Why I Auditioned to Be Kelly Ripa’s Co-host for a Day on “LIVE with Kelly”

Why I Auditioned to be Kelly Ripa’s Co-host for a Day on “LIVE with Kelly”

Last Thursday on the radio I heard that Kelly Ripa is currently holding a contest in which the winner will get to co-host “LIVE with Kelly” for a day. So I didn’t delay in applying.

Over the weekend, I shot my “60 seconds or less” audition video and submitted it to the website, along with my “100 words or less” bio:

“I am Nick Shell, a 35 year-old seasoned daddy blogger (FamilyFriendlyDaddyBlog.com) and vlogger (YouTube Channel: Nick Shell) from Nashville, Tennessee. It has been my dream for a decade now to be a TV host. After you see my video submission, I believe you will feel my energy and passion for communicating and interacting with people. My background is in theater and teaching Elementary school students. On my YouTube channel, my Kindergartner son and I do a superhero series, Jack-Man, where he is the hero and I play the villain. I also do a children’s program called Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest.”

The surely thousands of submissions will be narrowed down to the top 40, and eventually down to the sole winner.

This is my motivation in applying: It has been my dream to be up in front of an audience, for a living.

Granted, I feel that until about a year ago, I wasn’t ready.

It took until about age 34 for me to become emotionally intelligent enough and to have the life experience to be relevant to a universal audience, and therefore to gain the confidence in my abilities, to consider myself qualified for something like this.

But even if I don’t make it to the top 40 for this contest, I will at least know that I did everything in my power to be seriously considered. It’s good practice, if nothing else.

Last night my wife and I were watching one of my favorite documentaries, The Comedians of Comedy, on Netflix. Towards the end, Patton Oswald talks about how every performer has their “obsession years,” in which they just immerse themselves into their craft, as they figure out what works and what doesn’t.

When it comes to being in front of a camera, especially as a YouTuber, I feel that I am definitely in my obsession years.

Let it be known to the free world, I fully intend to grow beyond my YouTube audience. I believe I was made for the stage.

Here’s my audition video:

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What Kind of TV Parents are We? (Infographic Included)

Jason-Maggie-Seaver-growing-pains-5110661-402-512

My wife and I have talked before about which TV parents we are most similar to. We quickly decided that Jason and Maggie Seaver, of the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains (1985-1992), best represent us.

It seems like most TV sitcoms of the 1980s revolved around some kind of amendment to the traditional nuclear family.

Like a wise-cracking alien joining the Tanner house on Alf. Or Uncle Jesse and Joey joining the Tanner House on Full House. And don’t forget how neighbor Steve Urkle basically lived with the Winslows.

But with Growing Pains, there was a nuclear family in which the parents loved each other, and unlike most sitcoms since the 1980s, the dad wasn’t an idiot.

Plus, there was no outsider who is adopted into the family; unless you count the final season in which Leonardo DiCaprio joined the cast, but I figure most of us had stopped watching by that point.

The parents were intelligent, hard-working, and sensitive to the children’s psychological needs. Though that sounds like a pretty normal thing to feature on a family sitcom, it’s not.

Writers on sitcoms often can’t handle a happily married couple with kids. If nothing else, the writers have to kill off one of the parents.

Danny Tanner’s wife died after a drunk driver hit her, on Full House.

Then DJ’s husband died while fighting fires, on Fuller House.

And then if both parents are still alive, the dad is by default, an idiot: Homer Simpson on The Simpsons, Al Bundy on Married with Children, Carl Winslow on Family Matters, Tim Allen on Home Improvement

I would actually argue that the Seavers were actually the most normal, life-like family in the past 30 years, in a sitcom. That’s the simple reason that I believe that Jason Seaver best represents me as a TV dad, and Maggie Seaver represents my wife.

Below is a related flow-chart asking, “Which T.V. Mom are you?”

(Because I fully recognize that the majority of the readers of my blog are not male, but instead female.)

