Seeing Richard Armitage, Against All Odds or Welcome To My ‘Hood, Richard

dolby edit

dolby theatre corporate, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre

I did something I did not think I would do.  I actually went to the premiere.  And yes, I saw Richard Armitage.
The decision to do this was a last minute one.  It occurred to me that there would probably be no other opportunity for me available in my lifetime.  Really.  I am a realist.  I freelance and I am small time and I am late in the game in my chosen profession.  I do not have the connections under my belt to gain press access in a timely manner, and my own physical (mental?) restrictions prevent me from seeking out crowds.
I hate crowds.  Tonight reminded me as to just why, but to be honest, it really was not that bad.  That is probably not a good thing, as far as premieres go.  But I, personally, am grateful.
It was worth it.
I began my trek from the Pasadena area around 4:35 pm and made my way to Hollywood proper.  The freeways were mercifully clear, with a minor jam nearest my exit off of Gower St, spilling me off the 101 freeway at 5:00 pm.  At rush hour, this is exceptional good time.
black carpet edit
the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
I came in the back way to the Hollywood and Highland, from Franklin, passing by my once Hollywood apartment which was about 6 blocks from my “now” destination.  Pausing at the light, I look up to my left, and there is a new sign on what must be the corporate headquarters for the Dolby Theatre.  This all is new.  Well, new to me.  I then turn left from Franklin onto Highland in my very familiar old ‘hood, and headed just one block to enter directly into the 15 year old complex known as The Hollywood & Highland.
Parking ease was a good sign also.  However, this still required winding down 5 levels as I went straight to the bottom-most section of the structure, securing my usual spot which most folk have yet to grasp as to how easy it really is to find.  Ready and eager to go, I grabbed my gear and made my way up 5 sets of escalators, working towards the Dolby Theatre, which was located on the 2nd level of the complex.  By this time it is 5:15 pm.
Men in black suits littered the entryway of the Dolby open-air pre-foyer, screening those begging entrance to the Ticket Will Call.  I myself had hoped that I would have secured tickets through the Women’s Health Magazine contest, but it was no surprise really that I did not.  I don’t win contests.
above edit
the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
I quickly worked easily passed the roped and shallow barricaded black carpet that lead from the street front and up the famous red steps of Oscar fame – steps created for just that purpose.
It is about here, however, where I proceed to make what I think are good decisions, but are actually bad.
At this point, things are not too busy.  People are lined at the barricades, but they are only allowing single lines, so – good girl that I am – I heed this.
It’s 5:45 and I am told by a very nice Man in Black that “things” will start at 7:00.  Okay. I have time.
So, for the next hour or so I wander the area to scope out a spot.  I take pictures of the entire setup, and some of glittering landscape around, so that I can share it here.  I make my way to upper levels, getting “eagle” eye views and capturing those as well.  I do happen to know the complex very well, as I have taken many a set of relatives and friends from out of state on mini tours.  And when The Highland club opened, I organized and held my 20 year class reunion there.  I went to school just down the street.
This really is my ‘hood.
hobbit carpet press edit
the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
So finally, I settle on a position nearest the steps up to the Dolby and secure it.  It is on an upper level looking down and there is a convenient chair.  Expecting my zoom feature to provide decent images of my then vantage point, I keep the position, testing out my camera and what-not, so that when the time comes I am ready.
This was bad idea #1.
Of course, all of this activity has begun to wear down my battery.  But no fear, I have my power cord and I miraculously secure an outlet.  I hear screams from around the corner around this time, and because they come at 5 minute intervals, I vacillate between my secured area and the outlet to hover near my furiously charging camera, hoping that nothing “happens” while this is taking place.  But I get impatient often and I am constantly unplugging, checking and fiddling with the camera, and replugging in the camera over the course of a 45 minute time period.
This was bad idea #2.
As I write this I am thinking about how I am too old for this, but hey – Richard is my age-ish and he has put up with far more, so here is where I stop whining…somewhat.
throngs
the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
I hear screams from around the corner.  They die down, but fairly quickly down the carpet comes Production Designer, Dan Hennah.  And I have a feeling Richard Taylor, Creatures, Effects and “Orcrist” designer, went by as well, amongst a host of other fantastic crew folk too quick and too humble to work the crowds.
Again, I hear the screams, but this time is after a black SUV pulls to the front most area, and not with the other vehicles which are not in sight, but around the corner.  Out of the SUV comes Luke Evans, who goes straight and fast out of sight, which was to the last leg of the 50 yard press line-up.  He was still too far away for an image.
Then, 5 minutes later, there are screams.  Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), and his family, move down the carpet far too fast for any pics, stopping maybe once or twice for autographs.
Then in another 5 minutes, Philippa Boyens makes her way down.  She does stop for autographs and I, of course, am not able to get decent images.  She is just lovely.
I then see a large group forming and I realize that my position really won’t do.  Suddenly a mass containing Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, and then someone yells “Peter.”  I take some pics, but I just know that this will not do.  So I move, and as quickly as I can, down the stairs and into the throngs below.
Mayhem.
richard mine
richard armitage – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
Men in Black try to keep the lineup at the barricades as “single” or as narrow as possible, and so we are constantly being moved – me and the throngs that are now getting frenzied.  I am moving closer to the stairs, I recall a vantage point that might be a good one.  I keep myself moving so that I don’t get told to move.
Then I hear it…several screams of “Richard!”
richard armitage - the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles - 12-2-13 - Photo crystalchandlyre

