life has been made into a movie, not only should you believe him, but go out with him!
What a great person!
I had such a wonderful evening, and even in a situation that most people would have frowned upon ... he didn't. 
That's what real men do - and he's one of them. 
 

Oh, and his movie? I actually watched 29 minutes and 30 seconds of it this weekend (which is what actually inspired this post)

It wasn't for me, but I admire and respect the TREMENDOUSLY hard work it is to get your idea on any size screen. 

#nerdsunite

 

Friday
Jul192019

#NerdsUnite: Down with the deconstruction of digital distraction 

This post is part of series based on the book LifeScale (non-affiliated link). 

As I said in the intro post, my buddy Brian Solis wrote a book about how to live a more creative, productive and happy life. As someone who wants to be creative, productive, and happy - I actually read it and now I'm implementing the steps! Yay self care!! 

It's creepy how well this song goes with this post ... 

I've heard first hand from friends that their companies use psychologists to "enhance the user experience and engagement," but I can't say it ever upset me - I believe that it is up to me to hold my own self accountable.

A year and some change ago, I caught myself "zoning out" in front of the TV and endlessly scrolling for hours on end on FB- yet received no "satisfaction" behind it.

This frustrated me because I receive satisfaction in reading (which I now claimed I didn't have any time to do)

Before I upgraded to my iPhone XS (which includes screen time tracking - more on that in a minute), I found myself spending up to three hours each evening just scrolling.

I personally don't experience FOMO, but to me, reading a digital comment, or sitting on FB messenger pings the part of my brain that meant I was being "social" for the evening - even though I wasn't getting the same satisfaction as actually having a conversation with someone or (equally enjoyable) spending time alone.

I was double dipping my digital and IRL life - and it wasn't working.  

Wanting to up my personal satisfaction index ... 

I deleted FB (and Messenger) from my phone.

It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. 


Now, I quickly check Instagram in the morning and at night, but look at my screen time stats ... 

Mind you, I've been working all day, but making that ONE CHANGE dramatically improved my not only overall satisfaction (which to me is quiet time), but also gave me time to do the things I actually WANTED to do WHICH MAKES ME FEEL ACCOMPLISHED ... ACCOMPLISHMENT LEADS TO BEING ABLE TO ZONE OUT ... WHICH WAS ALL I WAS AFTER IN THE FIRST PLACE!! 

I don't know. 

<page 26>: "Addictiveness is maximized when the rate of reward is most variable," says Former Google engineer Tristan Harris."

Software designers have incorporated this trick into all sorts of their products. 

When you open your favorite app, check your email, and endlessly scroll or swipe, you're subconsciously trying to "win" something. But ask yourself, what exactly are you trying to win? 

Another psychological hijack is social reciprocity. If someone pays you a compliment, for example, you feel the need to return the compliment. This can play out in your digital life as well. If you send an email, it's discourteous if the recipient doesn't reply right away. If you follow someone online, it's disrespectful (and even hurtful) if they don't follow back. </page>

<page 28>: This is why networks, for example, notify you when someone tags you in a post or lets you know when someone "read" your message. Or, when you send a message, you can see the wavering dots when someone is replying to you. And in some apps, you can see how long it's been since you've interacted with someone. You feel anticipation and pressure to stay engaged, to respond, to check back, to interact. 

We use AI and neuroscience to increase your usage ... make apps more persuasive ... it's not an accident. It's a conscious design decision. We're designing minds. </page>

I get it ... I get it ... we're designed to become addicted and to split our attention, but what do we actually do about it? How can we improve? 

With one, the awareness that there is a problem, two, the action and accountability to actually make a change, and three, acting with intention. 

<page 31>: Experts recommend spending 25 minutes to two hours working on a project at a time. If you're spending less than 25 minutes on an important or challenging task, then you're killing concentration and deflating your ability to warm up your brain before you quit. Your brain typically takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to work following a distraction. 

Every time you shift, you shift your attention, from one thing to another, the brain has to engage a neurochemical switch, that uses up nutrients in the brain to accomplish that. So if you're attempting to multitask ... doing four or five things at once, because the brain doesn't work that way. Instead, you're rapidly shifting from one thing to the next. Depleting neural resources as you go. And, we have a limited supply of that stuff. </page>

Earlier this year, I found myself jumping from tasks to tasks (without giving any project my full attention and intention).

