That's right, folks! The time has come! Now that the Olympic ceremonies have come and gone, the vast majority of my secrets are ready to be released into the world!

If you can recall, I'd been documenting my experience more or less as it happened, which makes this task super easy for me. The next few entries are exactly what I wrote as I was going through it.

Warning: it wasn't all pomp and circumstance in the beginning, so I won't be revealing much at all for a good while. It's actually kind of an anticlimax. Unless you're stoked to hear about me working, in which case WOOOOO PARTAYYY!

Also, for your reading convenience, here and here are the posts I wrote in February about orientation and my first shift without being able to say anything. Just for some bizarre past/present juxtaposition!

Here we go!

Entry 1
Note: I’m writing this on February 15th (technically 16th, as it’s 1:30 in the morning [and I have to get up for a 10 am class. Shoot]). I don’t know what day in the future I’m going to be posting it, but I already know that I’m going to hate the fact that I couldn’t talk about it until now.

So hello, readers of the future! Thanks for sticking with me! Or just joining me. Ya know, whatever.

All volunteers for the casting department (auditions and costume) had training/orientation on Sunday the 12th. It started with a tour at around 10 am, where they took us around 3 Mills Studios. It’s an actual functioning studio, where they film Million Pound Drop and other assorted shows. But what sucks about not knowing British celebrities is that I could be walking past the most famous person in the country and have no idea who he or she is. Alas. :P

We had some people speak to us after the tour, just various people from the different departments. They kept stressing how important we are, which was AWESOME, because I hate being a volunteer and then just standing around and doing absolutely nothing. But no, here it’s all, “we can’t do this without you!” and “YOU are why we love our job!” …It was awesome. They also showed us a montage of past ceremonies, as if I needed anything else to get me more excited!

There was a quick tea/coffee/”biscuit” break after that, during which I tried a hot cross bun (that wasn’t hot) for the first time, and then we broke up by bib number. My half of us went to learn what our job would actually be! And here’s the big secret:

Before auditions, each performer has to be validated. There are 12 booths, each booth with one casting volunteer and one costume volunteer. The casting job would be to check them in, input them into the database, check their ID, etc. Then the costume person would take their measurements, and they then get sent into their audition.

The exact process? Scan the barcode on the letter that was emailed to them. Make sure the name that comes up is theirs. Scan the barcode on their bib. Check that their name is in the computer correctly. Check their ID with the information that’s in the database. Read off what needs to be measured, and input the numbers the costume person tells you. Take their photo. Send them to the exceptions desk if there’s any kind of discrepancy with their ID.

And that’s it! After far too many volunteering jobs that involved stocking Gatorade and loitering, I couldn’t have been happier that I’d be busy! 
We each got to practice the procedure by validating each other, and then we switched with the other group. We were led into one of the sound stages, where we got to sort of experience an audition. They led us through some basic mass choreography – we made the Olympic rings! – and I basically fell in love with this guy from the creative team. He went around and asked us where we’re all from, and we basically had people from each continent, which was awesome. And then he went through the Summer Olympics year by year and asked us about our memories. So much fun!
After that, we just had a little wrap up session, and that was it. I was so unbelievably excited for my first shift! 
My first shift was THE first shift for this batch of volunteers – Tuesday, February 14th from 12-4. We got some snazzy highlighter yellow vests to wear in our booths, and then we were all set to go. I was in booth #1, because I’m awesome. There’s no wall between each booth and the one next to it, and booths 1 and 2 were seriously amazing. I was working with such nice people! Booth 2 was Tanya taking measurements and Deepti on the computer, and my costume guy was Zac. We spent the whole time chatting with each other and the performers, and the casting department gave us Valentine’s hearts! The day legitimately flew by. We got through the queue of auditionees super fast – we were working for maybe two hours, tops, and not once did I ever get bored. Cold, yes, but not bored. Everyone was so happy and friendly and wonderful and excited to be there! It was basically a solid two hours of fangirling on my part.
When we were done, we had the option of either leaving or sticking around and watching what was left of the audition. Take a guess on which I picked.

If you think I left, we clearly don’t know each other very well! Zac (who I totally bonded with) and I stayed for about an hour, until it was completely finished. We walked in to a giant conga line dancing around the room, and some of the people we processed waved at us! Not sure why that was so exciting, but it was! Then they did some dance routines and an acting-type thing. It looked like so much fun! By the end I had the choreography memorized and the song stuck in my head. It was so excellent, I can’t even put it into words. Knowing that some of these people are going to be performing in front of four billion people in a few months… man. No words.

Zac and I also took some time to point out the cute boys together. It WAS Valentine’s Day, after all! :P

My shift today (Wednesday) was pretty much exactly the same, just 4:30-8:30. I was in the same booth and everything! Melissa was my costumer, and she was super sweet. We had a good time. It felt a little longer today, and I definitely felt the monotony a little bit, but what’s great is that meeting all these different people keeps it fresh. It’s not just sticking papers in a filing cabinet. I met people from Chicago, Malta, Finland, Kazakhstan, and even a legendary rugby player from New Zealand. Yeah, for real. I had no idea when he was in the booth; I just knew he was absolutely massive. But Melissa was absolutely freaking out when she realized who he was!

We got to watch the auditions when we finished again. The routines were exactly the same, so I’m sure they’ll be burned into my brain by the time my last shift rolls around! The guy I love, from orientation, was wearing a shirt from the Mexico City Olympics, which I complimented him on. During orientation he also said that one of the Games from his childhood (can’t remember which) made him decide that he wanted to get involved with them one day. I love that he’s a fan and loves what he’s doing!

Basically, I just love everything.

I have two shifts left. I’m going to be so sad when it’s over!
To be continued!

[Note: The awesome guy from the creative team with the Mexico City shirt is Steve Boyd.]

1 comment :

  1. How exciting!! Can't wait for the next installment.