Wednesday, November 3, 2010

To Los Angeles and Back Again

When I got the call to reappear on Jaywalking on the Tonight Show, I remember jumping around my dorm room in Campbell Hall, singing with excitement. Or maybe it was more like sing/screaming. Oh boy oh boy, back to Los Angeles!!! OK-so maybe I was selected because I was at the cream of the crop of foolishness, for Battle of the Jaywalk All Stars, but still--I was pumped.


Okay, actually I flew into Burbank, but whatever. You get the point.

When I stepped out of the plane into the PERFECT weather, I thought to myself, "Now, why did I ever leave Los Angeles? Well, school, yes, but besides that…?"

The Tonight Show had arranged for a limo service to pick me up. I was spoiled! I felt really goofy because the limo driver acted all professional and everything, opening the door for me.

"So…do you sing?"

"Yes, I sing a little bit," I said, wondering why he had asked. I came to find out that he actually thought I was the musical guest for the next day's show! I giggled and told him, "Nope, I'm just here for jaywalking." Then I asked him if he had driven any divas recently.

"Pamela Anderson," he said.

Day of the Taping

The next morning, I woke up and danced around my hotel room. I cranked up Miley's "Party in the USA" on my laptop speakers and jumped around on the bed. Then I heard three pounds on the wall from the room next door. OOPS! Maybe not everyone is filled with energy at 7AM. I abruptly shut the music off.

I packed up my three stuffed corn cobs--Iowan souvenirs for Jay, and two of the show crew members who coordinated my visit--and got into the limo.


I was so happy once I got there! I had my own dressing room, filled with a fruit tray, a large selection of pastries, coffee, tea, fizzy water, and nearly everything except for a Thanksgiving turkey. As I was getting my bearings, a guy walked in with a cart and said, "Do you need anything else?" After telling him I was more than fine, I said in a drawn-out, snob voice, "Oh Yes, I'll have a bottle of Cristal please." He laughed and said he'd grab one.

I never got it, by the way...

I went into wardrobe and make up to get some finishing touches on my look. "I love your shoes!" the hairstylist said. I had chosen to wear my Paris Hilton black platform pumps, because I was told I would need to grow a little bit to be seen.

Jay walked into the dressing room to say hi, and I gave him the stuffed Corn Cob. It actually had a tag, with a name, "Corny Cobb." He appreciated it!!

Corny Cobb had a relaxing time in my dressing room...


The other two contestants were Nadia, a 20-year-old model/actress, and "Fabulous", a celebrity hairstylist and stand-up comic. They were both from Los Angeles, so I was proud to be representing IOWA!! It was taped in front of a live studio audience, even though it will not air until *tentatively* November 10th. I had SO. MUCH. FUN. Jay asked us questions for an hour and a half…mostly about history, politics, and a few about science. To my complete surprise, I actually did alright! Maybe I learned something from my mom who was on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? when I was in 8th grade. But I still spaced on a few questions...and I'm sure that they'll feature those.

I was bursting with energy and I think I actually sang a few answers. Now, I won't spoil any of it...after all, it hasn't yet aired!

Nadia and Me


I went back to Entertainment Tonight to visit friends from where I interned this summer.

Mark Steines, Host of Entertainment Tonight and spectacular mentor!

It was, as usual, SO GREAT to see Mark! I had lunch with him and Michael, my favorite editor at ET! That night I had dinner with another amazing friend, Amy, who works in marketing at ET. She is such a blessing and a wonderful role model. And we went to get FRO, how I missed the California frozen yogurt shops!!!!

To top the night off, two of my friends from my summer acting class at Groundlings came over to my hotel to hang out, and we watched The Women of SNL. (very inspiring!) I was overjoyed to see them--one of them had just starred as a lead in an episode of America's Most Wanted. I was really proud of him!

Such a whirlwind trip--it makes me even more energized to get back into the entertainment industry!

NOVEMBER 10th...For now...

Tune in--at my own risk of embarrassment--to the Tonight Show on November 10th.

(Who am I kidding, I don't get embarrassed!)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Best Gifts come in Packages Wrapped in Purple and Gold


Mark Steines

Okay, so he was pretty much the Big Man on Campus when at UNI. He played football for the Panthers and took classes with professor Ron Steele (who is still here!). Fast forward a few years, and he is the big-time host of Entertainment Tonight, America's #1 Entertainment News Show.

Not only is Mark an incredible host of Entertainment Tonight, but he is an extremely loving father. Oh, and he is married to Miss America 1993!!