Yes, it was in part to the depression I was chemically feeling, but I also developed the awareness that I was using multi-tasking as an escape.

I used it as a way to self punish and self perpetuate this misery I decided I wanted to wallow in. 

<page 40>: Distractions are largely welcome because they can temporarily save us from contending with the challenge of a difficult task ... loneliness, fear, self-doubt, self-loathing and security. 

All of our technological distractions have made that easier for us to because they are designed to seem so useful and nurturing. What could be wrong with sharing our photos with friends? News alerts might inform us of something we really need to know. </page>

<page 44>: Every day when you wake up with a new, intentional mindset and resolve to change your trajectory toward a more positive vision and more productive behavior, you are, by default, beginning your day just as you did yesterday and the day before that. You are caught in a legacy trap, a routine of current behaviors and beliefs that govern your day and life ahead. You can never move forward without a conscious effort. </page> 

My action item this week is to start keeping a notepad by my bed and every morning write down what my intention is for that day.

I normally spend mornings reading through stories on Apple News, or entertainment related websites. I want to change that to hold my own self accountable for what my day will be and bring, not spending the first beat of my morning reading other people's stories. 

I can honestly say I've never done that before. 

Thanks, Brian! 

#staytuned

Oh, and want to hear a podcast about intimacy, setting boundaries, and digital distractions? Check out this conversation with OneToughMuther. 


 

Wednesday
Jul032019

#NerdsUnite: Dear world, I'm ready for a life takeover "Lifescale" style

I love how long this post took me to write (you'll see why this is the whole point in just a second).

These (about to be) series of posts are very special to me.

I'm currently going through a lot of changes personally and professionally - and with all of these IRL and digital distractions percolating, I need to make sure I'm staying true to my own intention, and staying true to myself.

I don't know what that means yet, but I do know thanks to my friend @BrianSolis, I am going to give it a try. 

I've talked about this previously, but my friend Brian has a new book out called Lifescale. (This is not an affiliate link.) Brian is one of THE smartest, hardest working, and kindest people I have ever met. I can't begin to tell you how many amazing conversations we've had over the past decade ... let alone our star studded adventure where I dropped the mic on one of my favorite pop stars. 

Brian is one of those few and rare people in life who shine so naturally and organically. He practices what he preaches, and to hear him speak ... he's amazing ... through and through.

You can read more about his journey here, but this book has been very personal for Brian. As someone who CHURNS out content at an UNGODLY IMPRESSIVE RATE, (I know this because I've seen it first hand) he found himself not being able to focus the same way he used to. 

Wait, let me just have him tell you this next part ... 

Nerds say hi to Brian ... Brian say hi to the nerds ... 

Page 10: "I began to notice I couldn't focus the way I used to. I felt on edge and I wasn't having much fun at all, constantly putting off "me" time and time with friends and family to keep up with my commitments. I was almost always either online or on my phone, needlessly consuming content with no real bearing on either my personal or work lives." 

"... I kept forgetting about important events coming up, and found myself making lots of careless mistakes. I would also catch myself staring at a screen or talking at people when I was in meetings or out with friends more than listening." 

I said those EXACT words in this post:

About six weeks ago I admitted to myself (and loved ones) that I'm in a depression. I caught myself staring at my computer screen for SEVEN solid hours without doing any work. I recognized that I'm no longer living life for the actual day, instead I'm waiting for the HOPE/ CHANCE that I'll feel better tomorrow. 
 

While I have actually been able to pull myself out of the depression (thank you self care and Jerry Bruckheimer), I know I still need help. The first sign of anything being "off" in my system is when I am not writing. The fact that this post took weeks and weeks of edits and re-edits is very strange for me. I was born a writer and storyteller. In fact, I just found this last week back at my parents house ... 

I love how snarky I was at such an early age. See this next one? I wrote "yeah right, like I actually went there" below the brochure.

I didn't actually cross my brother's face off. These pictures were also in my grandmother's album and she wrote on the back of each one so sometimes they'd cross over. 

This last entry is my favorite. 

 It reads AND I QUOTE ... 

"Then something happened when I went to the bathroom! It was stuck! I waited 25 minutes and nobody came in. Then my grandma came in. While I was stuck in there it reminded me of the time they left me in a store for 10 min. 

