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I was on the Today show!

I wake up almost every day with the Today show. While I turn to the Today show to get the latest news, I enjoy their “fun” stories as well. Some of these stories have inspired my own adventures. For example, after I watched Al Roker cross whitewater rafting off his bucket list, I traveled to Costa Rica and took a trip on the same river with the same company and had an incredible experience. I thought that it would be fun to attend a live taping of the Today show, so on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011, I headed to Rockefeller Plaza hoping to get my chance to be on the Today show.

In preparation for my visit, I made a sign. One side read, "TODAY inspired me!" and had pictures of Al and me whitewater rafting in Costa Rica. On the other side was the name of this website: mydreamcametrue.com.

Since the Today show is live, the taping times are the same as the showtimes: from 7AM to 10AM every weekday. At 6:25 AM, my mom and I arrived at the 48th Street and Rockefeller Plaza in NYC and joined a line of people waiting to enter the plaza. At about 6:30 AM, the line started to move. Security people checked inside our bags and looked at our signs.
Once we were cleared, we entered the familiar barricaded Today show taping location (Rockefeller Plaza between 48th and 49th streets) and searched for a spot to stand and watch the show. A woman in line with us, Mary, who had visited the show the day before, suggested that the southwest side of the barricade was a good place. We took her advice and claimed a front row position between Mary and a mother and daughter from South Carolina.

The Today show crew was busy making last minute preparations, like putting finishing touches on a couple of tables set up for some of the show's segments and grooming the flowers in the Today show planters. A few live video monitors were set out on the plaza. On one of them, I could see Matt Lauer relaxing at the news desk, seemingly unaware that we were watching him.
A few minutes before 7 AM, Mr. Lauer rehearsed his voiceover for the show's opening while the corresponding video played on the monitor. Since the footage is a fixed length, he had to speak at just the right speed to match it. After one rehearsal, he was ready.

At 7 AM, the show began. We watched on a TV monitor as a cameraman taped a small portion of the crowd at the northwest corner of the plaza, far away from us. As the show continued, the audio was broadcast over loudspeakers, so we could hear what was going on very clearly, but the TV monitors were moved around from time to time, so we couldn't always see the video.

At about 7:30 AM, I noticed the crew setting up for another shot at the northwest corner of the plaza. I walked over and stood behind two rows of people with my sign. Minutes later, the cameraman walked across the north side of the barricade, recording the crowd while people cheered and waved. When he was done, I returned to my original spot.
Just before 8 AM, Ryan Reynolds, movie star and People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive 2010 entered the plaza accompanied by a man who I think might have been a Today show producer. People along the barricade excitedly snapped photos.
A few minutes after he arrived, Ryan walked over to the west side of the barricade, not far from where we were standing. As a cameraman recorded him, Ryan greeted people as he made his way along the barricade. I watched excitedly as Ryan moved closer and closer to US! When he got to me, he looked at the homemade sign I was holding and asked me about it. Mary, my mom, and our new friends from South Carolina all got to shake Ryan's hand!
At about 8:15 AM, Mr. Lauer made his first live appearance on the plaza to do a "Grill Gifts for Dad" segment directly across from us. We had a fairly nice view of the segment, but, understandably, the cameramen and crew frequently got in way.
It was interesting to watch the off-camera goings on that viewers don't normally see, like one of the crew members indicating the remaining time to Mr. Lauer, first by holding up one finger (one minute left?), then by making an X with his forearms (time's up?). Just after that segment, Mr. Lauer did a "Tool Gifts for Dad" segment nearby.

At about 8:30 AM, a cameraman did a sweep of the audience along the west side of the barricade, then Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, and Natalie Morales did a brief segment on the northeast side of the plaza, where we couldn't see them very well. They talked to Al Roker who was in Houston, Texas, donating items worth over two million dollars to a deserving charity.

Just before 9 AM, Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, and Savannah Guthrie emerged and stood on the southeast side of the plaza again to talk to Al in Texas. When the segment was over, Ann Curry stayed on the plaza to greet audience members along the barricade, pose for photos, sign autographs, and chat.

When she got to me, she looked at my sign and asked me about it. I described how I'd watched a Today Show story where Al went whitewater rafting in Costa Rica and then I'd followed in his footsteps. She continued the conversation, asking if I had already been planning to go whitewater rafting before I saw the story. I told her I had been thinking about going to Costa Rica, but that the whitewater rafting idea was because of the Today show. As we talked, I was reminded of the many times that I've watched Ann interview people on the Today show and, for a split second, I felt like I was a guest on the show. Ann posed for a photo with Mom, me, and my sign before she continued along the barricade to greet some of the other crowd members.
 A few minutes later, at about 9:20 AM, a crew member told us that the Today show plaza appearances were done for the day, and so we said goodbye to our fellow audience members and headed home.

I left the Today show very satisfied with my adventure. Not only did I get to be on the Today show, I got to chat (very briefly) with Ryan Reynolds and be interviewed (sort of) by Ann Curry. Not a bad way to spend a morning!
I did this in 2011 in New York City, New York, USA.

~ Jen (California, USA)

Jen is also known as J.W. Lynne, a best selling author of twelve novels.
Check out her books on Amazon:

THE UNKNOWN: Eight kids learn the shocking reason why they were kidnapped.

ABOVE THE SKY: A girl lives in a world where touching her soulmate is forbidden.

WHAT HE DIDN'T TELL ME: A traumatized girl meets a boy with a horrible secret.

IF I TELL: A teen wonders if her father is a serial killer.

: A teen is locked in a bunker to take a simulated trip to the moon.

WILD ANIMAL SCHOOL: A girl falls in love with a boy at an exotic animal ranch.

KID DOCS: An experimental program turns kids into doctors.

**Not sure which book to choose? Visit our book recommendation page!**

**Jen's books are available on Kindle Unlimited.**

Besides reading books and dreaming up stories to write, Jen's favorite activities are singing along to musical theater soundtracks and hiking in California's beautiful parks.
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