This is the story about how I got the opportunity to make a short documentary about the comedian Anjelah Johnson, for school. Yeah I know, CRAZY AWESOMENESS!!
So if you aren’t someone who follows comedy and has no idea who Anjelah Johnson is (there is something wrong with you), let me educate you. There are only three short videos (of probably hundreds that I’m sure you will watch later) that you need to see and then I promise you’ll love her just as much as I do.
1) Nail Salon – This is just one of her many stand-up skits, the very first one I saw.
2) Bon Qui Qui– This is a skit from the show Mad TV.
3) Wedding Dance- And last but not least, this is a video from her wedding (June 2011). And this one is on here just because I like it.
So now that we’re all on the same page (she’s hilarious right?!)…
As you might know I’m in my second semester at the Academy Of Art University in San Francisco. And I’m kind of in love with it. It’s just all around a great experience. The students, the teachers, the city, the things we’re learning and the projects we get to do.
So I’m taking this class called Motion Picture Language and one of the assignments is to film a 3-5 minute documentary on any thing/person you’d like. And then in a class called Non-Linear Computer Editing, which I’m also taking, you have to edit your film together (this is one of three films we have to make this semester).
For a long time I had no idea what I wanted to do my documentary on. Other people from my class were doing it on things like their Grandfather, a homeless man, an animal shelter, or karate. But I wanted mine to be awesome.
I knew Anjelah would be in my area in about two weeks doing shows, so I got this crazy idea to just try emailing her to see if I could do it on her. And I really didn’t think it would go much further than that.
I went to her website, Anjelah.com, and found contacts for her various managers. I started by emailing one of them. Waited about a week and didn’t hear anything so I emailed her other manager. Waited another week and got an email from her assistant (shout out to Lauren!). Basically saying she’d love to help coordinate the details and help in whatever way she could to make it all happen.
What?! Come on guys how cool is that!? Let me help you out, it’s the coolest!!
I only really had a few days to prepare, because her show in Cache Creek was in a few days. Needless to say though I was super excited.
Finally it was the Saturday of the interview. The plan was to meet up with her assistant (shout out to Lauren!) at 6 pm and she would get us all set up and into the venue to do the interview with Anjelah.
I got off work early, rushed home to change and then was on my way. I brought my husband along as my camera man. And thank God I did, cause this whole thing was very intimidating and that guys my rock.
So we show up at the Cache Creek Casino around 5 o’clock. We go inside to just look around and see if there are any marquees or signs that we can film to use as B-roll footage. We ended up talking to the head of security because uh you can’t really film in a casino. Apparently two twenty somethings look smart enough to cheat at craps with the help of a handheld camera. Anyway the second in command at the hotel shows up and was like “Oh you’re the documentary crew?”
Hold the phone.
Were the what?
Crew? Where? Just a minute buddy.
Oh you mean were the idiots that are trying to figure out a 700$ video camera and have somehow managed to get an interview with Anjelah Johnson?
Well if that’s what you meant, than yup that’s us. Here we are!
“Do you guys need any help with your equipment?”
No this is pretty much it buddy.
All of the security guys were very nice and helped us get security passes and showed us into the venue.
I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and a little bit like I had no idea what I was doing. But I’m a huge fan of faking it until you make it, so I just kept pretending like I belonged and interviews with celebrities were just an everyday occurrence for me.
We didn’t have to wait long once we were into the venue for Anjelah’s people to come down. I had texted her assistant (shout out to Lauren!) to let her know we were already inside.
The entrance all happened very fast. All of a sudden Anjelah and her people were standing right next to us, I didn’t even see where they came from. It was all handshakes and pleasantries and Anjelah being whisked away to do sound check. Her assistant (shout out to Lauren!) told us to stay and watch sound check and then Anjelah would take us with her to the green room to do the interview.
Sound check was awesome, they just run through all the intros and music for the show. Making sure it sounds right and all the lights are where they need to be. Anjelah sings a little bit and beat boxed to check the mic, she’s clearly in her element on stage.
She exits stage and then walks over to where we’re sitting to take us to the green room with her. The green room is basically her waiting room backstage. And it’s awesome, the lights in there are perfect, their are plush red chairs, flowers, food, the works.
We go inside with her and she’s so sweet. Offering us tea and asking about my school, telling us about her family coming to the show. Really really I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. She was gracious and humble and answered my questions perfectly.
I’m not gonna go into detail about the actual interview, you’ll have to tune in for the documentary to see how it all turned out 🙂
*A special thank you to Anjelah Johnson for opening up her world to me and letting me be a part of it for an evening.
*Her Assistant (shout out to Lauren!) for coordinating the whole thing and being so nice to people who were complete strangers to her.
*The people at Cache Creek Casino for letting me be “The Documentary Crew”.
*And the very bald security guard, Keith, for letting us hang out in a bunch of places no one else gets to hang out in.