Thursday, January 30, 2014

Being A Seat Filler

My whole week has been thrown off this fact on Tuesday I wished someone a 'happy weekend!' thinking it was Friday.  Yep...I went all day Tuesday thinking the week was coming to an end.  Sigh.

But...there's a reason why and it was SO worth it.


Late last week a friend recommended signing up to be a seat filler in LA.  I had heard of seat fillers...they're the people who sit in all the empty seats so when the camera pans the audience, it always looks full.  Someone goes up to perform/get an award?  A seat filler warms that seat until they come back.  Same thing if someone runs to the bathroom or just decides to leave.

Always up for an adventure, I signed up.  She mentioned that they have tons of people who sign up and you will most likely never get called (it's a lottery), but you never know.

You. Never. Know.

I signed up on Thursday and on Friday night I got an email saying 'Congratulations...'

The event?  The Grammy's Salute to the Beatles.  The in PAUL MACCARTNEY.  I have this thing for him...I've seen him perform 3 times in the last 3 years in 3 different states, but never in my own state because, quite frankly, my Paul MacCartney budget has been depleted.  But there was no way he wouldn't perform at a Beatles tribute, right?

I asked a girlfriend to come with (I could bring one guest and that guy that I like so much had to work) on Monday night.  We drove to LA (an hour away) and got there early with the plan being to figure out where we were going, park, eat dinner and then check in.  They gave us a big window for check in...between 5:00 and 6:45, and we arrived a little early.  People were already gathering so we scoped it out a bit and just happened to hear that they were going to take the first 300 who checked in and then send everyone else home.  So glad we go there early...and so glad the gas station across the street sold candy bars.  The dinner of champions.


You spend a lot of time waiting and the worst part was having to check your cell phone in.  When was the least time you went 5 hours without a cell phone or for me...without taking a picture?

Anyway, there's a lot of hurry up and wait and soon we found ourselves at the LA Convention Center.  Wear comfy shoes if you ever do this...lots and lots of walking.  As we were waiting to go in, I couldn't help but notice how empty the area is.  No cars, no people waiting to go in.  It was deserted.

And then it hits me.  We, all 300 of us, are a big part of this audience.  

In the green room they explain how our 'job' works.  They have 20 seconds to fill seats.  Be prepared to climb over people getting in and out of rows.  You might sit for 10 seconds or 10 minutes or 2 all depends, just be ready to move quickly.

The show is getting ready to begin and we walk into a small auditorium.  The crowd is Hollywood elite...actors, performers, music execs and their guests.  The whole room is the size of a high school gym and it's dark and cold in there.  Lots of cameras and lots of hobnobbing going on.

Throughout the night I sat in a bunch of different seats, sitting by lots that I recognized and lots that I didn't.  Sometimes I'd literally sit down and instantly have to get up again and a few times I'd stay put for a song or two.  John Mayer performed, Katy Perry, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Maroon 5, Imagine Dragons...and lots more.  It was a pretty incredible line up.

At first I was nervous, worried about where to go and what to do, but then I realized that that was their job and I was just going to have fun.  My girlfriend and I got separated at the very beginning and didn't see each other until after it was over which they had told us would happen...but was still a bummer because as a seat filler you can't talk to the people around you and there were so many times I wanted to say, 'can you believe this is happening?'

Towards the end, Stevie Wonder came on stage.  I was in a seat towards the back and had a feeling that was where I was going to stay.  Everyone, me included, was dancing and having a great time.  My seat towards the back was probably only 20 rows from the stage...not a seat I could ever afford in my real life.

And then it happened.  Paul McCartney and Ringo started setting up.  And then it happened again.  They came and pulled me and ran me to the very front.  I was a few rows back, center, about 20 feet from the stage.  Like, who would leave those seats now?

Paul and Ringo did like 10 songs between them and it was seriously awesome.  I realized that if the people whose seats I was sitting in came back (there was another seat filler next to me) that I was not moving...I was going to cry, beg, throw my credit card at them but there was no way I was leaving that seat.

I didn't have to.  They never came back.  (They never came back????  They left those seats???)

So now I can say that I saw Paul perform from 20 feet away.  For free.

 Quite seriously, it was one of those 'not much can top this' kind of nights.


And then it ended, my girlfriend and I found each other, giggled like 4th grade school girls, grabbed a burger at In n Out,  and drove home.  The 405 was closed on the way home and I didn't get to bed until 2:30am and had to work at 5:30am that morning...but who cares.

Not me.


The show airs on Feb. 9th.  Look for people wearing black wrist bands and little blue ribbons on the right.  They're seat fillers.  It was so fun and yes, I'd do it again...but pretty sure none will ever be like this one.

So worth being tired this week.


(These pictures have absolutely NOTHING to do with this whole post.  Oh well.)


  1. Keith Urban and Brad Paisley? That's all I need!

  2. have to tell me how to sign up for this :)

  3. Oh Shelby... and you call yourself a Paul McCartney fan, and spell it twice as MacCartney? ;-P


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