received an e-mail Saturday telling me to go to the Chan Centre at UBC tomorrow
for the filming of the music video for "Talk to Me Dance with Me" by Hot
Hot Heat. They needed extras to dance in the background.
The story is pretty interesting: Talk to Me Dance With Me was not scheduled
to be their next release - they just released the new video for "No, Not
Now" a week earlier. But it turns out that a DJ at KROQ started playing
"Talk to Me Dance with Me" and listeners started requesting it, suddenly
making the song into an unplanned U.S. hit. Meaning - MTV was waiting for
the video before it was even made.
For me, this meant driving three hours (including the border on a Sunday)
and dancing to the same song for five hours, then driving back home and
trying to get some sleep before work this morning. I called Lady
Styro for advice, but alas, I got her voicemail. So I rambled on and
on about whether or not I should go, then finally said "Okay, just
call me." But she didn't get my message in time (it was a
Saturday night, after all).
I decided to put off thinking about it until Sunday morning.
Sunday, I took a shower I decided to just take off (no Canadian pun intended
-- okay, maybe a little).
I packed two Vitamin
Waters (because I am such an addictedsap.... favorite:
peach "endurance" least favorite: kiwi strawberry "focus"
- because it kinda tastes like lip gloss) and some cookies for the band
(which I had made Friday night, and they were still laying around, and they
had walnuts so Sean wouldn't eat them, and I seem to have this tradition
with feeding members of Hot Hot Heat) and I hit the road.
Then ten minutes later I returned home to get my birth certificate.
Then I hit the road again.
drive was great - muggy but neither hot nor cold. A good day for a
drive with the windows down.
When I got to the Canadian border I noticed that all the cars were
getting into just one lane - all the way below, by the US customs
There were hardly any cars waiting so I couldn't figure out this formation.
a gold Volvo wagon cut in front of me, and I was checking it out,
because it's the only thing to look at in front of me, then a car
rolls up to the left of me with his turn signal on,
the blockade at the border
asking to be let in. It was another gold Volvo wagon. I actually
said "wo". I thought about this for two to three whole minutes.
Once I got to the coned-off area, surrounded by U.S. Customs guards
and Blaine police, one cop leaned towards my car and said "Thanks"
and pointed forward. (?)
It was extremely uneventful.
So getting to the border was a rare opportunity to pick any stall
I wanted and I picked Mr. Stinky Pant's stall.
Where you going? To Vancouver.
Reason for visit? To be an extra in a music
Dual Gold Volvo wagons
Are they paying you? No - I'm just in the audience.
No eye contact. No voice inflection. No interest. He didn't even look at
my I.D. (Time to retire, Mr. Pant.)
I got to Shane's in record time - stopped by his house long enough to say
"Hi" and "Where's this Chan Centre?" and Shan and Shane both pointed towards
the University. Fair enough. Got to Chan Centre (Wow, is it ever
a beautiful building on a beautiful campus) and didn't know where
to park, so I pulled in by the back door where all the trucks were. Talked
to some nice women about dogs, while Emma the dog met my cats by sniffing
me like crazy.
Steve came out to give me a hug (I feel like I'm their Old Aunt Dayment)
and I told him I'd come in after walking around.
MuchMusic Van &
my Super Special Parking Permit
parked my car in the hospital garage where I received my extra special
photo-copied parking permit, and saw the MuchMusic Van, which had
me all a-flutter. When I got to the front of the Chan Centre, it
was locked, but I came across a videographer for Much Music and
asked him if he was going back in (he was) so I dallied along with
him as he taped the campus. While he was taking video shots of the
campus, I was taking some pictures.
later found out that he IS CHRIS
NELSON.) As in "You don't know who CHRIS NELSON is?!?"
I suppose it was like a Canadian saying "Yeah I met this guy Carson
THE Chris Nelson taping the Chan Centre
sorry, Canadians, I didn't know who he was. We are culturally different.
