Cast of Community

Cast of Community

Thursday, February 14, 2013

#CommuniCon Staff and Livestream Stories

So hey, everybody!

First of all, I'd like to give a big thank you to Gillian (aka @CommuniConNews), who single-handedly planned CommuniCon. That's right: all by herself. There is a group of 5 of us who go by the name Tranny Queens (TQs for short), and 4 of us helped, but she really did the majority of the work. Yes, we're still in shock. She's amazing. We told her tons of times, and gave her some little present, but you guys...she's the BEST in the world. I'm giving away the punchline now: Thank you, Gillian, for the best day of my life!

So here's my rambling and all-access account of all the behind-the-scenes stuff that went on at #CommuniCon. I mean it, I'm about to tell you every goddamned thing, so you might as well bookmark this sucker for future reference. #SORRYNOTSORRY

1) I came in from Texas, not the East Coast, because I visited my 86 year old grandparents for a week first. They are the actual definition of heaven, but that's a story for another time. I live in New Jersey and worried a LOT about the East Coast fans coming in from the snow storm. All made it but one, and I'm still in tears over that. If any of the writers, actors, or DH/EM sees this, if you could tweet or even make a vine/short video and say hello to @Lightening__Bug on twitter, I would be eternally obliged to you. She's been a big help to me personally in the fan movement. I love you, girl. I'm trying to help.

2) We all stayed in the Hollywood Historic Hotel, 1.2 miles away from Los Angeles City College. My shuttle ride there on Friday night was overly long, and the driver was rude, but then I figured out he was Russian and talked to him in Russian and he cracked a smile. When I arrived in Gillian/Sarah's room, there was merch everywhere: boxes of shirts, mugs, water bottles, pins/magnets. Oh, nobody made any money off this, it was all out of Gillian's pocket. If y'all want some merch, tweet @CommuniConNews and she'll hook you UP. All the merch was so beautiful, and I felt like I was in some wonderland. "It's really happening!" So okay, brace yourselves. I was sitting there with Gillian, Jen, and Sarah, and the email from Yvette came through. We found out the Friday night before that Yvette Nicole Brown and Gillian Jacobs were going to come to #CommuniCon, but we had to keep it secret. Sweethearts that they are, Yvette and Gillian didn't want to crash the "No Small Parts" actors' panel; they wanted them to have the spotlight all to themselves. So Gillian (fan) arranged to go downstairs with a parking pass at 3:10 for them, right around the time Harmon was arriving. SQUEEE!

2a) I told Gillian about the ability I have to livestream on the laptop and asked if she needed that. She said sure, the other livestream option fell through and she was afraid they'd have none at all. Since I hang out all the time on Tinychat with the lovely Community fans on the AV Club board (mainly the famous 150K+ comment board from S3 finale), even as technologically backwards as I am, I KNEW I could pull off a tinychat livestream. So I did a couple of trial runs that night, testing out the camera and mic to make sure everything worked. I forgot to ask if it was weird if I played violin for Dan, but I figured I'd have my violin there out of the way and only play it if it "came up organically."

3) Being with fellow Community fans is the best feeling in the world. The characteristics of fellow fans that I met in person: EXTREMELY smart, funny, loving, kind, silly, generous, and helpful. It's like Dan Harmon made something as a magnet for only the most beautiful, perfect butterflies. Honeysuckle Harmon? Okay! My buddies from Canada, in particular (hi @NaughtyVegan!), are just amazing. I wish I stayed longer in LA, because staff work (which was glorious and I'm not complaining) pretty much took over. You don't want to be THAT PERSON who leaves everybody else to do all the grunt work, you know? :)

4) Glory to Los Angeles City College! Our good friend Clinton picked us up on Saturday morning and drove us over to the campus. As soon as we got there, we hustled to set up art tables, registration tables, merchandise (boxes of shirts to the right, mugs and water bottles to the left), and tape permits and filming notices on the walls. I'd like to shout out Clinton in particular for taking over merch sales duties when the livestream got to be a little, shall we say, all-encompassing for me. Thank you, friend and brother!

I got the LACC wireless user ID and password and set up the livestream right after the merch table was all set up. Everybody said they could hear me perfectly, so I started taking the laptop around to say hi to everybody there. It was my goal that anybody who wanted to could chat with anybody on the livestream, and vice versa.

