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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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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.    

Tuesday
May212019

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

My brain processes complex problems quickly, but if it's in front of my face?

I'm 9 times out of 10 oblivious.

I can't believe I didn't think of doing this sooner and yet I also can't believe it actually worked!!!!

I'm still in shock, but enough talking more doing. 

Maestro ... 

As I said in a previous post, I've recently been in a depression. Instead of being hard on myself though, I've been focused more on my own self care taking extra spinning classes, pool days, and making sure to not overwork myself. 

"A delay is not a denial," I kept saying to myself worried and frustrated that the ATA/ WGA debacle forced the writer of the pilot (Heather Rutman) to fire her agent ... aka the adult in the room that knew what they were doing. 

While I agree with what is happening, the timing of this 43 year old contract ending is less than stellar. 

When are things ever "stellar?" I thought laughing to myself.

I've gotten as far in life as I have BECAUSE things were less than "stellar" and instead of being sad or upset about it, I took action. 

Why am I waiting for others to do something and feeling depressed in the process? The ball is literally in my court right now - and it's my turn to make a move. 

On Monday April 29th, while zoning out in front of the TV watching Jeopardy (one of my favorite ways to de-stress), with a clear head and heart, I said out loud to my dog:

"I am pitching a TV show about power. Why have I not picked up the phone to call the most powerful man in Hollywood?"

.... who I have access to via him buying my life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property TWICE! 

The "access" part was still a bit in question, but he does at least know my name since he signed the checks! 

Well, technically speaking the check came from CAA but still ... he signed something at some point. 

Remember, when the Talk Nerdy announcement came around the first time - I was living on an island. I had walked away from everything choosing love (which was all I was after in the first place). That love unfortunately (or fortunately) did not last, and as I was standing in my new apartment's kitchen on June 30th, 2014, I got an email from my agents (who I had not talked to in over a year) asking if my blog was for sale. 

My first thought upon receipt was that "dramatic clichés ACTUALLY exist in life."

It's not only that this is happening, it's happening when I'm thousands of miles away from the life I created and lived so transparently for years.

My head and my heart were in SO MUCH PAIN wondering what was next - and then POOF! Enter stage right magical genies in the form of CAA agents (that I still to this day haven't ever met)

The day the news came that NBC was interested in purchasing Talk Nerdy I had just broken into my exes father's house (to try and get a contact book) and was in the middle of helping to set up his Celebration of Life. He passed very unexpectedly and the landlord had put a lock on the door before we could get his belongings.

We needed to tell his sister whose only known number was located inside the address book that was inside the house. Without thought, I added light breaking and entering to my resume special skills as I was the most logical (and smallest) person that could go in and find it - quickly. (Read the full story here) 

Do you know how unbelievably strange that was supporting the family as best as I could with their own grief to immediately shift my own to tears of JOY physically dropping to my knees on the dock (we celebrated on the water) not even knowing the pilot was being taken out - LET ALONE that a major network had purchased it? 

Fortunately, the family and I got along great (they were very appreciative of the help considering my ex and I had broken up). To my surprise they were very happy for me and true to the word classifying the day, we all celebrated not only his life but also my now successful life story THAT ACTUALLY SOLD!  

You can read the full version of what happened here. For those that already know the story, I came back to LA not only with a big announcement in the trades ...

... but one week later (unplanned timing) an appearance as an entrepreneur on the CNBC show The West Texas Investors Club.

Having ghosted my life and being gone from LA for over two years at that point meant that I wasn't just casually coming back to the city I lived in for nearly a decade ... much like the man who bought my life rights, I was coming back with a big bang in the form of a sold show (in a four way bidding war) and an investment from business partners (that have become family)

I don't know why it never occurred to me to reach out to the producers, or even GRAB A LUNCH WITH MY AGENTS ... but I didn't. Through online dating apps though, I did connect with the guy who wrote my life rights agreement (as in his actual name was on the email exchanges), who was INCREDIBLY surprised at the actual back story ... 

The ball was in Bruckheimer's court, and in Hollywood he is considered MVP.

