Friday, April 01, 2011

Yes. I Met Eric Sheffer Stevens.

So yesterday may have been just about the most surreal experience of my life.

I was up at 4 am and headed for the airport, where I had a 6 am flight to Los Angeles (with a stopover in Las Vegas). We actually made it to L.A. early, so I changed into a less-warm top (the temp was probably 40* warmer than what I'd left behind) and met up with the others. We were able to check into the hotel early, which was nice.

We made a quick reconnaissance drive down to Warner Brothers studios and scoped out the area, then had lunch followed by a return to the hotel to get ready.

The filming was at 6 pm, but we wanted to be sure to get good seats so we got to the studio before 4. The holding area was actually inside the visitors parking lot, with a bunch of long benches in rows. The first side of the first row was already filled, as was another row at the back of the holding area - we found out later it was for groups. We sat down and waited, wondering if anyone else there was attending for the sole purpose of seeing Eric perform live.

About half an hour into the wait, Carol (Pin from came over and introduced herself. Her husband held her spot (in the first waiting row) while we chatted. At about 5:15 or so they started walking people across the street to the studio. The first side of the first row was escorted across, followed by the first row from the group section. (I may have muttered something about how they'd better not take all the groups in before us, since we'd been there longer.) Carol and her husband gave up their spots so they could go in with us, which was sweet. We walked across the street and got in line for the security check. All of us made it through and continued on down the street, past big studio buildings.

Finally, we were escorted across the street to building 19, where the pilot was going to be filmed. There's a placard on the outside of the building next to the door listing all the movies and TV shows that had been filmed there - everything from Key Largo to The Last Samurai to Life Goes On to Ocean's Eleven (both versions). I thought it was appropriate that The West Wing was also on the list, since Eric named it as the show he wished he could go back in time and be on.

We were led into the theater to the seating area, which was on a riser set up with chairs, six rows deep. Our seats were in the fourth row, directly in front of what looked like a kitchen set, though the majority of the set was masked by black-fabric-covered barriers. A black fabric curtain hung down in front of the audience seating, just far enough to block the television monitors and microphones from the view of those on set. The monitors were there for us to see what the show would look like with the camera cuts. Also, because of all the equipment between us and the set, it was actually easier to see the show on the monitors than to watch the actors on set.

There was still some time to kill until filming started, so we amused ourselves by trying to identify what the other sets were by the little we could see over the barriers. There's a coffee shop set, which of course made us speculate whether Noah would be there wiping the counter or not.

About 15 minutes before the show was scheduled to start filming, a warm up comedian came up into the audience and started trying to build enthusiasm for the show. There was a competition between the two halves of the audience to see who could cheer and laugh the loudest (our side won, of course) and asking where people were from and why they were at the filming. Then he brought me up in front of everyone and asked where I was from and why I was there. I responded that I was from the Northwest, and was there with other Eric Sheffer Stevens fans from all over the country. He said that there was a name for that - stalking -and asked if we wanted a lock of his hair or something. (I told him no, that was kinda creepy, and all we wanted was to see Eric perform live.) Then he went on to make fun of me for being a romance writer. Ah, good times.

By then, it was time for filming to start, so I went back to my seat just in time to see the cast walk out from behind the barrier DIRECTLY BEHIND ME, WHERE THEY'D BEEN THE WHOLE TIME I WAS INTERVIEWED. Eric had heard the whole thing. I was *mortified*.

I'm going to skip over the details of the filming, because that's going to be a separate blog post on Monday. But I will say that the warm up guy NEVER LET GO of the whole stalker/fan thing. Every damn time Eric appeared on set, he'd say something to us like, "Now's your chance! Jump the barrier and get a hug! You may end up in jail, but you'll have what you've always wanted!" or "Look, there's Eric! Don't you just want to be his jacket? I bet he can feel the vibe of your jacket love." Let me tell you, it got old REALLY fast.

Oh, and one very cool thing? They passed out bottled water and pizza halfway through the filming so we didn't starve to death. It was very nice. Almost made up for having to sit in a meat locker for four and a half hours.

Finally, the filming was over, and Traci and I and a few others waited for a few minutes to see if we might have a chance to say hi to Eric. He was busy talking to some gentlemen in suits, though, and the ushers told us we'd have to leave. We walked out, feeling a little disappointed, but overall very happy with the experience.

We were more than halfway back to the garage when we heard someone running up the road behind us. We turned around and it was Eric, chasing us down to thank us for coming.

