If I didn’t actually live this story myself, I’m not sure I would believe it. I’ve purposefully included as many screenshots as possible (which I’m fortunate that I talked to my agents mostly via email). The truth really is stranger than fiction and this little fucking nerdy website is the little engine that could.
Maestro … https://www.youtube.com/embed/xk8mm1Qmt-Y?wmode=opaque
In 2012, I fell into my first of many clichés – after 3 years and thousands of blog posts, I had finally gotten everything that I had wanted and realized I didn’t want any of it.
I started this website on November 3, 2009 after seeing with my own eyes the trend that nerds were going to finally be considered “hot.” Intelligence was going to be the “new sexy” and I wanted to time stamp my ideas in the space to use as a resume (of sorts) to get whatever job I was after.
Life had other plans (giving me a career – not just “a job”) and with a tremendous amount of hard work and hustling I grew with my bare hands what is now a “brand.” As any entrepreneur will tell you though, that tremendous amount of hard work came with a side of sacrifice in the form of family and friends.
Putting blinders on with my head down, I didn’t know it at the time, but began executing the “influencer marketing trend” seven years before others. I chose to (what I called) “barter” social media to live for a year (getting to 12 states with $10 to my name). During that year I lived in a car and couch surfed purposefully never staying with family or current friends (I called it the unapologetically awesome 2010 tour, since I wasn’t sure people would want to sponsor someone without a home); I was only interested in meeting/ connecting with people who “got” social media like I did and could see that the way we were receiving our information was going to change – rapidly.
My commitment to this website lead to “internet fame” (which let’s be real came from the fact that I had the balls to do a lot of dumb shit that would get the majority of people either arrested or six feet under).
Either way, I took pride in the growing traffic but as my own honesty grew with each post I wasn’t sure how happy any of it made me anymore. After having a nervous breakdown in 2007, I knew I couldn’t survive doing anything that didn’t make me happy – even if it was something I had built myself.
The straw that broke the camels back was when I had (by my own definition at the time)the best night of my life, and had no one to share it with. I spent so many years in single player game mode that when it came time to tag team player two, I had no options.
Six very long and frustrating months later, I was introduced to Oprah’s Love Ambassador (that’s an actual thing, but don’t consider this an endorsement of any kind), who was interested in conducting a nationwide search for one of her “very eligible” and wealthy bachelor clients (she reached out to see if I could help her with her social media strategy).
At the time, I had a lot of (truly) random offers. Books, TV shows, new sponsors … I was taking what they call “generals” with studio heads, show runners, executive producers, and agencies. Even with all of the other shiny things, there was something about this woman and this situation that my brain wouldn’t/couldn’t shake.
I called, texted and emailed this woman, and while I was standing in a lingerie shop on Hollywood Blvd (I was going to a Playboy Mansion party that night) she finally called.
She had asked what some of my initial steps were (in terms of marketing) and I said I need a one sheet on the type of woman he’s interested in. For me to be able to do the job right, I’d need to reverse engineer her personality type to be able to target accurately.
“How old are you?” she asked.
“I’m 28,” I said.
“Do you want to get married and have children?”
“Yes,” I said.
“You might be the person I’m looking for.”
Ha.Ha.Ha. I thought. Like I’m going to just be the type of person that “falls in love” and gets “swept off her feet” by an international man of mystery who’s apparently fully loaded (and I’m not talking about his wallet).
At this point I dated half of Los Angeles and was still single so clearly, I did not know what I was doing and here was this person that could help; I’d be an idiot not to accept.
As a lifelong, card carrying member of the “workaholics” club, it shockingly started to make sense that I would meet someone through working together in some capacity. Besides, I thought, there was no downfall. If we meet and fall in love, great! I’ll have found my second player. If we meet and there’s no chemistry, great! I can get to know him and have a better idea in terms of the kind of woman he’s looking for.
I then went through the “bachelorette onboarding process” which included a questionnaire and back and forth email communications done through the matchmaker (that was done to protect the public identity of her client).
On April 6th, I was then flown out to Bal Harbour (just outside of Miami) and was sent the confirmation for my hotel reservation at the St. Regis.
Mind you, I had no clue who this guy was, what he looked like, all I had to go on was the research I had done on the matchmaker and the word of my manager that this was legit. He laughed when I called him from the town car on the way over to the hotel (they even sent a car service).
“This really is normal for you isn’t it?”
While the blind date part was new, the “destination dating” wasn’t.
“I’m open to whatever comes my way in terms of love,” I said. “There’s no downside.” (Plus being internet famous meant safety was a tweet away, which based upon the level of engagement at the time – TNTML had proven itself to be faster than 911.)
To my surprise, I realized after our first date that I WAS the type of person that could “fall in love” and be “swept off my feet” by an international man of mystery who’s in person EVEN MORE extraordinary than he seemed on paper.
Dating someone who was independently wealthy meant that my own concept of time began to change. I didn’t have to wait for anything anymore. Removing any sort of waiting period from two naturally ambitious people lead to life going into overdrive.
I then went from having $10 to my name HUSTLING for every last BIT of anything I needed to survive, to having (quite literally) “it all.”