We have different vee-jays in my country. Do you know who Martha
He was very nice. We talked about UNLV's campus vs. UBC's campus,
which led to Jerry Tarkanian (as any conversation regarding UNLV
does), which led to sports, which led to the conversation spiraling
away to empty space. Dayment + Sports = Poof! Gone
We were in the backstage door by then anyway. I walked through the
band area and once the music stopped we walked into the theatre.
Inside the Chan Centre - lights and fog machines and equipment
asked someone standing there if I could take pictures and they said
it was fine if I didn't use a flash. Which is probably just as well,
since I'm pretty sure the flash would have just captured the fog from
the fog machine.
After they were done with that "scene" they said they needed more
people upstairs (on the second floor balconies) and off I went.
Before I got there, they taped a scene of all the fans chasing Hot
Hot Heat into the theater, and then gave instructions to dance and
sing along if they want, and clap their hands to the beat during certain
parts of the song.
I pretty much figured that out. So that's what I did. Then I did that
on the left on the ground floor. Then the center on the third floor.
Then the right on the bottom floor again. Then the far left on the
second floor. (I know that I'll see this video and go "There's me!
There's me! There's me!" while pointing all over the place.)
It was actually a lot of fun. It was cool to see them changing the
set-up for the camera - and they had a printout for the scenes that
needed to be taped. We were moved around and scrambled all evening.
The song was played quite loud on a decent sound system and Paul would
drum along with it - so it was pretty easy to rock out.
one of my vantage points
ordered about twenty pizzas for the extras and I went to the front
lobby - and that's when I realized I was supposed to fill out a
release form. I had to hold it up by my face while they took a picture.
The backstage area had better food so I went back there (because
I can) to talk to the boys, and they were signing a big stack of
CD inserts (each extra received a copy of the CD signed by the whole
band - very nice).
Ben and Joan were there to support the troops and we shared some
border stories, and I gave them some hot-spot shopping advice.
bunch of video stars during the break
wanted to wear an orangutan suit
had tape labels for where each drum piece was
you see Danté twice?
team checking notes
was very interesting watching the crew between takes. They move FAST.
They throw all the rails down and have wedges and a level to make
sure everything's level (duh) and it's quick.
At one point, I asked one of the director guys "What is their
And he said "That's two grips and a gaffer."
And then I said "Huh." because I had not planned on a reply,
but he was still looking at me.
The taping went until 9:30 pm. Many finished before that - the last
couple hours were a small bunch of us that crowded into certain spots
where the taping focused.
of the many camera formations for taping
We got a bit punchy at the end, just from being tired, and the amount
of high energy needed for the last few shots had us dancing like muppets.
It was totally fun.
And, yes, I know I've already said that.
After the director said "That's a rap!" we all cheered like crazy
and went into the lobby where (even) more pizza awaited us.
The extras all got the autographed CD's, plus stickers, wristbands,
I got to my car in the garage and drove back over to the back door
to bring the cookies in (I had left them in the car).I bid my farewells
to the band (I don't know when I'll see them again - no shows scheduled
in Seattle any time soon). "Talk to Me Dance with Me" video is scheduled
to play on MTV Monday, October 6. I don't know what time yet, but
I'm assuming it will be a Breakthrough Video or some other promotional
probably won't be easy to find, since I'll be nowhere and everywhere
all at once (how poetic), but I was wearing a black t-shirt. Just
like the other 90% of the extras.
You can make a drinking game out of it! Like a Where's Waldo on MTV!
We can all play "Where's Dayment".
There was one scene where the camera panned all four floors straight
up (or was it down?). I am front and center in the third balcony,
above the drums and directly below the scientists' window (....and
that's all I'm going to say about that. Yes, the video has
hint: I will be the one who does not look nineteen.
On the way home I went back to Shane's to see the Robosexuals have
their band practice, called Sean, and headed home. I'm sure when
I called him I sounded like a giddy teenager.
But that happens a lot.
The border was completely clear and the drive home was tiring but,
thankfully, uneventful. When I finally got home around midnight,
Sean had just settled into bed - we talked for a while and I fell
asleep with "Talk to Me Dance with Me" playing over and over in
And again when I woke up this morning.
Everyone cross your fingers with me: "BIG HIT! BIG!"