OfficeTally Quickie Survey

OfficeTally Quickie SurveyI’ve always wanted to know a little more about OfficeTally readers.

Some are diehard JAM fans. Some are spoiler-holics. And some read OfficeTally when they should be studying or working. And that’s pretty much all I know. :)

So please help me and fill out a very short survey. It only has five questions. (And the fifth question isn’t even really a question!)

One respondent will be randomly selected to win an OfficeTally prize package!

The package will contain a 2009 calendar, some Target $1 items, and maybe a t-shirt or some other cool stuff from the NBC Office store. A cornucopia of Office goodieness.

Thanks for your time! -Jennie

Link: OfficeTally Quickie Survey

(Status 8:50pm PT: The response to this survey was so overwhelming, the survey is now closed. Winner of the prize package will be announced soon — thank you so much for participating!)

Advertising on OfficeTally

I held off as long as I could. But now I need help.

The traffic that comes to OfficeTally grows by leaps and bounds every year, and so every time my account is suspended for sucking up too much bandwidth with each leap, I have to move the site to a more expensive host that can accommodate the traffic.

As a result, I now spend a ton of money per month in maintaining the site.

In order to recoup some of my expenses, I’ve inserted ads on OfficeTally.

Thanks for understanding!

Welcome to OfficeTally 2.0!

After more than two and a half years, I decided that OfficeTally was due for a little makeover.

A few things to note:

  • No matter what page you’re on, you can click “OfficeTally” in the banner to go back to the home page, same as before.
  • See those icons next to some people’s comments? — if you’d like your own, create an account at gravatar.com. Whatever email address you sign up with there, make sure you use that same address when posting a comment here. (If gravatars wreak too much havoc server-wise, I’ll turn them off. But for now, have fun!)
  • The “Comments” link is now at the top of the post instead of at the bottom — for easier reach.
  • You can now find the “About,” “Chat,” “Links,” “Spoilers,” and “Calendar” links at the top right corner of the banner.
  • The “Links” page now includes many more websites!
  • You can now chat directly on the “Chat” page.

OfficeTally 2.0 — it’s the same as before, but fresher. Hope you like it!

P.S. OfficeTally 2.0 looks fine in most browsers, but it looks best in Firefox.

“Office” fans: Bow down to your queen

This article originally appeared at http://getfreshcut.com/2008/04/10/office-fans-bow-down-to-your-queen/ on April 10, 2008.

“Office” fans: Bow down to your queen

by Hassan

Forget “Lost.” Tonight, it’s all about “The Office.”

Yes, most of you probably know that the NBC comedy is back from the Writers Strike doldrums, returning tonight (8pm Central) with new episodes, and more importantly, new questions about the Dunder-Mifflin romances, break-ups, and shake-ups in store for fans.

Indeed, the devoted fan base has kept “The Office” all-too relevant despite being off the air for five months. Other strike-grounded shows, now struggling to regain their footing, would kill for that kind of loyalty.

At the center of the “Office” faniverse sits Jennie Tan, a Silicon Valley technical writer who single-handedly runs OfficeTally, arguably one of the best fansites on the web.

And with a new episode on tap, along with recent (but touchy) news of a spinoff in the works, we couldn’t help but drop her a line. Caution: “The Office” may lead to decreased productivity.

Fresh Cut: How and when was “Office Tally” born?

Jennie Tan: OfficeTally went live in February 2006, about halfway through “The Office” Season 2. It was originally created as a place for people to rate the episodes (hence the “tally” in “officetally”), and nothing more. Of course, since then, OfficeTally has become more of a news site, but the name stuck!

FC: How did OfficeTally manage to set itself apart from so many other fan sites?

JT: I think part of it is luck — luck in that the site started pretty early in the show’s run. And having so much support from the show’s producers, writers, cast, and crew has been fantastic, too. Last but not least, the OfficeTally readers, or Tallyheads as they are called, do a fantastic job of providing news tips for the site. OfficeTally would not be as content-rich without the Tallyheads!

FC: How did OfficeTally weather the WGA Strike?

JT: It was a really sad time, but OfficeTally continued on without a change in process — sifting through news feeds and reader tips for items that would be of interest to Office fans. It was also great to be able to visit with the writers in L.A. and to picket with them. The writers penned a few notes to the fans; it was really important to them to stay in contact with the fans during this time. I tried to keep people updated on strike news as best as I could, plus I ran a few contests so that people would have something to keep them distracted. Hope it worked!