richard armitage – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre

I turn around to find and struggle to secure as close a spot as possible.  Then suddenly, he is there…right there.  I aim my camera in panic and press.  Nothing.  I press again, and snap.  No flash. I do this several times not knowing if anything is happening I just keep pressing and snapping.  Then within seconds he is already up the steps, and rather quickly.  I realize that I must just stop pressing the camera button because if I don’t I will not get to see much of him.  So, at this point, for about 4 seconds, I just watch him walk up the “Oscar” steps.  He looked good.  Sharp and slender in his grey suit.  But he did look like a man whose eyes  had just been assaulted by camera flash for what was probably hour.
So I watched that familiar rear view, and one I have to acknowledge that I have never seen that close, from approximately 5 – 8 feet away, until he receded into the awaiting reception of the above open-air foyer to the Dolby.  I then realized that I was staring and motionless and people were crazed around me.
stairsrichard armitage, an exiting view – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
Then it occurred why.  I could hear the screams of “Aidan!”, “Dean!”, and “Orlando!”.
They traveled in a pack, I swear!  This made it very difficult to actually do much of anything, but try I did.
Aidan was the best, frequently turning around while heading up the steps.  But even then,  I – and my camera – were not fast enough really.  But he really is so very charming.
It was at this point I realized I was done.
This was probably the final bad idea of the night, since there were still many others to follow.  No Martin and no Benedict – I missed them both.  Live & learn.
I still feel good about this.  As miserable as I felt the moment I checked my images to find that I had not shot off much at all, it occurred to me that – at the time I write this – Richard, his cast mates and the filmmakers are all in a dark theater, about 12 miles away from where I am now, enjoying a movie I will also enjoy in about 10 days, and in a place I grew up in and have watched metamorphose into what it is now – a re-imagined, premiere-worthy Hollywood.
So I now realize that I indeed accomplished something I did not even think I would try.
I saw Richard Armitage tonight.

~ crystalchandlyre

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78 thoughts on “Seeing Richard Armitage, Against All Odds or Welcome To My ‘Hood, Richard

  1. Pingback: Taking Things For Granted | crystalchandlyre

  2. Pingback: Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda or Sorry Richard, My Bad Fanart Is Just To Make A Point | crystalchandlyre

  3. Pingback: Seeing Richard Armitage – Part II, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Premiere LA | crystalchandlyre

  4. Thanks for sharing. So happy for you! I couldn’t justify the five hour drive down to LA for a ‘maybe’ sighting so I love living vicariously through reports like yours. I’m the same age-ish and also hate crowds. You got your glimpse – Hooray!