Jen!"

 <tangent> I was SO specific with time. In one entry I wrote, "he came up at 7:39 am." Why was I in there for 25 minutes? Who knows. I'm sure my grandparents wanted some quiet time and knew I wasn't dead. Was I left in a store? Yep. What I found more interesting was the fact that I didn't just climb over or under the door. There must have been a reason. </tangent> 

Anywho, why is this album so special? Because growing up, I had hundreds of these journals. I documented everything I did, everywhere I went ... writing is the equivalent of breathing to me.

In 2007 however, I lost everything I owned in a massive cockroach infestation and lost them all. I have NO IDEA how my parents managed to find this, but when I saw it I teared up remember exactly who that 9 year old girl was, and how determined she was to tell a good story. 

WHO SAYS ENJOY THE SHOW ON THE INSIDE COVER OF A PHOTO ALBUM?! I knew I was going to do what I was going to do, and I want to get back to doing it. 

Having a TV show is great ...  

... but I want to write just to write. Not write with the knowledge that what I'm doing "could one day be an episode," or even worse saying to myself "I don't have time to write. Look at the XYZ mounting on my to do list." 

This is my life, and while yes, my life rights have been sold (twice) - it's about the choices I make and what I do with it. 

Emphasis on the ... 

I've noticed a huge change in Brian since writing this book, so each week I am going to hold myself accountable by not only practicing what he preaches, but also documenting the changes. 

Thank you for your vulnerability in writing this book Brian. I'm ready to learn!!! 

Page 19: "I call the method I developed for charting and staying on this new focused and productively creative course lifescaling; it's a process for achieving an intentional state of happiness, creativity and mastery in the face of the onslaught of distractions. Lifescaling isn't just about performance, it's about finding authentic happiness through unleashing your creativity, and about defining your own path in life, your own way. 

The first step in lifescaling is coming to terms with why we've become so addicted to distraction. It's certainly not entirely our fault - not by a long shot- but the truth is that we've been complicit. So let's start investigating why ..." 

#staytuned

Saturday
Jun292019

#NerdsUnite: Check yourself before you wreck yourself

<editorsnote> This is a sponsored post. What the sponsor didn't realize is that I HAVE ACTUALLY USED THEIR SERVICE and I'm OVER THE MOON to talk about the importance of sexual health ... well, over the moon or more specifically orbiting Uranus. </editorsnote> 


I laughed up until recently (thank you Burning Man) when people labeled me a "sex blogger." This blog has been 9/10 more about my attempts to have sex rather than ACTUALLY having it.

WHO GOES TO NOT ONE BUT TWO ORGIES AND WALKS AWAY FROM THEM?! 

I do apparently, and I own that. 

I can't be something that I'm not, and while this blog is sex positive, I am happy to report that my STD checks have all come back negative. 

I've never had an STD, but I consider that luck rather than priding myself in how "safe" I have been. The raw dog regret is real ...

Fortunately services like STDCheck.com provide over 4,500 test centers that offer fast, private STD testing at your convenience. All test centers are accessible and used by most hospitals and doctors in your area. 

Did you know you can catch gonorrhea from a soiled bed linen or towel? Even if you're not screwing you can end up getting screwed. 

Be smart.

Check yourself BEFORE you wreck yourself.

#nerdsunite

Thursday
May232019

#RealDeal: That time I cold called the man that bought my life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property (PT. 2)

I love that after 7,500 blog posts it's this series of posts that allowed me to understand that I do not process fear in the same way most people do.

Mind you of those 7,500 blog posts I crashed the Grammys, danced on stage with Prince, went out on over 103 dates in 9 months, and bartered social media to live for a year getting to 12 states with $10 to my name. 

I wasn't at all afraid to pick up the phone and call Bruckheimer. After five years, I was ready to be heard and I was/ am INSANELY PROUD of what we have developed. It was business not personal (which is hilarious since it involves my actual life story) ... and RIGHT NOW is already a win. Here's why ... 

(Click here to read Part I and there was clearly only one song I could write the rest of this post to.)  

Maestro ...

When the option for Talk Nerdy originally happened with Bruckheimer, I fought tooth and nail for the "based on the blog by Jen Friel" credit.