He has been my internship supervisor this whole summer, so it was a complete joy to be able to give him a special gift.

Mark was really happy, and it made me extremely happy to spread Panther Love. After all, we all Love to Be a Panther!

UNI ALUM #2: Nancy Aossey

Nancy Aossey, is CEO and President of International Medical Corps in Santa Monica, Califonia. This organization provides international medical relief to over twenty countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. They have broken ground in a number of ways, being the first to respond to many international disasters in ways that no other relief organizations have, such as empowering female doctors in Africa to provide medical help in their communities.

She has also been friends with my mother since second grade!
Mom and Nancy tease each other about some grade school drama.

She received an honorary doctorate degree from UNI in May of 2009. And well-deserved! She built the organization from the ground up, and is a wonderful, genuine person. Also, she had us for dinner, and makes great chicken!

My favorite part was learning about the photo camps they sponsor in Africa, where they hold three-week courses with Africans and teach them how to use a camera and take artistic photography. This provides them with an artistic outlet to communicate the struggles in their lives.

(this photo was taken by an African community member)


Friday, August 13, 2010

Interview with Jay Leno

J to the LENO.

'Twas a bit random, I must say, that I happened upon Jay Leno the other day when I got out of the Groundlings. I got out of class and mom gives me a call,

"Eva, go down to Melrose and Gardener...we're here with Leno!!"

So I skip down the street. Sure enough, he was there, interviewing some reality stars!
I walked to the front and started smiling really big, so when he finished his interview he came up to shake my hand. We started talking...I told him I'm proudly from Iowa...and got a picture.

Dad, who is already anatomically connected to his camera, could not stop snapping pictures.
I was so happy, I left for a second and walked around the corner and did a party dance!!!

I walked back and started chatting with producer. His name was Dave, and he actually attended college in Iowa! He asked if I had any good break up stories to share with Leno, because the issue for his Jaywalking segment was "relationships". I had a couple of good stories.

Then Dave, the producer, gave me 2 tickets to see the screening of his show in 2 days.

Jay was pretty nice. I think I blabbered a lot. There was an Italian guy standing next to Mom who said, "Is she an actress?"

Mom said, "No."
"Oh, so she is normal person?"


"She is very strange for normal person."

Thanks, Italian boy.

Overall, it was extremely fun!!
So I guess it is going to air within the next few weeks or so. Who knows if the editors will even put me on...but if anyone sees it, let me know!

ON a much different note, I finally finished my intern project about Women's Roller Derby. Check it out here!

Parents and Street Performing!

Andersen Parentals Visit LA!

Last week, I cleaned my car and apartment for the first time. Why?

My parentals were coming. And of course that means I have to be on my best behavior! If they're going to let me live out here after graduation, I have to prove that their little girl is living a fine, independent life in LA.


My mom brought little stuffed corn beanie baby things to give to my church friends. If this is their only impression of Iowa, I am satisfied. My friend
Grace really enjoyed hers--its name is "Corny Cobb!"

Eating out with Friends and Roomies in Santa Monica!

I took Mom and Dad hiking in Griffith Park. Dad, who just rode on Ragbrai, was totally game. Mom huffed and puffed and asked if there was a trolly ride back down.

Then we visited the LA FASHION DISTRICT!!!

It was great. Poor Dad was bored and texted the whole time. He unfortunately does not have the shopping bug like my mom and I!

I was completely enthralled by all of the fabrics and beads, and I contemplated what material I could buy to sew my dream Disney Princess dress.

I bought some hair flowers and a purse. Not this one, though...though it would be great for
storing large appliances!

On Monday afternoon, I decided to get out my saxophone and play on Venice Beach. Venice beach is known for its kooky (at best) performers and vendors, from a skateboarder with no feet to psychics to break dancers. I thought--if they can make some money, why can't I?
But did you know that you have to have a permit to play with your case open? If you are collecting money, you have to reserve a spot along the beach...kind of like a parking spot. I made a sign that said "playing my way through college", but I couldn't put it up, because I didn't pay for a spot.

The cops started coming near me. So I just decided to be the strolling saxophonist!

I took requests. Many people requested things like Taylor Swift, and I told them that even though a saxophone couldn't really do that type of song justice, I played it anyway.

My favorites were when people requested jazz standards more suited for the sax, like Summertime or Misty!
I stumbled upon 2 other street musicians and we jammed for awhile. I tried to ask them about their musical background, but the sax player told me he was a brain surgeon and anthropologist.

I chose not to believe him.


Lastly, I came upon this guy!! Harry Perry has been playing on Venice Beach since 1973.

