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ASK JIM: A day in the life of…ME!!

by Jim on September 2, 2011 · 5 comments

Being a journalist is often shocking work! (From the Smallville set September 2010)

This week’s Ask Jim is answering just one question but one I get a lot – what is a typical day like for me? I tend to think that the days are pretty routine with a few phone interviews, transcribing and writing up those interviews and the occasional event that I go cover either on the red carpet or a panel (or both!). So I decided to take a regular day last week and write out exactly what happened that day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5:45am  Wake up before the alarm goes off. Tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen/Pour myself a cup of ambition… (You all do get that reference, right? )

6:30am Head to the gym (coffee in hand along with a banana) for a 3-mile run along with some weight training. Signed up for the Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon in late October here in LA so need to bump up endurance.

8:30am Back home. Another cup of coffee, shower, make an omelet with turkey/spinach/tomato. Healthy, healthy, healthy…

Trust me, Molly Tarlov is much sweeter than Sadie!

9:15am Transcribe Molly Torlev (Sadie, Awkward) interview to post ASAP since tonight’s episode (#106) shows Sadie’s home life and gives a window as to why she is who she is.

10:30am  Get questions ready for Sasha Mallory, runner up on So You Think You Can Dance. (Interview set for 11am) Also get questions ready for Colin Egglesfield (Tommy, Rizzoli & Isles), which is set for 11:30am. (I like doing interviews back-to-back as it’s a  nice break from writing)

11:00am Fox publicist Michael Roach tries to get Sasha but gets no answer.  (She’s in rehearsals for the SYTYCD tour, which starts September 17th in Orlando). He calls back at 11:20am with her but now I don’t have time since I have the 11:30 with Colin. I ask if we can do 11:50am.  Sure!  (Love it when everyone is flexible!)

11:30am  12-minute phone chat with Colin where we talk about how he got into acting, his bad-boy brother role on R&I and what else he’s up to. Very nice guy!  (His next episode of R&I airs September 5thso will be posting on Monday!)

Sasha Mallory, runner-up of Season 8 of SYTYCD

11:50am  Sasha steps out of the SYTYCD tour rehearsal to do our interview for AfterEllen.com, one of my regular freelance outlets. Since I worked the press line all season on the show, there’s a familiarity to our chat, which helps it go well. We chat for 20 minutes. Will write it up tomorrow so AfterEllen.com can post ASAP. (Read it @ http://www.afterellen.com/people/an-interview-with-sasha-mallory)

12:10pm Interview done, I turn on the oven and bake a few chicken breasts for lunch and for the next few days. Healthy time!

12:15pm I finish transcribing and editing the Molly Tarlov interview and post on JimHalterman.com. I post the link on Facebook and Twitter, making sure to link Molly (@MollyTarlov) and the show’s (@MTVAwkward) Twitter handles. (You’ll see why that’s important later).

Shay Mitchell looking very cute on the PLL set

12:40pm  Lunch time!  I have a chicken breast with a spinach salad including tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers. Damn, I forgot to hard boil some eggs! (Hard boiled eggs in a salad is one of my fave things!)   I eat in front of the computer and respond to emails. I also see that AfterEllen has posted my Shay Mitchell interview (with some really great photos of Shay that I haven’t seen before; sometimes I send in photos to editors, sometimes they find great ones themselves) from yesterday’s set visit of Pretty Little Liars so I do what any freelancer would do – I send in my invoice for the interview. Gotta pay the rent, right?

12:50pm  I see that Molly Tarlov has RT’d my interview post from her Twitter account and she also tweets me and says “Love this!!”  (I won’t lie, it’s still fun when someone you’ve interviewed tweets you back!)

1:00pm I had already transcribed the Gail Simmons/Johnny Iuzzini interview from TCAs for the season premiere of Top Chef: Just Desserts but have yet to edit it or write the intro. It will run on www.TheFutonCritic.com tomorrow so I need to get it in soon. (I normally try to turn in pieces two days before they are due but, well, I’m also a terrible procrastinator!) I hope to finish it and send it off before I have to leave at 2pm for a 3pm film junket at the Four Seasons/Beverly Hills.

1:45pm  The Top Chef piece is done but I’m feeling rushed and realize that’s the worst time for me to do my final edit so I decide to hold off until I get back from the junket just so I don’t miss any mistakes. (I’ve learned this lesson the hard way and it’s never a good thing to have an editor nail you for not correcting an easy misspelling). I realize I haven’t done questions yet for my 5:15pm interview with Cat Deeley so I take my IPad and vow to write up questions at the movie junket.

HIGHER GROUND is in limited release but coming to a theater near you soon!

2:10pm  I head to the Four Seasons for the press junket for the indie film Higher Ground starring Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air). It’s her directorial debut, too, and the film is very interesting. Faith is questioned in the course of the film and in a very interesting way. Farmiga does a nice job directing, too!

3:00pm  I’m told the press junket won’t start for 30 minutes and since I’m not very hungry, I avoid the mini sandwiches and just have a cup of coffee (have you figured out that I like coffee?) while I write up my Cat Deeley questions for later. I also tweet a call for questions for Cat…sometimes the Tweeps send me better questions thatn I can come up with!

