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Stalking Lindsay Lohan
Volume 73: Sun February 18, 2007
In which our hero, Ryan, attempts to get himself into the next great Lindsay Lohan movie, I Know Who Killed Me, as a scene stealing extra
I was watching the 6:00 evening news this evening—that is why they call it the evening news, after all—and learned a startling fact: Lindsay Lohan was filming a movie here in San Luis Obispo today. In fact, the anchorman told us, they did not have enough extras for the audience in a football scene and that we could go right NOW and join the fun. NOW. Wear royal blue and head over to San Luis High for a change at big screen stardom.
I wanted to be an extra just to watch a major movie being filmed. I've never watched a movie being filmed before, and getting to be IN the movie would be a nice bonus, but I had no idea Lindsay finally got out of rehab and was already in town filming. Yikes!
I jumped out of the chair, threw on my blue fleece jacket (it was getting cold outside anyhow, so I needed a jacket to stay warm), and walked on over to the high school. My old high school. Class of '93.
As I approached, I heard a large crowd of people cheering loudly, then stop quickly. A few minutes later, the cheering started again. Then stopped. The parking lot was full of large trailers and security guards walked around all over the place. I walked to the entrance of the stadium, Holt Field, remembering the laps I used to run around the track. Once I even brought a tent and camped on the field during the 24 Hour Relay, but that's a story for another day....
A security guard at the entrance asked if I was here for a part as an extra, and I told him yes. He asked if I was at least 18, and I said yes. Then he asked to see my ID. He carded me! I'm not sure I'd ever been carded before.
The bleachers were about 1/3 full of people, filling up the middle, and one of the crew pointed toward the crowd and told me to get up to the edge and join the crowd. I went to the very top and took up position.
A woman on the track with a microphone was giving the crowd instructions. She would start by telling us that Jennifer Tollan (I think that's the name) had passed away this last week, and to lower our heads in a moment of silence. Then she'd say the game was dedicated to her and we were to all cheer, wave our hands, and go crazy. And that's exactly what we did.
I doubted, being on the very edge of the crowd like I was, that I was actually in the frame, so I shouted extra loud hoping the speakers would pick me up. If I can't be seen in the movie, I thought, at least I could be heard!
We did this several times, as more extras straggled in and took position along the edge of the crowd like I did. I hoped as more people continued coming in, I'd be pushed more into the "center" of the group.
The next scene, the woman explained, it was near the end of the fourth quarter or inning or whatever it's called (I'm quoting her here—she clearly was not very familiar with football terminology!), two or so minutes before the end of the game. Our team, the Owls (in blue), were ahead by three points and everyone was to look excited, convinced there was no way our team could lose the game at this point. The football players would run around doing stuff and throw a football, and when another guy caught it, we were to all jump out of our seats and cheer our heads off. So we did that a couple of times.
Then the football players put on a performance of what the worst players in the history of mankind might do. We were to cheer loudly as they ran around the field doing something—the woman wouldn't tell us what to expect, but we'd enjoy it. They spent several minutes throwing the ball around, fumbling, passing it off, tackling each other in slow motion. The ball probably passed through a dozen hands, and by the end of the performance, we were all laughing more than we were cheering.
Then they did a lot of stuff with a blue rose in the middle of the bleachers I couldn't really see very well. Someone had a blue rose—I don't think it was real, though, since they picked it up out of the prop department and it seems suspiciously plastic-like—and the person holding the rose and the people around her were all paid extras. I don't know the significance of the blue rose, but I'm sure it's an important part of the movie. The rest of us extras sat around waiting for whatever they were doing to finish.
