Category Archives: NCISLAfamilia

NCISLAFamilia Meet-Up 2013 Write-Up (3/6)

Writers’ Panel
As exciting as it was to watch as the Actor’s answered questions, this particular group of fans seemed to be equally as interested in learning about what goes into making the show, finding out what makes NCIS LA “tick.” What a better place to start than sitting face-to-face with amazing writers for the show?

The group was honored to have Dave Kalstein and Andrew Bartels attend the meet. Erin Broadhurst, now working as a Writers’ Assistant, was asked to join the Panel. Kalstein, a veteran writer for the show, explained how Bartels had been hired as an intern, and was basically the “lunch guy” until recently promoted to writer. Kalstein praised Bartels on how he took the characters of the show and began writing for them.

When asked the degree of difficulty in writing for each character, Bartels said that Callen was tricky to write because he “doesn’t come off as a funny guy, but he still says funny things.” Everyone laughed, and Bartels sank in his chair just a bit, when his mentor’s immediate response to that remark was, “You know they’re going to tweet this to Chris O’Donnell.” However, Kalstein also admitted that writing for Callen was challenging – “You’re writing for Chris, but you’re also writing for Shane.” And with Callen, “it’s not about what he says, it’s about what’s in between the lines of what he says.” According to Kalstein, Hetty is fun to write for because Linda Hunt gives him such great feedback. And Kensi and Deeks are the easiest characters to write for because they are similar in age.

The audience learned that, rather than each writer having his or her own office, Shane Brennan has them grouped together in one room. (Brennan’s dedication to family, and his endeavor to create a family atmosphere for the Cast and Crew, was a common theme connecting each panel discussion on this day.) By sharing a space, the writers learn from one another, and are able to maintain continuity in their writing, and consistency in developing the characters. Then, to everyone’s amusement, Dave Kalstein revealed that Brennan sometimes uses a robot, a cylinder with an iPad attached to it, to communicate with them at work. It comes rolling into the Writers’ room, Brennan’s face filling up the entire iPad screen. And apparently, in order to communicate effectively, the thing creepily invades people’s personal space.

Kalstein addressed the topic of why certain aspects of a story may not be consistent with real life. He said that real police cases would not be solved in the allotted time for each episode, and that the primary focus is not on the crime, but on the characters. Listening to Dave Kalstein talk about something that he is obviously so passionate about was something akin to mesmerizing, and the time slot for this panel discussion seemed to be over in the blink of an eye.

NCISLAFamilia Meet-Up 2013 Write-Up (2/6)

Day two of the Meet Up in Van Nuys proved to be both exciting and informative. The “family” assembled in the meeting room at 9:30 am on Saturday morning, where there was a greeting from Christine Park, a Publicist from the CBS Press Office. After a DVD give-away, it was time for the video of the Actors responding to questions that had been submitted by the Meet Up attendees and other Magazine followers. It goes without saying, everyone in the room was on the edge of their seat.

Actor’s Panel
Eric Christian Olsen was the first to appear, apologizing for not being able to attend the Meet Up, and thanking the fans for their support. “It means the world to us. Cause without you – I’d be homeless.” In response to his question on doing comedic versus dramatic scenes, ECO said he loves the ability to do both. He said that it was a blessing that he had been given a great storyline (end of Season 4) to come back from.

LL Cool J was asked about his co-stars’ different approaches to acting, and how that has affected his performance. He briefly described each member’s distinct approach to the material, and how it has “rubbed off on him and made him better.” LL Cool J chucked when answering the questions on if he would he like to see Sam go undercover as a rapper. Still smiling, he pointed out how it may be difficult to explain how this Navy Seal “suddenly developed his talent to do music. But you never know…” But for now, this singer/actor is “cool” with keeping his lives separate.

Next on the Actor’s Panel was Chris O’Donnell. He said that he knew he and LL would work well together when they were shooting one of their very first scenes. On the topic of directing, he said that he “already had a pretty good idea of each actor’s comfort level, and the different styles, and ways that people like to work.” But in the role of Director, he enjoyed being able to make suggestions more freely. COD was asked a question pertaining to the mental aspect of handling gruesome and frightening scenes and plots. The Actor compared his character’s personal struggles, to his own life where he had a big family and a rich childhood. He said that putting himself in his (Callen’s) shoes “seems more of a nightmare to me than any of our plots.”

