A few weeks ago Actress Nicole called me up and said, “Want to take a free workshop with me about becoming a TV host?”
Nicole knows that I’m down for anything.
I said, “Yes” without even bothering to ask what the class was about. Nicole’s use of the keywords “free” and “with me” were enough to get a commitment. After all, she hasn’t disappointed me yet.
The morning of the class, I did some research online to see what it was all about and who was teaching it. It turned out to be a free introductory class taught by Marki Costello about learning the fundamentals of becoming a television host. Since over half of next year’s new tv lineup is reality television, there’s currently a lot of room in the market for new hosting talent.
I messaged Marki on Facebook to say hello before the class. I liked her already when I got a reply.
So who’s Marki Costello?
Marki’s a TV Hosting coach and manager – which means she works with talent specifically in the field of tv hosting. She’s dealt with some big names like Cee Lo Green, Khloe Kardashian, Chelsea Handler, and most recently Adventure PAUL, but she also works to develop aspiring talent, like the folks I met at her Boot Camp this weekend (keep reading).
If her last name sounds familiar, Marki’s the granddaughter of Lou Costello from the famous comedy duo, Abbott and Costello.
From her website…
Marki Costello, president of Creative Management Entertainment Group (CMEG), is an industry veteran with over two decades on Hollywood’s front line. Being the only management firm in Hollywood to specialize in host management, CMEG has expanded to encompass a theatrical department, a casting division, and a production arm. Over the decades, she has risen through the ranks of successful companies such as Disney, Warner Bros., FOX, and TBS and now runs one of the most dynamic entertainment companies in show business.
I provided you that background info about Marki so you could begin this adventure where I did. I feel that it’s important to know who you’re dealing with when you embark on learning something new. Before you work with anyone, or take a class with them, you should always perform your due diligence, and see if they have the credentials and experience to justify your time and involvement. There is no excuses now-a-days either, since it’s so easy to do this research online.
Like when folks decide to work with me for marketing consultations and website development, I encourage them to read testimonials from my satisfied clients and discover more about me as a person to see if we’d be a good fit. #shamelesspromotion
So I did a little research about Marki and determined that I was in for a treat.
Before I talk about the intro class, however, I want to tell you about..
..My Love For Branding
I love branding. I took my education of branding to a whole new level when I became friends with Chablis working for Kestum Bilt, a few years ago. Chablis is an amazing designer who taught me that branding in design goes much deeper than simply creating a logo.
Your brand is the essence of your business or self. It’s the totality of how your value is perceived by all 5 senses. [TWEET THAT!]
We can’t control our brand, we can only encourage and help shape it. I often say that just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, your brand is in the eye of your audience. [TWEET THAT TOO!]
I had the privilege of working with Chablis to design a few websites together, and she also created the Adventure PAUL logo that you see at the top of this site. More importantly though, she got me walking down a path of self-branding that I’ll never look back from.
Many of you might remember that Adventure PAUL used to be my travel/hobby/fun name and Paul Drecksler (who?) was my professional name–that is, until I realized that they are one in the same.
My lifestyle is funded by my profession, and the value I bring to my work is shaped by my experiences and my lifestyle. Adventure PAUL, my brand, is the essence of myself.
For this reason (my love of branding), I was especially fascinated by Marki’s introductory class, because one of the big topics of the day was self-branding.
The Free Intro Class – May 22, 2013
Nicole and I arrived a few moments before the class began. There were about 10-15 people waiting outside the door and another 10-15 that arrived after us.
Nicole and I introduced ourselves and started talking to the rest of the crew. Although some of them had friends that recommended the class, many of us were in the same boat and weren’t sure what to expect.
Quick Note: Here’s the upcoming free class schedule if you’d like to attend one
Marki and her assistant personally greeted everyone and let us in. The class is taught at her actual studio location in West LA. Nicole and I make our way into the main room and found our seats. A few minutes later Marki busts through the door again, already talking loudly, and class begins.
The next 2 hours flew by and I took notes until my hand hurt.
Are you like me in the sense that you type EVERYTHING now-a-days, and it’s become difficult/painful to take hand-written notes?
Marki begins by telling us that the reality genre is not going away anytime soon because the content is easy for networks to produce and the shows are cheap to make. We learned that the trends of TV hosting change just like clothing. Reality TV wants organic personalities now, and not the perfect-looking Barbie host who merely reads from a teleprompter. Perfection has become “unrelatable” to the average American viewer, and relatability equals ratings.
All this reminded me of the movie Role of a Lifetime (2002) where the character Bobby Cellini’s ex-wife Chelsea, played by Kathryn Morris says, “People don’t watch television to see a performance, they want to see personality.” Flash forward 11 years and this couldn’t be any more true.
One of the biggest ideas that stood out for me was when Marki said, “Put your audience first and you will become a star.”
Have I been doing that with you, my loyal readers? Have I been putting you first? It’s easy for me to get lost in the self-loving world of Adventure PAUL, but in reality, this blog is all for you.
I left the intro class feeling very motivated. While I don’t necessarily aspire to be a television host, I felt that Marki had tremendous insight and experience to offer regarding self-branding.
And while I say now that I don’t aspire to be a tv host, I certainly wouldn’t turn down the offer if NBC knocked on my door and said, “How would you like to co-host the new show Troy and Abed in the Morning?” I’d kindly accept.
Troy and Abed and Adventure PAUL in the morning!
Later that day…(after the intro class)
Me: Hello, this is PAUL
Marki: Hey Paul it’s Marki Costello
Me: Hey Marki I’m glad you called. I wanted to say thank you for the class today. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into but I’m happy that I attended. I learned a lot, so thanks very much.