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    • Thank you! I’m not sure myself if I would have done a five hour drive. That would have taken planning. I didn’t decide I was going until a few hours before the event. I lucked out that things worked well the way they did, at least as far as the commute.

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  5. Wow Crystal! I missed the whole streaming thing as I was at work, so was very excited to discover your post. It takes a lot to make me squee but I nearly did it out loud on the train this morning, reading about your experience! Good on you for braving the crowds – I’m not keen on them either. Thanks for sharing. You’ve inspired me to attend something like this – if Richard ever visits Melbourne.

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    • This makes me very happy, hearing you say this. Really and truly, it does. (In the car ride there I actually chanted a mantra to myself “I will not squee, I will not squee”)

      So I squeed, but only online here, where he can’t hear. ;)

      I truly hope for you that Melbourne may be a future destination for Richard to promote “There and Back Again”, or better still an actual Premiere! :D

      I just met a lovely couple on a train this weekend who were from Sydney. (I hope you get along with those in Sydney ;) ) They talked of the fires a bit when I asked. They confirmed what I always have thought about local disasters and world perception. It was the same for them as it was for us in LA County with our massive fires a few years back – the entire world thought that much of the town was on fire!

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  6. Well done you having flown to the end of the world last year to see Richard at the Wellington premiere I understood everything you felt. Getting a vantage point and actually meeting him not easy to negotiate and like you I hate and can’t cope with crowds. I had the help of my lovely daughter who hunted out the spot stayed all day and made friends to call for Richard when we spotted him. Without her I would have been too embarrassed at my age to fangirl and she isn’t even a fan. She came up trumps we got him to our side and she took the pictures whilst I just stood google eyed as he spoke to me. I reported on RichardArmatige.net if you want to read my report. Like you i’m glad I did it but would not do again or perhaps not until London next year! Had I have been incharge of the camera I’m afraid I would have nothing to show for it as I lost all co-ordination as he was no more than a foot in front of my face!!!!!

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    • Oh that is excellent! Bravo for pulling the troops! Good for you, you did better than I, for certain!

      It would have been good for me to have had a partner in this, mutually scouting and what-not. Live and learn. ;)

      But actually I did not fly to New Zealand last year for the premiere. I watched it via Stream like most folk in the States. Then I consumed all interviews and events surrounding it and it’s promotion like a starved animal. So my comments were strictly from the perspective of an observer. But by all the accounts that I both saw and heard, Wellington indeed was unique in its make-up as an event.

      It was what you call a “controlled environment” that made the perfect recipe for attentive and truly appreciative fans and reciprocal event coordination. Everyone participated – the ENTIRE town! They threw a party for themselves and invited the world and the world came and loved it!

      In Los Angeles you can’t get everyone to agree on exactly what to EAT at a small party, much less gather and organize people and events perfectly for something like that! ;)

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    • Thank you! After the initial shock wears off, it sinks in. I had a weird mix of emotions going on – some panic, some anticipation. Then I took a breath. So yes, it really was on reflection.

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  7. Just adding my congratulations on overcoming your anxiety and making it to the premiere. As one who also hates crowds, noise, jostling and standing for hours, I commend your courage. I enjoyed your recount and can relate some of it to my experience at the Q&A in Sydney- especially your observations about Armitage in the flesh. Maybe when the excitement of the premiere dies down you could expand on those thoughts?

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    • Several have suggested this also, so I do think I will plan too.

      I have been delaying finishing a fan interview I did a little while ago, and she has been sweetly patient, so I am not sure if I will finish that first or do this. I will at least jot down thoughts for sure.

      Be sure to read the comments. I have said more throughout – my apologies for being scattered.

