Recently I found out about a little thing called the Build Series, which feels like one of NYC’s best kept secrets. It was just my luck that Tom Ellis was one of the up-and-coming interview guests, known for his role on FOX’s Lucifer. Jumping at the chance to see him and have a new experience I snagged my free ticket and was off to the races.

What is AOL’s Build Series?

Sometimes when I think of AOL I have flashbacks to the late 90’s when I would have to listen to the legendary dial tone sound as my computer connected to the world wide web. Today, AOL is a beast in the tech industry. Their mission? To use code and culture to guide their actions and their content.

AOL’s Build series aims to bring big names into small settings to give fans a chance to ask their burning questions. They even take it a step further by streaming, live, each and every interview so whether you’re standing outside the studio or hanging out in the Arctic, you can be a part of the action. 

Altogether it reminds me of a parred down TedTalk, because it is not just entertainment guests they bring onto the stage. They might have the biggest draw, but the Build Series likes to incorporate other great minds into their lineup in order to provide a little something for everyone. Odds are no one will leave an interview disappointed because they bring their A-game every time. 

What’s the experience like? 

Intimate. I use that word a lot but it is accurate. After standing in line outside with a delightful line keeper who does a phenomenal job at keeping line jumpers at bay, you are let into an indoor queue. Once there they scan your ticket, send you through a metal detector, and lead you into the studio which is surprisingly small. There is not a single bad seat in the house. I snagged a front row seat right against the stage and was a hop, skip, and an illegal jump away from the talent. 

The audience cheers a lot, responds to the interview, and is filmed right along with the guest. There is very little if any separation between audience and talent, which can feel surreal and more engaging than a typical talk where a lifted stage provides a natural barrier. It really felt like a casual conversation and at the end of the “formal” interview there is an audience Q&A where those streaming can tweet questions and individuals in the audience can grab a mike and fire away. 

At the end, at least for Lucifer, Tom Ellis stuck around after the cameras were off and took photos with excited fans. Having run into him the night before at a SAG event where he did the same thing, I was hardly surprised. 

Final verdict?

I think the AOL Build series is an inventive way to take advantage of our technological age and continue to blast away the barriers between creative minds and consumers. The fact that it is free makes the whole thing even sweeter, the only downside being that most interviews take place during working hours leaving out the 9 – 5ers. 

Alright, how do I get tickets?

Easy! First, you will want to check out their website HERE. That’s the mothership where you can see upcoming interviews, watch past streams, and subscribe to their e-mail listing. I would suggest subscribing because that is going to be the easiest way to keep up on who will be gracing the stage next and give you first shot at your free tickets. Once you find an interview you want to attend you’ll click it and it will take you to the Eventbrite page where you can register for the ticket. 

I would suggest downloading Eventbrite onto your phone because it makes ticketing a breeze. Once you create an account all of your tickets, even purchases for other events done through Eventbrite, will be available right on your phone. When you are in line you will pull up the QR code assigned to your ticket, they’ll scan it, and you’re in. No need to find access to a printer! The process is that simple which makes the experience that much better. 

I’ve got my ticket, am I guaranteed to meet the talent?

No. Unfortunately a “meet and greet” is not a part of the ticket. Photos, greetings, and other interactions with the individuals being interviewed are all up to the discretion of the talent, security, and the staff managing the event.

There are barriers set up outside the front door where people are allowed to stand and wait for the talent to exit where you can take a chance if the speaker does not stay in the main stage room for photos after the event. Otherwise, you go for the experience of being in the room where the action is happening and the chance to ask questions, which can be just as rewarding.

Be sure to check out AOL Build’s site for more details and follow them on Twitter for up-to-date information on interviews. Been to a Build interview? Sound off in the comments!

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