One of the most sought after moments in the industry is when you are allowed to go on set, and I am here to tell you that it's not as magical as you may think. Being on set is a lot of hard work. The day is long, the tasks can be repetitive, but if you carry a great attitude and some friends than it could be one of the best days you have ever had.
I am no stranger to being on a television show set. I am a well seasoned spectator as I have to tapings for shows like Ellen, Good Morning America, The Late Show, and a few more. All of these outings have taught me that television is not as easy as you may think, and you need a lot of energy to be an audience member. Consider that the 1 hour you see stems from 3-5 hours of footage.
On shows like GMA, the pressure is magnified as it's airing live. Imagine not dozens, but hundreds of people working on a wire making sure that nothing happens otherwise they are out of a job, probably 5ever.
I mention the strenuous nature of tapings because people outside of the industry think that as soon as the camera starts rolling it's smooth sailing in Studio City. But I am not here to talk about what people think, after all assumptions and stereotypes are the reason we're in such a mess, I want to share with you what it's like being on set.
I have to give some love and a shout out to my friend Alondra, center above, as she is the girl who has put in the work to get me on some great shows. See you don't have to work in entertainment to get onto a show set. All you need to have is a Wi Fi connection. My friends always ask me how I have gotten on these shows, and the truth is that tickets are free!
Rule 1 Plan Accordingly
Get your computer, log onto a site for audience tickets, and then pick a date! Yes! Its that easy! Getting to be part of a live studio audience seems like a mysterious endeavor, but it's really about planning ahead and organizing your time. Tapings take about 3-4 hours depending on the show you are on. Often, the wait is the worst part.
You should also know that for shows as big as Ellen, your RSVP does not guarantee you a seat. This is why when you sign up to be on a show you commit your day to it. One of the most important points I have to stress is that just because you show up, and for those who may feel entitled, that doesn't mean a seat is waiting for you.
Rule 2 Get Your Mug Camera Ready
You will often hear a producer or the hype man talk about the importance of exuberayting energy. The audience is cued to stand up when the host or talent steps out and you are expected to hyperbolize every reaction. Great practice for any thespians in the crowd.
The tickets and producers stress the importance of smiling and coming off as this is the greatest day of your life. Sometimes it may feel like the exact opposite though. After multiple takes of the same joke to get a good laugh track, or the first hour of sitting in the unergonomic chair, than the smiles are probably forced. It is also not uncommon for groups to be split up and spread across the audience if more than 1 episode is being taped. Try to get cozy with the stranger next to you otherwise things will be #awkward.
Rule 3 Never be a Fan
This may not make sense right away, so let me explain. The worst person in the world is the person on set that makes it impossible to get any work done. You may be having a day off or indulging in a vacation, but remember that everyone around is working. The people on set are trying to get their livelihood. I have been on sets before where talent interacts with the audience, they may call you onto the stage, or you can run into them while going to the bathroom. What you should remember is that celebrities are always being photographed, and harassed, and that they are people too.
You never want to seem uncultured, or crazy, by chasing after a picture with talent. If the opportunity rises than do it for the Gram, but other than that try not to geek out. You don't want to be kicked off a set for making people feel uncomfortable. Believe me this has happened before.
Rule 4 Have Fun!!!
Remember this is an industry built off entertaining and bringing people together. Go with a great attitude and I guarantee that you will leave with great memories, and if you are lucky a gift card or coffee mug.
I've left with both #GetIt
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.