Um. Yeah. Eric Sheffer Stevens. Looking for us.

I may have died a little.

He said he was sorry, that he didn't know they were going to make us leave before we could talk to him, and wanted to make sure we didn't leave before he said thanks for coming. I got to shake his hand, and all I could think to say was "I am so sorry!"

He responded, "Why? For making me run?" I said no, for talking to the warm up guy and causing the long-drawn-out teasing. He said he was glad it happened because it let him know we were there. He took a little time to talk to everyone in our little group, and then had to go back to the theater again, so we said goodbye.

Then we walked to the crosswalk pretty much on air.

(Also, as we waited for the light to change at the crosswalk, someone in the group mentioned the interview I'd done with Eric, and the woman standing next to me said, "Are you Kate Davies? I loved that interview!" So I had a brief moment of being recognized as well.)

It was an amazing, surreal, fantastic experience and I wouldn't change it for anything. (Except for the annoying warm up guy.)

And I was so glad to be with friends I could share it with!

(And stop by Monday for more detail on the actual filming of the show!)


Notoriouslyunique said...

ZOMGZOMGZOMGZOMG!!!!!! *hyperventilates*

ERIC WENT AFTER YOU??? He is so AWESOME!!! How many people actually do that? And actually take the time to talk to fans in the first place!!

And YAY! You iz recognizable celebrity!! But dude, you are too nice! You should have slammed the warm-up jerk with a mean and/or inappropriate comeback. Something about him not liking romance writers cuz they made his GF want real orgasms.

PG Forte said...

It is my considered opinion that Annoying Warm-up Guy needs to be taught to fear the wrath of Romance Writers. I believe it's your duty to create a caricature who may be made to suffer (in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya) humiliations galore.

I feel a parody coming on...

MEPariseau said...

That was so awesome of Eric to run after you guys. Can't beleive the nerve of the warm up guy to not only make fun of you for being a fan of Eric's and wanting to see him perform live, but also because you are a romance writer.

Anonymous said...

So happy you finally got to meet Eric! Did you tell him you are the Hi-Kate-Sign Kate? *lol*

Norman said...

Hi Kate,

Loved your write up on the taping! I so enjoyed meeting you. Just want to say that I thought you handled the comedian extremely well. You kept your poise and did us proud.

You actually did a wonderful thing for Eric by speaking up because it showed TPTB that he has a fan base (of intelligent, successful people) willing to get on an airplane to see him perform. Translate that into "being willing to turn on their TVs!" You didn't say anything that you need be embarrassed about, really!! And Eric knows that the comedian was just doing his thing. In fact, did you notice how many audience people suddenly found it cool to be fans of Eric? It's all good!!

Looking forward to your Monday comments!!

Juniper Bell said...

Wow, Kate, what an amazing experience! And now I think I'm in love with ESS myself! That is true class and consideration for his fans. Contrast that with the mean-spirited warm-up guy out for a cheap laugh. I'm with PG -- let's put him in a parody and see how he likes being made fun of! It sounds you handled yourself perfectly and made us romance writers (and ESS fans) proud!

Anonymous said...

Heheeee! Every I read the Eric chasing after you guys anecdote, I get all happy. He's freaking amazing. Thanks for representing, Kate!

Kate Davies said...

Notoriouslyunique - yeah, he's definitely awesome. :)

PG - Ooh! A parody is an excellent idea!

MEPariseau - He's a great guy. The announcer? Not so much.

Skippy - I think he knows I'm the "Hi Kate" photo person. I'm pretty sure it was mentioned prior to the interview. LOL

NORMAN! Thanks for stopping by. It was such a pleasure to meet you and Carol. Thanks for joining our group! Glad to hear I didn't completely embarrass myself. :) And I hope the Monday post lives up to your expectations!

Kate Davies said...

Juniper - Whee! Creating ESS fangirls, one person at a time! :) He's the coolest. And I say that as a completely unbiased observer. *nods*

tuckatangent - Can I fill you in on a little secret? Me too! I actually caught myself grinning and flailing a little while I was re-reading this for proofing before posting. LOL

He is just so fantastic. And a genuinely nice guy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. How awesome that Eric ran after you guys. I really wanted to go to that, I'm close enough to drive, but real life interfered. Dang. So reading about it is fun. I can't wait to read more on Monday.