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  8. Good for you. At least you saw him. I know how it feels to have a camera not work when you want it to at a special moment too or to be in the wrong place. I’m thinking you could have used a point man (or woman) to help out as well. Then again you learned a lot from this one so next time it will be easier and you will know more what to look out for. I don’t like crowds either and my main problem is standing for long periods of time. Most of the cast was great about coming over to talk with fans.

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    • Thank you. And yes, I too have issues with standing, (repaired double torn menisci) so a chair was imperative. I can’t stand on concrete for long periods of time. And I really can’t run after anyone, and being pushed could have been really dangerous for me. (risk of re-tearing)

      I did not know a the time that the cast was going over to The El Capitan side. I see that later on the Stream. And fantastic on them, those who were able to!

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      • Well you certainly have a worse problem than I do. I can do without a chair for a bit but definitely these days if I push the back too much I pay for it for days. Start thinking now about the next movie and premiere. Rumor already has it that it will be London. I think I might give that a try if I can. Christmas in London might be fun.

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        • I certainly hope for anyone in the area, or anyone who wishes to travel for it, that that is the case. For me, that kind of travel right now is out of the question. But, as they say, “Never say never.”

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  9. Brilliant, Crystal. Thanks for your impressions of the premiere and the meet with the man. You got closer than I did last year at the London event. In the end, it doesn’t matter very much, does it? The buzz of the evening was probably really good, and if you bumped into some fellow fans, I am sure it was even better. – As for the flat battery: Rookie mistake. (And yes, I make that mistake ALL the time, too…) The lack of good shots: I think you did the right thing and saw through your eyes rather than the lens. That way you consciously lived the moment. That is much more valuable than any photo! Well done!

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    • I can’t agree with you more. That moment would have been lost forever. I had looked directly into his face at one point – I neglected to mention that here, actually. No eye contact, but I saw “him” and that too is invaluable.

      I know I haven’t really described him much. Those of us who have now seen him probably have different takes.

      I will say this here, where I should have said before, he was both alike and yet different from how I have imagined. Bigger-than-life is difficult to describe about an actor’s persona and physicality when compared to their actual physical being.

      For instance, some images appear to me to make his head seem larger. His head is better proportioned in reality, at least from my perception.

      He is slender, but because I know that images can put “weight” on people, he did not seem any slimmer than in recent images.

      He is still slimmer than that of North/Bateman, John Porter or Sir Guy, but not skinny.

      I said to someone privately, but I will say this here also – I don’t know where he gets that he has a mean face. I saw much boy, and a softness (not fleshy – soft.)

      And I can now easily see how one might not randomly recognize him on the street, as he has said in interviews. He has the everyman about him – in countenance and looks. This is the truth.

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      • This, Crystal, is the most valuable part of your experience and of the post you wrote about it. I love what you have written here. Yes, subjective, as everything is that we write – but I find it fascinating and insightful to read your interpretation of the encounter, your description of him.
        You should turn this comment into a post of its own – it is more evocative than the minute description of the event. This tells us what we want to hear: YOUR impression. And it is a very nice one. Would love to corroborate that!
        Thank you thank you thank you.

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      • Thank you for sharing your experience with us so thoughtfully. Loved your reporting and so glad you were rewarded for taking a chance on braving crowds, traffic and the Hollywood Fwy. Now I am regretting not trying to see him. I am an unworthy fan. I am so happy for you, and happy for us that you gave us such great descriptions and impressions.

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        • Well, I am not sure what your commute is or your circumstances work-wise, etc., but I would hate to see you hard on yourself with the word “unworthy.”

          If you and I are living in the same town, then we both know what fresh hell awaits anyone attempting a trek on the 101 in rush hour, especially when they have a time-table and agenda. It was a blessing to not find myself screaming in the car for hour or more in frustration. (Not kidding folks – I do this. It plain makes me feel better, perhaps making me look like an idiot to my neighbor cars – and I don’t care.) So I was saved there, but you would not have known that really. (Oddly I didn’t even check Sigalert before I left, not that it is always right.)