Yes, the private jet adds for good storytelling, but the “it all” I’m referencing was the fact that I finally felt like I had a connection with someone (which, outside of a job, was all I was really after in s
arting this website). While I was proud of what I had built, it was a no brainer that my new life was more fulfilling than my last one.
Gone were the days of sitting behind my computer with my headphones on for hours publishing my deepest thoughts and then (hilariously) attempting to get up from the desk barely able to walk (due to not noticing that both feet had fallen asleep).
I instead sat in a bathrobe cuddled on a comfy couch drinking wine (of course while practicing the crane – see below), talking about the universe, and reading while he played video games; I had found my version of heaven operating in two player mode, and was ready for Talk Nerdy’s game to end.
Look ma, I’m capable of intimacy!! https://www.youtube.com/embed/qINBR8thojA?start=10&wmode=opaque
I then ghosted Los Angeles, this blog (out of respect for the relationship), and moved to an island in an income tax free state. To say it was an adjustment at first was an understatement. I had previously spent my entire adult life in big cities where the follow up question to “what’s your name” is “what do you do?” People on the island didn’t talk about what they did, or anything pop culture or tech related (my two biggest passions). It was less “world domination” and more about the closeness of the community.
Much like my perception of time being altered, so did my concept/ understanding about what really mattered. The icing on the cake was that my parents were a mere hour and some change away, so not only did I begin to understand and truly respect small town life, I also learned to respect (even more) the people that gave me said life.
I’ll keep the details of our relationship private, but after less than a year of dating, we broke up. While I absolutely don’t regret it, it was (still to this day) my second worse life experience.
To put it in a frame of reference, the third worst life experience was losing everything I owned in the massive cockroach infestation.
Leveling up to becoming a person and not a persona meant that the last thing I was willing to do was give a hard reset and change the game back to Los Angeles. I was having so many new and weird life experiences on the reg that there was NO WAY I was willing to give that up just because I was back in single player mode.
My resume “special skills” now include: senior levels of IRL socialization, light breaking and entering (more on that in a moment), box jumping, archery (which I still need to develop strong enough biceps to pull back the compound bow – I’ll get there), fishing, jumping off roofs into canals, cooking on a toilet seat inside of a garage, and many more adventures that I was too busy living to document.
I was no longer going through the motions, I was truly living and experiencing life for the first time – all for myself.
I then got my own place, and while each step of the process was painstakingly difficult, I got by with the help of my friends (and card games … lots of card games).
Single but rarely solo, I rang in the new year, and was finally clear headed enough to start consulting again (which is great because I can do my job from anywhere). Six months into the beginning of my “new life” (whatever that meant – because for the first time in my life, I had not a fucking clue what I was doing), I received an email from my agents at CAA.
I vividly remember standing in my kitchen when I read this …
It reads, AND I QUOTE:
“Hi Jen – How are you? Big plans for the 4th? We have some great news – Warner Bros. TV would like to make an offer on your blog! My brilliant colleague, xxxxx, in our TV group has more info but I wanted to chat with you about it. Great news!! I’m around this week and xxxxx and I are both around next week. What’s best for you?
But, I walked away, I thought …
But, I committed INTERNET SIN by ghosting the blog …
But, I spent YEARS taking generals, developing various shows with nothing working out …
But NOW … NOW on an island in a 4,000 population town ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTRY, I somehow manage to ACTUALLY get an offer?
I used being in shock to my advantage and instead of articulating any sort of excitement, I remained cool as a cucumber responding that I was happy to hear from them, thanking them for all the hard work (which I assumed happened). Taking the sale as an opportunity, I knew that my agents would look at me differently. I on the spot pitched them another idea (I had pulled out of my ass) asking if we could discuss that opportunity as well.
<tangent> I’m an idea factory, even if I have no idea what I’m doing, I’ll come up with something. I was ABSOLUTELY made to be a content creator/ producer. </tangent>
They agreed, and then followed up with a series of questions which revealed the producer that had also attached himself to the project.
The content in the email is irrelevant, but see that line? “Warner Bros. and Bruckheimer would like to propose …”
UBER PRODUCER JERRY FUCKING BRUCKHEIMER HAS ASKED TO BUY (technically option) MY LIFE RIGHTS, TRADEMARKS, AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. THIS CANNOT BE REAL LIFE!!!
Oh no, it was absolutely real life and fortunately (due to the gentleman I had previously dated) I had an attorney from a very reputable firm (if this was a David and Goliath style conversation, I was prepared to go into negotiations heavily armed), so I messaged asking if he could work on a contingency (which I’m sure is a hilarious question to someone who charges four figures an hour).
I’m not sure if it was out of respect to the man who introduced us, or WTF style curiosity, but he agreed to take me on as a client and after just shy of a year of negotiations and paperwork the dust had settled. It’s standard for an option to last for a year, so even though the paperwork/ negotiations had taken the duration of the initial contract, I wound up winning again with the option then being accepted for a renewal.
Bruckheimer didn’t buy my life rights once, he bought them twice.
Living on the island at that time was helpful because I didn’t really let a lot get to my head. I knew that with consulting I could leverage the fact that “Jerry Bruckheimer bought my life rights,” and that was truly good enough for me. Having been around the rodeo previously with a show that sold to MTV, I knew how hard it was to not only sell a show but get it to air. The fact that I had even gotten this far with the blog that I walked away from was good enough for me.