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Almost Famous - What it's like to cameo on

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If you’ve ever worked for a startup, you can definitely appreciate the authenticity of Silicon Valley on HBO. Painfully accurate, poignant, and hilarious, the story of Pied Piper is a good a primer on Startup 101 as living through it yourself.


The Dirt Squad absolutely loves the show. It’s totally normal for Mondays to be littered with epic quotes from the night before. So imagine our reaction when we got a call from the Art Department at HBO - they saw us at an event a few months back, and wanted to know if we’d be interested in being part of some set design for an upcoming episode of Silicon Valley.


After we realized that it wasn’t a prank, we couldn’t say yes fast enough. We’d be part of a mock SXSW show. Here’s what it was like:



The set isn’t what you think.

This didn’t happen in a fancy studio. The scene was filmed in a pretty remote museum that was under construction at the time. From the outside, you would never think they are filming a major TV show on the inside. They used the same space to film both the CES and SXSW scenes on the same day. They were just set up in different parts of the building, but were literally right next to one another.




It’s a serious production.

There were well over 100 people there throughout the whole day. There is an amazing amount of preparation, resources, and staffing just to shoot less than 1 minute of content for a TV show. There are literally people to do every little thing that needs to be done (#Dirtsquadgoals). The irony of it all, having amazing staff and resources to shoot under a minute of content, filming about a startup, with startups, who have next to no resources and staff.





There’s lot’s of waiting.

Most of the set was ready the day before, but there was a lot of preparation that took place throughout the whole day. There was only about 2 hours of filming that took place out of the 10+ hours that everyone was there.



They have some serious attention to detail.

We were blown away by how much everyone involved really cares, down the the last inch of the set. The New Yorker recently did a piece on the lengths that the show writers go to capture every detail to keep authenticity. We got to experience that first hand. Everything from the credentials that the extras had to wear, to the signs that were almost surely out of camera view - were spot on to the actual SXSW and CES events. 



Lights. Camera. Action

When filming finally started later in the night, the cast showed up and we caught glimpses of Martin Starr and Kumail Nanjiani. The acting instructions for us were simple: We were with the extras, who were just told to move across camera and to pay attention to Mother Dirt and Bulletproof booths, and to ignore Pied Piper as part of the scene.


Episode airs.

If you watched the episode tonight, you saw Pied Piper fumble at CES and SXSW in their attempt to gain active users. There is some irony with this episode considering the the efforts we went through to be there, and how little of a cameo it was, but still - the experience was totally worth it.


Let’s hope Pied Piper figures out their active user problem… in the US.


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