So you guys have to know: I'm not technologically advanced, OK? My video camera is a $120 kodak waterproof thing; I bought a tiny tripod, extra battery and wall charger, and 2 extra memory cards for it, but I hadn't realized how much time and energy the livestream would take. NOOB ALERT: I didn't know how to establish extra moderators or screen broadcast videos in tiny chat. I tried to change the settings a couple of times, but there wasn't much time before the writer panel started and I kept shutting down the stream. THERE WERE WANGS, OKAY? Twice, a random guy would pop up on the broadcast to the side, holding their wang on live video. I had to ban them super quick; I didn't know if minors were watching, but I was scared out of my mind. There were also a couple of porn bots who found us, saying BAN ME, GO AHEAD AND BAN ME. Hey, make my day, assholes!

So you guys, the first three hours of the livestream were wang and porn patrol, and it was all me. I really had to put 100% focus on it, and it was terrifying. I had the laptop up in the front at first, but it was in front of the speakers. I wish somebody told me at the beginning that the sound was muddy, because I would have moved y'all to behind the speakers. I just didn't know.

When I moved behind the speaker, at first I was holding the laptop in the air. Then I found a large A/V box under the table, about 2 feet high. I put the box on its side on top of the table, then put the laptop on top of that, and the sound and vantage point were relatively decent. I wish there'd been a table on the sunny side of the room so you could see the event better, but as far as what I had to work with, it seemed pretty good.

5) My buddies Sll03 and Stephenr77 (Canadians) pretty much saved the day for me. They helped me, on the first break, to set up extra moderators and put the wang videos in a permanent green room (aka nasty video purgatory). I then set up _HJP_ and Legit_Republic (Egyptians), and DrReginaPhalange (Australian) as moderators too. You guys, you have NO IDEA how relieved I was to have your help. I still had to keep watch over the laptop at all times, since my Internet connection likes to freeze up about once an hour or so. I was SO AFRAID this would happen while something really important was going on. So you guys being moderators meant that I could focus just on that. THANK YOU, LOVE YOU, OWE YOU.

6) I was sitting outside at the registration table when Dan Harmon arrived. I immediately went to fetch the livestream laptop in the hall and bring you guys to talk with Dan. If you missed it, he held the camera right up to his face and was very intimate with the Internet. It was precious. He said something like (I couldn't hear every word; I'm hoping one of you can fill me in), "Hey guys, we're here and we miss you, and I feel that you're with me."

7) I brought the laptop around to say hi to Yvette, Gillian (quick wave), the writers, and all the minor characters. Quendra with a QU shouted out Egypt, which made HJP and Legit very happy (GO EGYPT)! Janine came in after Dan said hello the first time, so I did something I never do: I brought the laptop up to him again, and told him Janine missed him. So Dan yelled at Janine: "Janine! Where are you? Why aren't you here? We're all here! What, you need extra parking cones downstairs?" Later, Dan said hello again, before he went on the balcony for the best meet and greet in the world ("I'll stay until I've said hello to every single fan.") Of special note: Lloyd mentioned "Troy stare," referencing the "'Sup?" face, and Dan responded back. Lloyd, did he make the face? Funny stuff!

8) Erin and Neil Berkeley had a very interesting series of interactions with the livestream. First of all, Neil is Dan's official documentarian. Which means he has a six-syllable job title, which is five more syllables than my title of NOOB. What did his freaking camera cost, $10K? Jesus help me.

Tangent: Anyway, there I am, freaking out over making sure you guys have a good time, watching the screen to make sure you're not frozen (I told people to tweet me if that happened, if I just couldn't see it), and I TOTALLY Britta'd it y'all. Okay, the livestream wasn't recorded from the laptop, right? Because I'm really not THAT advanced. I know just the small things I know, and that's it. So I even though I had backups for the video camera, I still wasn't able to do both things very well, because I'M JUST NOT THAT GOOD AT TECHNOLOGY, I'M SO SORRY. So the video camera went down at odd times, and I really didn't understand that because I was fixing laptop problems all the time.

So what you get is most of the stuff, but not where Dan/Yvette/Gillian talks to you directly. And I'm so sorry I missed that. Next time, I promise you, I will have one other person with me to do that. And I will have a list of stuff that I need to get, and you will ALL help me with telling me who needs that, OK? AAAAGHHH SORRY!