3:30pm  I’m sent to one of the roundtable interview rooms at the hotel and soon actor Joshua Leonard comes in for his interview. There are 7 of us in the room and one Aussie reporter, I can tell, is going to be the one to ask as many questions as possible instead of being respectful of the other journos and let everyone get a shot. She also bitches to the publicist that we are only getting 15 minutes with the talent. Someone asks why she didn’t ask for a one-on-one interview if she has so many questions and she says she did but was denied. I can see why. She’s quite abrasive. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in a press situation. sigh

3:50pm  Vera Farmiga and her sister, Taissa Farmiga, who plays the younger version of the same character in the film, come in. Vera has the most beautiful blue eyes. Wow! She talks eloquently about directing, the movie’s subject matter and when she talks about directing her sister, she gets a little weepy. It’s obvious these sisters (though 16 years apart) are quite close.  Vera has  a lot to say and even though the publicists are ready to wrap things up, she stays an extra 5 minutes (which keeps you-know-who quiet).

Cat Deeley clowning on the SYTYCD stage during the finale.

4:15pm  Press junket over, I consider staying at the Four Seasons to do my Cat Deeley phoner but it’s tougher than you think to find a truly quiet spot in a public place, especially when I need to put Cat on speaker to record the chat for transcribing later. I decide to head home.

5:00pm  @MTVAwkward posts the link to my Molly Tarlov interview. Yeah! (See why I also tag the network/studio when posting an interview link? Really helps more eyeballs get to the interviews)

5:20pm  Cat’s publicist calls five minutes late, which is fine since I was feeling rushed when I arrived home, and Cat remembers me from the press line at this summer’s taping of SYTYCD and we have a lovely chat. This one is also for AfterEllen, too, so I get my gay-centric questions in and Cat talks about whether contestants on reality shows need to come out or not. (Here’s the Cat Deeley interview on AfterEllen.com). Excellent chat overall because it wasn’t just a Q&A but more of a conversation. (Thank you, Cat!)

A goofy pic with Johnny Iuzzini and Gail Simmons (It was Johnny's idea!)

5:45pm  I do one fresh-minded edit of the Top Chef: Just Desserts piece and find a few minor errors (whew!) and send it in to my FutonCritic editor. (Read my sit-down interview with Gail Simmons & Johnny Iuzzini). I check email and Twitter and see that Cat has tweeted me the following, “Lovely chatting to you! Jeez! I whitter on…!”  (She wasn’t whitter-ing on at all! She’s just chatty and fun! It was truly a lovely chat and I got a huge laugh out of her when I said that I often tweet that she makes me less gay. She said she is honored!)

6:00pm  I venture to the kitchen and want to eat something but also don’t want to spoil dinner so I have a bowl of nonfat yogurt with some Trader Joe’s low-fat Granola. (I really want something unhealthy like chocolate ice cream or popcorn with lots of butter but I talk myself out of it; it’s a strong-will day…trust me, they’re not all like this!)

6:15pm  I have a fantasy for a moment that my work is done for the day but then realize I also have to transcribe and write up an interview I did last week for the new Fox series Buried Treasure. I decide if I really want to get this done quickly, I need to log off of Gmail, Twitter, Facebook…always hard to do but I know it will only slow me down.

7:20pm  Just barely over an hour and I’m done transcribing and editing the Buried Treasure interview. Done! Know that this doesn’t always happen but sometimes when the interview subject(s) speak at a normal rate that is in sync with my own fairly quick typing I can whip the interview up pretty quick since I don’t have to stop, rewind, etc. This is one of those times when I barely have to stop. Love that!  I do one final edit and email it in.  (Read the interview with hosts Leigh and Leslie Keno)

7:30pm  I cook dinner. Ground turkey with sautéed string beans with a little basil and some shredded sharp cheddar. Not too exciting but keeping on track with the healthy eating I’ve been doing all day.  (Again, this doesn’t happen everyday. Some days I have no desire to cook and just order Chinese or ring up Papa Johns; it used to be Dominos until I found out they support anti-gay groups.  Boo!!! )

A tense moment in the season premiere w/Aaron Paul, Jonathan Banks, Bryan Cranston and Giancarlo Esposito.

8:00pm  I watch this past weekend’s Breaking Bad while I eat and am already thinking how they’re going to wrap up this series next year. I’ve been a fan of the show since the pilot and things are definitely simmering to a big season finale next month

8:55pm  I watch this week’s episode of Awkward. I make sure to check in on GetGlue to make sure I get any new stickers.

9:00pm  My better half comes home from work and watches the second half of Awkward with me. He’s never seen it but I think I may be able to suck him in. He laughs a few times and likes what he sees. (My partner and I have some similar TV interests but also many different ones. For example, while I watch anything that leans towards horror or gore like True Blood or Vampire Diaries or Dexter, he’s in the other room with the door shut so he doesn’t have to hear it. More than likely he’s watching Nat Geo or Animal Planet.  He’s missing out, right?!)

9:40pm  I yawn and realize I could easily go to bed. It’s been a long, busy day but a lot accomplished. I’m in bed by 10pm to watch Seinfeld rerun but don’t make it 10 minutes before I’m asleep. I wake up at 11:30pm and turn the TV off and truly call it a day.

A glamorous life, right?  NOT!!!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

KoleBigEars September 2, 2011 at 11:07 am

Now I see why you break so many coffee makers!! Thanks for this, very insightful.

Jim September 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Hilarious! Thanks, Kole!

Randy Raphael September 3, 2011 at 11:30 pm

I’m exhausted just from reading that!!
It was lovely to see you this morning… 😀

Eric September 4, 2011 at 8:04 am

Hey Jim, I loved reading this! I really admire not only your writing style but also your discipline to be so focused throughout the day. You will have to teach me how you do that. Congrats on all of your success! After reading this article, I now know why you have achieved so much!

Jim September 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Thanks, Eric!! I don’t know that I can teach anyone how to be disciplined but it does help if you’re doing what you love. 🙂

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