The film crew checked the "gates", whatever that meant, quite often, and I was disappointed Amanda wasn't around to explain all the jargon they were using or what they were doing. They laid out a small track to roll the camera along in front of the bleachers that could pan across the spectators and the cheerleaders that were doing some rather impressive stunts and throwing each other in the air. It seemed like 30 or 40 people who worked as part of the crew were milling around, most of them not seeming to be doing anything, and I knew Amanda (who used to work in the film industry) could tell me what each of them were doing and what was going on. I asked the extra next to me who the woman giving us instructions over the speaker system was. "The director." I nodded. "What's her name?" I asked. "You know, I don't think she told us." [Update: She's not the director—I checked and the director is a man, but Amanda suggested it was probably an assistant director.]
Next, we were told, they were going to move us to the other side of the track on the other bleachers and root for the red team (the grizzlies). "They always do this in the movies," one guy told us. "Braveheart? Yep, they did this very trick." Then they asked us to change out of the blue clothes we wore and put on the red. Red? I didn't know I was supposed to have red. I didn't bring anything red. I did bring an extra jacket in case it got chilly, though, a tan color, so I put that on to cover my blue fleece. I might not be red, but at least I was no longer blue either.
We walked around the track—they told us not to walk across the football field itself—so we walked around the track to the other side, a sea of blue turning into a sea of red. They passed out red flags for some people to wave, and giant red fingers for others to shake. And a couple of posters painted with red paint saying "Go Grizzlies! We're #1!" and such stuff, making sure they were spread out evenly throughout the crowd.
They were also passing out free food for everyone. Hot dogs, coffee, and lunches with I'm not sure what all was in it. I just finished eating minutes before I saw the news report that brought me out here and I wasn't hungry, but a girl in front of me asked if I'd like a hot dog since she accidentally grabbed two. Okay. *shrug* It was free. Why not? =)
Tasted terrible, I've got to say, and I didn't take any food after that.
Another guy with a microphone—probably another assistant directory—asked us how the food was and everyone told him it was terrible.
He shrugged. "That's why we make movies," he explained.
Then they filmed us cheering for the red team a few times before returning us to the big bleachers and converting us back to blue again. I dashed ahead, grabbing a prime seat directly in the middle of the bleachers. I was going to be in this shot!
Lindsay Lohan, I might add, was nowhere to be seen. Some people had seen her earlier in the evening, and I did see a chair with her name on it, but she had already gone to her hotel by the time I arrived, so I never even laid eyes on her. What can I say? Her loss. =) I joked with some of the other extras that she was probably at Mothers (a local bar) getting drunk and puking in Bubblegum Alley. "She's not in rehab anymore," I astutely pointed out.
Once everyone settled down, they passed out blue flags and giant fingers throughout the audience, and I yelled down to the woman passing them out, "Give me the finger! Give me the finger!" I didn't really care if I got a finger or not, but I thought it was funny to yell out to someone to give me the finger. =) Some of the other extras behind me laughed at my antics and said, "Yeah, we'll give you the finger!"
Then they had everyone get up, turn right, and move to the end of the bleachers. They wanted to take several shots of us, one in each section of the bleachers, so they could use special effects to cut them all together and make it look like the bleachers were actually packed full. "Did you hear that?!" I whispered to the extra next to me. "We're going to be special effects! I've never been a special effect before!"
I nabbed a FRONT ROW seat! Nobody to block the view of me. If this section makes it into the movie, you'll get a great view of me. =)
An older man sat on my left, and I started chatting with him. He graduated from the high school in 1977 when I was only two years old. "You're making me feel old," he told me. "I feel old myself," I told him, pointing to all the VERY young women milling around. "I think most of the people here are still in their teens!" I also told him I spent most of my time in Seattle now ("Seattle?! What the heck are you doing here?"), but I was visiting San Luis at the time and headed over as soon as I heard they needed extras. Once again, they announced the sad death of Jennifer Tollan, and we all bowed our heads in a moment of silence. Then raised our heads and our hearts and yelled and hollered, rooting on the Owls.
