Friday, 9 January 2009

Bye bye, cold ChristmasDace helped me take the tree down on Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, or what you will. And all the lovely ornaments are the first things to be packed with returning to Australia in mind.
My last Christmas — for a while, anyway — in winter.
Dace helped by wrapping things in bubble wrap and packing them into boxes, and now there's a pile all ready for the first of the big cartons that will inevitably come when we start packing in earnest very soon.
:: Our landlord has put the house on the market, and would we mind if people came through to take a look? Just what you need when you're packing up and moving out. Sigh.
:: We've been up to LA twice this week. On Monday we were on standby for a seat in the Ellen audience, and on Wednesday we got in! It was really good fun, though you do have to suspend all cynicism and jump up and down and look excited and dance and clap and holler when instructed by the warm-up guy who looked about 19 years old.
Some of the women in the audience were so enthusiastic and excited it was as though they had succumbed to some kind of weird religion. Possessed, you could say.
But it was so fascinating to watch it all happen right there, in front of our eyes.
The studio, on the Warner Bros Burbank lot, was enormous, and chilled to something slightly warmer than a deep freeze. This, we were told by one of the many, many minions, was to ensure there was 'plenty of energy in the room'. It also means you are only too happy to get to your feet and dance about, to restore feeling in your fingertips and get your circulation going.

In the ad breaks, crew members nip about. A make-up person touches up Ellen's forehead and fluffs her scarf. A woman kneels and holds open a board for Ellen to read — I imagine it's cues for the next segment, with info she needs to mention. Cameras whiz about on the floor and over the audience. There are lots of blokes standing about with clipboards, all in warm-looking clothes. The music is loud. Everyone jiggles about, crew included.
The guest on our show is Anne Hathaway, and she looks tall and slender and really really pretty. The interview is light and fluffy, promo for a new movie ... in between jumping up and down on cue to clap and go 'woooo', I wonder if it can really, honestly, be that hard a job, doing a daily show like this? One hour, including ad breaks. Plenty of staff. Writers, assistants. Audience handlers. Rehearsals. I guess the chemistry is the thing, the inestimable quality that makes it all work. It's clear that Ellen has it.
At the end, we are ushered out. Security people make sure no-one walks off and gets loose on the lot. We take a trolley ride to the gift shop, where we thaw out on hot Starbucks coffee, then catch the trolley back to the exit, passing the make-up trailers outside the studio where they're filming ER.
Ten thousand people work at WB. I can be a bit cynical about woo-hooing over Ellen, but there is a serious mystique about the whole place, and it has a fascinating history. We're going to do a studio tour next week ... and a tour of the stars' homes!


Anonymous said...

Wow you go Les! Inez and I just watched your episode, didn't see you though, happy packing lol Shelley

Jennifer said...

I love how you're using up every last bit of your time here, although it's sad to see the tree and hear about the packing up. I think one of the things I really admire about you is your openness and willingness to do things, to try things -- to decide, for example, that being an audience member for a live chat tv show is an experience to have and to drink in and to think about; I love how you can write to let us in on how it felt and what you were thinking and how this one frothy, cold experience made you think about the big machine behind it and all its history. You'll always have stories to tell, because you're always trying things. I don't want you to go, but I'm going to look forward to the new ways in which you'll view your "Chapter II" life now that you'll see it through the lens of life in America.