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Charlie Todd

Undeniable Recap of 2013

It’s been an incredible year. I’ve had so many things happen that I had to start keeping notes months ago to keep up with all the awesome things that were happening – personally and professionally.  It’s really hard to pare the list of top events from the year down to the top five but here goes.

1. Seeing my Gymnastics Family at Rocky’s Memorial.  I had a lot of achievements this year, but by far the best day was hanging out with my teammates and coaches from my gymnastics days. I hadn’t seen some of these people in 20 years and it was like no time had passed. It’s unfortunate that it took the death of my coach and mentor, Rocky Kees, to bring us together again.

REG-Reunion

2. Speaking at SXSW.  I was shocked when I saw that I made the list of people who were invited to speak at South by Southwest this year. Over 4400 applications were submitted for 450 slots. I had a blast in Austin at the conference and just taking in the city. Doing my talk on copyright in digital media was an incredible but so was meeting Improv Everywhere’s founder Charlie Todd (and doing the MP3 Experiment with his crew) and running into/inviting myself to coffee with three of the captains from Deadliest Catch.

3. Book Contracts with the American Bar Association.  It was a very busy year of writing. I signed contracts to write two books for the ABA – Flash Mob Law and The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers – so I basically was brainstorming and writing from mid-February until mid-August. And then my publisher asked for a rewrite one of my manuscripts in October so that was another two weeks of whirlwind writing. Flash Mob Law was released in July and The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers is due out in February 2014. I’m really pleased with these books.

4. Minimalism Project.  I was inspired to clean out my life this year – to go through everything I own and get rid of the things I don’t use and don’t add value to my life. Since I started this project, I got rid of at least a quarter of my wardrobe, cleaned out my files and memory boxes, and I’m in the process of downsizing my Star Trek collection. I feel much more clear-headed when my surroundings are simple and uncluttered. I plan to maintain my minimalistic perspective when it comes to bringing new things into my life and continue to regularly examine my life to make sure I’m only keeping useful things around me.

5. Carter Law Firm went Brick and Mortar.  One of the last significant things I did this year was sign the lease for my law firm’s first brick and mortar office. It’s an office space with seven offices – all attorneys – who share a receptionist. Almost everyone is a solo practitioner. I’ve only been there about a month but it’s been great so far. I love that Rosie gets to come to work with me.

International Go Topless Day by Sheila Dee from Flickr (used with permission)

International Go Topless Day by Sheila Dee from Flickr (used with permission)

Firsts in 2013
First trip to Austin
First mission with Improv Everywhere
First time running with a headlamp
First bike ride with my iPod
First Go Topless Day Protest
First road trip with Rosie
First trip to the Google ‘Plex
First bad bike accident – flipped over my bike’s handlebars
First ASU tailgate party
First Arizona State Fair, including a first ride on the Zipper
First trip to Ford Theater
First ASU football game in Sun Devil Stadium
First night parade
First Phoestivus – with airing of grievances
First office space
First ASTYM
First dry needling
Food Firsts: bacon maple bar, hush puppy, brownie in a mug, fish tacos, scrapple, hot pot

Ruth & CharlieCelebrity Sightings in 2013
Best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuk
Captain Keith Colburn from Deadliest Catch
Captain Jonathan Hillstrand from Deadliest Catch
Captain Sig Hansen from Deadliest Catch
Improv Everywhere founder Charlie Todd
Bully Director Lee Hirsch
Dr. Drew Pinsky

In Memoriam
Rev. Charlie Coppinger
Jerry Grucky
Rocky Kees

I Met Charlie Todd!

I’ve known about Charlie Todd and Improv Everywhere since he uploaded Frozen Grand Central to YouTube in 2008. I was fascinated by their creativity and boldness from the start. I went back and watched all their videos and read all the blogs from their missions – it was captivating. I subscribed to their YouTube channel and I joined the now-disbanded “Urban Prankster Network” online.

Charlie Todd and Me

Charlie Todd and Me

Charlie and I have exchanged emails and messages over the years after I helped co-found Improv AZ and I started digging into the legal issues surrounding flash mobs and pranks. He was always friendly and helpful, but since we lived on opposite sides of the country, we never met in person.

A few weeks ago, I got a note from Charlie saying that he was debuting his film “We Cause Scenes” at SXSW. The film follows the story of Improv Everywhere from the beginning to where it is now. I love this story because Charlie didn’t start out trying to create this group. He was just a guy who was having fun with his friends and he embraced the opportunities that allowed it to grow into his career. I was so excited. I immediately put his film at the top of my SXSW to-do list.

I met Charlie about an hour before the film in the convention center. When I saw his familiar face, threw up my arms, and screeched, “Charlie Todd!” I gave him a big hug and chatted for a few minutes before claiming my spot in line. It was so great to meet him in person but because we’ve been conversing for years, it was like seeing an old friend.

The movie was fantastic. If it comes to your city, go see it. It’s a great story.

During the Q&A after the movie, Charlie announced that Improv Everywhere was doing an MP3 Experiment in Austin. I of course rearranged my schedule so I could go. We were given a place, a time, an MP3 to download, and we were told to wear a certain color shirt and bring an uninflated balloon. You’ll have to wait to see the video to see what we did, but we had a blast. It was so great to do a mission with my prankster brothers and sisters.

I give my friend Jeff Moriarty a lot of credit for helping me become the person I am today. If he hadn’t organized the first No Pants Ride in Phoenix, there never would have been an Improv AZ and I wouldn’t be a flash mob attorney and blogger. Watching Charlie’s movie reminded me that I have to give him a lot of credit too. He was the one who came up with the idea for the original No Pants Subway Ride and he was the one who decided to invite the world to participate in 2009. If he hadn’t done that, he wouldn’t have given Jeff his launch into the official prank/flash mob world.

So thank you Charlie. Without you, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

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