We did that a couple of times, then they asked everyone to go down the aisle of the bleachers and walk around to the middle section and walk up. "There's a method to our madness," one told us, but failed to explain what the method was. I figured it out immediately. They wanted to mix us up a bit. They were planning to cut the moment of silence together from three different sections of bleachers and they didn't want it to look like the same section repeated. By forcing everyone to get off the bleachers then back on them, it would mix people up.
We did the moment of silence scene a couple of more times, then they moved everyone to the last section of bleachers, and this time I moved back a row to mix things up. After each move, they asked for people to pass around the blue flags, giant fingers, and "Go Owls" signs so the same people weren't using them in every shot, and I got my hands on a blue flag. I might be in the second row this time, but I had a blue flag to wave to get attention on myself! The guy I talked to earlier who I told I was from Seattle sat in the row behind, several people to my right, and he pointed at me, "You're from Seattle, right?" We talked probably ten minutes ago and I knew darned well he remembered me, but he was teasing the girl who sat next to him who did not know my history. "Well, yes I am!" I said, taking his lead. "That's a pretty good guess!"
The girl next him, her eyes popped open to an amazing degree. She turned to the guy, "How did you know that?!"
"It's obvious. He's wearing blue. Don't the Seahawks wear blue?"
I nodded. "Yes, I think they do." Of course, everyone in the bleachers was wearing blue—that was the color of the team we were rooting for.
The girl was in awe at his deduction. I laughed and pointed to the older guy. "You're really funny."
The girl looked at me, suspiciously. "Are you really from Seattle?"
I laughed some more. "Yes, I really am." We never did tell the girl how the older man knew I was from Seattle, and she probably thinks there's some psychic connection between us or something.
Finally, they asked everyone to move and fill up the first three rows of the bleachers. Spread out, but don't sit past the third row. The cheerleaders, who must have been freezing their butts off by this point in their skimpy little outfits, were directed not to do any throws since they couldn't be filmed above the first three rows that us extras filled up. It would lose the illusion of packed bleachers if they threw the girls in the air. Then we did the moment of silence a couple of more times, followed by cheers.
And that was it. It's a wrap. They gave everyone a ticket stub when we entered, and now they held a raffle with it for the extras who had not yet left. They gave out a couple of iPods, DVD players, and several footballs signed by Lindsay Lohan herself (and she even drew little hearts on it, the raffle guy announced, little hearts drawn by Lohan!) Alas, I did not win any of the prizes. I joked with another extra that if I did win, I'd put it on eBay in a heartbeat. I said it in a jokingly manner, but it's true. I would have put it on eBay. What the heck do I want with a football signed by Lindsay? I would not be at all surprised if a couple of them did end up on eBay. Might be worth checking out if that's your type of thing. If someone is selling a football autographed by Lindsay Lohan from the Central Coast in the next few days, it's probably legit.
Filming wasn't over yet—just the big crowd scenes. They welcomed us to stay as the football scenes were shot. We might still end up in the movie, but there would be no more large scale crowds in the background. They were scheduled to continue filming until 3:00 in the morning, so they're still there, AT THIS VERY MINUTE, filming more of the football scenes. They also asked for additional volunteers for people with non-white cars who would return the next day for additional filming—mostly in downtown San Luis Obispo—from three o'clock tomorrow afternoon until three in the morning. They work some mighty long hours in the film business, but I've heard that Lindsay does her best work late at night anyhow. ;o)
I wasn't inclined to stick around until 3:00 in the morning, though. With as much moving around as I did, rooting for both the blue and red teams, I'd guess there's a very good chance I might show up somewhere in that movie. I'll probably wonder downtown tomorrow and check out the filming there as well, but I don't expect to play an extra again. I'm just nosy and want to watch the action. =)
Once again, I spent much of the afternoon and evening stalking Lindsay, this time in downtown San Luis. Shooting was supposed to start at 3:00 this afternoon and last until 3:00 in the morning. I showed up downtown around 4:00 in the afternoon and found the film crew busy at City Hall. A "New Salem" County sheriff's vehicle was parked out front along with a KSBY news van. I leaned back against the wall of the city/county library across the street to watch the happenings. While the filming did take place at San Luis Obispo city hall, I suspect it's supposed to play the New Salem courthouse in the movie. I'm just guessing, though. Maybe it really will be New Salem's city hall. In Murder by Numbers, the real San Luis courthouse they turned into the San Benito police department. (So far as I know, the real San Luis police department has never been used in a movie.)