Kate Davies said...

rolsfan - Sorry you couldn't be there! It would have been fun to meet you. WHEN - not if - the show is picked up for the fall, you really must try to get into a taping. It was absolutely fascinating to watch the whole process, not to mention the fact that you'd get to see Eric perform live. It was so much fun.

Isabel said...

I'm so happy you met him. He really is a nice guy (as all reports indicate) and from I myself remember when I met him last year. And he appreciates the fan support (it is SO NOT stalking, btw) so it's good you and other ESS fans were there to show him that he's loved.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. I am glad Eric knew that there were fans there to see him. He wouldn't have known had you not spoken to the warm-up guy, so I consider that a positive. And it doesn't hurt if the show people/executives took notice as well.

ltklo said...

Great summary. Everything I read sounds like it was a great experience for the fans and ESS. I've read that you did us ESS fans proud.

Sounds like the warm-up guy has no "fans" so he can't understand what they are. ESS does :)

It's very endearing that ESS respects his fans.

Cole said...

"Um. Yeah. Eric Sheffer Stevens. Looking for us.

I may have died a little."

This is the 3rd account I've read of this moment, and I die every time! Warm-up guy may have been annoying, but if this is the result, it's a win, no? Thanks so much for sharing your awesome experience, Kate!

stokashiki858 said...

Hi Kate!

I'm the woman who recognized you for your interview with Eric. It was great to "meet" you! What a night, huh!?

I just wanted to second Norman's comments. You represented us with poise and class and if you hadn't said anything, I doubt that we would have had the chance to meet him at all since he might not have known that we were there just to see him. By drawing so much attention to it, the warm-up guy not only made Eric aware, but all the execs had to hear that too so they are a little more informed about Eric's appeal now because you took one for the team. My husband was watching at the railing before we got kicked out and he thinks that the warm up guy actually told Eric that we were there. Thank you so much for helping us and helping Eric!

Love your recap and look forward to part 2!

Kate Davies said...

Isabel - He is just a nice guy, isn't he? :) And I agree, we're really not stalkers. LOL

Anonymous - I really do hope that the execs took notice. It wasn't just our group - I estimate at least 10% of the audience was there specifically for Eric, and since almost everyone else was either friends/family of the cast and crew or school groups there on assignment, that's pretty good odds.

Itklo - Thanks for your comment! It was a fantastic experience, and I'm so thrilled that Eric is just as nice in person as he seems. Nicer, even. :)

Kate Davies said...

Cole - I have to tell you, I still get giggly and flaily when I think about it. It was an amazing night.

stokashiki858 - OMG! You have no idea how thrilled I was when you recognized me! It was the second most exciting thing to happen to me that night. (Sorry, but Eric trumps just about everything. LOL)

If warm-up guy did tell Eric we'd been waiting and were being cleared out, then I do have to give him props for that. Hmph. :) And I'm more than happy to take one for the team if it meant we got to meet Eric AND let the PTB know he's got a built in fanbase.

Anonymous said...

You are soooo very lucky and I am truly envious!
Being chased by Eric could lead to all sorts of fantasies ;)
He just sounds so humble and what a truly classy thing to run/take the time to come and talk to you.

BTW LOVED the interview and kudos to you for getting "recognized" as well.

Anonymous said...

KATE!! What a great account of the experience. Every time I think about him running after us and then huffing and puffing when he got there, I'm just giddy! What an amazing man!

You really did a great job up there with the warm up guy. You were very articulate and nice and there really was no reason for him to make fun of us other than it gave him some material to work with.

And yes, the warm up guy was talking to him while we were being escorted out and I was him pointing at us, so even though Eric knew we were there, I think it was that guy who pointed out that we were being kicked out. So yes, he definitely gets kudos for that.

I miss you! What an incredible weekend! Can't wait to see you again. With us both being on the west coast, we should try harder to make that happen. :)

Kate Davies said...

Anonymous - I still have a hard time believing it actually happened, but everyone else there assures me it did. :) So glad you liked the interview! That's all Eric. He rocks.

traciamc - I miss you too! It was an amazing couple of days and I'm so glad we experienced it together. *When* the show gets picked up we'll have to go to another filming. :)

traci said...

@Kate - Most definitely! I'm planning on it! :)

Kimberly said...

Real life has been crazy so I am just getting to read this now. Thanks for sharing your experience, it sounds like you had an amazing time. I believe you used the word "surreal". That is what it felt like for me when I experienced the trip last summer to Vermont, NY & Boston. It was surreal. So glad you got to meet Eric.