Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 14 - Meeting Johnny (this is LOOOOONG)

Sunday night I had a discussion with hubby, told him I needed some straight answers about going to Oshkosh….like did he really want to go or not? Should I factor him out of all plans and summon the courage to try and get myself there? He had always been so vague before, which is why I missed Friday’s filming at the airport. He kept saying I didn’t want him there. I said no, I didn’t want him to go along if he didn’t want to be there. I wanted to hang out with someone who would be into it, fun to talk to, not someone who would tag along after me making it extremely obvious that he’d rather be someplace else.

So he admitted he thought it might interesting. He agreed to leave work after a basic eight hour day (he usually works over-time) and come home to pick us up and head back to Oshkosh. He agreed to stay however late it got to be before I was ready to come home. I couldn’t believe it!

I had read on Rod’s blog that Rory was in town for these scenes. And I’d read that Johnny would be doing a meet-n-greet Monday. These two things, I think, are what really fueled my need to go.

All day Monday at work I was excited. When Lisa and I had gone to Columbus in March on the first day of filming, we had done it on a whim, quite out of nowhere. I had absolutely no idea what to excpect when we got there, so all of it was exciting. But now I knew more. Going to Oshkosh would be different. I was making plans this time. As the day went on I started getting really nervous because I was back to thinking hubby didn’t really want to do this. I started to consider not even going. Why did I want to do this so bad? To stand a million miles away, behind hordes of people, and in the end not see anything and have pics of the backs of peoples’ heads? No one else around me was even interested in it. I found that weird. (And still do!)

So the clock hits 3pm and I’m flying out of work, and heading to Ripon where I have a stupid eye doctor appointment. It was only a contact lens followup so I was hoping I’d get in and out, but no….I got there a bit early but still waited 15 minutes past my appointment time. *grrr* Hubby had figured if he left work at 3:30pm, he’d be getting home about the time I was getting home from my appointment. Didn’t look like that was going to happen. Once I finally saw the doctor I was very quick, very brief, very antsy, and sailed thru the appointment. I was home shortly after 4pm, and hubby was already there….ready to go.

Ty and Casey decided they didn’t want to go. At first I’d told them they had to go cuz all they ever do is sit around watching TV and playing video games. I had given them the lecture about how something like this doesn’t come along very often, blah blah blah. In the end, I was so excited to get going that I told them they didn’t have to go. And both opted to stay home. Then there was hubby, rushing me, and heading out the door before I’d even had a chance to gather my stuff. Soon enough though, we were on our way to Oshkosh.

We were very surprised to find a place to park as close as we did, on Court Street (I think). It was a ‘4 hr parking’ area. Hubby shrugged it off, saying he’d just walk back and move it later. It was about 4:50pm when we headed over to where the action was…up about a block and a half on Court, then left on Waugoo, heading over to where we saw people. At first I’d wanted to get around to the other side, cuz we’d seen the green screen and I knew that would be blocking our view. Everything was blocked off though, with cops patrolling, so we just headed along in the general direction of people.

We were in some kind of parking lot. Three things I noticed right away were the huge green screen, channel 26 news, and a guy in a dark suit and fedora….an extra….who looked familiar. ‘I think that’s Rod!’ thought I, and had him framed in my zoom lens, but didn’t take the pic for fear of looking like a dorky tourist. We were, afterall, behind the green screen, where there was nothing picture-worthy.

While I was taking in everything in those first moments, hubby had moved a bit farther down, was looking over towards the green screen, and said “Hey, I think that’s him on the steps.” I scoffed and blew him off, thinking ‘You don’t know what you’re looking for.’ But as I moved those few steps over to join him, I heard loud voices and suddenly there was gunfire. GAH!! I jumped, and the little girls around us screamed, then started laughing. We caught a glimpse of the action from a gap between a building and the edge of the green screen. A car was racing away from the scene, gunfire following. To our left, out of our view, down the parking lot, we heard cheers moments later. Soon enough, we heard the cheers again, coming closer to us, like a wave, and noticed the car come back.

I think we hung out in that crappy area long enough for them to run the scene again. While this was happening, I was aware of 26-news just off to my right, doing take after take of the news lady’s segment. I heard them saying they were going to pan over the crowd, and knew that the three young/teen girls next to me…and myself…would be the first ones seen in the ‘pan over the crowd.’ Doh!!

Anyway, we were in a crappy area for a short while, then I told hubby we *had* to move. I was still wondering how to get around to the other side. He suggested we just move down to the left, where we’d heard the cheers, where the car had driven away to. I wasn’t thrilled, because there were so many people over there, but what the heck… figured we’d see whatever there was to see as we passed by.

