This will contain no spoilers. I will tell you that Chris Fedak asked us personally not to spoil things that we saw and that I have chosen to respect that. Though I will say that they were filming episode 24 and for some (see Jeff aka Scott Krinsky’s tweet) it’s their last day filming season 4 of Chuck (Thursday, April 7). At the end of their portion of the shoot, they all hugged, and congratulated each other. Applause was heard.
Speaking of Fedak, he’s a very positive guy. I think JS has said in the past that he’s a bit of a pessimist so together they balance each other out. I know this because a crew member said, “hope to see you next year,” to Fedak at which he said, “hope?” think positive, “definitely. I’ll definitely see you next year.” A bit of a positivity could go a long way within us (fans) as well. There are those that don’t want a season 5, and I hope after this you’ll feel like I do and want it as much as I do.
So off I go. I’ll tell you that they were filming on location, I don’t think I need to expand more than that. And because of that I got up at a godforsaken hour and made it just in time as it started to sprinkle. A bit of a walk, some shy gazing (yes, I’m shy! :P) and one of the crew guys, Dehad befriended me a bit. He asked about my Jeffster shirt and whether I’m a fan or a crew, I said a fan. I told him where I’m coming from and he said, “wow, all the way from there?” He thanked me for watching the show and he gave me a pen. He then went on to tell some of his crew mates that I was Chuck’s #1 fan for traveling so far.
Keep in mind that I was just essentially there to stargaze. To be a part of (if only in the periphery) of Chuck, that I love. I had no plan, no rhyme or reason, I just wanted to be there and to see.
Anyway back to Dehad. His fellow crew mates are equally as cool (as are the security BTW). Obviously, me being not a crazy fan (I’m a crazy shipper, not a crazy fan ;)) helped a bit, and one of the crew told Dehad: “did you give her some merchandise yet?” And he did!
The security was great, like I said, I didn’t want to impose, and I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible, one of them actually encouraged me to move a bit closer, and I said I didn’t want to scare security and he said, “I’m security, a bit closer is ok” (haha). Don’t get me wrong, they were there to do their job and do it admirably they did.
A couple from Birmingham, UK came later and we made friends. Another guy from Belgium also came and we all became fast friends. It’s a testament to this show that it has fans such as these, granted we’re all crazy stalkers 😉 Just kidding…but international flavor, shows its strength. And they were as we’ve come to know from Chuck fans, just great, helpful, fun people.
Anyway we moved to a different vantage point (still a ways away, of course) and I guess Zachary Levi saw us. He came without prodding, or fangirl-ism on my part and introduced himself, thanked us for being fans and we had a wonderful conversation. If you’ve ever had the pleasure you’ll know that Zac is a charismatic, charming, (good looking!) down-to-earth guy and he deserves all the good things in his life and those coming to him. Maybe more because he is simply that great of a guy. We talked a bit about the Sepinwall interview, he said he didn’t know that it would come right after the vote and he certainly didn’t mean to imply that winning the vote didn’t matter, or that he didn’t appreciate it, he said he loves the fans and thinks that the fact that we won was great. He doesn’t want to make it seem like he didn’t appreciate the fan’s effort, but just that as it’s constructed, the business is about the bottom line.
We also talked a bit about what it’s going to take to save Chuck. In that, he reiterated a bit of what he said in the interview, advertisers, etc. I talked a bit about how we as fans have started to thank advertisers and hopefully that’ll help some. Mentioned the sleep sheep and he wondered if it came with the shirt so I had to explain to him the process, get a shirt, put iron on, on it and he was impressed. Mentioned Microsoft, and he said that’s hard because say you buy a game at $50 a game, how many people could afford that? What made the subway save work was because it was affordable and everyone could participate (paraphrase).
He talked about the television model. In this one Ernie’s going to nerdgasm. He said that television as is, with studios and networks, are losing money and unfortunately most shows don’t really make money until they reach syndication and the networks only care about live views via Nielson because that’s all their advertisers care about. He mentioned this before of course in the interview, so he reiterated: how favorably would a network/viewer feel about a repeat viewing of what is presently not being watched as often (per Nielsen). I told him, that on the plus side Chuck fans rewatch Chuck, a lot, it’s just that good and he mentioned that again it comes down to advertisers. Those advertisers aren’t really seeing the money in that because what they do see is the live view. Now this is where Ernie’s nerdgasm starts, he got into a bit of what Ernie brought up in his Thinking the Unthinkable piece. In that if he could (in theory) buy the rights to Chuck and run it himself and sell it to the viewers, say online. He said, say if the show costs 2 million an episode to make (he didn’t know specifically, I supplied, 1.5, he’s like, “wow you’re really on the ball.”) and if you could get 5 million people watching it that’s going to keep it alive. He said obviously since it’s online, you still have to assume that half of them would drop out, but he did say that he knows and believes Chuck fans are savvy and that they’re more into it than others. Essentially what he postulated was cutting out the middle man, which is quite possibly the way television is evolving. Apparently he’s talked a lot about this in the past, I quote, “Did you hear about it? I’ve talked about this to everyone, Nathan Fillon even got the idea that if he could come up with the money he could re-establish Firefly himself.” I told him it was actually pretty funny because I’ve recently read this idea, the online market-direct to consumer idea from the blog. The caveat of course is in this model the episodes would be more condensed. He mentioned that he likes the european model of an almost miniseries where there are no episodes that really didn’t have to do with the plot the way some shows does it. I said, not Chuck, he said, sometimes even Chuck–hey he’s honest. The point remains, less episodes, but more meaty.