The money? Was money! 

The credit of consulting producer? I don't know what that means exactly, but sounds fun! 

Everything else was what it was, but that ONE LINE was all I was interested in.

Do you understand the value of the line "based on the blog by Jen Friel" shown on the screen of a Jerry Bruckheimer TV show?  

For those that aren't 100% familiar with who Jerry Bruckheimer is, let me ed-u-ma-cate you. 

Have you ever watched a television show? (ANY television show.) 

Have you ever seen a movie? (ANY MOVIE - EVER.)

I am willing to bet you, Bruckheimer had something to do with it.

Here's a roll call of some of my personal favorite films and shows (told almost all in one breath)

American Gigolo, Defiance, Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop (& II & III), Top Gun, Days of Thunder, Dangerous Minds, Crimson Tide, Bad Boys (& II), The Rock, Con Air, Armageddon, Coyote Ugly (which I didn't know was optioned based on an article by Eat Pray Love's Elizabeth Gilbert - she is so damn cool!), Gone in 60 Seconds, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, National Treasure, Deja Vu, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and the juggernaut franchises that are the CSI, NCIS TV shows and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. 

Bruckheimer's name in the news carries prefixes like legendary and uber producer.

If Hollywood had a throne, Jerry would be Bran.

(what? too soon?) 

Bottom line, it wasn't just that this blog got optioned (and sold), it was the name behind it.

Since 2014, I have leveraged that FRONT AND CENTER in my digital marketing efforts (both personally and professionally)

<tangent> Well, Jerry and my dog Buster Brown who is famous in his own right after being featured in Forbes last year.

I love that not only they published this photo but also that "Buster Brown Friel" got top credit. </tangent> 

Anywho, leveraging said name was its own adventure considering it's Hollywood and a shockingly small town. (Not like island small in terms of population, but small in terms of circles.) 

During the meetings after someone found out that Bruckheimer had bought my blog, they would follow up and say "oh! You must also know 'JBE'" (aka the actual executive I spoke to in the last post)

"Nope," I'd say, "I was on an island while it happened" - which then created an entirely different tangent. 

<tangent> Last year I met with Denver and Delilah (aka Charlize Theron's company) and the executive there happened to be at Warner Brothers at the time (WB was also part of the option) and said "your pilot made TV history as Jerry Bruckheimer's first comedic pilot!" Letting him walk right into it, I said "I had no idea! I was living on an island at the time." Which was also, 100% true - I really did have no idea that Talk Nerdy was his first comedic pilot - that was really cool to hear. </tangent> 

I knew from those meetings that JBE was the person I wanted to speak to and not Bruckheimer. I had in my back pocket a series of mutual friends, (more on that later) but common sense/ logic said "why not pick up the phone and call the guy? You received money from these people ... THEY PAID YOU - CALL THEM, FRIEL." 

So I did. 

It took two phone calls, one friend request, and two Facebook messages to see this incoming call on May 7th - (22 hours after the last Facebook message read "Hey there: I got your messages. I'm just back in the office this week and will call you.") 

"Holy shit, I think this might be JBE from Bruckheimer's office," I said out loud again to Buster Brown (he also comes into the office every day as head of HR)

I took a deep breath and said, "Hi this is Jen." 

"I have JBE for you, one moment please," said the assistant. 

I then closed the sliding barn door locking myself inside the office pantry (to pace in peace) and stood next to the mini-fridge adorned with a "no racoon sign" for the rabbi in our office (who is on the outside of an inside joke the nerds have)

"Hello," said JBE as I heard his voice for the first time. 

"Hi, this is Jen Friel," I said as I mentally facepalmed myself knowing that HE was the one who called so OF COURSE he knows it's me. 

Recovering quickly, I took a deep breath, and said the only thing my heart and head wanted to say ...

"thank you for changing my life." 

<tangent> I have only ever said that exact phrase two other times on this website.

The first time was to Scott Monty and the Ford Fiesta Movement. Had it not been for Ford, I would not have been able to give up everything that I owned to move into the back of the Fiesta and begin bartering social media to live (aka executing influencer marketing nine years before there was a term for it)

... and to the Modern Day Shaman, @realityadjacent for helping me with my emotional unavailability. I still laugh that when we first met and I saw the massage table in the office, I thought, "well, I'm either about to feel the efforts of a shaman, or I'm about to die." There was literally no in between. 

