Monday, October 3, 2016

The O.C. Basement: A day in the life of an O.C. extra!


The guy on the right is Buzz Rodell playing a club extra in the Luna Chicks club scene in
Season 1 Episode 22 "The L.A."


A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN O.C. EXTRA
He's a fan that got a chance to live out his dream.
This is his story...a day as an extra on The O.C.
Read about the day in his own words:

Buzz Rodell is the official O.C. blogger.
Keep up on his distorted look at the world through Newport-tinted sunglasses: http://www.ocfan.blogspot.com/ (no longer a website)

"The L.A." episode aired March 24th, 2004 on FOX

On the tenth day of the second month of the year 2004, I, Buzz Rodell, set out on a quest. I left my apartment, a man unknown, and I was to return...

...a superstar.

The entire voyage begins about a week before that fateful February 10th. The Baron, ever vigilant and ever connected, hits me with an instant message:

BARON: There's word that they'd like you to be an extra.
BUZZ: I can almost smell Summer now...

I am a faithful follower in the church of "Too Good To Be True." Therefore, I wasn't putting all my Buzz-eggs in my Buzz-basket. The topic fell by the wayside while The Baron and I discussed folk rock and his sweet Malibu. Days later, the topic would rise again.

BARON: There seems to be some movement.
BUZZ: Oh yeah? I don't believe you.
BARON: Check your e-mail.

Inside the e-mail, The Baron attached a copy of the memo asking that I be allowed to visit the set. It was sent to people within The O.C. organization. I saw names like "McG" and "Josh Schwartz." I knew it was legit. The Baron knows better than to lie to Buzz Rodell (Buzz Rodell knows where The Baron lives). Excitement stirred in my belly. My gigantic, beer-laden belly. However, we were approaching the date of the shoot and there was still no official word from the big shots.

They wanted to see Buzz Rodell sweat.

Monday, February 9th, The Baron struck again.

BARON: We're moving on the extra thing.
BUZZ: Shut up. You're a liar.
BARON: Seriously, it's going down tomorrow.
BUZZ: I wish you weren't a liar.
BARON: We don't have all the details yet, but you'll have them tonight.
BUZZ: You've always been my favorite, Baron. That Buckle kid stole pens from me once.

The Buzzer got nervous.

So somewhere in the state of California, the name "BUZZ RODELL" was typed onto a list along with the names of some twenty or thirty other extras. The Buzzer was to have his day. However...it was not to be without some bumps...

The Baron gave me the skinny on what I needed to do. The scene was taking place in a night club, the infamous club Deep located at the even more infamous intersection of Hollywood and Vine. I'll be honest. I'm not a night club going fellow. I like to chew the fat in a nice cozy dive bar with Billy Squier or Van Halen rocking away on the jukebox. I haven't been in a night club since probably 1999. And the Buzzer don't dance, but he certainly rocks and rolls. Anyway, because of my club drought, I needed some club appropriate attire.

The Buzzer was even more nervous.

I headed out to my local trendy outfitter that night and picked up a pair of sharp black slacks for a reasonable $58. So far...The O.C. cost me $58. I think I can deal. Upon returning to my car, The Baron had left me a message on my cellular-tellular.

BARON: Buuuuuuzz...what's up buddy [insert random laughter]? So here's the deal. Tomorrow...Hollywood and Vine...9:30am. You're looking for a guy named The Key [please note that The Key's name, like everyone else's, has been changed to protect his uber-secret identity]. He'll get you in, show you around. So buuuuuddy, The Buckle and I will be there around 10am. Are you ready to be a superstar [insert more random laughter]? Later.

The Buzzer was sweating with nervousness. In about 12 hours, he could be face to face with any number of O.C. cast members and fumbling around on turf that wasn't his.

Buzz Rodell...was scared.

I woke up around 7:30am, Pacific Standard Time. It was time to get psyched up for the big day. I turned on my iTunes and kept the Van Halen coming. Panama is without a doubt, the best song in the last thirty years. I needed to leave at 8:30am because in L.A., you can count on traffic taking up a good chunk of your morning. I figured it would take me almost an hour to drive into the heart of Hollywood. I put on my freshly ironed black slacks, tossed on my brownish short sleeved shirt and laced up my big ass black shoes. I took a deep breath, gazed at the magnificent specimen of man looking back at me in the mirror, and I headed out.

I drove down Santa Monica Boulevard, one of the few pieces of old Route 66. California is beautiful in the mornings, especially during these months. The colder temps keep all the pollution from mucking up the skies and the Hollywood sign stands out against the green hills for all to see. Ah, but I digress.

Somewhere around 9:15am, I stumbled across Hollywood and Vine and saw the street littered with the usual bulks of filming aids. Lights, scaffolding, trucks, props, union dudes. I found my way to the parking lot where the circus was camped out and told that "crew" needed to park in a lot down the street. After asking the guard, "Do you know who I am?" I turned and left for the alternate lot. I parked, grabbed my trendy bag and walked back.