He plays something he calls "Science Fiction Rock", wearing a turban and roller skates!

He's even made cameos on Heroes and CSI.

Here's a link to his act on YouTube...


6 Dollars!!!!!!! Those dollars came from handshakes with money concealed--a secretive exchange because I did not have a permit. But I'll check into that for next time.

But for now, I can buy an ice cream cone with my earnings. Yay!

Monday, July 26, 2010

All Kinds of FUNNY!

I wanna be a Groundling.

When I got out to LA, I wanted to maximize my experience. Since I was already learning a lot about the television production at ET, I wanted to tap into my theatrical side! After seeing Chicago's Second City improv company perform at UNI, I became interested in professional improv...these people are smart, witty, and hilarious. After all, many who I look up to (Um..helLO, Tina Fey!!) got their start by studying at improv academies. So, I hit up the best of the best in Los Angeles--The Groundlings improv company on Melrose Avenue!

What the heck is GROUNDLINGS?!

The Groundlings has bred many notabl alumni, including Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, Kathy Griffin, Phil Hartman, and Paul Reubens--aka PeeWee Herman! Many alumni have moved on to become performers on Saturday Night Live! It is a four-level program, which consists of new sessions every 6 weeks: basic, intermediate, writing lab, and

advanced. Classes are by audition only and students must be recommended by instructor to move to the next level. Students who pass level 4 may be voted onto the "Sunday Company"--a group of stellar students who perform every Sunday. After spending a year and a half in the Sunday company, students are either released from the academy or moved up to become "A GROUNDLING" [cue trumpet fanfare]--the highest honor (and VERY hard to make).

My Audition

"I'm here because my agent told me I need to get comfortable with comedy."

I listened as each person gave their background story--everyone at the Groundlings audition had a different reason for being there. When I got there, I realized that I was the youngest one at my audition--most everyone was already a professional actor who was making a living doing commercials! After handing in our headshot and resume, we were given a series of characters to portray--from angry truck driver to worried physics professor. We were evaluated on our ability to pop into characters--to make skillful choices of physicalities, voices/accents, and our use of emotion. and our comfort level of performing in front of an audience. Even though I was

one of the only who had no formal improv experience already, I felt comfortable because of all of my past theatre experience--from high school speech to college radio to entertaining my family at the dinner table.

I know that Nick Chizek, my brother from community theatre, would EXCEL at Groundlings because he is skilled at physical comedy!

I didn't think I did too great--my professional ice skater impression could have been a bit better…but I ended up passing! Kristi Yamaguchi would be proud...


First off, may I say that my instructor, Ted Michaels, is a part-time Jim Henson

Muppeteer, and I think that is the MOST NEATO THING EVER!!!!!

I never thought I'd ever be pumped for a 3 and a half hour class. But I LOVE THIS--each day we go to class and crack each other up! Ted says that Groundlings is basically like "free therapy"--and he is right! From the moment we walk in the door to the moment we leave, we play games, act out scenes, and are as goofy--with semi-structured learning--as possible!

My classmates are all in their twenties or thirties (with the exception of Zack, the 18-year-

old runt). They come from different walks of life--one student just graduated from Stanford with a product design degree. Another came from a theatre conservatory in Texas. One guy, Aaron, already has spent two years with Second City in Chicago. One girl is an actress/model from Georgia, and she was on an episode of Thirty Rock! (I love this show-she got to do her make-up right next to Tina Fey! ) She also just got done filming an episode of Entourage where she played Bob Saget's girlfriend. I get really excited to get to know these people, that sometimes I feel like I am conducting an interview with them about their lives…they just all have such exciting stories to tell!

Dreamy Steamy Bobby...

in love with my classmate?


I have been to two of their shows already--after all, I can't just study at a place and not see what comes out of it! Needless to say, they are fabulous.

Some friends and me at a Friday night show!

Groundlings is known for their "character-based" school of improv; so, whereas Second City focuses on a lot of political satire and current events, Groundlings is heavy into character development and committing to a scene, no matter how absurd it is. My favorite skit was a parody on the author of Twilight. I will not detail the script as to not offend any Twihards...

OH, and you know that girl who plays "Flo" in the Progressive Commercial? She is a current Groundling.


When I come back to LA, I hope to pick back up at level two. If I pass Basic Level, that is. But I've showed up on time to each class and given it my all…the only downside? (And I'm not even kidding) We are not allowed to wear heels, because they are "not easy to move in".


Friday, July 16, 2010

Filming from the Fashion Closet!!!

In the Fashion Closet!! (where I was born to be...)