Eight years later and I'm not dead!!! 

</tangent> 

Words carry weight, and that sentence came from a very grateful place. Til the day I die, I can use the phrase "Jerry Bruckheimer bought my life rights" and win any conversation or room that I choose. 

This call was more than that. I wanted them to know that I was ready and I had spent the last 19 months re-developing Talk Nerdy into the show I saw, and I'd be honored if they took a look at it. 

I can't remember if those were the exact words I said or not because mentally I was a goner after I got to say the phrase "thank you for changing my life." 

It's 50 Shades of Gray meets Silicon Valley and based on the most popular series of posts on the site. 

(I actually said this) "I still get slave requests SEVEN years later!!" 

Here's the most recent slave post.

I haven't written about the more recent ones since they weren't worthy. 

"Who are you repped by?" he asked. 

I then told him about the packaging and that I wanted to find the writer first (to establish the tone). I did however keep CAA in the loop the entire time, and mentioned that I had the blessing of Jim Toth (as he is the agent to my business partner's little brother)

I had done most of the talking up until that point, but after I mentioned my strategy with packaging politics he replied with one word - "smart." 

"I have an attorney though!" I said super excited. 

"Great," he said. "Have your attorney send it over and I'll be traveling but will read it in about two weeks." 

At that point my heart stopped as I attempted to process the words he just said ... 

I. WILL. READ. YOUR. SCRIPT. 

<tangent> Remember, when I first got the life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property back, executive after executive kept pushing me to write the script. Read the full story here. I may be a writer, but I have ZERO concept around character development, and arcs ... all I knew was logically these were the most popular series of posts - so this what the show should be.

I WOULD NOT ALLOW my name to be on a script (as a writer) that Bruckheimer's name was previously on - I was adamant about that. 

And bee tee dubs, my sister/ badass partner in crime Heather Rutman and I made that decision BEFORE the #MeToo movement. We wrote the story that was one, truthful and two, what we wanted to watch. It's the ultimate feminist fantasy hitting (pun intended) at a very interesting time culturally. </tangent> 

Thank you, I will send it right over, I said in shock. 

I have no idea at that point if I uttered the words "good bye," or if I just hung up the phone ... I just remember crouching next to the racoon sign taking as many deep breaths as I could. 

Crouching nerd hidden vulnerability could be a thing, right raccoon?

Sometime later (time also stopped existing), I pulled open the barn door and began fist pumping my way out of the pantry. (I actually did this.) 

HOLY SHIT, I SAID LOUDLY!!! 

I actually took my passion and made it happen. 

I'm a first time producer and the man who bought my life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property who is also THE MOST POWERFUL PRODUCER IN HOLLYWOOD is going to read my script based on what it was like discovering my own power. 

I hung up the phone and shared the news with Heather, who was (as you can imagine) equally excited. 

I then had to go for a walk because walking helps me think and breathe - both of which I needed in this life moment. 

En route Heather texted as I broke down the analytics of what had just occurred. 

Had it not been for the depression I've been feeling, I wouldn't have been in such a clear state (thanks to self-care) and WHO KNOWS if I would have ever seen the MOST OBVIOUS NEXT STEP. 

Depression not only started this website, it allowed me to take action yet again to go to ... well, wherever the hell is next.

What a blessing, I thought! 

When I got back, I messaged my attorney who was utterly shocked and equally thrilled.

See, before I cold called, I had asked if he knew JBE personally, he said no.

I didn't tell him what I was going to do, I just did it. I really do at first follow protocol, I've just discovered 9/10 via my own network there's a simpler route. 

"Jen this is huge," he said later that evening. 

It took me a minute to process him saying that considering his client list includes another familiar face ... 

<tangent> There is a process in sending out a script. I'm not familiar enough with the legalities, but to submit it to Bruckheimer I had to have either an agent or an attorney send it on my behalf. That's why I had an attorney lined up - and not an agent. </tangent> 

"What's JBE's email," he asked via text still in a client dinner?  

Oh fuck, I thought ...

I didn't ask for his email address!! I can't believe I didn't ask for his email address!! 

