Have you ever wondered what it’s like to attend a Hollywood premiere? Yeah, me too. Since like birth. Many years later, I can finally take you all behind the barricade with me and share my experience!
Before I do that, a recap: I am no stranger to the barricade. I grew up waiting excitedly at the stage door of Broadway shows and concerts. On Mary’s episode of the podcast, and we shared what it was like to be fans at the Avengers: Age of Ultron premiere. It was so much fun grabbing selfies with the stars, spending time with one of my best friends, and meeting other awesome fangirls, but who also wouldn’t want to be one of the lucky guests to get to enter the theater and see the movie as well?
My opportunity came in December of last year. A movie that my company produced was holding its premiere at the famous and historic Chinese Theater. (A quick note: the Chinese Theater isn’t just for premieres! It’s a six-theater cineplex as well – it’s a beautiful and fun place to see a movie any day. I saw Batman vs. Superman at the main IMAX theater and had a blast!) Everyone at my company received a ticket and a plus one. I ended up being able to take my sister and a dear friend with me. I was also in charge of coordinating my boss’s guest list with the publicity department of the studio releasing the film.
Now I’m sure you’re asking one extremely important question – what did I wear? What kind of fangirl would I be if I didn’t follow Rule #2 of Fangirling Like a Pro? Utterly tired of my entire wardrobe, I used the awesome website Rent the Runway, a service that allows you to rent designer dresses for 4-8 days! I’d highly recommend it– I got two beautiful dress options for about 15% of what the dresses would have cost retail. In case you ever find yourself invited to one, premieres are fancy, but not ballgown-fancy. Semi-formal cocktail dresses seemed to be the fashion consensus for the ladies at the event.
On the day of the premiere I got up at 6 AM to begin primping, worked til about 4 PM, finished my primping there, then battled rush hour traffic to the Chinese Theater. After parking, I reported to Will Call, where I checked in with the publicity department to receive an envelope with my tickets to the premiere, after-party and parking validation.
Now, the red carpet. I’ve heard from friends and colleagues that for bigger premieres, such as a Marvel movie, the pleb guests can come onto the carpet to take a picture or two without doing the press line. Sadly, the red carpet for our film was not as open (LAME). I arranged my boss’s red carpet experience however, and I’ve done a small red carpet of my own, so I can tell you what to expect! If you’re doing the red carpet, you’ll have a person assigned to you to take you down for photos and interviews. For us who aren’t quite as famous as Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, your press escort will have a card with your name for photographers and journalists’ reference. I’ve also seen one-sheets that the press are given with major actors’ names and faces as a guide.
I did get some great shots past the barricade in front of the signage for the film, which still felt like a major step forward for this fangirl! Once you show your ticket and go inside, there are free concessions. I repeat, THERE ARE FREE CONCESSIONS. As a broke hungry millennial, this was huge. Naturally me and my girls grabbed some free popcorn and headed to our seats. Our seats were assigned – I learned during the days leading up to the event that the seating chart of a premiere is a very intricate and political Hollywood matter.
Once everyone was in the theater (10-15 minutes after the start time), the movie began! It was so exciting to see the end result of my blood, sweat, and tears – coordinating a last-minute title change for the film literally took years off my life. I was so pleased with the way the movie turned out – even better than I expected!
The movie ends, everyone’s pumped, and now it’s time for the after party! We had ours at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood – a usual suspect for most premiere after-parties (hint hint). One of my favorite moments of the night was our journey from across the street from the theater to the after-party. Hollywood Boulevard was shut down and closed off as we all made our way over. There were tourists, fans and spectators all watching the exodus — it was mind-boggling that I’d truly crossed to the other side of barricade!
The after-party provided more free food and booze (!!!) and a photo booth. Again, I know the real question is if I got schmooze with the stars. They did each have a security guard with them (Rule #5, people) , but I got to congratulate Ed Helms on his way out and my friend actually had a lovely exchange with Owen Wilson. I also accidentally sent his pictures from the photo booth to myself. Believe it or not, this was an honest mistake since he and his crew went right before us, but I regret nothing.
Things started to wind down around 11 PM, and since it was a weeknight, we couldn’t party the night away! It was a whirlwind experience for a first-time Hollywood insider, hopefully I’ll get the chance to attend more and take you all with me!