I couldn't really hear anything about what was going on, but they filmed a group of paparazzi and reporters chasing after a guy in a sheriff outfit (and possibly someone or two he was escorting, but it was hard to tell from my position). All the reporters were shouting out questions, and the sheriff stopped near the top of the steps seeming to tell them all off before walking into the building.
They did this scene several times. Before one of the shots, they were trying to clear gawkers on the other side of the street where I was, but one of the guys pointed at me and said it was okay for me to stand there since I looked like I was just waiting for a bus or something. I was pretty far off to the side, though, and doubt I would have made it in that shoot but, in theory, it's possible you might see a suspicious looking guy wearing a white hat who looks like he's waiting for a bus in the background. That would be me. =)
One of the reporters was a real reporter for the local news station, KSBY, named Amy Andrews. I've seen her on TV before, but was rather surprised how short she was in person. The news, I always thought she looked freakishly tall. =)
Later, I found out, one of the other reporters in the movie was also a real reporter for KSBY, but I did not recognize her.
Lindsay Lohan, I heard one person saying, had the day off. Sheeze! *rolling eyes* The star of the show doesn't have to work?
After they got the shot they were looking for, they started closing up. I wandered down to Higuera Street since I heard there was filming going on over there as well and they actually closed that street off completely to cars. Pedestrians were still allowed through, however.
It didn't take long for me to realize that actual filming would not be happening anytime soon. They were taking down the "One Way" street signs. Higuera Street, at least through downtown, is a one way street. Apparently the script calls for a two-way street, however, so they had to remove all of the "One Way" arrows then parked a bunch of cars facing the wrong way on one side of the street. I hope they remember to put those "One Way" signs back up after they finished filming.
I left. Did some work on Atlas Quest, ate some dinner, then later this evening walked back downtown to see what was going on. A large crowd of people hovered around Mother's Tavern, so I headed there.
I couldn't help but notice all of the cars parked on the street. They all had graffiti such as "Go Owls!" or "We're #1!" and "We Won!" Which was actually a pleasant surprise to me, because they never told us definitively or not if our team won while we were cheering them on last night. =) Oddly, the handwriting on every single car seemed to be the same.
The street was a mess. Trash was thrown everywhere, streamers were thrown up and through the trees. It looked like a riot or a really good party was in progress.
The side of the street where Mother's Tavern was located was off limits to us gawkers, but plenty of extras were there wearing blue and cheering their epic football win. I stood on the opposite side of the street by the Frog and Peach Pub (for those of you familiar with San Luis) to watch the action. I heard on the news later that the film crew paid off the live band at the Frog and Peach not to play while they were filming at Mothers after paying that bar off to close to the public and filled it full of extras.
I heard some people behind me telling another person where Lindsay was in the crowd, near Bubblegum Alley. Speaking of which, I was pleased to see that the film crew put up lights along the entire alley, so I hope that means it'll show up well in the movie. =) That place is great!
The did a rehearsal run where Lindsay walks down the sidewalk towards Mothers. Cars, lined up in both directions along the street started their engines and drove forward. A large crowd of extras behind Lindsay were told to mime their excitement. Throw their arms in the air, wave wildly, and generally pretend to be excited about winning the big game—except all without making a sound. I guess they'll dub that in later.