Right as we were approaching that area, another take of the scene was ending and the car had already gone by. We noticed it backing up, heading back to reset the scene, but then I heard someone say “Johnny’s walking back! Oooh, there he is!” I looked over to see…..Johnny Depp!!! I grabbed my big camera from hubby (zoom lens, hehe) and hurried a bit closer, then snapped pics almost blindly. It was like, take a pic then look with my own eyes to see the real thing then take a quick pic again before looking again. It’s crazy, do you soak in the moment with clear eyes?? Or do you try to capture it on film?? There really is a difference, if you’ve never been in a situation like that. (It was kinda like the first time I saw U2 in concert. I could see better if I watched the big screen, but I wanted to look at *them*!)

The car had backed up all the way to the set but Johnny had walked that block length, waving and smiling to the cheering crowd. I could not believe that after only ten minutes or so of being there, I had already seen him!! I was totally excited! This was going to be great!!

I found a spot in the crowd, only two people in front of me, and I could easily see over/between them. While we couldn’t see anything up by the green screen from here, this area was wide open. And I knew the car would be coming by right in front of us. We were directly across from the library, and had a perfect view of the trolly that was placed there. I had my digital camera in one hand, and my big ol’ film camera in the other. I prefer my film camera but it’s bulky, and a manual focus, and loud in this day of silent digital cameras. But I like to take pics on my digital cuz I can share those immediately. So I was ready for whatever presented itself in front of me.

I’m not even sure how long we stayed in that spot, but it was the longest we stayed put anywhere that day. They ran the scene several more times. The people in front of me had been there since 9am so they knew all the little cues for when the action was starting farther up on the set. “Oooh, the ladies are back in position,” or “The cop car is moving so they’re rolling up there.” We’d hear the gunfire, and moments later the car would whiz by, heading to the intersection just past us before stopping (“Cut!”) and driving reverse back to the set. Our favorite gangsters were standing outside the car, on the running boards, with their guns drawn. I had thought Stephen Dorff was one of them but I read later that his character was shot on the steps…? So I wonder now if it’s Stephen in the pics or if it’s David Wenham? Cuz I’d seen a pic of them on the bank steps and David was in that group. Hmm.

Not sure how many times we saw the scene, but eventually we saw the familiar black SUV heading up to the set and someone in the crowd commented that Johnny was leaving. Sure enough, moments later the SUV was going by again and turning off at the intersection we were by. People were straining to see if Johnny was in it. Yep, when the truck turned the corner and headed away from us, we could see the window open and Johnny waving out at the crowd over there. One lady by us summed it up with a big “DAMMIT!” Too funny.

I heard someone mention it was about 6pm. The crowd really started to clear out after Johnny left. When we noticed the extras were also leaving we figured that was the end of the action in this area. Hubby and I kinda hung around the area a bit longer, then decided to start walking…determined to get around to the other side because I knew base camp was over there. We had to walk several blocks down before we found one open that we could head north on. We eventually came to another intersection that was blocked, heard the security lady telling the people already waiting that “They’ve just started the scene again, so it will be a couple minutes.” I wondered what they were filming?? When we were finally allowed to cross, we kinda poked along, looking back up the street. We were crossing Washington and looking right back at the set in front of the green screen. There were security guys on the other side of the street who were urgently reminding us we need to cross quickly. In a moment of ‘Doh!’ we felt very embarrassed and hightailed it across the road and away from that intersection. LOL! And I was reminded of that moment in Columbus when we were also yelled at for crossing the street. I commented to hubby, however, that these people were waaaaay nicer than the security dudes in Columbus. LOL!!!

So I’m all turned around now and not even sure where we’re at anymore in relation to the set/green screen. Hubby leads me on, saying he knows exactly where we are. We end up joining a small crowd in another parking area, between two buildings. Turns out we are amazingly close to the set now!! We can’t actually see what’s going on in front of the ‘bank’ from here but we soon find out we’re at the other end…the starting end…of the scene on the road. There is an old car parked in the lot entrance right in front of us. This car moves down closer to the road and starts to pull onto the street when an old-time cop car comes screeching to halt almost in front of it. The first car hurries on its way while cops jump out of the cop car and assume the guns-drawn position. We hear loud voices (“Hey you, get out of there!”) and extras are running for cover. They do this several times, and we’re so close that each time they do it we hear the calls of ‘Picture up,’ ‘Rolling,’ ‘Action!’ etc.