Okay, back from tangent: So Neil is watching me, right? I'm off to the side, staring at you guys, and he doesn't know what the hell I'm looking at. I pointed at you and maybe he thought I was pointing/staring at him? Well he's very fancy and he has all this great equipment and I totally have CAMERA ENVY and whatever. At one point, Affro said "Meow" on the livestream, so I totally made cat claws, which is JUST NOT professional documentarian behavior, okay? So he was looking at me funny.

Erin was very sweet with you guys, and said a lot of nice things to you. I was trying to treat her like a normal person. I think she could sense my inner fangirl, which I was trying to rein in.

But I totally lost it around Bobrow, you guys. I just heart Bobrow. I was able to be professional with Harmon and his beautiful girlfriend (she really is perfect in person, and so down-to-earth), but LOOK:

9) Everybody crowded Yvette and Gillian, and I was so worried they were miserable. I got in there for a quick hello on the laptop, but only got a couple of quick pictures with them because I didn't like how much they were being crowded. They said they really enjoyed #CommuniCon later, so maybe I was off in my assessment. But as staff, I really didn't want to take up too much time. Yvette was so sweet with me on twitter later, saying she wished I'd told her who I was so she could thank me. SO NICE. Guys, Yvette helped the fan movement SO MUCH all this time. Thank YOU, Yvette, for everything YOU'VE done! :)

10) The panels were perfect. Dan was perfect. If you're on our scrapbook, I'm posting as much original source material as I can on (including my janky videos, which take 4 hours to upload for some reason because they're HUGE, and I'm praying more professional videos come up soon. HELLO DOCUMENTARIAN NEIL PLEASE HELP ME THANK YOU! Hahaha. Or anybody else with a fancy pants camera who knew what they were doing, okay, whatever.)

11) I tried to show Neil Berkeley the livestream after Harmon's panel, just to show him what I was doing, but RIGHT THEN the silly thing froze. Embarrassing. I managed to get it running again later, though. I really wanted to go out on the balcony and play violin for Harmon. You know, give something back to the man who put my heart back together? Yeah. The LACC wifi died on the balcony, and my phone was dead, but some sweetheart named Brian gave me his wifi hotspot to hang out there and do my thing.

I went up to Erin and Neil again, and this time, Neil finally understood what I was doing. He turned his camera on while Erin had a long conversation with you guys, and totally yelled at Stephen for not listening to Harmontown podcasts. She said that if you said nice things, the screen of the laptop might end up in the documentary. She asked what your favorite soup was, and things like that. Somebody said they wanted to steal Harmon from her, so I playfully told Stephen to ban them.

Anyway, at least the wangs weren't on screen anymore when Harmon and Erin spoke to the laptop, yay! I asked Erin what Dan's favorite song was, and she said Xanadu. So Clinton helped me listen on his telephone, trying to learn the song in 3 minutes. I took out my violin in the cold, Clinton holding the laptop, and played Xanadu, then Somewhere Out There. Cool thing: most people on the balcony sang along with me!

12) The next day was the Pixeldrip art panel and the fan testimonial portion. I got the video, okay, but it will take 5 hours to upload. SOON, I promise, I'll upload it. They showed the documentary ahead of time, which you can see on the scrapbook page. The artists were very precious and beautiful, and we enjoyed listening to their process.

13) I was sweetly asked not to livestream the fan testimonial, which I know was a disappointment for some people, but:
a) There were some shy people going up to the mic,
b) People talked about highly personal things,
c) We were all crying.

Highlights: Community helped cheer people up enough to endure chemo for a brain tumor, major life upheavals, leaving an abusive marriage, severe depression, etc. It was SO powerful. The end was @DramaKim reading a 13 year old girl's fan testimonial, which ended with "Greendale is Where I Belong."

14) Other highlights:
a) Mary and the Shannons took the laptop around with them a few times, and totally charmed everybody in the live stream. I really wanted them to have some time to chat with Taylah, so I was very happy about that.

b) Of course we all went to Denny's the first night. Did drunk people make their menu? Grilled cheese with mozzarella sticks inside, and pancake hushpuppies? REALLY?

c) I took the laptop outside on a break to see the quad (pilot was filmed there). My wifi conked out on the front porch (again, DUH DOY, NOOB AND CRISIS ALERT), but I turned my phone wifi on and went as long as I could. I went to the steps and all the Wives and Clinton were there. So this happened:

And you really WERE there with us!

