(Cross-posted from my Glee blog, Gleeks United: head on over there for all your Glee-related news, gossip, and recaps!)
Welcome to the first installment of a new feature here at Gleeks United where we profile a huge Glee fan with an awesome story to tell! To kick us off is Lisa Djakalovic, a marketing and publicity intern at Canwest, who was lucky enough to be an extra during the filming of "Sectionals" and met the show's cast and crew while she was there! Check out Lisa and her friend Cheyanne with Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester) in the photo to the left, and read my Q & A with Lisa below!
Editor's note: There are a few minor spoilers for "Sectionals" in this interview, so if you want to remain blissfully unspoiled for the episode, come back and read my interview with Lisa after you watch it on Wednesday night!
Gleeks United: How did you get the opportunity to be an extra in episode 13, "Sectionals"? Had you heard about the show before you went to the taping?
Lisa Djakalovic: I was interning at Warner Brothers this summer in L.A. and I had Tuesdays off. Every Monday I would use Twitter to search for free things to do in the city (interning does NOT pay well). This particular Monday I noticed that if you were one of the first 50 people to tweet back to a Glee message you could win two free tickets to see a taping of the show and be an extra! I sent in my tweet right away but thought I was probably too late as I noticed the contest tweet was posted about 45 minutes before I responded. About an hour later I got an e-mail notifying me that I was one of the lucky 50 people to get tickets!
Before leaving for L.A., I had seen the first episode of Glee when they aired it for the first time after American Idol. I was immediately hooked. It had a Freaks and Geeks feel to it (which by the way is another totally rad show). I couldn't believe I had to wait so long to see the rest of the season. To avoid any sort of withdrawl I watched the first episode over and over again via the World Wide Web.
Tell us more about the experience of being an extra on Glee! What scenes did you see, songs did you hear, etc.?
The entire experience was such a trip! I arrived with my friend Cheyanne at around 7:00 am to be sure we were close to the front of the line. It paid off because we were seated right in the front row balcony, pretty much securing a spot to be on film! The e-mail had instructed us to wear autumn-like clothing because the scene was taking place in Ohio in the fall. Luckily, the theatre had AC; otherwise it would not be pleasant considering it was actually late July in Southern California.
The e-mail said that they needed us for about three hours. Those three hours actually turned out to be eight! I had no idea setting up different camera angles would take so long. At first they had everyone in the audience do a standing ovation and they filmed that, doing about 4 takes. This was after waiting for about two hours just sitting around watching the crew set up.
To make the time go by a little faster, all of the cast members and the creators of the show came up to the balcony in groups throughout the day and did a Q & A with us. It was amazing. Because I had an aisle seat, I literally sat beside each of the cast members (I tried not to squeal like a 13-year-old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert - it was hard but I resisted). The majority of the cast was super nice and some of them even came to talk to us more than once. The whole Q & A was filmed so hopefully (fingers crossed!) it ends up in the extra features on the DVDs.
After waiting around for what seemed like forever, filming finally got underway. "Don't Rain on My Parade" was the first scene with Lea Michele's character coming through the back door of the auditorium. Poor Lea had to do this take about 25 times from all different angles. After this was complete, Cheyanne and I went for some lunch then came back to see a couple of takes of the whole cast performing "You Can't Always Get What You Want." After that it was getting late and we were all tired, so we decided to head home. On our way out the door we received a red Glee t-shirt to thank us for our time. It was a great way to end the day!
Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to bring cameras in so I didn't get pictures with any of the gleeks. However, towards the end of the day my fearless friend Cheyanne snuck in her camera (that was being held outside) and landed us a picture with Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch)! It was actually pretty funny because during the day Cheyanne had befriended Jane Lynch's mother while waiting in line to use the ladies room, and it was Jane's mom that took the picture and then told Jane how nice Cheyanne was.
Which cast/crew members did you get to meet and what were they like in person?
I guess I answered this question above, but I have much more to say! It was a really weird day for the cast. They mentioned that this was the last episode they would be filming and didn't know if they would be back to film more. It would all depend on if people liked the show and if FOX picked it up for a second season. Being up in the balcony, when you looked down you could see the cast members mingling, hugging each other, and taking pictures with their digital cameras to remember their time together, in case it was the last time they would work together. Nobody knew at this point that Glee would become such a huge success!
During the Q & A, I asked Cory Monteith to name his favourite karaoke song. He said anything by the band Foreigner! Almost every cast member was asked what their favourite episode to shoot was and they all said the wheelchair episode ("Wheels"). And when asked about their favourite part about being on the show, they all said working with their best friends - too sweet!
Who's your favourite cast member and which Gleek can you relate to best?
The cast and crew members were unbelievably nice and were genuinely grateful to us for being there and being fans of the show. I would say the top three nicest of the nice were Cory Monteith, Mark Salling, and Chris Colfer - all three came up to talk to us more than once throughout the day. Dianna Agron was also a big sweetheart.
The biggest surprise was how warm Jane Lynch was with the audience and how un-Sue-like she is in real life. She talked to us the longest (about an hour) and answered everyone's questions, even if they weren't about Glee. She was awesome and I am now her fan for life.
I hate to say it but Lea Michele was a little disappointing. She was the only cast member that didn't really seem into the Q & A. Understandably, she was probably thinking about the shoot, so I don't blame her and still think she is super talented. It was just an observation I had.
It's hard to say which Gleek I relate to the most. They are all such colourful characters and they all have something in them that I think we can all relate to. That's probably one of the reasons why the show is so successful. If I had to pick one to be my BFF though, I would choose Kurt! There would never be a dull moment with him and he would have some stellar fashion advice.
What's your favourite song that's been performed on the show so far? What would be your dream song to be sung on Glee?
It's so hard for me to pick one song that I love so far. "Defying Gravity" was unbelievable, the boys' "It's My Life/Confessions" was hilarious, but my iPod tells me that "Sweet Caroline" has been played the most! Probably not an obvious pick, but something about a good-looking boy and a guitar just gets me every time.
I am a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, so much so that I even named my dog after him. Because of this unhealthy obsession, I would have to say if the cast sang any song from The Boss' catalogue I would be one happy lady! I can't wait to see where this show takes us!
Thanks again to Lisa for being my very first interview! Are you a self-proclaimed Gleek with a story to tell? If you think you or someone you know might be profile-worthy, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll feature you here on Gleeks United!