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20 under 30: Noah Bonnett

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LAist's "20 Under 30" interview series with interesting Angelenos under 30 continues with Noah Bonnett, reality TV production survivor turned vidcasting producer. His well-produced daily video podcast 88SLIDE is a quick shot quiz, which gives away gift certificates and, from time to time, an iPod. 88SLIDE has just had its 100th episode, and is still cranking; you can call Noah a video podcast pioneer.

Tell us about 88SLIDE, the vidcast. And do you say vidcast or video podcast?
88SLIDE is a daily one minute trivia challenge format, distributed via the Internet at 88SLIDE.com, and through iTunes as a video podcast. Cell phone users can also download the series at 88SLIDE.com. We release a new one minute trivia challenge Monday through Friday, and our outtakes and bloopers on Saturday and Sunday. Our audience then emails and text-messages their answer by 9 PM, in hopes of winning the day’s prize.

I call it a micro-format. Let it be known that I’m coining this new buzzword “micro-format” on LAist on this day in 2006. Readers, please utilize and spread the joy of this soon-to-be-overused phrase.

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88SLIDE has the charm of user-generated-content , combined with the production know-how of a big studio. Our mission is to entertain, interact, and enlighten, daily, in 60 seconds. My mother calls it “the most brilliant thing ever created from the most talented, beautiful, and menschy son, ever.”

What's been the best thing that's come out of 88SLIDE?
The best thing is waking up and seeing the answers pour in from all over the world. Our host Rachel has a huge following in Brazil! In addition, I’m getting to see Southern California like never before. We visited a tattoo festival, Jewish deli and a shower door factory all in one weekend. I like eating a slice of the big media conglomerates’ entertainment pie and market share. It’s delicious.

How is 88SLIDE different from other daily vidcasts, like Rocketboom?
We've pioneered interactivity within video podcasting. So many video podcasts are one-way experiences; we've created a loyal and growing community by asking our audience to text or email their answers to us daily. When a viewer submits an answer, they invariably return the next day to see if they've won, and to find out the correct answer. They then submit again, visit the next day, etc. . . We've created a unique viewing cycle; our day-to-day audience retention is extremely high.

We're offering an alternative to the consumer. I love how NBC is hockin' a 5 minute clip of Jay Leno for $1.99. Nobody watches him for free, and you expect us to pay for it. C'mon folks, get with it! There are a lot of very interesting formats being developed in this new medium. I think traditional TV execs are going to look at video podcasts and micro-formats as their cost-effective approach to developing pilots.

Where did you live before Los Angeles?
I'm a DC native — another one-industry town. The people here are much more beautiful. I named my production company Rock Creek Park Productions, the big park in DC... where they found Chandra Levy's body.

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What were you doing before 88SLIDE?
Most recently I was a development exec at Endemol USA — the international reality TV powerhouse behind "Big Brother," "Fear Factor," "Deal or No Deal," "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and my favorite one-time special on ABC: "Domino Day 2001," which followed an American domino team at a toppling tournament in The Netherlands.

What's been the most surprising thing to you about LA?
LA is a great place by foot. I love walking around this city. It's totally doable.

What is/are your favorite book(s)/CD(s)/movie(s)/TV show(s) about LA?
My favorite LA book is my Thomas Guide; my favorite LA TV show is "Entourage" or any "COPS" episode in LA. I don't have a favorite LA movie per se, but I love seeing LA back in the '80s on the big screen...some of the ol' Cheech and Chong flicks...I would have done well back then.

Describe your best LA dining experience. (if you have more than one, that's ok...)
QUASI-HIPSTER SAYS: I'm usually at the smaller ethnic places around LA...Sanamluang in Thai Town, Pho 2000 on Western or Pho Café on Sunset, Papa Cristos in the Byzantine district, and of course, Zankou Chicken. In my humble opinion, the HOLLYWOOD location is much better than the new one on Sepulveda. My favorite sushi spot is a place called Sushi Minori on Pico and Robertson. It's unpretentious, and they have the best yellowtail around. Sasabune lost its charm after the move. I like to cook a lot too.

What is the "center" of LA to you?
Literally: Pico and LaCienega. Everything WEST of LaCienega to me is WEST SIDE, and everything EAST (therefore, ergo, ipso facto, duh) is EASTSIDE. Pico is my barometer for north/south. Some people use LaBrea as their East/West boundary, some user Vermont or Western. I guess the more hipster you are, the more that boundary moves east. Some suggest that the cultural, philosophical and physical center of LA is deep in Melrose Larry Green's pupik, or navel to those outside the entertainment industry.

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It's 9:30pm on a Thursday. Where are you, and where are you going?
Every night at 9:00 PM, the computer randomly selects the correct entry to win the day's prize on 88SLIDE. After that I literally walk the 3 blocks Blaine's apartment (our announcer, and my old college roommate). At 9:30, we're taping his insert of the winner. It's sort of a throwback to the glory days of the game show. After that it's back to my place to put the finishing touches on the episode and distribute it by midnight. If I get done before midnight on Thursday, I might get a drink at The Little Bar on LaBrea, or just drink a tall-boy at my place and watch a "What's Happening" rerun (excuse the pun) on TVLand. Dee is hilarious. Blaine, my friend Baba and I recreated the intro to "What's Happening," shot-by-shot, a few years back. I play Raj; it's located here: http://www.rockcreekpark.com/#WhatsHappening

If you could make one thing be different in LA for your 30th birthday, what would you change?
LA and Southern California are wonderfully diverse, but extremely segregated. This is something I miss about DC, especially with the international and diplomatic influence there. I think the mayor should proclaim LA DAY, where everyone gets off work, gets wasted together, and picks up trash.

Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?
I wanna be in DC when the big one hits!