That's what happens when you option your life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property. It sounds strange that I wasn't more aggressive in terms of involvement, but in my heart I instead focused on how lucky I was/ am.

Who walks away from LA, moves to an island, and stands in their kitchen one day (nursing a broken heart) only to receive LIFE CHANGING news and their OBVIOUS next step/direction?!?! 

Knowing what I had signed, I did the most logical thing I could think of, and leveraged my social network to do outreach in social media. 

Who would have thought that the Modern Day Shaman was personal friends with Morgan Murphy (aka the pilot writer)?!

::whispers:: Shamans really do know everyone. 

 Thanks to his help in the form of a single tweet - she followed me, where I was immediately able to DM asking the most obvious question to a fellow Irish woman ... 

A couple more weeks went by, as did the announcement (in the form of an email from my agents) that in the 2016 pilot season, CBS did not pick us up.

Not understanding the industry, I asked a friend (I met at the Wonder Woman Orgy) for an independent evaluation of my situation. 

This was the response ... 

I was thankful for all the help, but more determined than ever to keep this project going. In July of that year, I received an invite to the Marijuana Don Mansion (courtesy of a friend running the party).

Having yet to IRL connect with Morgan meant this was a PERFECT opportunity to reach out again. 

 Success, I thought excited to stop by her place en route to the Don's.

Like a good nerd, I was one of the first people there, and with an insane amount of pride, we took this photo. 

Writer to writer I not only respected her work, but I was thankful for everything she had done. (click here to read the full story) 

Over that year, Morgan and I exchanged texts, DMs, and I even showed up at her Halloween/ birthday party with a lampshade on my head.

That's not a euphamism, I wore an astronaut onesie with a cooler backpack and the lampshade completed the costume. 

By Halloween of 2016, I had gotten my life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property back (as the option hadn't been renewed). I'm not sure if this is normally the process, but common sense to me (having never done this before) was to find the writer.

Unlike Bruckheimer, I couldn't pay, but in my heart I knew if people heard the whole story they could better understand the FIRE and SHEER WILL/ MOTIVATION that everything Talk Nerdy has been from day one (which may or may not sell it)

My goal in coming back to LA was to work my way into the writer's room with Morgan - so why not directly ask her if she still wants to work on this together? 

I did, and unfortunately (or fortunately for her) she was already in the works of a big reboot for a popular 90s sitcom. 

I then took meeting after meeting trying to find not only a writer, but an idea of a direction to go in.

Thanks to the announcement in the trades with Bruckheimer, and the success of the CNBC show, I was able to pick up the phone and call just about anyone I had known or wanted to know. 

It definitely worked, and through an intro to my then attorney, I was connected to Girls' Guide to Depravity author Heather Rutman. Her book had previously been turned into a show on Cinemax and at our first meeting (in Silverlake at a place called Dinosaur Cafe because obvi), we were even wearing the same overalls from Madewell. 

Heather's blog was the analog version of Talk Nerdy. It isn't easy to be open and vulnerable while at the same time sex positive in an honest manner (while also avoiding crossing over to "crass" territory)

It took only one meeting to know that I had actually found "my person" and our new direction. 

The WGA/ ATA disagreement (one of the primary reasons) is over the fact that agencies are making a killing off of "packaging fees." I was lucky with Bruckheimer that I was repped at CAA, and the TV people sat with the lit department (one fateful June day) and said - "we want to option this!" I got picked because of my agency placement and a clever blog name. 

This go around, finding the writer was everything. Again, the tone had to be JUST right. To beat the packaging politics, I needed to stay agency agnostic. 

Now that I found her, I could sign with her agency (if I needed to) or just keep the entertainment attorney and operate through him (there's a process in actually sending/ submitting a script).

Not wanting to piss off the magical genie in the form of agents at CAA, I made sure to keep them in the loop as well.

It was unexpectedly handy having one of the biggest Hollywood movie stars (who is also repped at the same agency you were) be your business partner's little brother ...

In addition to reaching out to my agents directly, I called in a favor and had an email sent to his agent Jim Toth on Talk Nerdy's behalf. 

I might have had the ducks in a row in terms of propelling the project, but it took my own self care to understand the most obvious next step. 