Miguel Ferrer was asked to elaborate on a tweet in which he had said he wanted to re-shoot his first Granger episode now that he knows the show and crew. “It’s just I had no idea how great, and giving, and wonderful, and gifted these people were going to be.” When asked if Granger was misunderstood, Mr. Ferrer described his character as a “mission first” guy, “often at the expense of personal relationships.” Ferrer disclosed that Shane, and those in the writers’ room were developing his character this season. Granger would be out of the office more, “more operational.”

Renée Felice Smith was next on the panel. In response to a question on Nell’s biggest fear, she explained how she thought this has evolved over time. When Nell was new to the team, her biggest fear was being wrong. But now, it was probably “getting lost a bit in her career and not building a full life.” Renée was asked what kind of music Nell Jones would listen to. There was laughter from the audience when she said that she thought it “would involve a lot of ukulele.” Miss Smith seemed touched by the question on where she would take Hugo (her dog) for a walk, if she could go anywhere in the world. She said it would be back home in Brooklyn. “That’s where he was a puppy. That’s where he grew up, and that’s where he learned to be my son.”

Barrett Foa had the audience roaring with laughter with his response to his first question, If you had the ability to do anything with Eric for an episode, what would you have him do? “I think it would be making sweet love to Nell Jones on top of the OPS center table.” Next Foa explained that, for the first couple of seasons, there was a certain degree of anxiety associated with filming on a set as opposed to performing on stage. When asked if Eric Beale would be able to take a gun and shoot someone to defend himself, he said that he might be a little scared about taking the gun, but that he thought he could use it if it were to save “an important person – part of the team or a good guy.” Then the actor playfully “willed” a gun into Eric Beale’s hand someday soon, “to see what happens.”

The final cast member to answer questions was Daniela Ruah. She was asked what aspect of Kensi’s past and history she wished she knew more about. Her response was to know more about Jack, “the fiancé who ran out on me on Christmas Eve and who suffered of PTSD.” She said Jack was the only “seed” the producers have planted that has not yet been resolved. The next question pertained to Kensi’s undercover work, and if there were roles she hasn’t done and would like to play. She said that she would like to do something that “wasn’t sort of more on the sexy side of things.” She said it would be really fun to “steal Deeks’ homeless man for an episode or two…” Miss Ruah was asked to finish this sentence: In Season Ten Kensi will finally… The audience once again erupted in laughter with her response. “Kensi will finally realize that the man for her is… Sam. I think… Sam and Kensi. Putting it out there!”

NCISLAFamilia Meet-Up 2013 Write-Up (1/6)

On October 11, at five o’clock in the evening, excitement filled the Lindbergh room of the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys, California, as twenty three people suspended “real life” for just a little while, officially kicking off the 2013 NCISLA Familia Meet Up. Stepping through the doors of the meeting room, it was obvious that much thought and preparation had gone into making this a very special event.

Schedules for the weekend, personalized badges for each attendee, and blue Magazine wristbands had been carefully arranged on the entrance table. Each person received a glossy 8X10 Special Edition Magazine cover, with a “Peanuts” style illustration of the NCIS: LA characters. Memorabilia, including a recording of the show’s soundtrack, was given away in a drawing later that night. A display on one of the walls served as a backdrop for picture taking, with the available option of holding a sign with the name of your favorite character. And as an extra treat, copies of a story, written by Gina Callen, were distributed; a cute little fic where the NCIS Los Angeles team is dispatched to the Airtel Plaza Hotel to investigate a suspicious gathering of people, a group calling themselves “LA Familia.”

