If you’ve been around on theme park social media over the years, you might have noticed the parody Twitter account Fake Theme Park, poking fun at anything and everything theme park related. The account was run anonymously… until now. Creator of Fake Theme Park and its CEO “Murph Gantly” is a former Universal Studios Hollywood employee and a comedy writer, Jason Ginsburg.
Jason recently gave MiceChat the opportunity to go “behind the scenes” to learn more about him and how Fake Theme Park came to be.
What inspired you to create Fake Theme Park? Did it come to you on a whim and just went with it or something that you took time to plan?
I spent many years as Studio Guide at Universal Studios Hollywood. I eventually became a VIP Guide, a Backdraft Host, a Media Rep, and played several strolling characters. I also went to nearby Disneyland a lot. I loved just about everything about both parks.
A few years after giving my last tour, I was laid off from an agency job, where I had been doing social media marketing. I also had a comedy background, having gone through the Second City program in LA, joined a professional sketch troupe (in that we were occasionally paid), and made some comedy videos for National Lampoon’s website.
This was when all kinds of silly fake and anonymous accounts were popping up. I didn’t see any account satirizing theme parks, a world I knew well and which was ripe for comedy. At first I was goofing around, but eventually I created my own universe of bizarre attractions and characters. So it was almost like writing a novel or a screenplay. The only difference is, after seven years of work, I don’t have a novel OR a screenplay.
Why did you choose now to reveal who’s behind this whole thing? How do you think the public is going to react?
I think the era of fake or anonymous accounts is pretty much over. I enjoyed the mystique; people seemed to think I was an actual manager at one of the Orlando parks. No one, including any of my interviewers (including you) knew my identity or even what state I was in. But the mystery doesn’t really serve a purpose anymore. And Jason Ginsburg has been missing out on all the joys of fandom — gifts, love letters, stalkers, lawsuits. I eagerly await them all.
As for the public reaction: Honestly, I just hope people keep reading and retweeting and sharing on Facebook (I post longer content there). I hope they know that I’m a theme park fan like them, and I share their intense passion for movies and rides. But if we can make fun of Star Trek fans (like me) or football fans (like me), we can definitely make fun of theme park fans.
What has been your favorite part of running Fake Theme Park? Do you have a favorite thread on social media that you look back on fondly?
Making people laugh every day. I rarely get to hear it — though sometimes my wife supplies it — but seeing people respond and share on Twitter thrills me every single day. That sounds corny but I swear by it.
I also loved co-writing the song and directing the video for “I’m a Theme Park Princess,” to finally bring some of the park into the real world.
My favorite threads are the ones where I get to interact with people. I’ve asked people to make up a three-word song title like “Let It Go” or to name a ride. Hashtag events like #AskRainbow were rewarding. Those require hours of attention, which is hard because I have an actual job.
Do you have any regrets since you started Fake Theme Park?
I regret it never became a TV show, like the Twitter account Sh*t My Dad Says. But there’s still time! Hello, Freeform?
What does the future hold for Fake Theme Park? What do we have to look forward to?
This is not some kind of farewell. I’m not revealing myself only to disappear. I’ll still be posting four times each weekday and twice each weekend day, with an extra post on Facebook every day. I’d love to do more “real-world” projects like the music video. If anyone has ideas for collaboration — or wants to make a TV show — they can now approach a real person with a real name, and not some anonymous Twitter user who might be a killer clown.
By the way… Who are you?
Right. I’m Jason Ginsburg, a former USH Studio Guide. I live in New York City. I studied film and theatre at USC. I’m a writer and digital producer, and I’ve worked with National Lampoon, Home Shopping Network, Playboy, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and Flavorwire. My wife is also a former tour guide and I met her in the breakroom at Universal. My Twitter handle is @Ginsburg.