Why haven't I called, Bruckheimer directly? I asked clearheaded and out loud to Buster (who didn't respond because he is a dog). How have I not thought of the most OBVIOUS person to send this to? 

The next morning, on Tuesday April 30th, I wrote down my morning call list ...

At 2pm I closed the barn door to my startup's pantry (we have open offices and I needed to be able to pace in peace) and picked up the phone to call Jerry Bruckheimer. 

Having worked at his office before (my first job in LA was as a PA through their temping agency), I knew the system. (After two weeks I got offered a job, but I turned it down to work at a smaller company where they let me listen to the radio.) 

First, you have the main receptionist and then all the executives have their assistants (which is obviously standard protocol at like every company ever).

I then pulled up the Deadline article (that mentioned all of the executives names) and asked for the executive listed (that based on a google search seemed to be the person I wanted to talk to)

"Hi, Jen Friel for (we'll call him JBE) ... JBE." 

One moment, said the first receptionist. 

Whew, step one down, I thought as I continued to take as many deep breaths as I could hoping I could have the balls to say the next sentence.  

"JBE's office, how can I help you?" said the second assistant. 

"Hi, Jen Friel for JBE," I said cool, cold, and collected. 

"Can I ask what this is in regards to?" said the second assistant. 

"It's in regards to OUR project (careful choice of words) Talk Nerdy to Me." 

"One moment," she said. 

HOLY SHIT, I JUST SAID THAT SENTENCE!!! I thought but fortunately didn't say as I continued to breathe as deeply as I could successfully executing (and not stepping in) step two. 

"JBE isn't available right now to take your call. Can I get your name and number to have him call you back?" 

"Yes," I said with pride and my number.

Then, using something called the internet (and specifically IMDB Pro), I looked up Bill Wrubel's information (also mentioned in the Deadline article), and also cold called his attorney. Bruckheimer may have his name behind my life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property, but it takes a village to make a TV show. 

I then repeated steps one and two leaving word and message for Bill as well. 

Nerd girl, nerd blog, I said sitting back down at my computer. If I want to reach someone, why not try Facebook? The project is called Talk Nerdy To Me - IT'S FITTING! 

I then sent JBE a friend request and 12 hours later, I not only had a new friend, but I had a call from Bill Wrubel's lawyer's assistant (wow that's a mouthful)

He indicated that due to the problems with the ATA/ WGA, his work load has increased. He asked if I could email him the info - which I immediately did.  

Next, I used access to JBE's main inbox on Facebook (as you have to be someone's friend to send them a message - and have them see it), to send him this: 

Within 24 hours of declaring that I was going to connect with these people, I was two for two in at least getting some kind of a response! 

 

48 hours later (Friday for those keeping track), I then placed a second call to JBE and left a second message to his assistant. I didn't know what my next move would be, but placing two calls after he accepted my friend request still seemed in the "motivated" lane and not quite entering "stalker" territory. 



 Fortunately, I didn't need to make another move, JBE was up to the plate, and at 4:07 on May 6th he sent me this on Facebook ... 

To say I was over the moon at this point would be an understatement. All I needed was access to this person; I wanted my chance to take a shot. I knew by him even agreeing to a call meant that there was some sort of interest - and that's all I've ever needed in life ... a slight chance at a cracked door. 

(Or technically, I could just pop the lock and climb through as I've learned from my light breaking and entering skill set.)

22 hours later, I took a deep breath as I saw an unknown Santa Monica number appear on my phone. 

"Holy shit," I said outloud, "I think this might be JBE from Bruckheimer's office." 

"Hi this is Jen," I said answering the phone. 

"I have JBE for you, one moment please." 

It was him.

After five years, two option renewals, and a four way bidding war, I was talking to the man responsible for purchasing my life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property. 

She shoots ... she ... 

#nerdsunite

Click here to read part II

Click the screenshot to comment on Facebook

 

Tuesday
Apr302019

#NerdsUnite: That time I accidentally met a Kardashian (only to immediately regret it) 

<editorsnote> If you're an executive reading this after our pitch meetings, here's a post highlighting what we discussed. And here is the most recent slave post. If you're a nerd, keep reading ... </editorsnote> 

Shout out to @hey_schwartzy for the reminder that I needed to tell this story. 

