Yesterday, my toughest 2012 resolution came true!
I met Ellen DeGeneres!!!!!!
Okay, deep breath. Here’s how it happened:
My lovely (and incredibly talented) friend Nina Berry works at Warner Brothers by day and writes novels by night. I know, she’s pretty much a superhero.
I wanted to find out whether Nina’s as awesome in person as she is on Twitter (Answer: heck yes! You can follow her at @NinaBerry) so we agreed to meet at the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank.
Four buses and a metro ride later, I was clutching my special pass and trying to pretend that I wasn’t an Oregonian gaping at Hollywood in all it’s splendor. I understand that most people wouldn’t describe Burbank, LA as awe-inspiring but . . . that’s how I saw it.
Everyone was super nice too! I showed up to my lunch date crazy early (because I was paranoid that I’d get lost and end up in Compton or something) so I wandered around and met lots of interesting people. I peeked at the gutted remains of the Chuck set . . . and then I chatted with the crew on the set of Are You There, Chelsea who are all excited about their premier. Best of luck, guys! Hope it gets picked up!
I even ran into someone from my hometown Ashland, Oregon! He graduated from my high school two years before me! So completely random.
And at one point I was mistaken for a movie star. That made me feel pretty darn good.
But let’s fast forward a bit to the good parts, shall we?
I met up with Nina at the commissary for lunch and we proceeded to discuss YA fiction and writing and Buffy and about a billion other things. We shared writing pet peeves and had an absolutely wonderful time. Talking to Nina had me wanting to start hunting for an apartment here. So . . . yes, I do think a move is in my future.
Once I finish up with my degree.
But Nina had to get back to work, so I bid her a fond goodbye and continued my wandering.
Which is when it happened.
Okay, so I knew I was “wandering” in the direction of the set of The Ellen Show. But I didn’t really expect to see her. And I figured that even if I did catch a glimpse, I wouldn’t want to interrupt because she’s a very busy woman who probably has to deal with hyperventilating fans every single day.
So I was just going to go over there and chat with her security guard. Honest.
Fun fact: the security guards at Warner Brothers are really nice. I’m sure they are also highly effective at their job. But being on security didn’t prevent them from being friendly and I appreciated that.
Anyhow, I was chatting with someone about California weather when I looked over and . . . there was Ellen DeGeneres.
And I mean right there. We’re talking about a distance of a few feet and she appeared to be waiting for someone.
That someone was definitely not me.
But I wasn’t about to walk away from this kind of opening. I was too close to my unattainable goal to chicken out. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for this precise moment for . . . oh I dunno, YEARS!
Yes, I know that makes me the most ridiculous geek.
So I walk over with this ridiculous grin on my face. The one I get when I’m so incredibly excited about something my Italian genes make a surprise appearance and I find myself with flailing arms that refuse to settle.
I have a feeling it looked something like this:
So with that euphoric/disbelieving grin plastered on my face, my feet carried me over to her and my brain . . . stalled.
Gone were all the polished pre-prepared speeches I imagined delivering ever since I wrote Awkward. Instead she got this:
Me: Hi! I’m a big fan. I wrote you into my novel. Um, HI!
Me: I think you’re amazing. And, wow . . . I thought I’d play it cool. I’m not playing it cool.
(Hands start shaking uncontrollably.)
And then Ellen laughed in a really nice way. There wasn’t even a trace of Oh-God-here-it-goes-again. Just a friendly sound that made my hands shake even more because I just made Ellen DeGeneres laugh!
I swear, I was even thinking in italics.
And then I told her a little bit about Awkward but it was a little hard to talk given that I was trembling and all I could think was: Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen DeGeneres.
So I sort of made it sound like she had actually interviewed my fictional main character. Which obviously, she didn’t. Anyhow once we got that cleared up, I mentioned I started a campaign to get on her show. And then she explained that she has only had one other writer on her show before (Jonathan Safran Foer) and that unless Awkward becomes a huge hit, it wasn’t likely I’d make it on the show.
Which just means that everyone should go out and buy a copy of Awkward!
And I nodded because at that point, I didn’t really much care whether I made it on the show or not. I had just told a woman that I greatly admire that she inspired part of my novel. Best of all, she was every bit as nice as I had always hoped she would be. So I thanked her and then asked for a photo.
Then I looked like a complete dork when I whipped out my laptop so I could take it on Photo Booth.
Marni Bates with Ellen DeGeneres. Still can’t believe it actually happened.
Then she had to go back to work so we said goodbye and I proceeded to call every member of my family.
And I snapped just a few more photos for all of you to enjoy:
I’m on Ellen!
And that’s my grand Ellen adventure!
If you want to relive the Get Marni On Ellen Campaign, here’s the music video I made:
And if you haven’t seen the Awkward Book Trailer I made, you should really check it out here!
I should probably get back to my writing now!
incredible to live the dream!
It really was! And now I get to make new dreams. We’ll have to come up with some when I see you in Ashland. 😀
Your life is blessed. Although I was secretly hoping you would hate LA and deside to stay in Portland after you graduate. Drat with all your dreams coming true so you can leave me in the lerch. Um…I mean congradulations!
Hah! I miss you, Kate! I’ll definitely try to visit you in Portland in the not-too-distant future. And I can’t wait to find your book on the shelves!
What an incredible story. Never doubt the power of intention! Good for you, Marni. Congrats for making it happen.
Thanks Susan! It felt pretty darn amazing 🙂
Cool! You are so lucky! I really hope that I will meet her some day:)
Marni~ I am seriously so jealous of you! I’m not kidding I’m in tears right now- I’m a HUGE fan of Ellen and have dreamed of meeting her since I was 9!! (And 6 years later here I am!!) Anyway- I wrote her a song and I was wondering if you could check it out, I really just want to meet her and have her hear this song. She’s made such an impact on me, oh jeez, I’m bawling. Please check it out- God bless. http://www.tinyurl.com/AVonellen