Anyway, he expanded that that’s part of the reason why he’s really pursuing Nerd Machine. He mentioned that the crew, who works so hard don’t get paid nearly as much as they should and wouldn’t it be great that instead of paying the overhead, we (as in him, etc.) could be the executives and more money would go towards those like the crew? He got a bit more into that and I’m sorry but I wasn’t writing things down, so this is going by memory (maybe faulty memory at that lol). Side note: buy a nerd shirt, support Chuck, support Zac. Anyway, so Nerd Machine introduced, he talked a bit about comic-con, the nerd headquarters. He said he really wants it to go well and that there will be some fun stuff even to those that can’t come to comic-con. He said that Chuck or no Chuck he’s planning on having a Chuck panel with whomever he could get to do it. There will also be a treasure hunt in said headquarters and it’s going to be a lot of fun. This led to the tangent of his trip in Europe and the really cool treasure hunt he had fans participate in when he was there. Which led to a tangent in European football, etc. I of course had to insert a bit of the Lakers, heh.
He was gracious enough to take a photo with each of us. Like I said, I didn’t even expect anything, much less felt lucky enough to be able to talk to him, or take a picture so it was beyond icing. Oh and during the conversation, Ryan McPartlin stopped by as well, technically he was on his way to the little boys room but even then he stopped and he said hello, got to know us a bit, shook hands and he was, unironically awesome. So yes, I stood mere inches away from both Awesome and Chuck. It was paradise ;).
Unfortunately Zac was called back to film so the conversation, although fantastic had to end. It’s funny because he was given a 2 minute, not really warning, just an FYI and I swear he took more than those 2 minutes to talk to us. I reiterate again, all the props in the world for ZL. He’s a great guy and whatever happens to Chuck (never say die), I will support him and he’s definitely got a fan in me.
A lot later, Adam Baldwin comes by and says, “Zac says you guys are nice.” At which of course we replied, yes, of course. He asked about us for a bit. Unfortunately this conversation was cut short as well but he too took pictures with us. I told him, (for the firefly fans!) that he will always be Jayne Cobb to the fans even though Chuck rules our hearts haha. One of the guys mentioned that he follows him on twitter and funny thing, Mr. Baldwin said, “pay no attention to the guy behind twitter.” LOL. He’s a lot more…I want to say shy? Certainly less gruff than his character (they are actors after all) and is really a nice guy in real life.
Kentuckysocal on twitter, David in real life was flagged by one of the guys. He recognized him I guess from the photo on twitter and the beard. He came over, talked with us for a bit. He’s also a great guy. Very fun, and he was kind enough to take a photo of the 4 of us and post it on twitter. I told him we love the spoiler tweets and to keep them coming. He said that they’re actually told not to tweet as much, but he said, “I know the fans the love it.”
A long long time later, Joshua Gomez graced us with his presence. The guy is a hoot. He had a crew member, introduce him and be like his manservant. He jokingly said, “pat them down first then introduce me,” with his back turned and his “butler” facing us. He’s a great guy as well. It’s no wonder he and Chuck have such great chemistry and are real friends in real life because they have such joie de vivre. I told him I love the new Morgan. About time. And he said, I do too, and yeah. He said it’s been a really great time, for him, in season 4 with his character. We talked a bit about what it’s going to take to save Chuck. I brought up that we also talked a bit with ZL about it, and he said, “did he give you the whole spiel? Watch live, etc.” (chuckles), at which we replied yes. He said that with a show like Chuck, he feels like he’s a part of something bigger than he is because he knows just how much the show means to the fans and he feels that, and he’s inspired by that. He said he definitely wants a season 5 and that’s when he had to get back on set.
Oh and as you can see from the photo above, I was wearing my Jeffster shirt. Vic Sahay saw me and the shirt I guess, and he waved, I waved back. There were more people that waved of course but that was special because of the shirt haha. Sarah Lancaster is gorgeous in person by the way. Well they all are, but she once again looked radiant. I do feel bad because it was cold and she wasn’t dressed as warmly as she should have been but I guess that’s part of the job. Most of them had heavy jackets in between shooting, it was freezing. Funny sidenote: for the women among us who admire these fantastic women in heels, they do take them off in between takes. I’ve always imagined that they wore them all day which is inhumane! But no, they take them off in between and wear comfy, often fuzzy slippers or in cold weather, some of the extras had uggs.
Last point. I approximate my time on the set to be around 9 hours. These guys were there longer. They were there before me, as were the crew and towards the end the conditions started to get crazy. Freezing, blowing sand wind and they kept on going. They work really, really hard and you can tell that they put their passion and dedication into this. I’ll never look at filming the same again. I mean I knew it was grueling, but seeing it firsthand you admire these guys more than ever. Even with all that, hard work, long hours, they were still gracious enough and nice enough to us, the fans.
P.S. look forward to some EPKs in the future. I’m pretty sure they were filming those (right in front of us) too.