Saturday, April 08, 2006

Spent two days in Orlando, initiated with being selected as an extra for the filming of America's Funniest Home Videos at the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday!

In brief... arrived at WDW a couple hours early, headed over to Wilderness Lodge to hang out, then to parking lot “Dopey” at the appointed hour of 6. There were a couple of hundred already lined up randomly along the fence at the front of the lot... Many of the people there are regulars as extras in the Orlando area (I too am now on the list) and others are serious about using this to get noticed for future acting gigs. Others just go for the free ticket for a future visit to whatever park is filming (another guy had just done Universal). After about 15 minutes, the production crew set up the check in tables and started checking our names against the list and giving out red wristbands that went anywhere except the wrist, and passing us through to the next waiting area. Then we were escorted in groups of 100 over to the monorail; at Magic Kingdom, we waited to go through the turnstile, then were led through a backstage area and out again at the

for more photos click here!
restaurant just to the side of the entrance to Tomorrow Land, where a production person informed us that filming wouldn't start till 10 (it was now about 7) and we should go have fun then return after the fireworks. I did: Splash Mountain, twice; Big Thunder Mountain twice; Buzz, (made “Space Ace”); Stitch, which has had some modifications and is even better- remember I am one of the ones who likes it! In fact, now, I think it is actually really good! Space was closed, as was Pirates, so did the people mover, and, as I rode, the fireworks started. Learned a new trick about shooting fireworks. Then back to restaurant, and then, after the regular guests left, we were all led out to Main Street. While most of us were playing earlier, apparently production returned to the meet spot and grabbed those hanging around for the actual studio audience as opposed to general public filling Main Street. So we filmed various takes and sequences and audience reactions, all completely independent of each other or anything that actually happened- going to be interesting to see what comes of it on THE AIRDATE OF MAY 19th. The show is actually a “best of all time award” show, and the winner was actually taped first. No, I can't tell! I think this was so the finalists could leave instead of hanging around till 2:30! At the announcement of the winner, they set off a separate fireworks show over the castle- real nice! In my first location on Main Street, I could see a monitor and there was one scene, if it stands, where you may see a white dot waving back and forth over Tom Bergeron’s right (viewers left) shoulder: that is I. Other than that, I suspect I will just be one of the specs that make up a crowd scene: no close-ups that I know of. But my location at all times will be over his right shoulder and on Main street, each time a bit further back, most near the far end of the crowd.

There was a whole thing with AFV T-shirts, fodder to appease and control the crowd on Main Street, and the birth of the legend of “the girl in the green shirt”!

During the taping, the director kept needing to do it again as there were “holes” in the street over Tom’s shoulder. That was us- the crowd on Main Street. We were told to move back. Again and again this happened. Eventually, the announcer spotted “the lady in the green T-shirt” who was way in back and after that, he simply directed her to move back and the rest of us to fill in. Over the time this went on, this must have been repeated- both with and without takes in between- ten or more times, so it became a standard line, “the lady in the green T-shirt”. Later the announcer with remote microphone came out to her and awarded her a much-coveted AFV T-shirt. Later as he returned randomly handing out the last of them, I called out that I had actually been the first person in back (had gone back to have a ciggie) and he gave me one.

At the end, Tom Bergeron stayed for photos and autographs and there was a line of about 300 as I passed to the exit. Amazing! As we made our way out, we were each handed a ticket to any WDW park: one day/one park- no park hopping. The transport back to the lot was handled by Mears cause apparently there were union issues with keeping the monorail or Disney Busses running, 5 buses carrying 50 people at a time... didn’t take too long, but it was 4am before I was laying down in the back of my van in a parking lot in Kissimmee. Ready to go by noon and headed up to Sea World as the TV ads had announced the new Shamu show was on, but it wasn't, still just abbreviated training shows, still fun. Mostly just hung out, but did do Atlantis which just underwent rehab and was better and fun, though way underdone- needs more. And Artic, which is a good time, and of course spent some time with "my" penguins- was there when the window washer came out and had to keep batting loving penguins out of her way! LOL!
Free Disney Book DL's!

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