This convo was several months ago, and I forgot exactly how it went, but I’ll paraphrase…
Marki: I’m glad you came too. You’re amazing, Adventure PAUL. A true definition of a natural talent, and without a doubt, a God-given gift to this world.
haha… Well, the convo didn’t go exactly like that… maybe instead of “I’ll paraphrase” I should’ve said “I’ll make up completely”, but I guess I also tend to hear what I want to hear.
The real discourse was that Marki invited me to attend her next boot camp because she thought that it would help me to further the Adventure PAUL brand. (In hindsight, I agree.)
The funniest part of the convo was when she said, “Adventure PAUL.. what’s your real name?”
Flash forward 7 weeks and $600 later to the Los Angeles Boot Camp – July 13/14
I arrive about an hour early on Saturday morning. I didn’t want to be late, and it’s hard to guess how long it will take to get across town in Los Angeles, so I got there early to drink some hot tea and review my notes.
I had purchased Marki’s book Become A Host: The Inside Secrets Used By Every Successful TV Host and taken notes on it before I attended the Boot Camp.
My theory was that I didn’t want to make “basic” mistakes throughout the weekend.. I’d rather make “advanced” mistakes. I later discovered that I am nowhere near “advanced” when it comes to television hosting, but we’ll get to that part of the story.
I’m normally a daily black coffee drinker, but Chapter 6, “Do NOT drink coffee before an audition. I don’t care if it’s six o’clock in the morning and you feel totally dead and you’re not going to survive without it. As soon as you walk into that room, your adrenaline is going to go through the roof. And there’s nothing worse for an adrenaline rush than a caffeine rush.”
This wasn’t technically an audition, but when you’ve got 2 days to capture the attention of a prominent celebrity manager, it’s best to treat the entire weekend like one giant audition and follow the rules.
Day 1: Saturday
The morning begins with an introduction to the weekend. Most of the people in the room had already attended an intro class or were familiar with Marki, so she spared us the theatrics and got right into the lesson plan.
The first day was a mix of lectures, exercises, and direct feedback. It’s a very hands-on Boot Camp in the sense that much of the experience was learning by example. We’d get up in the front of the class, perform one of the various exercises, and learn from her feedback. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Each person only got up in front of the class a handful of times, but the learning didn’t just happen when we were participating in the exercises, it happened while watching each other participate and screw up.
And there was no shame in screwing up! That’s why we were there. (If I was an expert host already, I’d be on TV hosting a show.)
When I was in front of the class participating in an activity, it was difficult to judge myself. I couldn’t see the stupid things I was doing with my hands when I was talking, or hear how my voice coexisted with the panel of cohosts. But I could certainly see the mistakes that other people were making when I was sitting in the audience. And if I couldn’t see the mistakes, Marki wasn’t shy to point them out.
No-one ever got upset when Marki pointed out their mistakes. It was more like a damnit feeling when you made the same mistake that you saw someone else make earlier because you should have known better.
And when she chose people for exercises, it’s like you didn’t want to get picked, but yet you did want to get picked.
It reminded me of what Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) said on The Office (US) Season 8, Episode 1 about Robert California (James Spader)… “The new CEO works out of the conference room about half the time, but whenever he takes a break, he does these weird walks around the office. And you never know who he’s going to zero in on for these really intense small talks. You just hope it’s not you, and yet, you hope it is you too. It’s strange.”
Day 1 was an unnerving mixture of blind confidence and self-doubt.. like sleeping with a beautiful women that’s out of your league and thinking, “Wait, uh oh, what’s wrong with her?”
The first day was so rich with information, I went home and was asleep by 10pm. Alright, well maybe that’s not too unusual for me, but I’m trying to paint a picture here! I was exhausted.
Day 2: Sunday
The second day was when we became superstar hosts. From day 1 to day 2, after a good night’s sleep, I had transformed into a better looking, Jewish, long-haired Ryan Seacrest. It was nice to think so at least, because this was the day we were to appear on camera.
I entered day 2 with a positive attitude and freshly brushed teeth.
After a few exercises, we separated into groups to film a studio piece and a live-on-the-street promo. For some, this will be the first and last addition to our demo reel, and for others, this will be the beginning of a successful career in television hosting.
Are you going to be a TV host, Adventure PAUL?
I don’t know.. maybe. I’m amazing. I can do anything! I’ve also got a lot of life to live (hopefully.. knock on wood), so it’s something I won’t rule out for my future. Especially since reality tv doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Wherever life takes me though, you’ll be there every step of the way with me as I share my adventures, successes, and failures.
Now if you ask me that same question about some of the other students in that Boot Camp.. Are they going to be TV hosts? I’d say MOST DEFINITELY!
This particular boot camp was filled with America’s rising talent and I’m confident that one or more of the people in that workshop will make it to the big leagues and have successful careers as television hosts.
And while not everyone will become a tv host, every single person who was in that room with me is destined for greatness and it was an honor to spend the weekend with you all.
Here are some of the folks I had the privilege of meeting. For more photos or to tag yourself in one of these photos, visit the album on Facebook.
Cut! That’s a wrap.
Are you a friend of Adventure PAUL?
If so, use the form below to enter your name and e-mail and I’ll keep you up-to-date with important information and happenings over here and at Travel is Life. I reserve my e-mail messages for things of great importance. So you won’t hear from me too often, but you’ll be happy when you do. For daily updates, follow along on Facebook and Twitter. My Instagram is awesome too but it’s mostly photos and very few daily updates.