It’s not until two days later, while looking at my pics for the millionth, that I realize this car by us is the getaway car that Johnny & Co. had been riding on. DUH me!! So they must have done all the filming that was heading one way, then did all the filming that was from the other direction. Clever how they do that stuff, and the end result will look so smooth and flawless.

They do this part of the scene many times. At one point while I’m fiddling with cameras or looking elsewhere, hubby points out “I think that was the director.” I blow it off again as ‘he has no clue,’ but in the end I think he was right again. *sigh*

Not sure how long we were in this area either but we eventually hear “That’s a wrap!” and the word is passed on thru the chain of security and crew people. The security girl right in front of us tells us “That’s a wrap for today, everyone. Thank you all so much for coming!” And suddenly droves of people are heading past us, to the right, and we just sort of fall into the flow. I realize we’re heading right for base camp. WOOT! Just as we walk into that area I hear some girls up ahead scream “STEPHEN DORFF!!!” and they start cheering . A bunch of other people start cheering and snapping pics but I really do wonder if it was a blind reaction…..LOL!! I mean really, if someone would have yelled “Street Sweeper! WOOOOO!” I bet a crapload of people would have started cheering and taking pics without hesitating. Funny.

I’m not even sure if Stephen Dorff had walked by, or was driven by, or just what those girls had seen. I know *I* didn’t see him but then again, we were just arriving. After that brief burst of cheers those same girls were commenting on how sad it was that the poor guy gets no recognition in this. And moments after that some crew guy walked by and huge cheer went up for “TYLER!!!!!! WOOHOOOOOO!!!!!” I’m left laughing at how he just got a bigger reaction than Stephen Dorff did. How sad is that??? There was one other point, shortly after that, when they cheered for Stephen again, but I swear I don’t know where they were seeing him…..?!?!

Not long after joining the HUUUUUGE crowd at base camp (five, six rows deep, the entire length of the block) we had someone walking up and down in front of us, explaining that Johnny would be out and making his way along the crowd. No autographs, please. No pushing. No screaming. No grabbing, etc. I was in the back of the crowd, and there were two guys next to me (letting the girlfriends have their thrill up front, lol) who were kinda mocking these instructions. (Not loudly, just to those around them.) “What, are we back in kindergarten now? Use your inside voices. It’s not nice to push….” They were kinda snobby but funny too. The lady reciting the instructions had said Johnny would be out between 7-7:30pm. One of the guys checked his watch and said it was 7:15pm.

One of the pacing cops let us know that Johnny was already out there, starting down at the end of the crowd, to our right. We couldn’t see anything of course, but people started raising their cameras up and snapping pics blindly again, then bringing the camera down to see if they could see anything of them. LOL A short way to our left was a camera man from channel 2/WBAY news. He was in the front row and would lean over, using his camera to look down the street, and announce Johnny's position to us…… “He’s about halfway between those two light posts now….”

It seemed to take For.Ev.Er! But eventually the people to the right of us were getting more and more excited. Everyone started reaching up with their cameras again, snapping blindly. I had the digital camera in my hand, and I had given the other camera to hubby with instructions of “Just take pics when he gets here!” I waited till I had my very first, obstructed glimpse of the brown hat before I started snapping pics. And suddenly it seemed like a hundred extra people had appeared around me, and everyone was pressing together. There was a little girl directly in front of me, maybe 8 or 9 years old. I felt so bad for her because there was no way she was even going to see anything.

Suddenly I’m getting more glimpses of him. The crowd is not screaming or unruly but they are definitely calling to him and shoving hands out to touch him. It’s a mild chaos, and I’m in the heart of it. Awesome. And then there he is! Just a few people down! People are pushing more. I’m not very tall, so I’m on my toes to try and keep a clear view. And then Johnny Depp is right in front of me!! (Well, in front of the other five rows of people ahead of me...)


And that same moment of panic happens again…..where you don’t know if you should waste those precious seconds taking pics or taking in the vision with your bare eyes, to drink in every detail. I made a feeble attempt to get my hand extended towards him, but decided I was too far back and needed to get pics instead. Thinking about it now, it seems I remember hearing his voice but I couldn’t tell what was being said. Even the moments of looking right him are sort of a blur in my mind now. I know I *did* see him directly in front of me, but I’ve looked at the pics so many times that it’s those I remember. And all too soon he was moving past and the crowd to the left was soon blocking him from view again.

