Thursday, July 1, 2010

I knew her not by name, but by shoes.

Even if I don't aspire to be a writer, I aspire to be the one woman in the office about whom others say, "Did you see her shoes?"

So the past two days, when I shadowed Heidi Clements--the head writer at Entertainment Tonight--were a dream come true. Heidi is a firecracker. She works fast, is extremely talented, and has a feisty personality with red hair to match.

To me, this woman does it all.

Her Blackberry constantly buzzing, she works at her desk--on the phone, writing emails, and assigning stories to directors knocking at her door. In the meantime, she cranks out lead-ins to stories and organizes the show's opening sequence, all at the same time, and in Christian Louboutins. On the side, she writes sit-coms and screenplays. In her spare time, of course.

She dials an extension, "We have a new photo of them sitting on a log and they have wedding bands on!"

I felt like a bit of an annoying bumble bee (in a dress), popping up at her side. Don't get me wrong--I love moving fast-paced and am notorious for flying through things at presto tempo…but I did not want to disrupt her flow! The thing is, she answered my questions without missing a beat.

powerful woman, powerful shoes.

I learned so much from her about "writing copy"--the script that the hosts on the show will read, either on camera or through voiceover. Punchy, bold, and concise. I asked for some writing exercises, so she gave me some of the show topics and I was actually able to write some intros used on the show!

I wrote the intros for the segments on Toddlers in Tiaras and former cocaine addict and Playboy Playmate-turned-mother, Kendra Wilkinson.

It was a really cool feeling to know that the words I wrote were to be read by talent, matched with

graphics, and viewed and heard by millions of people! When I went back to Mark's office a few hours later, he had already been given the script and recorded my lines. When the show fed through CBS at 12:30 PM, I hopped up and said to him, "I wrote that!!" When it comes to writing about anything with the word "Tiara" in it, I must be a natural…


When I used to picture grown-ups in cubicles, I imagined a mundane atmosphere where people sit quietly typing, with the occasional office-gabber stopping at others' doors to chat with a coffee.

This place? The EPICENTER of celebrity news, and it is constantly buzzing.

Production meetings start at 6AM, where the directors, writers, executive producers, music producer, and media assistant meet and decide what is worthy of being deemed Entertainment Tonight material.

"Pictures! Do we have pictures of them?"

"Yes! And we have exclusive interview footage from his ex."

"Great, that's a lead story."

I totally get a kick out of it because it reminds me of high school…where girls sit at

the lunch table and hungrily soak up the latest on who-kissed-who, where, and for how long. But this is a conference room with a table full of professional adults who are great at what they do…they know what people want and how to deliver it.

I don't know exactly what I want to do for a living yet, but I do know I want it to be creative, fast-paced, and performance-based. I am learning so much, as each person at Entertainment Tonight has a wealth of information to share. My mind is basically EXPLODING! But when it does, at least confetti comes out…and as we all know, it ain't a party without confetti.

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