I'm so sorry I didn't brush my hair Sunday. There were so many strange things happening to me, lack of sleep was my fault, but then I walked the mile (yay fitness), and had various strange physical things happening to me all at once.

But strolling through LA on a Sunday is cool, because you hear Spanish church music. Some of it was rocking out, man! Total bass and drums.

d) JUSTIFIED had trailers out to film the following night, and a lot of you were freaking out over Olyphant and Goggins. So I showed you as much filming equipment as I could, and was going to take you on a hunt for Goggins' trailer later, but I had to be sensitive to the other fan organizers who needed me to be a normal person again (what's that, you say?) for them!

e) We went to In-N-Out burger. Clinton and I are vegetarians, so we got the cheese versions. I was made fun of, A LOT, for enjoying it a little too much. Jen is In-N-Out Jesus, and I am her first disciple, y'all!

f) I have to tell you something: our actors at "No Small Parts" are like gods to us; we totally worship them. My FAVORITE was Brisco Diggs (aka Black Hitler). I got feedback from the actors and their spouses that they felt SO happy and welcomed, that it was just an amazing feeling to be loved so much.

g) I don't think I have to tell you that every actor and writer is the nicest, most approachable person in the world. This is not normal in show biz, folks. #PerfectCastIsPerfect

h) On the last night, the TQs settled down for a 7 episode marathon in our hotel. Here's some footage:

i) Do you guys know what it feels like to walk around with the whole world in your hands? It feels like rainbows and magical forest friends and ice cream and pizza and jump rope and I LOVE YOU ALL. I MEAN IT, EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU!

Hey, I've been rambling for a good long while. If there's anything I missed, or if you'd like to add your own account, I'm happy to blog anything you guys send me. You can also hit me up in the comments.




1) Erin's #CommuniCon followup:

2) The song I had going through my head during the entire #CommuniCon:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Barry Harris #CommuniCon Livestream First-Person Account

I, like millions of Community fans, was not fortunate enough to be able to travel down to LA last weekend for the first CommuniCon. This made me feel a bit sad, knowing so many like-minded Community fans were currently gathered in one big place, basking in all that is the awesome show that could. I had come to grips with the fact that I wouldn't be there, and would have to live vicariously through tweets and pictures coming out of there. Then, something awesome, something magical happened, everyone's favorite Community Super Fan stepped up and gave us all a window in. The person in question is none other than our very own Catherine Boyd, who selflessly decided she would use her laptop, setup a live stream, and allow all the fans from around the world to get a chance to experience CommuniCon, in all of its glory.

From the moment that link went live; I spent as much time as possible glued to it. It was great, in many ways. We got to see Catherine, peddling the great CommuniCon merchandise, as well as all the names and twitter handles that everyone has come to know, all popped their faces on the screen to say hi! Tours of the art exhibit, getting to see just how many fans of Community traveled from all over, just to celebrate our favorite show.

For me, the best parts were getting to watch the writers’ panel, and of course, listening to Dan Harmon with a microphone. Very rarely do we get a chance to listen to the writers talk about the show, in video form. Sure, we can see them on Twitter, take part in their AMA's on Reddit, but those only do so much to placate the appetite for listening to these people, to immerse ourselves in their knowledge and insights. And to top it off, we got to hear and see the audience reactions. I'm sure being there was even better, but getting to watch was something to remember. This team of writers are gifted, and they produce some of the most genius writing around.

I don't know what I could say about listening to Dan Harmon that I haven't said before. I could listen to that man speak for days at a time (and I have, Harmoncountry tour, I listened EVERY day it got released). I spent a lot of my time listening to some BIG talkers. Kevin Smith, Joe Rogan, you know, people that can put out a 3 or 4 2-hour podcasts a week and still be entertaining. And as much as it pains me to say this, being the huge Kevin Smith fan that I am, but nobody can engage an audience like Dan Harmon. He knows what the crowd wants, which is easy since all they want is him, and he gives it to them, open, honest, and without reservation. Then after he has finished entertaining everyone, he gives himself over to the crowd, and ensures all of his fans are satisfied and have a chance to interact with him. That's why I am very confident, that someday I will get to shake Dan Harmon's hand, more so than any other famous person out there. One day I will be at his live show, and that will get me a handshake. You don't get that from many other famous people (I know, there are some, back off, I'm praising Mr. Harmon here).

