Finding internships and hands-on learning (and the correct freeway exits!) in a semester at the heart of the entertainment industry with the LA Program.About this blog
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Wow, I can’t believe I was at the Nokia Theatre on Nov. 30 watching the AMAs in person.
I have the ICLA program to thank for that awesome opportunity. Back in September, being seat fillers for the Creative Arts Emmys was one of the events that Jon, the residence director and student event planner for the program, coordinated for the students. He asked me and another student to serve as an intern for the show to help the seat filler crew.
My job for the Emmys was to assist the crew with spotting empty seats in the house during the show and directing the seat fillers to them in between presentations. The woman heading this was from Audiences Unlimited, a group that deals with filling seats for show tapings in LA. When the Emmys taping ended, she told me I did a fabulous job and was welcome to volunteer again for the AMAs. I almost freaked out right there in front of her.
So on Nov. 30, I began my AMA experience by standing in a parking garage for a few hours checking in the seat fillers amidst the chilly rain. It definitely wasn’t fun standing in the cold like that, but I just kept thinking it will all be worth it soon once I get in there and start seeing all those superstars.
After the seat fillers had all left on the shuttles to the Nokia Theatre, the crew got to eat lunch. It was a huge buffet, and the people chowing down were back-up dancers, talent escorts and other AMA crew members. The placed buzzed with excitement as people in costumes, people with badges, and people dressed in show-black got their food and walked about the place, getting ready for the show. It felt like being back in high school drama club during those hours right before curtain call. It was that collective, assuring feeling that all the different people involved in the show were in the same place, getting energized, well fed, and ready to rock.
After lunch, I went into the house. The seat fillers were seated there during the show’s rehearsal, and I had to escort them in groups to the restroom. It was such a super cool feeling waving my “production access” badge to the ushers as I escorted the fillers and glanced on stage to see Jennifer Lopez and will.i.am rehearsing. I hadn’t even been to a big star’s concert before the AMAs, and I still can’t believe I got to see not only the entire show, but the rehearsal as well. It was a great learning experience to watch the production elements come together during that final practice run before thousands of viewers tune in.
When the show started, the crew and I took our positions throughout the house. I was a runner for the night, meaning I ran from the front to the back of the house taking seat fillers to those empty spaces in front of the cameras. I did this work between performances, meaning I got to sit down and fully enjoy all the performers. That’s a highlight of my AMA experience because as people in production know, when you’re involved in creating a show, you don’t really “enjoy” the taping or performance, because you’re still working.
After working the AMAs, I can say I’ve been one foot away from Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, LMFAO, Lionel Richie, Nicki Minaj, Karmen, The Band Perry, and other artists. I can also say The Band Perry sounds way, way better in person than on their CD. When people talk about how fantastic Jennifer Lopez looks even though she’s getting older and birthed twins, I can say “yes, she looked amazingly hot when I saw her perform at the AMAs.” Looks like I’ve gained a few convo-starters next time I want to chat it up with a cute stranger who happens to be talking about any of the above artists.
As I left the Nokia Theatre with my friend, I thought about the image that all of those celebrities put out in the media. I couldn’t believe I got to see some of their more vulnerable or regular-human moments, such as Taylor and Selena chatting like best friends in between presenters, Lionel Richie smiling at me and saying hello as he walked to his seat, and Nicki Minaj needing two men to help her wobble to her seat in those ridiculously high heels.
When I got home that night, my aunt told me she actually saw me on TV during the show! She said the camera caught the side of me walking with the seat fillers. It may not be my big break, but how fun is it to say I was on TV during the AMA taping? Very.
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