When I got there, I called The Key. Five minutes later, The Key was there and ushered me into the world of being an extra. The parking lot was full of well parked trucks, wardrobe trailers and cast trailers. There was also one massive tent to house the lowly extras and a couple of catering trucks. It was magnificent. The doors on the trailers read, "SETH," "SUMMER," "RYAN," "MARISSA." Another trailer was parked away from the hoopla with the names "PARIS" and "CARMEN" written on the doors.

The other extras were lined up and getting signed in. I stood with The Key waiting for Buckle and Baron to appear. The Key had to go make some Key-related calls and I just kept watch near the wardrobe truck. One of the production assistants then smiled called to someone behind the truck and out of my view. "Ms. Mischa!" The P.A. said. Mischa? Mischa Barton? I mean, who else could it be? Sure enough, the statuesque dame sauntered around the truck. Yikes. My nerves kicked up again. I saw Mischa standing there, and all I could hear her say was, "BOP BOP BOP." She laughed with the P.A. and headed back to her trailer.

Baron and Buckle showed up right on schedule. Which is rare for a couple of goons. We geared me up with a wireless microphone and started rolling. About ten minutes later, a silver Lexus pulls up. The dude inside is wearing glasses, track pants and a backwards baseball cap. At first glances, I had no idea who this guy was and why he was driving such a nice car. But there's something familiar about this guy...Buckle answers the $64,000 question...it's Ben McKenzie in his pre-Ryan Atwood phase.

Settle down ladies.

We got me signed in and The Key introduced me to one of the most kick ass guys I've met in a long time. His name was...well, we'll call him The Wrangler. He kept track of all the extras and knew exactly what was going on. This guy got me in and out of the right places and really came through for us. Cheers to The Wrangler! Anyway, the Wrangler took me over to wardrobe where they said my outfit was perfect except for my white undershirt. They swapped it out for a black shirt that hugged my body like another layer of skin. I'm glad I had an over shirt on so the world wouldn't have to see my less-than-fit contours.

Buzz Rodell needs a treadmill.

We got some more footage of me exploring the many locations and activities of an extra. Everything from make-up to hitting on other extras to using the REALLY nice porto-potties. Seriously, they were nicer than my can at home. Sometime around noon, The Wrangler made the call..."Heeee-yaw little doggies! Time to make us some television magic!" Okay, so that's not really what he said, it was more like "You...you...you...group one. Go ahead." Sure enough, because I had the "in," I was part of group one. My time had come.

They led about fifteen of us into the club and into a large room while they finished marking and setting up in the entrance way. Josh Schwartz was there going over the script, I wanted to go over to him and tell him that a buddy of mine thought Luke needed an older brother. But before I could, we were moved on to the entrance of the club for the first shoot of the day.

They arranged us like fleshy chess pieces about the room to make the place look crowded. Buckle had followed me in and was filming my rockin' job from the back. I was paired with a sweet young lass from Minnesota who was happy to give me a few pointers about my extra debut. That helped me chill out and enjoy the process...

...until she walked into my life.

The kids came in to film the first shot. Rachel, Adam, Ben and Mischa. And they all set up only a few feet from Buzzer's delicious backside.

This first scene was rough for me. I was not only drinking warm faux-beer faster than any sane man should, but I was set up in a bizarre stance so that when the camera came through, Ms. Minnesota could lean against me and we'd pretend to be hitting it off. Somewhere in the five takes, I also spilled that warm faux-beer down the leg of my $58 pants. But really...I didn't care. This was GREAT! The camera pans down from a couple of dancers to move DIRECTLY across my face. And all of that was thanks to The Key and The Wrangler who got them to move me into the perfect spot. Hey mom! I'm on the TV! Send money!

"Aaaaaand cut! Okay, take five!" I learned that "take five" in television lingo, actually means more like "take twenty or more." The extras were herded back out into the parking lot while the Buckle and Baron stowed away in the back room where the stand-ins and make-up and hair people stood ready. That's when another familiar face appeared. From the dark corners of the club, dressed in costume as one of the club dancers, Amanda Righetti (a.k.a. Hailey Nichols) came over for a chat.

I can't help but be nervous, poor Amanda was blessed with the "gorgeous" gene and she's casually chatting with us like we're old friends. Buckle takes the initiative and gets me wired up again. We're going to do a quick interview with her.

Buzz Rodell has never interviewed a celebrity of any caliber. Unless you count talking to the mirror in the mornings, HI-YAH!

We sat in a booth and I told her that I was nervous. I took a deep breath, and The Buckle was rolling.

It played perfectly. Better than I could have planned. Amanda was so nice and so on her game, that she made it a walk in the park. I floated out of the booth so The Baron could do some serious journalism. Thank you Amanda Righetti.

The nervousness was gone. I am Buzz Rodell. Hear me roar.

