Being asked to be moderator
On August 7th, I received an email, completely out of the blue, from NBC: “The Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles is hoping to host an Office Writers Panel on October 14 … The Office writers have requested you as their moderator. Please let me know if this is something you are available to come to LA for.”
Ex-squeeze me? What? I seriously thought I was being punk’d.
So I immediately emailed one of The Office writers and asked, is this really true? Their response: “We wanted to pick our moderator and you were the first person we thought of. I hope you can do it. It’ll be so much fun!” Okay. Wow. It’s really true. *Gulp.*
Preparing for the event
I started really preparing during the last week of September. Every day as I drove to work in my car, I’d practice my introductions out loud: “Good evening, Office fans. Welcome to tonight’s panel discussion with The Office writers …” I wrote a script, which ended up being 18 pages long, which listed the order of events for the evening, and about 40 questions that were submitted by fans at OfficeTally. Yes, I’m a huge over-preparer. Hey, I’ve never moderated anything in my life before, I didn’t want to mess up!
At Paley Center before the event starts
I was asked to be at the Paley Center at 6pm, one hour before the event. The event organizer took me into the empty auditorium to show me where I would walk and sit. I was then escorted into the Green Room to hang out with some of the NBC folks.
The Office writers started filtering in, but instead of going into the Green Room, they were guided to the press area, where they posed for photos in front of a Paley Center backdrop, and answered questions by E! Online, TV Guide, etc.
Eventually, all the writers ended up in the Green Room, and I got to hang out with them a little bit. They took more photos and got something to eat and drink. (Paley Center put out an amazing spread of appetizers, wine, etc.)
When it was close to the time of the event starting, Greg motioned the writing staff to him: “Let’s huddle and figure out what we can and can’t say.” They were standing only around ten feet from me. Could I hear what they were discussing? No. Did I try to hear? No, not really. Okay, maybe a little bit. But I honestly heard nothing. It was funny, though, watching them huddle in a corner and whispering.
The event itself
It honestly came and went in a blur. I remember laughing a lot. Mindy and Mike were on fire with their funny stories and impressions. Everything went off without a hitch. We got to watch the cold open to ‘Baby Shower,’ I got to ask a ton of questions, the writers then took questions from the audience, we gave away some awesome goodie bags (complete with The Office Season 4 DVD and 2009 calendars), and then the writers answered more questions from the audience.
I think we could have honestly gone for another hour or so, but the Paley event organizer gave me the signal to wrap things up, so I did. I think the event was only supposed to have gone for an hour, and we ended up around the 1-1/2 hour mark.
Afterwards, the writers hung out in the auditorium and lobby to talk to fans. It was a really exciting and entertaining evening!
- First of all, thank you to all Tallyheads who submitted such amazing questions! I’m sorry I couldn’t get to more of them.
- A shout-out to Tallyhead lemoñadé, who very generously gave up her Paley tickets when she could not attend! You are amazing!
- Thank you to the NBC Store for fed-exing goodies for the goodie bags.
- Thank you to the Paley Center staff for taking such good care of me!
- Thank you to NBC Publicity for keeping me in the loop since August, and for beefing up those goodie bags with awesomeness!
- And lastly, thank you to Greg, Jen, and The Office writing staff for letting me sit onstage with you. It was truly an honor and a privilege. :)