A few weeks back, I posted a meme on Insta that surprised me ... 

Love them or hate them, I've never been the kind of person that felt the need to "take someone down" in order to feel better about myself. Frankly, I thought Lady Di looked stunning and didn't think much more about it.

Kut to less than 24 hours later, I khanged my tune ... 

... only this time it wasn't behind my komputer ...

it was IRL ... and BOY those fist were-a-shaking ... 

I also kan't believe I haven't told the story of my first interaction with the Kardashian Klan, so let's go full throttle and open up the ... 

... and no, not that kind of kan. 

Maestro ... 

Picture it, 2013. One year before Jerry Bruckheimer bought my life rights (twice), and two years before this blog sold in a four way bidding war between ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX ... I took a series of what they kall "generals." 

I had a manager at the time whose job it was to book general meetings with agents, studio execs, production kompanies, showrunners, basically anyone who is anyone in their rolodex that would potentially want to develop a show either about you or somehow involving you. 

I (no joke) took 50+ meetings and (with equal amount of enthusiasm) said the same lines over and over (as told in this vimeo) ... 

While most were awesome, there was only one that was truly memorable. KUWTK is produced by Bunim and Murray ... 

aka, the people who also kreated this show ...

Pre-the big social media boom, anyone and everyone aspired to be one of the "seven strangers picked to live in a house, work together, and have their lives taped." We then found out "what happened when people stopped being polite, and started getting real." 

I WORSHIPPED this show growing up; I fell in love with the Miami season in 1996, and from that point on my relationship with TV was forever khanged. 

I found the kast to be not only aspirational but also accessible. I didn't just want to be like them, I might at some point be able to BE one of them (due to their annual nationwide casting of 18-24 year olds)

Bunim and Murray kreated the archetypes of the "good girl, bad boy, jock, bitch, preppy, there was always someone who was gay, and there was always that quiet person that you never knew why they were picked but maybe it's because they were the 'straight guy.'" 

Real Worlders were like OG social media influencers, and kreated the entire reality TV genre.

<tangent> I remember when I first moved to LA and would see Real Worlders (and their sister show Road Rulers) in the wild and FREAK!!! 

::whispers:: Also, when I say "first moved to LA" I also mean this past year when I matched with Syrus on Bumble ... 

We made it exactly two whole gif exchanges ... 

... before he stopped talking to me.

I GOT TWO!!!! </tangent>

When I found out that Bunim and Murray wanted a general I part kried, part screamed, and (more likely than not) got down on my knees thanking the gods for shining down and making all of 13 year old Jen's dreams kome true. 

It was time to get real & 
I am literally Jen For-Real!!

I prepared as best as I kould konsidering I had done this kountless times before. 

Generals are like dating - there's no preparing, you either have khemistry or you don't.  

I arrived with my manager 15 minutes before the meeting was set to begin. I had explained to him on the drive up how much Bunim and Murray meant to me and that I was going to need a few minutes in the space before I kould actually be expected to speak. 

Once through the doors, I quickly asked where the restroom was, limiting any and or all eye kontact just so I kould gather the troops.

"You can do this," I actually said to myself in front of the mirror.

Fortunately the restroom was empty, but that would have been even funnier had it not been.  

I then rejoined my manager and moments later we were kalled into the executive's office. 

On the wall, I saw post it note after kolor koordinated post it note - an entire room filled with them, with the name of each of the Kardashian's at the top. 

<tangent> I didn't know this at the time, but they were kharting out the season arc for each of the kast. I vividly remember seeing the name Kris with a series of post it notes talking out her journey as a talk show host. Mind you, this hadn't been announced yet, nor did I sign any sort of NDA so that I found kinda strange. </tangent> 

The meeting began without any sort of pleasantries (which wasn't too unusual - some people really do like to kut to the khase). My manager and I were on one kouch, and the executive was on the other slightly longer one. 

"Describe your life, Jen," said the manger. 

I immediately went into my pitch, and was stopped somewhere around the "accidentally going out on 103 dates in 9 months using the OKCupid algorithm." 