Thanks to Berries.com for this graphic.

Which TV Mom Are You?

Kids’ Show: Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest- Webisodes 4-6; the Flood Story Arc

Kids Show: Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest- Webisodes 4-6; the Flood Story Arc

By now, I’ve made it no secret that I am legitimately attempting to become the next Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood/Blue’s Clues.

My main hobby right now is to crank out as many webisodes I can of my new web series, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest.

It is my hope that eventually my show will catch on and that I can get enough traffic to gain the attention of the talent scouts for major networks like PBS, Nickelodeon, Disney, Animal Planet, and the Discovery Channel.

My agenda with each webisode is to provide innocent and engaging entertainment for children who are watching YouTube on their parents’ smartphones.

For this newest batch of webisodes, 4 through 6, I’ve added not only a new song (“Animal Hat”) but also a segment where I try to guess which color the viewer is thinking of, while I play the drums. (I also play the guitar on camera now, in addition to just the harmonica as I did before.)

After the indoors portion of each show, I then take the viewer outdoors to my Enchanted Forest (the woods of Fort Payne and Mentone, Alabama) for a magical adventure, featuring talking animals.

I filmed 8 webisodes during my 3 day Christmas vacation last week, with help from my dad and brother-in-law serving as camera men. (That means I soon will be releasing even 5 more.)

During that time, I took advantage of the fact that the area was experiencing a flash flood. I based these 3 (of the newest 8) webisodes around that, making that the overall story arc for them.

In Webisode 4, I must rush to the rescue as Betsy the Bunny gets trapped in a tree alongside a rushing waterfall (Little River Falls in Fort Payne, AL).

Next in Webisode 5, I must save Tiny the Turtle before his home is swept away by the flood (DeSoto Falls in Mentone, AL).

And in the final segment of this “flood” story arc, in Webisode 6, I must help Scuttles the Skunk move forward in his life as he deals with the aftermath of losing his home in the flood as well.

I designed the outdoors segment of each webisode to be a good mix of action, adventure, and psychology. However, the first (indoors) part of each webisode is designed to engage the viewer in creative thinking.

Sure, right now, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest is just getting off the ground. But I am committing to this show. I am not giving up until I reach my goal of taking my show to the big screen: the TV screen, via a major network.

I believe that I have the talent, skills, creativity, charisma, and personality to host my own TV show on a major children’s network. This web series is my way of proving it to the world.

My Pitch to the Studios, as a Children’s TV Show Host

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Editor’s Note:

I will be emailing the following letter to the same casting agency that reached out to me a few months ago to interview and potentially invite my family to participate in the upcoming reality TV show, The Family Project on NBC.

After that, this letter will then be going out to the all the casting agencies and directors for all the major children’s (and family) television networks; including PBS, Nickelodeon, Disney, TLC, Animal Planet, and The Discovery Channel.

Dear [casting agencies for television studios of major networks that feature children’s programming],

I believe you may be interested in meeting me. I think I can solve your problem in that I am who you are looking for if you are currently in need of a children’s television host.

However, please do not take my word for it…

Instead, simply watch me at work. My passion is creating original content to entertain children; as I have a 5 year-old son, as well as a daughter due to be born in April.

Just watch this quick webisode of my newest web series, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. Everything you see here is original content. I write, produce, and direct my shows; as well as serve as the protagonist and voices to the animal characters:

I write and perform my own songs, just like the beloved Mr. Fred Rogers did. I play both guitar and harmonica; and obviously sing.

You will see how I simply engage children in nostalgic ways, similar to that beloved uncle everyone has.

To further showcase my acting and production skills, as well as my musical talent and over all creativity, I also ask you to watch a short webisode of my other original web series, Jack-Man; which is a sci-fi super hero show starring my son and me.

In this series, you will see my acting skills as a villain; not just simply the kind and warm “Uncle Nick” character I play on my other series. Again, I created all of this content from scratch, including the lyrics, music, and performance of the songs.