I then put down my phone and walked over to my computer where I pulled up Facebook Messenger seeing JBE's judgey-mcjudgerson-face as I typed the following (full disclosure he doesn't have a judgey-mcjudgerson-face but in that moment to me he did) ... 

WHO DOESN'T GET AN EMAIL ADDRESS BEFORE THE END OF THE CALL?!?!

DO I EVEN REMEMBER THE END OF THE CALL I THOUGHT?!!?!

WHY MUST I THINK OF ALL OF THE THINGS!?!?! THINKING IS HARD. 

Sixty seven minutes later I received this ... 

and I immediately forwarded it on to my attorney. 

Before my attorney could send the script, he had to make sure his own ducks were in a row. That included the messaging (meaning approved log line), and he needed something in writing to make sure Heather was also okay with the submission (which OBVIOUSLY she was)

The next day, I had a scheduled lunch with a long time journalist/ writer friend of mine. We met in Silverlake (this is apparently a theme), and I sat down at the outside cafe with a confession that I was surprised I kept the lunch. 

"Jerry Bruckheimer is reading my version of Talk Nerdy To Me," I said still completely in shock - "I can barely tell you what's real right now and what isn't." 

Well, you look really AMAZING, she said - so I'm not surprised that you have news like this. 

Thank you, I said blushing as we then caught up for a bit.

Somewhere around mid-vanilla-latte, a woman stopped and approached the table. 

"I just have to tell you how beautiful you are," she said. 

"Come again," I asked surprised at everything in life right now. 

"You look so beautiful sitting here, and I love everything about your outfit. I love people that "go for things" like you do, and I used to wear costumes out like this when I looked more like you." 

"Thank you so much," I said touching my heart as she wished us a good day. 

"I did not pay her to say that, also does she think this is a costume?" I said laughing.

Ten or so minutes later, yet ANOTHER woman approached with her friend saying "I like your hat" as she walked by. 

"Man, I really am on fire today," I said jokingingly. 

The words barely escaped my mouth before she asked in broken English (she's French), "can I take your picture? You are too beautiful." 

I awkwardly half-smiled questioning if I really had escaped my own reality and entered into an entirely different realm.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no slouch - but to have TWO RANDOM PEOPLE APPROACH AND ONE TO TAKE A PICTURE OF ME meant that I truly was ready to shine, and now was my moment. 

My girlfriend laughed, as she said "whatever that 'it' is in people, you have it! The universe is obviously showing you that you're a star!!!" 

I got back to the office and DMed the photographer (as I had pulled up my account on her phone to follow so she could tag me in the photo)

As I did I saw an email from my gf ... 

I laughed leaving the office for the day, and made sure to take a selfie (with Buster obvi) for further analysis. This face = happiness ...

Noted.

Even Buster is smiling in this photo! Oh, and don't mind the dog hair, I'm an actual dog owner and don't just play one for likes on the Gram. 

Later that evening, at 10:15 PT/ 1:15 ET (but who's keeping track), Talk Nerdy To Me was officially sent out. 

Seeing the receipt of the forwarded message to JBE felt like all the accomplishment I needed. I repackaged a TV show that was based on my life to the people that developed it originally. Having never done that before, I was feeling pretty proud of myself. 

The next morning at the office, I reached out to Jerry Bruckheimer's business partner (and fellow creator of the Amazing Race) Bertram Van Munster. 

Second on the call sheet here, directly north of the Cheetos stain.

I met Bert (just about) 10 years ago through a guy I was dating on OkCupid. Bert needed help writing his online biography and maintaining his online reputation management. The early days of social were NOTHING like it is today, but I remember meeting him at his offices in El Segundo, and hearing all about his INCREDIBLE LIFE while sitting at a long informal style table (Bert sat at the head)

Bert is responsible for not only the Amazing Race, but also Cops (and the creation of the cinema verite style filming), AND he revamped National Geographic from the stuffy scientists to the "in the field" style capture. I remember writing about the fifth seated President he's homies with, and wondering "how does one lead an epic life?"

Does "epicness" just happen? Is it nature vs. nuture? Or maybe a little bit of both. 

I took meeting after meeting inspired by every minute of his life and it consciously brought me into an analysis of my own.