Racks and racks of jewelry in every curtains drenched in gems and jewels, one hanging sheet devoted to a single color and jewelry type. Blue bracelets, yellow earrings, green necklaces. And the SHOES! [gasp] I was like a girl in the candy shop who reaches a sugar high before she even takes a bite. But I couldn't take that precious bite, because 1) the shoes weren't my size, and 2) they are not mine. That would be frowned upon, now wouldn't it?

ET Production Assistant--the long-legged, dark-haired, beautiful Sonya--joined me in dressing mannequins and excitedly watching the crew film "You Choose Lara's Look."

What better a place to look
at fashion magazines than
the fashion department?

The Insider, which is ET's sister show, is a discussion panel-based celebrity news show. One of the four panelists, Miss Lara Spencer, gets to have her next day's outfit selected for her by viewers each day. It is called, fittingly, "You Choose Lara's Look". The fashion coordinator, Anya Sarre, picks out the options, determining Lara's fashion fate, and the viewers vote on the website between the two.

We sat on the sidelines while Anya filmed her segment! I shouted in the background when Anya mentioned the interns, "YES OF COURSE!!!"
My excited outburst is at 1:16 :)

Each Piece of Glitter Matters.

Besides helping out backstage...what were some other treats of the fashion closet???
UM HEL-LO CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alrighty, so this dog wasn't in the closet, but ET's Executive Producer, Linda Bell, brought her dog into the news room, and Sonya was quite delighted. :)

Anya's pink suede pumps.

"Do you ever get desensitized to all the glitter and glam since you do this every day?" I asked Anya, somewhat fearing the answer.

"No, and that's why I love what I do. Each piece of glittery jewelry is always different and exciting to me."

Now this woman knows how to speak my language.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Behind the Scenes on the set of ET!

So far on our internship, the Entertainment Tonight stage had been "dark". In the summer, the ET set is not always used (similar to many shows that go on summer hiatus), and many shots are filmed from the control room. However, starting last week, we got to see the GLITZ and GLAMOUR of the real set in action!

The Set

The stage is HUGE, bright orange, and revolves like a showy amusement park ride. The Entertainment Tonight hosts must walk across the revolving stage while delivering the lines from the teleprompter, stopping at the exact marked spot so the light hits them just so. No stumbling, and no time to rehearse. You might think..."psshh, all they do is smile and read the script!" OK--it's not that easy, you'll just have to trust me. That thing spins around and shakes like a CA earthquake, (WHICH--by the way, I experienced last week! 5.7 on the Richter scale, baby!!).

If anything goes wrong in this process of elaborate choreography, they must film the take again.

I always thought it looked simple, but I did not know that there was an exact art!!


The people who get to show their PURDY FACES on camera are called the "talent". For ET, this includes Mark--THE MAN--host of ET and internship mentor!--Kevin Frazier, Samantha Harris, and Mary Hart. One of the perks to being talent is that they have professional hair and make-up artists, constantly on-call during filming! The make-up and hair crew watch their prides and joy on a huge HD monitor while filming to make sure that they can catch anything that the audience might catch--a smudged area of eyeliner, or a needed hairspray patdown!

One must weigh the costs and benefits of being would you like to be constantly scrutinized by the public eye? People commenting on your face from their living rooms. Would make-up service from experts, and professional stylists picking your wardrobe make the ordeal worth it?? Hmmm...

(I DO think so, actually.)

Meeting a WOMAN ET Host--Beautiful Samantha Harris!

I met Samantha Harris, an ET co-anchor and correspondent. (She co-hosted "Dancing with the Stars" for eight seasons! Her bio is on her website here) Samantha Harris is beautiful, and so down-to-earth! Partially due to the fact that she is from Minnesota--best from the midwest, baby!!! When I met her she was wearing a pretty, fitted plum dress and Cole Haan shoes.

I felt bad after I realized I took a picture of just her shoes before I took a picture of her face, but she just laughed.

She talked about how she got her start in broadcast journalism. She went to Northwestern University in Chicago, renowned for its journalism program.

It is really nice to hear about how other people got their start. Often times, I find myself asking, "What is the next step? HOW do I get there?" But the truth is, there is no clear-cut way. It takes practice, experience, hard work, and connections.
When emmy-award winning editor (and UNI Alum) Josh Bodnar came to UNI to speak last semester, he told me something that stuck with me.
"You might think that people in LA have an industry advantage because they've lived there for their entire lives, but that's not always true...People from the Midwest get noticed because of their strong work ethic. That's what gets you places."