Modern Family Fan Appreciation Day

A few months ago I had a representative from the USA Network message my Phil Dunphy Quotes Facebook Page praising me for building such a large community around the TV show Modern Family. They had started their own Facebook Page for their new Modern Family community called MOFY Nation. They offered to mail me a shirt if I would share one of the posts from their official Page on my Facebook Page. I took them up on their offer and within a few days received my MOFY Nation shirt in the mail. Pretty cool! It was great to be recognized for all my hard work because I had built my Phil Dunphy community to over 300,000 Likes.

Well, a few weeks ago I got another message from them inviting me to an event they were hosting called the Modern Family Fan Appreciation Day in Los Angeles. They offered to pay for my flight, hotel, and transportation while I was there. I happily accepted their offer. I got back earlier this week from my trip and it was one of the most fun trips I have been on! So, I thought I would share some of the highlights and pictures with you.

I flew out on a Sunday morning because the flight from Florida to Los Angeles was about five hours long and even though I was going back three hours in timezones, I wanted to have time on Sunday to explore around the hotel I was staying at. I had never been to L.A. before so this would be a good opportunity to check it out.

USA allowed me to bring one guest on my trip and since my wife Heidi had to work I decided to invite my friend and fellow internet marketer, Logan Thompson. I know Logan likes Modern Family and he’s helped me out quite a few times on different projects so I thought he would be a good friend to take with. We spent a good majority of the trip discussing business (which I thoroughly enjoy) so I’m glad Logan accepted my offer to come along.

My flight was early Sunday morning, but it was still not a very stressful morning because USA sent a driver to my house to pick me up and take me to the airport. It was a long flight to California, but my plane had TVs in the seats so I watched two movies and it went by pretty quickly.

Logan had arrived in L.A. before me and was waiting with the driver USA had sent to the airport to pick us up and take us to our hotel. I’ve seen the drivers at the airports before holding the signs with people’s names on it and I had to admit, it was pretty cool to have one holding a sign with my name on it.

USA Network got us a suite in the W hotel, which was a short walk from the theatre that the Modern Family Fan Appreciation Day was being held at. When we arrived and checked into the hotel USA had left a gift bag for me at the desk and when we got up into our suite and I opened the bag I found a nice card, a MOFY Nation portable charger (which would turn out to be a really useful gift the next day), and a $250 American Express gift card to pay for our food while we were in L.A. I knew from speaking with USA prior to the trip that they were going to take care of us while we were in L.A., but I had no idea the extent they were going to go to make it an enjoyable trip and getting the gift bag kind of blew my mind. They really were a great host while we were there.

MOFY Nation Gift Bag

So, Logan and I had decided to walk around a bit before our 5:30 scheduled meeting with the social media team behind MOFY Nation. We walked around quite bit and ended up stopping and eating at In-and-Out Burger. I’d heard great things from my trips to Las Vegas for Affiliate Summit, but never actually stopped and eaten it myself. It was pretty good! The funny thing is that we had a $250 gift card to buy food and In-and-Out only ended up being like $12 and they didn’t even take American Express. The extra money on the card would come in handy later at the hotel bar 🙂

We explored a bit more and then headed back to the hotel to meet with the MOFY Nation team and the other people invited by them to come to the event. I thought there would at least 20 people or so they had invited, but it turned out there were really only 3 others. Everyone was really nice and they were the true “super fans” whereas although I am a fan, I was just invited because of my big Facebook Page. We went over what to kind of expect the next day at the event and then Logan and I headed back out to explore the area around the hotel and stopped to get some more food and drinks. This time we took a nice chunk out of the American Express gift card 🙂

The next day we both got up kind of early and went walking again exploring and looking for breakfast. After we ate at Corner Bakery we walked around some more until we were finally far enough that we started seeing signs in other languages. That’s when we decided to turn around and head back.

One of my cousins, Amanda, lives in Los Angeles and although she lives about 45 minutes from where we were staying, she drove her and her son to visit us. It was nice because I don’t get to see Amanda often and we always have a great time visiting when we do see each other. She met with Logan and in our suite and we had a nice long talk (primarily about my trip to Chicago this past summer to a Tony Robbins seminar). A little before 3:00 she left and Logan and I got ready for the big event!

