Following is Part 2 of a report from Tallyhead Amy, who not only got to visit The Office set, but had a walk-on part in tonight’s episode, ‘Branch Wars’!
After makeup, I’m taken to meet the person I will spend the morning with. Rashida Jones! As I am quickly becoming aware, my “role” is Dunder Mifflin employee at the Utica branch where Karen is branch manager. I am told that I will exit the office building acting as Karen’s friend on our way to get frozen yogurt and we will return together and then she will see the Scranton people and I will re-enter the building.
I cannot believe this!! We are being shot from a distance but I get to walk right alongside a major character!!! I am trying not to freak out at this point.
Because each of those scenes requires numerous takes, Rashida and I spend a great deal of time chatting and let me tell you, she was so down-to-earth and so non-star like, it was really easy to feel like we were office friends leaving the building for a snack. In fact, if the shot shows us chatting as we are walking, we were indeed just talking about living in New York (where I am from) etc. She was really terrific and made me feel very comfortable.
At this point I’ve calmed down enough to be able to observe what goes into a location shoot. It was quite interesting seeing what the prop people do (fyi, they had about 10 different yogurts ready to replace any of Karen’s that melted during re-takes and cookies with a bite cut out of them to replace mine in case I ate them), watching the hair and makeup people fixing people between shots, seeing the camera guys and all the ADs at work keeping everything and everyone organized.
At one point John Krasinski came over to say hello. And yes, he is indeed as good-looking in person as he is on screen! He was very nice and very funny with a lot of banter.
I have to make it clear that every single person I encountered, from hair and makeup to crew to actors to Kent Zbornak, were so nice and so concerned with making sure I (and my guest) had a good experience, I was completely impressed. I am pretty sure they are like that all the time — they seem to all have so much fun together.
We broke for lunch which was catered; a huge and tasty assortment of food. They only have a short time for lunch and then back to work. This is where I got to observe the magic of the set decorators. Two days before shooting, the building was an emptied office building. In one large room they had created an exact replica, right down to the post-its on each computer, of a regular office.
I could not believe it — it was like being back in my own office. Except I don’t have all the Utica paraphernalia they used to help set decorate. This is where I got to live out my dream of being a Dunder Mifflin employee — I had my own desk and pretended to work during the shots.
At one point, my desk was surrounded by Joss Whedon (director of that episode), Mindy Kaling (who wrote that episode), Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, and John Krasinski and I’m thinking, what am I doing here?!?! During this time, Phyllis Smith was visiting the set with some friends and someone introduced us and she gave me a great big hug! She is clearly the set sweetheart — everyone seems to adore her.
The day ended with shooting Karen’s talking heads and then it was “a wrap”. All the hair and makeup gals and the 2nd AD gave me a hug goodbye (I told you they were nice!) and we got in our car and were taken back to the hotel.
It was an unbelievable day and one I will never forget. Thanks again to Tanster and everyone at The Office (and Sierra Mist!) for helping me be a part of one of the best shows on television.