BUILDing a New Platform

By: Chaviva Freedman  |  March 13, 2016

John Gallagher Jr. at AOL BUILD - 2-3-16

Suppose your favorite celebrity came to town. You really love their work and always wanted a chance to meet them and tell them how much you admire their work. With AOL’s new BUILD series, the public now has that option.

Located downtown, AOL BUILD is a live webstream series set up by parent company AOL to provide the masses with an up close and personal experience with popular actors, actresses, singers and authors. It gives the guest a chance to discuss his/her latest project and allows the audience an insight into the world of pop culture. The best part of the web series? You can sit in on the filming of these interviews: tickets are free.

AOL BUILD gives people the opportunity to see a variety of celebrities, from Derek Hough of “Dancing with the Stars” to entire casts of movies like Deadpool. (Yes—Ryan Reynolds was at AOL BUILD a month ago and I regret not going.) If you happen to be there on a day when a singer is the guest, chances are you’re going to have a private concert, which is probably the coolest thing the web series offers. The interviews are on the hour, so one person has the chance to see up to four interviews a day, if one plans well. If you want to watch the interview again, you can always go to AOL BUILD’s website and watch archived videos.

The room where interviews take place is small and contains about thirty chairs. Since there is no assigned seating, I recommend you get as close to the front as you can. It gives you a whole new perspective on interviews; from there, you can see all the preparation that goes into setting one up. Everywhere you look, there are employees doing different jobs to ensure that the interview is perfect. People take great care with the monitors, cameras, microphones, and other accessories necessary in video production. Without these employees, the interview would fall apart.

Finally, the interview starts. The guest comes out from the back with the moderator, and the audience goes nuts. Your dream of being in the same room as the celebrity has come true, and you don’t know what to make of it. The moderator—usually someone from outside of AOL who is familiar with the guest’s work—spends a little over twenty minutes discussing the guest’s career, favorite moments and family, and the audience is captivated by the guest’s answers. It’s cool to look around and see everyone focused on every word the guest is saying, and you can tell that some of the people are really taking the interviewee’s words to heart.

Afterward comes the Q & A portion. Employees walk around with microphones, ready for people to ask questions. The audience members who have attended a taping before have questions prepared, while some members just ask questions on the fly. The questions vary among everyone: some are as serious as what inspired the singer to write this break-up song as an anthem, or as frivolous as what type of breakfast do they enjoy eating. It gives everyone a chance to loosen up, and you really can see a person’s personality shine through.

If you ever have the chance to go to an AOL BUILD interview, please do. The experience is something that one doesn’t always get and since it’s free, it won’t break the bank! Who knows? Maybe your favorite celebrity is just standing in the back of the room at the end of the interview and you can say hello, like when I met John Gallagher Jr. from HBO’s “The Newsroom.”


If you want to know more about tickets to AOL BUILD, go to