The Modern Family Fan Appreciation Day was being held at the Westwood Village Theatre. When we arrived there were already hundreds, if not thousands, of fans there. The line to to go through the medal detector was literally wrapped around the corner. Luckily, I had the number for one of the girls I’d met the night before that works for USA so I called her and she met us at the beginning of the line for security and walked us through. We got our passes and walked towards the red carpet. On the way we got to pick up a bunch of fun souvenir items from carts USA employees were pushing around and giving away. I got a Modern Family hat, deck of cards, and pair of sunglasses. They had some other cool stuff but my pockets were already full.

The red carpet was actually orange.

MOFY Nation Red Carpet

There was a special spot for us “Mofy Elite” where we got to stand at the end of the red carpet. It was really cool because besides us, all the other fans had to keep moving through the line and they were basically taken inside the theatre where they were going to have to wait for the main part of the night’s events to start. Before the doors opened they got to stand outside with us, but as soon as the cast started to show up for the red carpet everyone else was taken inside. So, we kind of felt like celebrities ourselves because I’m sure most people walking by us to go inside were wondering why they had to go inside, but we got to stay outside.

Prior to the cast getting there Ross Mathews, the host of the red carpet, walked around and did some interviews with people waiting in line. At one point he stopped by where we were standing and I got a picture with him.

Luke and Ross Mathews

When the cast started to arrive things really got interesting. The red carpet was filled with photographers and reporters wanting to get interviews with each cast member as they walked along the red carpet. I was standing right next to the cameraman from Hello Ross! and he’s even in some of my pictures.

It was really cool because we were at the end of the red carpet and right in-between it and the stage where Ross was doing interviews with the cast. So, as long as there was someone already on the stage, the cast member next to go to an interview would stand right in front of me (literally within reach) while they waited to go up on stage. Because of this, I was able to get good pictures of pretty much every cast member and even spoke with a few of them. Here’s a picture of Nolan (Luke Dunphy) and I.

Luke and Modern Family Luke

I really wanted to get a picture with Ty (Phil Dunphy), but he was one of the last to walk across the red carpet and right after his interview with Ross he had to go back to the red carpet to get a cast photo. I spoke with his publicist and she said she would do her best to make sure I got a picture with him, but as they were doing photos of the entire cast on the red carpet our group of “Mofy Elite” were taken inside for the main event. Oh well, next year!

Modern Family Cast Live Read

The theatre was really nice inside. They had everything decorated with Modern Family posters and even the cups for soda and bags of popcorn were Modern Family themed. I’ve never been to a theatre with free soda, popcorn, and candy, but there were drinks and popcorn/candy waiting inside for everyone that went inside the theatre.

It was only a few minutes after we had taken our seats in the theatre that the cast entered to the Modern Family theme song. They all sat down at a long table in the middle of the stage (shown in the picture to the right) and the creator of Modern Family, Steven Levitan, told us that they were going to do a live read of the script for the episode “Caught in the Act”, which was fan voted. I actually got to meet Steven while I was on the red carpet and hadn’t even realized he was the creator of the show. He seemed like a really nice and down to Earth guy.

The live read of the script was probably my favorite part of the whole night. It was so cool to see them, just sitting in their chairs, “act” out the episode. Not to mention that “Caught in the Act” is probably my favorite episode of Modern Family.

After the live read they did a Q&A (question and answer) from questions taken from fans. Then, a birthday cake was brought out for Nolan (Luke) because it just so happened that the Modern Family Fan Appreciation Day was on his 15th birthday! Everyone sang happy birthday to him and you could tell he really enjoyed it.

The cast left once the birthday festivities were over and they played the first Halloween episode of Modern Family on on a big screen. While the episode was playing USA employees kept throwing big buckets of candy on everyone. It was pretty fun.

Once the episode was over they thanked everyone for coming and we all left.

On the way back to the hotel Logan and I stopped and ate some Thai food. When we got back to the hotel we stopped at the hotel bar and discussed mostly business while we finished drinking our food money 🙂

The next day USA had a driver take us to the airport and then pick me up and take me home from the airport in Gainesville. It was a long day of traveling, but a great ending to an awesome trip.

I really cannot thank USA Network enough for the amazing time I in Los Angeles. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I’m so happy that I decided to make the Phil Dunphy Quotes Facebook Page and I’m going to work hard to build up that community so I’m invited back to the Modern Family Fan Appreciation Day next year.

This trip was the perfect example of how hard work can pay off. I never expected to get much from my Facebook Page when I created it, but this trip was more than enough to make it worthwhile.

Thanks again USA Network for the awesome time and the appreciation you have to your fans. You rock! 

Manny with interviewers

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