The Key set off to find out when we could pow-wow with the rest of the Get Along Gang. He returned to tell us we'd have some time after the next scene was finished. I left The Baron and Buckle behind to go see when the next scene was starting. I met up with The Wrangler and he said, "Sooner than a couple of polecats stealin' eggs from the chicken coop!" Well...that's not really what he said. It was more like, "Right now." So I jumped into a pack of extras and headed back inside the club.

The next scene was in a larger bar area. Booths were along one wall, two poles for girls to dance on were near the middle, and there was one more large area for girls to dance on next to the bar. That's where I crept in. I figured, the Buzzer already had his big moment, it's someone else's turn. I took my 2nd faux-beer and leaned casually against the dance area. There was another extra next to me who was a little...off. He'd later be removed from the property after an altercation with Ms. Hilton's bodyguard.

But that doesn't matter. What matters is that Ms. Righetti turned out to be dancing on the area behind me, I said hey and used some of the Buzzer charm on her. Finally, it was go time again. To get us in the "club" mood, they blasted about ten seconds of some song at us to get us in the beat. Then they turn it off and start filming. I don't have any rhythm with the music ON, and when you turn it off, I just thrash around like a fish on dry land. Buckle was able to get that on tape, so you can probably see the disaster-dance on tape. They did about five or six takes, and got what they wanted. Booyah.

I headed in back and had to use some VERY uniquely decorated bathroom facilities. When I got back to the table, Baron and Buckle were set up and filming. Benny Mac was taking questions from The Baron like a pro. It was like watching two top seeded tennis stars work each other over with a fury of smashes. When it was done, Benny Mac shook their hands and then was introduced to Buzz Rodell. The Mac attack extended a hand, and I shook it. Nice to meet you Mr. McKenzie, welcome to the Pool House...

...But it wasn't over. As Ben was escaping our clutches, Ms. Bilson rounded the corner into the back room. Rachel is familiar with The Buckle and The Baron, they've interviewed her before. Most of the cast knows those thugs. However, today there was a stranger with them. I'm not sure who introduced me to her, all I could hear was Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" at that moment. Rachel said, "You're Buzz! I have to hug you!"

...and she did.

I woke up three days later with a note where my wallet should be. It said, "Dear Buzz, thanks for the $60. Enjoy Mexico. Sincerely, The Buckle."

Actually, that's not what happened. We didn't have much time to sit with Rachel and Brody was waiting in the wings. We filmed a tender little Buzz/Rachel clip and The Baron got into his interrogation mode to fire questions at her. I sat in the booth just down from her and just watched quietly.

And then I blinked, and she was gone and Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me" blasted in my head.

Laa la la la laa, la la la laa, la la la la la la la...when you walk on by...

Brody stepped up to bat. This guy is a 6-foot-something, curly headed pro. I mentioned the Thanksgiving centerpiece to him:

BUZZ: I turned you into a Thanksgiving decoration.
BRODY: Oh yeah?

That was about it. Once I realized I did a bang-up job of making a fool of myself, I shut up. The Baron started in again, and Brody just stuck with it. He's a funny guy, and I want to compare him to Seth, but I hate when people compare actors to their characters, so he's not Seth, he's Adam Brody. Then The Baron dropped the bomb about the people finding out about Stevens Team. Brody laughed and mentioned that he doesn't really play in the band, just practices along with them.

The next scene was ready. This was the last one before they called for lunch...which was at 4:30pm. That's almost dinner...eh, Hollywood types.

The Baron, The Buckle and I ravaged the food buffet. They had to wheel me back on to the set. Delicious food. Cast and crew get to go first, extras and web heroes go last.

We headed back into the club and prepared our next move. We wanted to get Mischa on tape soon so we could head out before the L.A. traffic kicked into full gear again. The Key went out in search of info and came back saying she was available after the next scene was filmed.

By then, I had called it a day. I had my moment on film, talked to Rachel and was just having more fun watching than participating. We waited for Mischa.

Somewhere around 6pm, Buckle and Baron had their window to chat up Ms. Barton. I stayed behind to watch our hi-tech fancy film gear. Sorry Mischa, maybe you'll get to meet me next time.

After that, we packed up the gear and snuck out the backdoor. We gave Josh Schwartz a wave on the way out and hit the corner of Hollywood and Vine.

What a day.

As we walked back to our cars, we laughed about the day. I think The Baron might have cried a little knowing that film history was about to be made. All in all, it was a great experience. Being on the set is slow, grueling work and the Buzzer wussed out WAY before the rest of the cast did. Rumor has it that their day probably didn't end until after 7:30pm that night.

When I got home that night, I took off my big, clunky shoes and crashed on the couch. Before I fell asleep, all I could think of was:

"Californiaaaaaa! Here we cooooooooome!"

My name is Buzz Rodell, and I was once an extra on The O.C.


And here we have Buzz interviewing his long time crush Rachel Bilson!!