Meeting our delightful Magazine creator/editor, her husband, and her dear mother, renewing old friendships, making new ones, putting faces to Twitter and Fan Fiction names, meeting online friends for the very first time – the room buzzed with contagious energy! And at every break, conversations erupted on everything from favorite moments in the show, to what rental car was being driven this weekend. It was amazing to watch people, whose ages spanned several generations, from different geographical regions, and with varying backgrounds and occupations, instantly bond together as a “family.”

The fun and laughter continued when Bridget, equipped with dozens of Tootsie Pop wrappers, presented a lesson in origami. Only one set of written instructions proved to make this project all the more hilarious! Our brave instructor started out at one table, but quickly moved to another where a participant was yelling, at the top of her lungs, that she was ‘perceptually challenged.’ Some folded the paper like pros, some were truly perceptually challenged, beginning with the wrapper upside-down and having to start over. But in the end, most of the creations closely resembled swans – Sam would be proud. And it was no surprise that the recurring question of the hour was, “Is that a frog?”

The final event of the evening was the table read. CBS was generous enough to provide everyone a copy of the script, including deleted scenes, for the season opener, “Ascension.” Each person drew for the character they would portray, scripts were distributed, pens and highlighters were whipped out, and everyone got down to the business of flipping through the fifty plus pages, reading and marking their lines. The tables were then arranged in the shape of a horseshoe, and in the fashion of our favorite cast, each person took their seat for the table read. Being commissioned with Shane Brennan’s role as narrator, Keviana charged full steam ahead, skillfully leading the “actors” into the story. (This narrator, however, took an occasional ad lib liberty, particularly when she thought it necessary to warn the group of imminent gruesomeness.) The fact that this episode was so powerful, and had recently aired, just added to the excitement. And having our three favorite villains in the mix, Javnier, Vaziri, and Sidorov, was an added bonus. Time seemed to stand still as scene after scene was described, and the actors’ lines were read. An hour later, the final scene “faded to black,” and the mock table read came to an end. The group had not yet come down from the emotional high, when sindee pulled another surprise from her magic carpet bag. The participants who had read the parts for the regular cast were presented a script cover page that had been signed by the corresponding actor. Frank Military, the writer of this particular episode, had even autographed one of the pages, cleverly drawing an arrow from his signature to his name as it appeared in the credits. As the night’s events concluded, the common thought was, This just keeps getting better and better!

Happy Birthday NCISLA Magazine !!


Wow, NCISLA Magazine turns 2 already !!

Time to celebrate, time to recollect and time to say Thank You…

Not only for picking up this awesome show back in ’09 but first & foremost for your continous support of our former-NCISLA-Fan-Blog-turned-NCISLA-Magazine-Website. Without your help our first NCISLAFamilia Meet-Up last year wouldn’t have turned out to be this exquisite event that is was. Thank you also for your unfailing patience with the requests & tweets we’re throwing your way… 🙂

THANK YOU to the NCISLA Cast !!
For your great performances on the show and what you gave to those characters over the past seasons. For always finding time in your busy schedule to interact with us – fans in general and NCISLA Magazine in particular. We really appreciate you taking the time to answer some of our fan questions for the NCISLAFamilia Meet-Up last year & retweet our posts every now and then. It helps a good deal !!

THANK YOU to the NCISLA Crew !!
For your endless efforts to create the best show on TV and your generousity when it comes to sharing behind-the-scenes pictures & details. It was awesome meeting some of you at the NCISLAFamilia Meet-Up last year. That was definitely an experience we will never forget. Through your interaction with us we learn so much about what such a big success show is made out of. Team Work Makes The Dream Work !!

THANK YOU to our Readers !!
Where to start ??
Without YOU NCISLA Magazine would be ‘nothing’.
There. That’s it !!
Kidding… sort of…
It’s true – without you all, who come to this website, to our twitter, tumblr, pinterest, instagram etc., to our Facebook page & newly founded group, we wouldn’t be where we are – we wouldn’t be what we are. You are our motivation to not only continue but to grow, to not only post news but to dig deeper, to constantly think about “What could NCISLA Fans want.” You all have embraced our little Magazine with so much love & joy. Some show their support through comments, some through retweets, some through checking the website on a daily base. We love how various NCISLAFamilia is and we appreciate each & everyone of you !!