          And if you were already aware of what other “Hollywood” premieres are like – and this season in particular has been prolific with them, then you too – as any sane and logical Angelino – would avoid Hollywood Proper and the mayhem like the plague.

          If I had not gone, I still would have been okay. Because I would have had the knowing and wisdom supporting all of the above which could have lead to a small nightmare like no other – wasting gas, expending personal energy, risking crazy and accident-prone LA drivers, excessive parking fees (It was $13 at the H & H – I also lost my ticket), lack-of-parking fiascoes, and a host of other unknown hurdles around any corner which are unique to Los Angeles.

          So the odds were stacked against really.

          They only thing I will say is this – if your stomach was telling you otherwise, and you ignored it, then I would encourage you not to let that happen to you again. :)

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  10. Speaking from the standpoint of someone who’s wasted way too much of her life talking herself out of her desires for whatever reason, I am *overjoyed* that you did this.

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      • All I can say is good for you and thanks for doing it and writing about it. I actually just started crying, thinking about this. We need to do more of this. My mistake has always been that I calculate rationally whether my expectations could be fulfilled, and since the odds are low, I tell myself not to waste the time. I never think about the value of the experience itself in terms of joy and doing something one just wants to do. So, again: good for you.

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  11. I know how hard it is to make that initial decision to do something out of your comfort zone. But you *did* and that is what matters. And what a “something” … :) Seriously proud of you, girl, seriously!

    Thanks for sharing not only your pictures *high five* but your thoughts and feelings as well.

    And tell that little voice in your head (you know, the one that keeps telling you that you could have done things so much better) to hush up, ’cause you got closer than all of us! *giggle* You did good! ;)

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    • Thank you for this. I will certainly try to keep the Girl Negative down as much as possible. She gets in the way a lot. Certainly a fix-thing. But the recognize is much appreciated. I have trouble with perspective often in that. :)

      But I don’t think we can really say I have gotten closer than all here (Blogosphere). I think several have actually met, shook hands, gotten autographs, exchanged words. That is pretty close – and closer than I would indeed attempt I should say right here.

      Although, I did think to bring my North & South DVD, so there is something in that. (But I left it in the car on purpose – I really knew better of my own nature.)

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      • We all have some Girl Negative in us. Sometimes we just have to shout over her and send her over to the corner to think about what she’s done. ;)

        Oh sweetie, I wasn’t talking about the blogosphere. I was just talking about last night. You were 3000 miles closer to him than I was. :)

        Again, good job. And thank you. :)

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  12. You Go Girl!!! *high five* !
    I’m so proud of you for taking the plunge, experiencing something out of your comfort zone AND coming back to report to us :)
    RA fan encounters are my favourite and seeing that Richard is actively avoiding me, I can at least live vicariously through my fellow RA admirers!

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    • Living vicariously sure has its benefits. I have been doing it for years. ;) But seriously, I certainly hope the opportunity is afforded you, and soon. I’m sure Richard doesn’t really mean it. But some boys like to create mystery that way, you know? Shame on him for that. ;) But, again, hopefully this is rectified soon enough where he is at least close enough for a drive.

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  13. Oh, love, well done!! I hate crowds too, so I’m doubly (Dolby? snicker) proud of you for doing this!! Well done. And I know how it is when you’re making decisions on the fly – hindsight is always, as they say, 20/20. But in your honor, I’m singing “We are the champions” and throwing my fists up in the air (annoying Snaps no end). Sigh. This makes me feel much better about not being there myself. :D

    Go, YOU!! xoxoxoxxo

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    • Aw, sorry Snaps! Mamas can get a bit animated, can’t we? *scritchies his ears*

      I think you probably know this, although I haven’t said it, but it was your trek, as well as that of Perry, that was the most encouraging. Probably a strong catalyst. I mean, you got in a car, and traveled alone for far longer and braved much colder. (It was LA’s typical 75 degrees last night. LA is a real Bitch often, but at least THAT is her best feature!)