Lindsay walks down the street with a couple of girls, one on each side of her, and appears to stop to look at the menu on the wall of Mother's Tavern—or at least where the menu would normally be. Who knows what they put up there for the movie. Maybe they just happened to stop and say something. I don't really know what they stopped for, but they did stop briefly. Then Lindsay yells, "Wait! Erin!" Or something like that. Maybe the name was Aaron? Maybe it was something else entirely. And she dashes down the sidewalk towards The Library (that's another bar—the first one in town with Internet access as I understand it—not a real library) like she's chasing after this Erin person.
But she stops, suddenly, and seems to try to hide behind a large tree. And—and this is the exciting part—she gazes across the street. Three young girls standing next to me get all excited, jumping up and down. "She looked at me!" the one said. "No, she looked at ME!" the other one said. I didn't have the heart to tell them Lindsay wasn't looking at either of them. No, she was gazing longingly at, yes, me. *shrug* What can I say? I have that affect on women. ;o)
But seriously.... After gazing in our general direction at least, she gets back out from her hiding place behind the tree and walks a bit further down the sidewalk before cut is called.
They do this a few times. They have to get all the cars back into position so they can all drive past during the whole scene. Between takes, several fans yell out to Lindsay, but she seems intent talking to the other crew members about something. She's also easy to lose in the crowd of people. It was during the filming that she was easy to follow since everyone kept away from her then instead of milling around her like they did between the takes.
I watched for about an hour, until nearly midnight, before growing bored of the same shoot being taken over and over again, so I finally left to come back and report back about my stalking of Lindsay. =) They're scheduled to continue shooting until 3:00 this morning, so they're still out there. They have the street closed off until 6:00am—presumably to give them a few hours to clean up all the trash and streamers they've thrown all around before businesses open again tomorrow.
Lots of fun. =) I think they'll be in town for at least a couple of more days for filming, but alas, I do not know when or where they'll be tomorrow. I'll have to see if I can find out. Hmmm......
I wandered around town the next afternoon trying to figure out where the day's filming was taking place, but to be perfectly honest, I'm not very good at stalking. Downtown, on Valentine's Day, some of the streamers thrown in the trees were still there, blowing in the wind, but the rest of the trash was picked up and the One Way streets signs had been replaced—pointing in the correct direction, I'm happy to report.
Later that night, while watching the news in the hopes of getting a hint of what happened to the filming crew, I finally got the answer I was looking for. They were filming in Morro Bay—a small town on the coast perhaps a dozen miles away. That would definitely explain why I had trouble finding them in San Luis!
The news media also reported that the last day of filming, Thursday, did not require any extras and the film crew wasn't saying where they were going next. It sounded intriguing, but since they apparently wrapped up filming in the city of San Luis Obispo and were keeping to themselves somewhere in the county of San Luis Obispo, I did not expect to find them so I didn't even try.
The film crews are gone, so I thought I'd fill in some details I've learn and noticed since then. Just this afternoon, while walking through town, I noticed a car still graffited with "Go Owls!" and "We're #1". I guess some people have chosen to drive around with graffiti, unable to wash their moment of stardom from their car. I think it's kind of amusing and wonder how long they'll continue to drive like that. Maybe the next big rain storm will clear it from their cars?
The film crew numbered about 80 people, and they paid the city of San Luis Obispo about 25 grand for the filming they did around town. The high school got paid about six or seven grand, some of which is to be used to buy the high school band shiny new uniforms. Of all the ways to spend the extra money, I thought that was disappointing. I've have voted to put it towards new computers, books, and other supplies that could be used to educate people rather than make them look snappy. *shrug*
I also read that the stadium at the high school can hold up to 4,000 people but that 1,500 extras showed up. So to make the stadium look completely full, they'll have to use every single person—and this is an average, mind you—2.67 times.
All filming for the movie, I've heard, is supposed to wrap up near the end of this month and the movie is supposed to hit theaters sometime this summer. Look for me on the big screen then. I Know Who Killed Me: Summer 2007. Coming to a theater near you.
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