Have you ever watched an awards show and dreamed of attending? Turns out, if you happen to be in LA, it's not as tough as you'd think. Every production with an audience requires a full audience. In case you didn't know, television is all about appearances. That’s where seat fillers come in.
There are two types of seat fillers: paid and unpaid. Major awards shows can get away with not paying you. They just call you a "volunteer." To apply, the most you'll need is a headshot and resume. These "casting" companies just want the bare minimum assurance that you’re not going to cause trouble. All shows are different depending on demand. For the Oscars you have to know someone in the Academy. Luckily, there are plenty of shows that aren’t as selective. There are various sites that staff these unpaid seat fillers like Seat Fillers and More, TV Tickets.com, and Seat Fillers.com. Paid seat fillers are often used for television show tapings that have trouble finding daily audiences. Yes, you can actually get paid minimum wage for sitting through a talk show. It’s the easiest way to make cash in Hollywood, and you can apply online at sites like Standing Room Only or Onset Productions.
It's important to remember that, while you may dream of sitting next to Jennifer Lawrence, it’s not quite that glamorous. All that matters to these companies is that you look the part and do exactly what they say. They probably have strict rules about what you can wear. They'll take your phone before the show begins. They’ll treat you like cattle, meaning they won’t bother to ask your name but will make you move seats several times. Remember that your job is to make the room look full and pretty. That means you’re not allowed to talk to celebrities, but you are required to smile and applaud exuberantly. You'd be surprised how tiring it can be to sit around.
Even though it can be a bit boring at times, it is still a unique and fascinating experience. So, if you're interested, there is a definite possibility that you can attend the an upcoming awards show this year…or, at the very least, go to a taping of Dr. Phil.
Christina Mondy is a New Englander exploring every inch of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, from productions to public relations. She just wants to drink coffee, write sketches, watch documentaries, save animals, and take naps.