Why is it that the first 24 hours of a trip seem to span a week, but by the end you’re wondering where the hell all that time went? That’s the conundrum that I’m in right now – I flew into Fayetteville late Monday night, and here I am Thursday morning packing again to head back to California. What a whirlwind adventure this has been….
I keep thinking back to my expectations of coming to Arkansas – what I thought I would experience, the people assumed I would meet, what the culture here had to offer me; and I’m proud to report I’ve been blown away. The people are beyond welcoming and my interactions here have been nothing but delightfully pleasant. I spend most of my day surrounded by a mess of movie sleeves, price points and amarays and my job is to organize and make sense of it all. Fortunately for me, I have some kickass tunes and rad headphones to get me through the day. If a few years ago someone told my family I would be in charge of organization of this magnitude, I’m sure you would’ve gotten some hearty laughs and eye-rolls from them. But here I am, growing up and growing into myself – and I’ve proven day in and day out that I can deliver, in a big way.
And it’s not just Disney people that I’ve gotten to know while I’m down here – there are Sales people I’ve made friends with from Lionsgate, Universal, Warner and Phase 4 media; I’ve gotten to sit in with my team and the Executive Director of 20th Century Fox while he explained what goes into forecasting day one sales for a movie. What’s more, is that with each step he explained to my teammates I would turn the conversation around and engage him in the math and statistics of his explanation. A lot of it is about the normalization data, relative means and distributions – I didn’t realize until I got here just how much I love numbers. About half an hour after we left his office, he came back to the main room and in front of everyone said the following: I spend most of my day turning the math and statistics into something a normal person could understand, thank you for coming back in here and smartening me back up. Me? Smartening up an Exec Director?! Ah!
Work stuff aside, I’ve had a few moments here and there to enjoy and explore this adorably quaint town. First of all, it reminds me so much of Corvallis, Oregon it’s unreal. There are expansive properties, friendly people walking everywhere and brisk – but comfortable – weather. The first full day I was here we went and ate at a local spot called Jimmy John’s, which is full of delish sandwiches. I got (predictably) the “Californian” and it was phenomenal. Later that night my coworker and I stopped by a local movie theater and I finally saw ‘Wreck it Ralph‘ – if you haven’t seen it, do it now; if you didn’t like it – let me know and I’ll go ahead and delete you from my life. Really though, I don’t understand how someone couldn’t like it! And the little Skrillex cameo at the beginning? Bonkers adorable; really though! That night when I got back, I somehow had the energy to kick my ass at the hotel’s amazing gym; great idea to get my body on Central time!
Wednesday was more of the same – sleeves, amarays, price points, oh my…; for lunch, the sales manager treated us to some gas station sushi. I know it sounds sketchy, hell – when my Exec Directors back in Burbank told me about it I was hesitant to even try. I mean, sushi – in Arkansas?! Yes! The place reminded me of a hole in the wall restaurant in Los Angeles, and was run by a very sweet family. Apparently, if you go often enough they’ll give you a pair of chopsticks that you get to use whenever you return – absolutely genius. Of course, when I posted the picture to Facebook one of the immediate responses I got was “GAS IS SO CHEAP THERE!”, yeah – Arkansas has that going on, too.
Last, but most certainly not least – after work was out last night, I got the opportunity to go to Crystal Bridges Museum and see some of the art and culture of the city. First of all, holy hell – the architecture of the museum is out of this world. So out of this world, in fact, that there’s a section of the museum currently devoted to their architect – Moshe Safdie. He’s built other amazing structures like Habitat 67 in Montreal, which kickstarted his career, as well as the Skirball cultural center in Los Angeles, the Eleanor Roosevelt library at UCSD and the Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem. The other exhibit that I fell in love with was “See the Light” – I loved the color, contrast, illumination and shadow play. Once I upload pictures I’ll be able to show you guys just how amazing the art was, but some other highlights of the museum were pieces by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and last but definitely not least – Mister Andy Warhol.