Hello there good people,
Get comfy, this is a long one, but worth the read.
So, I attended my first Paleyfest this year for American Horror Story: Coven and it was insane! For those of you unfamiliar, Paleyfest is a 2 week long festival where niche shows hold panels and interact with fans, share inside stories from set, and generally just charm the pants off of everyone within a 200 ft radius. It’s also streamed live all over the world. For those of you unfamiliar with American Horror Story, go sit in a corner and re-evaluate your priorities.
My friend Talia and I arrived at the Dolby theater and I had no idea what to expect. The space was amazing. Just 3 short weeks earlier The Oscars were held in this very spot and I wondrously tried to soak it all in. I proceeded to chew gum like a horse because I was nervous. The energy was incredible. We found our seats and waited…and waited…and waited some more. I began small talk with the lovely older women sitting next to me and we bonded over AHS. We discussed our favorite moments, things that didn’t work, and realized that we may have been only a handful of people over 21 years of age in the audience. Then the lights dimmed and the moderator Tim Stack came out.
This guy works for EW. He knows how to schmooze and he was exceptionally entertaining. He already knew the cast & crew. His witty banter and calm demeanor seemed to put my frazzled nerves at ease. At least for the moment. After an episode of the show projected beautifully on a big screen (and not my 4 year old laptop that an ant once crawled out of) the panel came out. The noise was deafening. I clapped until my hands were numb. Everyone in the cast looked chipper and not at all like they were being put on display for people to gawk at.
I’m always uncomfortable in these situations because while I am a fan, I’m also a person in the same business. I want to be perceived as an appreciative peer, an almost-if-not-quite-there-yet equal. Regardless, I cheered my face off.
Tim asked hilarious questions about bar fights, light fixtures, and Angela Bassett’s timeless beauty. I was listening with my heart but my head was somewhere else, reciting lines from an inquiry I had practiced for weeks while in L.A traffic and on the gym’s elliptical machine. My legs were RUMBLING with the jitters. I would later find out this was actually a 5.1 earthquake and not my body’s organs shutting down.
My favorite moment’s were the quiet ones void of the screaming fans when the panel’s faces would light up with exhilaration. The wonderment of the situation would flash across their eyes for an instant and then they’d say something sassy and it would be gone. After nearly 45 minutes of the moderator Q and A, the floor was opened to the audience.
A woman asked about the fashion choices, another asked about infamous memes created from dialogue. The time went on. I eagerly waved my hand, trying not to disrupt the women behind me, but wanting to be seen. Then, I was called upon by Tim Stack. I looked to my friend Talia. She nodded with nervous encouragement and I delicately grasped the mic.
When I think back I don’t remember everything, mostly minute details. I recall seeing myself on the jumbo screen, the weight of hundreds of faces glaring at me, and reciting parts of my speech. I can still see the panel staring at me and trying to respectfully absorb just what I was saying. But mostly I recollect how petrified I was. My time was not spent on plot holes or character development. No, about a week before Paleyfest I had decided that if I’d miraculously be given the chance, I would ask about a job. And that’s exactly what I did.
To clarify, I didn’t ask FOR a job. I asked HOW someone like me could get a job on AHS. I proceeded to compliment them, told them I would accept ANY position and asked a quick show question so the fans would be happy. They gave me a curt answer and then moved on. It was over and done with.
I have only ever been that nervous once before in my entire existence. It was the time I decided to do a stand-up comedy routine for a talent show in high school. I did not win.
But maybe this time will be different. I got an answer. I got my face out there. And yes, I made myself extremely vulnerable. I even gave people a huge dose of second hand embarrassment ( I CAN read your vicious comments on social media y’know.) It may have been “Pathetic” or “Mortifying” as some fans rant. But you know what? I’m a girl who has big dreams and I actually DID something about it. Something pretty ballsy.
I regret nothing.