I had just started this blog, I was waiting tables at a kosher restaurant in Beverly Hills adjacent (which later got raided by the DEA - the manager was selling meth to the rabbis out the back door ... long story), and I had my two social media consulting gigs (one being for Bert) and the other in this SUPER dodgy printing shop off La Brea and Pico (behind the 7-11) for a customizable photo album company. 

I can use this website as an excuse to do epic things, I thought, I'll document everything along the way.

Everything Bert has/had done is his version of "epic."

What would mine be, I wondered? 

A few short weeks later, I had my answer and first adventure - I crashed the 2010 Grammy Awards to meet Mashable founder Pete Cashmore. He (at the time) was the King of social media, and every King needs a Queen, so I livestreamed and live tweeted the entire thing, executing not only getting through SIX checkpoints (but the really surprising part) was when I actually FOUND HIM ON THE RED CARPET ...

Only to then go home and do laundry because what else was I going to do at that point?

Award shows are boring. 

<tangent> The first time I crashed anything was when I was 17 at an SNL after party. I had finished high school when I was 16 and moved to NYC a year later. The only person I knew there was a guy by the name of Michael Schur, who spoke the year prior at my acting class (we went to the same high school and even had the same teachers - Kathy Keith and James Gatto). You can read the full story here, but guess what Mike is up to now? He's not only a top showrunner in Hollywood, but HE'S ONE OF THE WRITERS NEGOTIATING ON BEHALF OF THE WGA IN THE WGA/ATA NEGOTIATIONS!! ::cue It's a small world :: 

Full disclosure, I didn't necessarily "want" to crash the SNL after party - I had previously tried guessing the SNL email exchange (as they're pretty easy to guess), but failed. I viewed it as my only option as he wouldn't know my name well enough to return a call. 

Last time I talked to Mike was on Twitter in a convo with Will Forte. Will and I became homies after he helped out (unplanned) with my TedX talk (that was also entirely unplanned as I threw out the presentation I was planning to give the night before)


Crashing the Grammys then got the attention of Ford, which then lead to me looking around at my apartment one day and saying, "why am I doing things I don't like to pay bills to live here? Social media was going to be HUUGGGEEEE, and (having already worked for the founder of Myspace on his startup) I saw first hand how much I not only ADORED IT but I was one of a handful of people that could actually call themselves a "social media expert" right as the word was being established.

All I wanted to do was this website ... 

... and without a business plan or a clue, I donated everything I owned and began bartering to live for one year (also unplanned). I never kept more than $10 to my name at a time, and I hustled morning noon and night. (Mind you, I only had two years worth of belongings. I had lost everything I owned in a massive cockroach infestation in 2007.)

I received the gift of an EPIC life because of Bertram Van Munster, who is DIRECT business partners with the man who bought it. 

I hadn't chatted with Bert since the Fiesta Movement (when Mary Parent also optioned Talk Nerdy), where I showed him the platforms and explained that reality tv could be played out in social media. I explained exactly what I was doing and even showed him the camera rigs I set up in the car. OF COURSE, I cleared out the six compartments in the back with all of my belongings beforehand. (This is when our conversations moved from the informal table to inside his office.) 

 

On May 9th, I told him everything I just told to you all ... 
So what happens now? 

I don't know, it's not about what's next as I'm already winning. The last two days of messages in social media have been unreal. Read some of them ... 

This isn't just my voice and my story, (wow, I'm completely tearing up typing this) it's every nerd's journey of overcoming struggles (particularly the ones in your own head), finding your identity and in it discovering your voice and power. 

I masked vulnerability & intimacy digitally, only to have a slave request his own mask ... 

Actual photo - it was part of his kink

My discovery and exploration of intimacy happened to be through the lens of S&M - but to each their own. 

I can't begin to tell you how much this journey has meant to me - please reach out! 

Facebook.com/jenfriel

Instagram.com/talknerdytomelover 

and let's have an adventure, mmmmmm ... kay? 

I'm SO proud to type ...

#NERDSUNITE 

Oh and one last thing, JBE ... 

You know the Modern Day Shaman? He works at the camera store where Jerry shops and has actually helped him purchase cameras before. (Shamans really do know everyone.) 

And just this past Tuesday, my little sister @lindsaymushett was an actress on set for one of your shows! We're totally going out tonight to celebrate ...  


... thanks for that.