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!