We're getting to the good stuff now! There's one more pre-written entry, and then I get to talk about what I did and saw when I visited during the Games. :)
But until then... Dagenham!
5/19/12 – Wow, I have been majorly slacking with updating this, and oh, how things have changed!
Oy, I don’t even know where to begin. Alright. Let’s see.
Obviously, what I thought was going to be my last shift was not. At all. Not even close. I think that was the point where they let people go if they were being unreliable, slash allowed people to drop out/not schedule any more shifts if they didn’t want to do it anymore. I only had a couple of shifts in March, since I had all of my major semester assignments due, plus all sorts of things going on and keeping me really busy. But it was about one per week.
By that point, auditions had pretty much ended, and we were well into callbacks. Things got pretty dull for awhile, and we’d be validating for about an hour at most and then not even have an audition to stick around and watch. We were put to use during Games Maker interviews, though, where Shelly gave me a clipboard to hold and told me to direct people. So that was really exciting! I also got to wristband people out in the tent at the entrance, and be a sort of shuttle system and take people back to the lobby. Shaking things up a little bit.
The induction was for a new round of people, basically, and it was at 3 Mills, so I didn’t get much new information. Plus, I worked it, validating the volunteers as they arrived, so I didn’t have to stay for much of it. There’s a slightly different process for rehearsals, as everyone’s already in the system. New IDs were being printed, so each performer has to be given their ID plus Oyster cards for travel, have the correct forms collected, etc. So we’re not working with costumers anymore – they’re in the workshop now, actually working on costumes. How freaking cool is that?
Shifts are slightly longer now, since they need us at the end of rehearsals to collect the performers’ bibs. So we validate when they come in, and then we get taken up into the office to help out there. I’ve done tons of alphabetizing, sorting IDs, filing, database work, bib sorting, etc. It may not be the most interesting work, but it actually feels like I’m helping the cause, ya know? It’s all stuff that needs to get done.
Now rehearsals are starting to take place at Dagenham, which is the 1:1 venue. This means that the rehearsals can take place at full scale – there are two real-sized fields of play there. It’s just this massive concrete space set up with makeshift offices and tents and such. It feels like a music festival, lol. Basically, this is where the performers learn the staging of the ceremony. In 3 Mills, they learned the choreography they do when they get to where they need to be. Dagenham is about learning how to get to where you need to be and when.
All volunteers have photo IDs now. So I’m an official IDed member of the L2012C workforce. I have my own Casting Team high-vis vest, with my name written on it any everything. And, apparently, all volunteers now are Games Makers.
It’s truly a shame that my life has peaked so early. But hey, I can’t really complain.
Today was the first ever Dagenham rehearsal, and it was basically the longest day ever. I worked the morning shift, starting at 8:30, which meant waking up at 6:45 and taking the tube out to zone 5, aka the boonies. Seriously, it’s not even London anymore that far out. A handful of us get to scan in the hundreds of people showing up to rehearse, and then we kind of just do whatever we’re needed for. We got to staple things to some bibs at one point, and help out the catering team set up the various break areas. We got tons of breaks though, so I got to watch the NHS crew run around with their beds.
The shift was supposed to end at 2:30, but one of the groups that was rehearsing didn’t finish until 3, so I stayed late to help with bib collection at the end. Somehow, it was me and one other girl in charge of collecting 400 bibs and putting them in number order. It was absolute madness and took FOREVER, so I ended up not leaving until almost 4. It was an actual full-length work day. I absolutely loved it, though. Even though I completely missed lunch.
The actual paid staff, though, is there from 8 am until all rehearsals are over. I just want to call everyone’s attention to these fabulous people for a second. They work 12+ hour days every day. EVERY. DAY. Obviously they have a day off every now and then, or can leave early, but they’re working all the time. And this is going to continue until at least September.
And they’re seriously the nicest people you could ever imagine working with. They’re all just so upbeat and friendly and hilarious and welcoming and thankful… I love them all so, so much. Not only is it going to be rough leaving next month because it’s the Olympics, but I’m going to be gutted to leave these fantastic people.
As of right now, though, I’ve finally hit the acceptance stage of my grief, and am just going to work my butt off until I have to leave!
Stay tuned for the next installment, in which I'm forced out of the country and have a conversation with the brilliant and wonderful Danny Boyle. :)