Also, I already have a following on my website, Family Friendly Daddy Blog; where I maintain a minimum of 15,000 views per month. (For 3 years, I had previously served as the official daddy blogger for Parents.com; the website for the legendary Parents magazine.)

Thank you so much for your time and consideration today. Even if I never hear back from you, please know I will continue creating original content to entertain and engage children in the YouTube world; knowing that one day I will get my big break.

Granted, I hope that “big break” comes from you.

Sincerely,

Nick Shell of Family Friendly Daddy Blog

We Were Approached to Be on NBC’s Upcoming Show, The Family Project

We Were Approached to Be on NBC’s Upcoming Show, The Family Project

A few weeks ago, Cast Iron Productions reached out to our family about the possibility of us being in a brand-new show on NBC, called The Family Project.

I have to admit, I feel honored that they chose us because A) they found our family simply because of my blog, which makes me very happy about my SEO, and B) because they said we seem like a really fun family based on what they saw on my blog, Family Friendly Daddy Blog.

After an email exchange, a phone interview, then a 2 hour Skype interview with our family, we were told we were good material for the show.

They liked specifically that we are a Christian, vegan/vegetarian family who doesn’t believe in spanking and who lives by an extremely enforced “Dave Ramsey” budget and who keeps our home spotlessly clean and who doesn’t own smart phones.

As far as what the show is about, here’s my best understanding:

It sounds like the concept of Wife Swap and The Real World combined. Instead of 2 polar opposite families swapping the wives in each family, it sounds like The Family Project will combine all the family members of both households in the same house.

They were clear with me that we would still have to work jobs, but it would be whatever my wife and I consider our “dream jobs”. As for me, that would mean full time blogging and making videos for my YouTube channel.

We had a lot of fun during the Skype interview, but I do have good reason to believe that ultimately, NBC will not be officially choosing us:

I was very clear with the casting agency that we have a complete Libertarian approach when it comes to our lifestyle:

In other words, we have no desire to enforce our beliefs on others. Therefore, I seriously doubt a camera crew would be able to get a rise out of me, which typically makes for “good reality TV.”

After all, conflict and chaos serves as the fuel of reality TV. From there, the audience watching is subconsciously prompted to pass judgment, thinking to themselves, “At least I’m not as crazy as that person!”

If one of the parents of the other family in the house tried to get me to debate with them on why we are vegans/vegetarians or Christians or why we won’t spank our child or why we live by a super strict budget, I simply wouldn’t argue back.

I am a man who is completely confident and secure in my beliefs. I have no desire to seek confirmation from anyone else.

While I’m always happy to explain any parts of our lifestyle, I back off the moment the other person thinks I am defending myself.

I have nothing to defend.

And I especially have no reason to argue with a non-Christian. Jesus didn’t argue with or try to fiercely convert those who were close-minded to His teaching.

Instead, He said time and time again, “Whoever has ears, let him hear.”

In other words, His teachings were meant for those who were listening; not those who tried to heckle him or prove him wrong.

I am a man who is completely confident and secure in my beliefs. I have no desire to seek confirmation from anyone else.

Where would the drama be in a reality show episode like that? Where is the conflict and chaos?

The only thing I can think of is to “try to get the Christians to crack” after being so irritated by the other family’s opposing “annoying” habits.

I’m not saying that’s impossible, but as Christians, our role isn’t to judge, but to serve others.

So I’m thinking, if their dirty dishes in the sink got in the way of our family making our own vegan meals, then we should probably help them out with their dishes.

Why would NBC pick us at this point? Yes, we’re a fun (and interesting) family; and yes, we have a different lifestyle compared to the American mainstream, I would assume.

But we have nothing to prove… or to defend… or to be offended by.

I have a feeling that just like with Steve Harvey and Katie Couric, when they approached me a couple of years ago about being on their shows, only to never call me back after they realized I wouldn’t argue with other guests on the show about my beliefs, that The Family Project will air without the Shell family.