Immediately, right in front of me, the channel 2 news guys were interviewing those girls who had been screaming and cheering for Stephen Dorff. I saw that one of the girls was crying, hands shaking. The others were squealing in delight, jumping up and down and hugging each other. The news dude was asking them about their experience. Once again, I was right there in view of the news camera! BLEAH!!! I moved away and down the left a bit. I couldn’t see Johnny anymore but it was obvious he was still working his way down to the end. The area where we were was rapidly clearing out because everyone was running down to that other end in hopes of seeing him again. (I understood then where all those people had come from behind me at the time. Hehe)

Hubby and I kinda hung around in this thinned out area. There was a guy and a girl next to us, looking thru pics he’d gotten on his camera. One of them laughed about how one of his pics was just Johnny’s eyes. I leaned over to peek and he showed me. It was a friggen awesome pic!!! I wish I’d thought fast enough to get an email addy or something so I could get a copy of that. (I’d overheard some people earlier discussing things like that.) He showed me a couple more of his pics…all of them amazingly closeup and unobstructed. He obviously was in the front of the crowd. (If anyone reading this knows who this guy was, contact me! Closeup pic of Johnny’s eyes. We were just to the left of where chan2 was interviewing the girls.)

There were people dressed as old-time newspaper sellers…..newsies, I think? They were selling what looked like old-time papers with stories of Dillinger and stuff. Hubby bought me one. Cool! Turns out it was the Northwestern with a special old looking front page. Still rather cool, and a clever way to sell the papers.

We hung around until we saw Johnny, way down at the end of crowd, getting into the black SUV to leave. He paused in the doorway and waved to the crowd again, then he disappeared inside and was gone. Hubby and I started walking back to the car. More areas were opened up now so we didn’t have to walk all the way back where we’d come in from. In fact we were able to cut down between the two buildings we’d been watching from earlier (the cop car portion) and get right onto Washington street. The green screen was already down, but we noticed there was still something going one. We paused, heard “Fire in the hole!” and BOOM!!!!…an incredibly loud gun shot. Looking more closely (it was dark by now) we could see some crew guys holding a microphone thingie on a long pole, holding it up high in the air. They were standing in the street, and we noticed some people on the steps of the ‘bank,’ one of them with a gun, aiming it in the air and firing once in a while. We came to the conclusion that they were recording sound bits. Cool.

So we headed back to the car, and it was starting to hit then…..finally…..that I’d actually seen Johnny Depp several times! That I’d been *thisclose* to him, looked at him directly in front of me, heard his voice. WOOT!!! No, I can’t claim, like so many around me, “I shook his hand!” or “I touched him!” or “He hugged me!!” but the little bit I got was way more than I’d expected! I’m happy!!!

We were on the road, heading home, by 8:05pm. So it had taken less than three hours for all of this to happen. No marathon was needed. And I am positive that hubby was getting into the excitement of it all but he will never admit it. I could tell, his whole manner…his vibe…his, I don’t know…changed while we were there. I think it might have been, for him, like it was for me that day in Columbus. Totally clueless about what to expect, so every bit about it was new and exciting. I was sorry now that Ty and Casey had missed it. (When they saw our pics and heard our tales, I think they were sorry too!)

I have way too many pics to try and post in here. And I’ve gotten long-winded anyway…doh! So I’ll just leave a link and you can view the pics at your leisure. Enjoy! I know I did!!


  1. great job! I read every word and looked at every shot. my experience was very different yesterday... thanks for taking the timeto share your experience! = ) you can check out mine here

    thanks agian,

  2. lmao you are SOOOOOOooo funny! So were you one of those "screaming" girls that they showed on the news? Did you even make the news footage that they filmed? That would have ben SOOOOoo cool! I am really glad that Kurth went with you. How has your week ben otherwise? Girls and I have been outside every day this week till it gets dark. Justina

  3. Tina, I realized after I posted that novel that I never did followup on some bits. It was late and I was tired by then so I didn't go back and add anything. Look for answers in my next

    *waves to blogger buddy Betty*

  4. So I just read your updated post from um... the next day or something hehe. So you didnt make the news that kinda stinks:( Oh will go to the other blog to leave the comments on that one:) Tina

  5. Eeee!!!! I was smiling all the way through this. That's so awesome. I'm glad Kurth went. And when I read that he bought you that paper, I thought, "Awww." :D :D

    Very very very very cool. I'm gonna be excited to see this movie now!!

  6. Thank you, Maire. Welcome to my blog. :)

    I re-read this whole post. Ah, fun times.