FC: What are some predictions you’ve heard about the show’s future plot?

JT: Well, Jenna Fischer visited the OfficeTally Chat Room on Sunday night, and she revealed some intriguing spoilerish tidbits: 1) something big happens for Jim and Pam in the second episode coming (’The Chair Model’), 2) we’ll learn something about Pam we’ve never known before, and 3) someone leaves Dunder Mifflin at the end of the season. The mind races …

FC: The Spinoff — Your Thoughts?

JT: The current show has such a dream ensemble cast, and I mean, a once-in-a-lifetime type of cast, that I can’t imagine any of them leaving for a spin-off. But I’ve been reading comments from the Tallyheads on this subject, and I’m agreeing with one sentiment: Don’t take away current Office cast, but bring well-loved actors from past hit shows! (Arrested Development, anyone?)

FC: Speaking of past hits shows… If the U.S. “Office” got in a fistfight with the British “Office,” who would win?

JT: The U.S. “Office,” of course! All it would take is one of Angela Martin’s death stares, or a few quick karate moves from Dwight, and it would be all over. Backup plan: Michael can just lock them all in a conference room until they concede.

FC: How much contact do you have with the staff and showrunners? How do you keep yourself from relentlessly name-dropping the cast around your friends?

JT: I keep in regular contact with the producers, writers, cast, and crew of the show. I’m always floored by their interest in the website. In some ways, I feel like I work with them, like I’m in the cheerleading division of Dunder Mifflin. :) I really don’t talk too much about “The Office” outside of OfficeTally. People would think I’m insane. ;)

That’s What She Said! An Interview With Jennie From OfficeTally

This article originally appeared at http://www.heynielsen.com/blog/2008/04/08/thats-what-she-said-an-interview-with-jennie-from-officetally/ on April 8, 2008.

That’s What She Said! An Interview With Jennie From OfficeTally

By Steve Ciabattoni – Apr 8th, 2008

Jennie Tan knows cubicle life. Perhaps that’s why she’s just the right person to run OfficeTally, a website devoted to the US version of the popular series ‘The Office.’ What started as a site for fans to rate their favorite episodes (hence the name) has blossomed into the site for ‘The Office’ news, gossip, and more… even her new BFFs, the stars of the the show, read it when they’re killing time at their fictional desks. So enjoy this interview… then get back to work! Oh, but not before playing our Trivia Quiz which features a question from OfficeTally.

Q: We all have our favorite shows, but what attracted you so much to ‘The Office’ that you started a website?

It was all by accident, really. I’m a huge web nerd, and I wanted to learn how to create and maintain my own blog. I had just started getting interested in ‘The Office,’ so I figured that would be a good topic. If it hadn’t been ‘The Office,’ I might have started a blog about eating or restaurants or geek gadgets.

Q: As I write to you from my stylish beige cubicle, I have to ask… did you ever work in an office? If so, was it more or less soul-sucking than [the paper company on the show] Dunder Mifflin?

Uh, I’ve worked in an office for … years! That’s all I’ve ever known professionally. I am used to sitting in an 8×10 cubicle in front of a computer all day. Fortunately, the company I work for is way less soul-sucking than Dunder Mifflin. In fact, it is one of Forbes’ “Best Companies To Work For”!

Q: With all the Jim/Pam, Michael/Jan and Angela/Dwight relationship storylines, what’s your policy on office romances?

I’ve been involved in several. And they’ve all ended badly so… not a good idea. Even if you disclose them to HR! :)

Q: Moving on then… what is your relationship like with the producers and stars of the show? How did they become aware of the site and did you really believe it was them when they first contacted you?
I have a wonderful relationship with ‘The Office’ staff and NBC. Everyone’s been so supportive of OfficeTally; I am really grateful to all of them! I keep in touch with producers, writers, cast, and crew, as well as NBC contacts in PR, NBC.com, and the NBC store on a regular basis. I am really not quite sure how they first found OfficeTally. I think it might have had something to do with the “Supersized Office Finale” petition that I helped with.

Your second question makes me laugh. Whenever someone from ‘The Office’ contacts me for the first time, the first thing I do is make them answer a “security question” to confirm their identity. I did this to Rainn Wilson (Dwight), (writer/producer) Michael Schur, Angela Kinsey (Angela), Brian Baumgartner (Kevin), and Jenna Fischer (Pam). They’ve teased me about my security measures, but the fact is, some people *have* contacted me before, impersonating Office staff! A girl’s gotta be careful.