"Who sexually abused you," asked the executive? 

Surprised, at his super blunt question, I said "no one" ... which wasn't technically true, but if you're going to get that kind of information out of me, we're going to have to know each other for at LEAST five more minutes.

"Tell me about your home life, family, friends, any drug addicts, your parents- are they in jail?" he asked with a kut of kurt. 

"I'm not sure where this is going," I abruptly stated.

"I need to know where the drama is," the executive said. "What is it that makes you and your blog so interesting?" 

"I'm not dramatic in the traditional sense," I said. "I just happen to have all of these strange life experiences and instead of judging them, I just go with it to see where the lesson is. I couldn't have planned any of this if I tried."

Proud of myself for flipping the switch, I then literally watched him flip his own as his body went from vertical to horizontal in no less than 15 minutes. 

His eyes never technically shut, but the meeting did awkwardly end with a wondering of "did I actually just put this person to sleep?" 

We were then shown out and fortunately, (even at that time), I was confident enough to not take it personally. Much like (again) in dating, he just wasn't that into me. 

As a Lolita of literalness, en route back to the car, I still needed some sort of klarification as to exactly how that went. 

"I'm just konfirming that that didn't end well - is that korrect?" 

"That was definitely a first," he said. "Out of all my years, I've never seen an executive not like someone so much that they actually pretended to be asleep." 

"But that kould also be good in the sense that I got a reaction out of them, right?" 

"Oh no," he quickly replied, "you're for sure not getting another meeting with Bunim and Murray. 

Only he wasn't kidding, six years later ...

I still haven't had another meeting with Bunim and Murray. 

... or not. Hakuna matata. 

Oh, but back to the point of the Kardashians ... so I posted that meme, and I kurrently have a rebound rate of whatever I think/ intend being presented no less than 24 hours later. It's happened 8 times in the last two months. All with people I haven't seen or spoken to in years - I'd randomly mention their name or a situation and boom! They appear either in person or through social media. 

I've always been a manifesting magician ... 

... but now I'm transitioning into more of a deliberate manifestor. 

What I've done has been great, and I'm really proud of everything, but it's still not enough (which I feel like is also playing into my depression). 

Either way, I posted that meme and 24 hours later, I jetted off to a meeting in West Hollywood. As I went to turn from Melrose down this SUPER small and tight alley .... 

... I noticed I couldn't because a big blacked out Land Rover had not only stopped, it had parked. 

As if that wasn't douchey enough (as there was CLEARLY no room to pass), the driver then jumped out of the car leaving their door open for approximately 30ish seconds (which is an impossibly long time when you have your ass sticking out on a major street in Los Angeles)

Realizing I couldn't technically go forward or backward, I was fortunately able to pull my car off of Melrose (onto the sidewalk enough to not get hit by on coming traffic), but was still unable to pass or move (as backing up would have been too dangerous)

An ungodly amount of uncomfortable time later, this little peanut of a person sashayed out of the car, flipping her hair and laughing with her friend. 

I then honked my horn and did a double forward and flat handed gesture that universally symbolises a combination of WTF and MOVE YOUR SHIT

Unenthused, she completely ignored me, choosing to only close the door (and not move her illegally parked vehicle) before going inside a tea shop. 

Is that Kourtney Kardashian? I thought as I micro-inched my station wagon forward as best as I could. 

Traffic was now starting to bottle up at both ends, and as I finally crept past the Land Rover rolling my window down to express distain to the drivers who were stuck in the rear (this time only using one hand)

To my surprise, she was quite a bit prettier in person than she is on screen, but I don't care who you are or how much money you have - a douche is a douche. Blatantly blocking traffic like that was a really douchey move, particularly konsidering that with Kardashian level money, they kould afford a driver.  

While I am incredibly impressed with their marketing capabilities, I wasn't impressed with their lack of kommon sense/ decency. 

OH, and as I was writing this post, I received an email from an investor inquiring about Kourtney's new website and the marketing strategy behind it. 

I guess I really am getting this whole "deliberate manifestor" thing down. Wonder what's next? 

#nerdsunite