Seeing all the cast members showing up, even the actors/actresses who had secondary roles, or even just one-shots, still came out to do their fans proud and mingle. I've never seen a group of actors love their product so much, that they give themselves over so readily to the masses. It's inspiring to see, and helps to show, just why Community has the fan base it does, and why that fan base will so viciously defend it, and then in the next minute, be so filled with joy about the show.

Overall, getting to see so many Community fans, the actors/actresses, writes, friends of the show, Dan, Erin, and the whole CommuniCon, through the eyes of Catherine's live stream, was a very memorable experience, and made it seem like we were actually there at times! At one point, I saw 175ish people on the stream (I didn't watch the counter, it may have gone higher at some point), but whoever is out there counting the number of CommuniCon participants, I hope they account for the stream!

I'll end this tirade of words, by once again thanking the writers and cast of Community for bringing us such a great show that has brought a lot of people together. Dan Harmon, for creating such a show, and even though he no longer is an active participant in the actual show, has not let that falter him one bit from talking to the fans, and being a participant in things like CommuniCon. And finally, the biggest thanks of all, to Catherine Boyd, for, without her, none of us would have had a stream to watch, and CommuniCon would be just stories, tweet, and pictures. I know I speak for all fans who were not there, Catherine, you are both the hero Greendale wants, and the hero Greendale needs! Thanks, for letting us go on the wild journey with you.

Barry Harris

"Monkey,  you can drive my car!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

NBC Community February 7th twitter hashtag

Hello, precious blueberries!

Well, even though our dear tshirt giveaway friend used #TheHungerDeans hashtag yesterday, everybody voted on it, so we're going ahead as planned.

Please share (#)TheHungerDeans on ALL forms of social media that you can! Thank you!

Here are the instructions, from Reddit (thank you @Ashuhr17!):

Twitter has been a huge part of our fan campaigns to show support for Community. We have had lots of world-wide trending topics related to community in the past including the #sixseasonsandamovie hashtag as well as our #Darkest timeline tweets on October 19th.
The season 4 premiere is coming up this week (finally!) so we are hitting twitter again to show our support. This episode features a Hunger Games-esque parody, so the hashtag we have chosen is (#)TheHungerDeans
Some Hashtag Best Practices:
  • Trends are based on "breaking" topics. When something is being talked about dramatically more than before, it becomes a trending topic. So... Do not use the hashtag before Thursday evening. (An hour before air time)
  • Spread the word, but if you are going to talk about it on twitter, put the # in parenthesis to keep the hashtag fresh: (#)TheHungerDeans
  • Retweets help!
  • Feel free to throw in a #Community or #SixSeasonsAndAMovie.
  • Don't use too many hashtags. 1 or 2 is ideal. Too many hashtags and your tweet might get filtered as spam and not contribute to the trend. Same thing goes for just tweeting just the hashtag with no other content.
Remember: Nielsen and Twitter are teaming up beginning in the fall to use Twitter as a way of measuring television ratings. Although it won't officially help the ratings now, the network could have an eye on twitter already.


You love me. You really love me!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

VOTE and share: NBC Community February 7th twitter hashtag!

Hello, precious blueberries!

Here is a poll for February 7th's NBC Community twitter hashtag trending. Once we all agree on it, please share on as many social media forms as you can (at least 3 for each of us should get the word out quickly). I'll put the list of all the places I've posted soon so you can see them and repost from there, okay?

February 7th Hashtag Poll


1) Please keep parentheses around the hashtag until 7pmEST on Thursday, February 7th. (Example: (#)TheHungerDeans.) Also, if you write in a new hashtag, try to make a brand new one so the high trending is maximized. I personally love #WatchCommunity, but we've been using that one for a while.  We can use #WatchCommunity and #CommunityReturnsFeb7 to spread the word, though!

2) At 7pmEST, please go nuts! Go even more nuts as the show starts on Thursday, February 7th on NBC at 8pmEST/7c!

3) SET YOUR DVRs for the show and watch again in 3 days.



I'm too sexy for my shirt!