Even still, I’m very curious to check the show out when it premieres in a few months!

We Were Approached to Be on NBC’s Upcoming Show, The Family Project

Photos by Aimee Cornelius.

Happify’s New Infographic: What You Watch This Summer Can Make You Happier

When it comes to TV time, our family is very deliberate when it comes to setting boundaries.

For example, when we first moved into our new house nearly 6 months ago, I made sure we set aside our downstairs living room as a sanctuary free from a TV set; that we established our main common room void of that infamous conversation killer. We have to deliberately go upstairs if we want to watch something.

This week I came across this new infographic on Happify, a website and app which is dedicated to building happiness skills through scientifically designed activities and games.

The infographic is called “What You Watch This Summer Can Make You Happier.” I love the way it scientically explains what actually makes us happy.

Enjoy!

Happify's New Infographic: What You Watch This Summer Can Make You Happier

Transitioning My 20 Month-Old Into TV Time

July 19, 2012 at 4:57 am , by 

20 months.

I have always felt very strongly against allowing my son to watch TV before the age of 2 years old.

Yes, I am one of those quirky parents who believes there is a link between boys under the age of 2 watching TV daily and Autism.

As a father of a little boy, I am very aware that boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with Autism than girls.

While I know there are many factors as to why, it’s interesting to point out that males compartmentalize their thoughts separately from each other, while females constantly intersect theirs.

That explains why when you ask a guy what he is thinking and he says “nothing,” he is probably telling the truth. Because he is currently in his “nothing box.”

But if my understanding about females is correct, they can never truly “think about nothing” the way males can.

In other words, by default, the male mind already works like a TV. If he needs to think about a different subject, he has to change the channel in his head to that subject first. But the female mind works more like a laptop computer with at least 8 windows up and running at all times.

She is used to the constant multitasking in her brain. Meanwhile, guys are built to be task-orientated, so they stay on that certain channel until the job is done, or change the channel and come back to it later, as if during the commercial break.

The theory is that during those very crucial first two years of a boy’s life, he is still developing his “how to properly change the channel in his head” ability.

So a boy who is exposed to a TV during that crucial time of development, with changing channels, switching camera angles, and no natural pauses in conversation, can get confused and the channels in his head start changing on their own.

Another reason I am convinced of this theory is explained in an article for Slate Magazinewhere it is revealed that the reported number of Autistic cases shot up in 1980 (just a few months before I was born), when cable TV and VCR’s became easily accessible in American households.

The number of Autism cases were higher in states where the weather was gloomier (like Oregon and Washington) where children were more likely to stay inside and watch TV.

Interestingly, cases of Autism are nearly non-existent in Amish communities where TV’s are nowhere to be found.

I also support this article in Time magazine which says that TV cuts down on a toddler’s “talk time,” according to pediatricians.

Well, my son is now 20 months old; that’s just 4 months away from that “TV is now safe” milestone of 2 years old. So recently, I have been more flexible on his exposure to TV.

He’s still very obsessed with Elmo. Fate would have it that Sesame Street is on now Netflix’s live streaming. (We don’t have cable or a satellite.)

One of his new routines is for me to turn on Sesame Street in the morning while he plays with his toys or the Wii remote. I keep the volume very low as to not interrupt any conversation between the two of us.

The funny thing is, he doesn’t actually watch the show. He totally doesn’t have the attention span for that right now.

All he really wants to do is just point at the screen every once and while and say “Elmo” or “dog” or “noodle,” referring to Mr. Noodle in the Elmo’s World segment.

My son likes the idea of watching TV, but when given the chance, he doesn’t actually watch it.

Here’s the twist: I really look forward to the day he does want to. I haven’t watched a Disney Pixar movie sinceToy Story 2 came out on DVD like a decade ago.

I have a lot of catching up to do!