Recap: ENMN Conference 2015 + my trip to L.A. and Hollywood #ENMNCon15

About a week and a half ago now, I headed to L.A. for the second annual Entertainment New Media Network (ENMN) conference. I had attended the first conference last year, which was in Anaheim, and which was also my first trip ever to California.

One of my big complaints about the conference last year was that we stayed in the hotel for the majority of the sessions, and this year none of them were in the hotel, which was great - it allowed us to explore Hollywood and L.A. a bit. Our host hotel was the Holiday Inn North Hollywood, and it was extremely nice; it had recently been redone, and the rooms were very spacious, which is great when you have roommates, too.

Day 1: Ventura/KOA campground + PJ party

Our sessions this year were held at two different Hard Rock Cafes (Hollywood/Highland, as well as the Universal Studios CityWalk location), and at the Ventura Ranch KOA campground. We headed out to Ventura my first full day in L.A., that Thursday, and I wasn't entirely sure to expect, except that ziplining would be an option - which I was super excited about, but also a little nervous.

Pre-ziplining selfie!

I'm not usually one for selfies, but I had to take a selfie before ziplining! They strapped us in to a suit that kind of made me feel like Santa Claus (britches and whatnot) and also gave us a helmet, and that was pretty much all the instruction we got. I was a bit nervous but I've never been ziplining before (and who knows if I will ever get to again!) so I took the opportunity to go for it.

Photo credit: Jen Levin,

^ this was the first zipline, I believe, and there was also a second course you could do that was higher up; I did both of them.

We also got to take a peek at KOA's new luxury houses/cabins, and WOW, they are fantastic. I'm more of an indoors girl but these I could definitely stay at! They had A/C, fully functioning kitchens and bathrooms, large beds, and a small sitting area.

We were also treated to a yummy traditional BBQ lunch by KOA and then we had our first session, moderated by Erica Pena-Vest (the ENMN founder/producer).

After the excitement of the morning, we headed back to the hotel, and later got to check out Ripley's Believe it or Not, before our second annual PJ party (a staple of the ENMN conference) which was being held at Dave and Buster's this year. One of my roommates, Anita (who lives in the L.A. area) indulged me in my quest to dine at In-N-Out yet again - it's a CA chain that has fantastic burgers that I went to last year in Anaheim - and we did that before Ripley's.

Ripley's had some pretty cool stuff, one of which is in the pic above: a crayon (yes, CRAYON) portrait of Tom Selleck.

At the PJ party, we were able to screen two new FOX comedies, Grandfathered (the new John Stamos show) and The Grinder, which was also pretty fun, as they don't premiere until this week. I'm a huge Stamos fan so I loved Grandfathered; I'm a little on the fence about The Grinder but it did feature some good acting by Rob Lowe and Fred Savage.

There was some commotion going on downstairs on Hollywood Boulevard when we were in the Dave and Buster's party room, and it turned out that Dancing with the Stars was filming a promo, which was fun to see! In the pic above, the woman in purple is Paula Deen and the girl in pink (who actually has a snake around her neck) is Bindi Irwin.

After the PJ party, a few of us watched them filming on Hollywood Blvd., although it was pretty crowded so it was hard to see much. (we actually had a great view from the D&B's room, albeit up high)

I took a video from a different vantage point, which I Periscoped - check it out:

Day 2: Hard Rock CityWalk + Mom live taping (and attempting to get in to Fuller House ...)

Day 2 brought a more full day of sessions, at Universal Studios CityWalk. I've been to Universal in Florida but never Hollywood, so this was interesting even though I didn't go to the park itself. 

Big thanks to Hard Rock CityWalk (as well as Hard Rock Hollywood & Highland, too) for being our hosts for the morning - the restaurant didn't open until noon, so we had the place to ourselves for a bit.

The evening was devoted to live tapings. My original plan was to see Fuller House, which I was super excited about, as I am a huge fan of Full House. However, I met up with a Yelp friend for coffee/pie, and I didn't get to the "holding" area until about 3:30pm (for a 5pm taping), which was too late - in fact, the show is so popular that the only people from our conference who got in to see it got to the holding area around 1pm that day (when I was enjoying my pie, actually!). I did get a ticket giving me priority admission to any show except Big Bang Theory, with no expiration date (see pic below), so I may use that if I'm ever in the L.A. area again soon. (BlogHer '16, perhaps?)

I then took a Lyft ride over to the Mom holding area (same WB Studios, just a different gate numbr) around 4:30pm, for the 6:30 show, and a few of us were able to see it.

We weren't allowed to have cameras/cell phones with us, so these are the only pictures I was able to take.

It was about a 3-hour taping for what amounts to a half-hour show, which was crazy! It was very fun, though, even though I had only seen a few episodes of the show before, and there's a reason that Allison Janney just won the Emmy yesterday for her performance in it - she and Anna Faris are great in the show.

Day 3: More sessions + TCM Movie Locations Tour bus

This is starting to get lengthy, so I'll try and wrap it up :).

On Day 3, we had the rest of our sessions, at the HRC Hollywood & Highland (same location where were were for Dave & Buster's on day 1), and we had a few hours break between the session and the movie locations tour later in the day.

I was excited for the movie locations tour bus, as (obviously) I'm a huge movie fan, and the tour definitely did not disappoint. Our guide, Michael, was very informative, and the tour took about three hours, with a short break at Union Station (where a scene in Catch Me If You Can was filmed!)

Although the tour is lengthy, I highly recommend it to movie buffs and non-buffs alike - even the L.A. locals who were conference-goers were impressed with it, and learned things that they didn't know before. Because the bus is hosted/sponsored by TCM, it mostly focuses on older films, but we drove by locations for more current ones too, like Roger Rabbit and Catch Me If You Can.

The Sessions: What I Learned

Some takeaways:

  • Be yourself, and tell your own story - you are good at being uniquely you, and no one else can tell that story.
  • Never use the word "free" when sending out travel pitches.
  • Peak season for traveling is spring or summer, so if you want to travel blog, go in fall or winter.
  • Have videos on your blog - experts say that in three years, if you don't have video, you won't be blogging. (I need to work on this one!)
  • Don't be afraid of just ASKING - you never know who might say yes. "Your life needs a hero who is willing to fail, and also a hero who is willing to ask."

I had a great time at ENMNCon this year and can't wait for next year's conference!

A big thanks to both Hard Rock Cafe locations, Dave & Busters, and the Ventura KOA campground for making this conference so great!

Have you ever been to the Hollywood/L.A. area? 
If so, what were your favorite things to do/see? If not, what would you like to do/see there if you ever go?

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