My first contact with someone from ‘The Office’ was when I wrote B.J. Novak (Ryan) via MySpace. I was really tickled by a line from the episode ‘The Fire,’ which he wrote. I wrote him about that particular line, and when he actually wrote me back, I was really encouraged! I was thinking, wow, I just got an email from a TV STAR. Maybe OfficeTally will be a fun project!

Q: What’s been their reaction/involvement with the site?
One of the coolest things Jenna ever said to me is that Pam’s computer on set has OfficeTally bookmarked! During The Office Convention in Scranton, Brian Baumgartner jokingly told an audience that he reads OfficeTally “to find out what [he] did last night.”

After getting to know some of the cast last year, I contacted the producers to ask if I could come down for a set visit. I asked Jenna, Angela, and Kate to put in a good word for me, and they did, which allowed me to visit, and it was a dream come true! That was one of the funnest days of my life. They were so gracious in letting me take photos and observe the shooting process.

During the WGA strike, ‘The Office’ writers generously hosted my trip down to picket with them. I appreciated that tremendously. I think it was really important for them to keep in touch with the fans during that time, and I was happy to help with that.

Rainn let me sit in on a writers meeting for his hosting gig at the Spirit Awards. I am incredibly interested in the writing process, so that was fun.

Many of the cast and writing staff have visited the OfficeTally Chat Room, including Jenna Fischer just this past week. It means so much to fans to be able to interact with people from the show.

Q: Does running a news site/community for the show have drawbacks? Would you like to know less about certain ways the show is made, or maybe not have info on spoilers.

The biggest drawback is that I have an almost non-existent social life. Running OfficeTally takes 40-50 hours a week. It’s like a second full-time job! Oh, and I could use more sleep, always. I take fewer and shorter vacations, and I *must* have Internet access wherever I travel, which didn’t used to be the case. I moderate comments from my cell phone while I’m driving home from work!

Yes, spoilers are a double-edged sword. On one hand, the spoilers page is pretty much THE most popular page on the site, and it’s my job to keep it updated. On the other hand … they’re SPOILERS!

And I have to be honest, Thursday nights are not much fun for me — I have to moderate hundreds of comments, then stay up late to transcribe my favorite quotes of the episode. I don’t usually get to bed until way past midnight. I don’t really get to enjoy the episode as a viewer until many months later. (Which is okay, since I watch every episode many many times over!)

Q: What are some of your other favorite shows?

The X-Files and Twin Peaks are some of my past faves; I was HUGELY obsessed with Mulder and Scully. Currently, I love Lost (the most amazing season ever), Breaking Bad, Free Radio, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. If I didn’t have OfficeTally, I would probably blog about ‘Sunny.’ I was also a big fan of Journeyman, and was devastated when it was canceled. I’m hoping against all hope that 24 returns strong. A friend turned me on recently to Arrested Development, so I’m slowly making my way through the DVDs. It is brilliant.

Q: Are you excited that more behind the scenes clips and special content (like character blogs) are online, or do you feel it takes away from the show?

Oh I love all the extra stuff! You can’t have enough quality content. It’s what gets fans excited. The official NBC Office site is quite amazing in that respect, especially with regards to the whole Dunder Mifflin Infinity game. That’s like a whole mega-site unto itself.

Q: What can you tell us about the people who visit and comment on OfficeTally? What has it taught you about the power of community as it relates to the shows we watch?

‘The Office’ fandom is super passionate. They love every last detail and bit of news on the show. I hear from Tallyheads all the time who say ‘I visit your site 10 times a day!’ OfficeTally is just one of many, many websites dedicated to the show. I’ve never had a fansite before, but I suspect that this show has one of the strongest online communities on the planet. And how many TV shows do you know that have its own fan convention? Where the staff are treated like bonafide ROCK STARS? It is a testament to the show’s staff the tremendous outpouring of love they get from fans. And the staff gives the love right back. :)

Q: So, a spinoff of ‘The Office’? Any new gossip (or facts about this)?

I have asked around, and nobody seems to know anything. If it does happen, I can tell you that OfficeTally will probably NOT cover it. I don’t get enough sleep as it is!