On a personal note I want to say THANK YOU to the lovely ladies that had my back so many times in the past. The Team I could not make it without. The Contributors I depend on to make this little website as versatile as it is. Grown from different corners of the fandom (and world) into this great group that I can rely on whenever I need to. It’s such a pleasure to ‘work’ with you !!

Last but not least (and even when he probably won’t be reading this) I say THANK YOU to my husband, who supported me from the very first day of my NCISLA-ishness back in September ’09. He was admittedly ‘rewarded’ with some trips to LA and finally meeting Daniela last year to make up for the time I’m spending in front of my PC though… 😉

“La Familia” FanFic By @GCallen37

‘La Familia’ By Gina Callen

Callen was sitting in the bullpen writing the after action reports for their last mission, things had gone smoothly, the bad guys had been taken down with the minimum of fuss and even SecNav had been happy with the teams result, he was looking forward to some downtime and had just pressed send on his laptop to forward a copy of his report to Hetty when Eric’s loud whistle blasted through the building.

Kensi and Deeks looked up from their paperwork and Sam rounded the corner, having finished his the night before. Dutifully they all headed up to ops.

Hetty stood in the middle of the operations center looking worried.

“What’s going on?” Callen asked.

“As you know this weekend is the weekend that Secretary Jarvis hosts his annual, Book Club retreat and Director Vance and Deputy Director Craig are with him.” She said.

“And we get called up here for this?” Sam moaned leaning against the table.

Callen patted his partners arm supportively and turned to listen to Nell.

“The SecNav is booked into the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys; his group is assigned to the Earhart Room and the exclusive use of the Midway Gardens. Eric and I have picked up some interesting internet traffic about the hotel and a group calling themselves La Familia…We aren’t sure what they are up to, but a few of the emails have had the words NCIS in them, we have received information that they intend to be at the Plaza on the 11th and 12th of October the same weekend as the SecNav.” She said

“And we get this now? This is today Nell!” Callen said, he had hoped for a few days to get in there first.

Nell smiled and shrugged. “You get it as we do Callen.”

Eric stood up and walked to the plasma and pulled up the hotel specs. “We are not sure who they are although the numbers looked quite high. The hotel itself is 22,000 square feet, with 18 meeting rooms and 2 ballrooms.”

“That’s a lot to check.” Deeks said concerned. “What about security?” he asked.

“Minimal, the SecNav has his own detail as to the members of his book club, but the idea is that this is relaxing this is why it is so low key.” Eric replied.

“I’ll send the floor plans to your Smartphone’s,” Nell said as the team headed to their cars.

Denise looked up at the hotel as she got out of her cab. Grabbing her bag and suppressing a small shudder of excitement she walked into the lobby of the Plaza hotel.

She stood for a moment transfixed by the oversized model airplane hanging in the lobby.

“Can I help you Ma’am?” the young man behind the desk asked.

“Sorry,” She shook her head and walked to check in, “My name’s Denise, you have a room for me?” she handed her German passport over to the clerk.

“Ah yes, Welcome to America Ma’am.” He booked her in. Suddenly from behind her she heard a loud squeal and turned to see two of her best friends, Bridget and Merrie running across the lobby towards her.

The clerk smiled as he watched the three old friends greet each other, he loved conventions. Especially the smaller one’s where the groups of people from all over the world would meet up and already be best friends.

Denise took her room key, leaving her passport behind the desk as was the hotel policy, and went off with her friends as the doors opened and the four Federal agents walked into the hotel.

Bridget pulled Denise and Merrie towards the Clipper lounge, “Look….look at the walls!” she exclaimed, a passing server grinned at her enthusiasm “They’re the same color orange, like in NCIS on T.V!”

Denise smiled, “Yes, yes they are, but I have just got here, you two admire the walls and I will take my bag to my room, then we can check out the convention hall, we’re in the Lindbergh Room.” She told them reading from the packet the manager had sent her months before.

Read the rest of the story which was originally written for the NCISLAFamilia Meet Up in October 2013 on