      And I didn’t have the lovely company that you had – well I did, but not quite the same. :) And, as well, you had him in your sights for far longer! I will always covet the time those of you there had. ;)

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      • Oh!! I’m all squirmy now. I never know quite what to do with praise like that. :} I’m glad if I gave you chutzpah! I think we are all learning to flex our “go get ’em” muscles and that is a great good thing. We all deserve to live our dreams, even if in small and pedestrian ways. (Or in big ones!) Sometime you and I will get together and then, world, watch out. :D

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  14. I loved your very down-to-earth retelling :cool: I especially liked the part where you were silently watching him walk up the steps, while everyone exploded around you :grin:

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    • You know, right at that time I did not really realize how in important that one moment was. I could have fumbled for the video feature on my phone. If I had, I would have lost that time. I was immediately lamenting thereafter that I didn’t get more, or any video, but later realized that I did get “that” – and its mine. There is already plenty of video out there.

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    • Ha, thank you! It is now morning and things look brighter upon reflection. And oddly, I don’t recall seeing the moon last night. ;) I had a beautiful picture of the sunset, though, and didn’t post it. Maybe I should have.

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  15. Pingback: Then and There – Perry’s Thoughts on the L.A. Premiere | Armitage Agonistes

  16. I was very touched by this! I hate crowds too, but I also know the feeling that motivates you to brave them in spite of everything. I think your pictures are great! Taken by you. Of him. So they’ll always be precious keepsakes of that experience. But I’m glad you took a moment just to savor it and not use the camera.

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    • Thank you, Linnet. I think I lucked out. Or, I should say, I think I deliberately avoided the brunt of the throng, which was primarily in the front (on Hollywood Blvd) and nearest the Press line-up.

      That group “might” have gotten them visually in sight for longer, but they had a barricade that had about 6′ of space between them and the paparazzi. And then another 6′ feet thick of paparazzi. So I can honestly say I made some good, conscious choices in after-thought.

      Stopping to “smell the roses” was definitely the right thing to do, I so agree. :)

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  17. Im so glad you saw him! Well done for making the last minute decision to go – it was definitely worth it and I think you are being too hard on yourself. You did’nt make “bad decisions” all the decisions you made got you there! Really happy for you.

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    • I commented here and it seems to have gotten lost, so I will again. I too am glad that I changed last-minute mind (That woman’s prerogative in full effect. ;) ) Hopefully, if there is a lesson in there, it might actually stick for me.

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    • I’m so happy you decided to go and even if your camera acted up at the worst possible time, you got to see him. Like you said, it’s a once in a lifetime thing although you’ll never know with more movies in the future :).

      Isn’t the energy if the crowd interesting? From the energy of the press to the fans, it’s an interesting thing to experience.

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      • Interesting truly is the word. I have encountered a little of it here and there. Thankfully I was never in a position to be pushed or shoved, as that would have ruined much.

        But I have been on the flip side, and the energy being received is amazing. In 2000, some friends of mine who worked at the Academy had extra tickets to the Oscars when it was at the Shrine Auditorium briefly. The Red Carpet walk was amazing. I was on it for at least 2 hours. The feeling is really indescribable – a high like no other. Even if the screaming is not “for you”, that energy is coming at you full force and it is beyond positive – it is drug-like.

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  18. omg !!! YOU DID THIS! Girlfriend, I am so happy for you and proud of you. Please post again about your feelings, once you recover. And that rear view…

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  19. Then you will be ready for next years. Maybe you can score tickets to the fan area at the Oscars’ Red Carpet!

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  20. If you had a Time Turner, what would you have done differently? I am still very happy that you decided to go and were able to see him, albeit briefly. Perhaps later you should sit down and write down how it made you feel, even if your thoughts are too private to share with us. Maybe one day he’ll have reason to come down to Dallas. Yeah, right! ;D

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    • For your sake, I certainly hope so. :)

      I probably would have done the following differently:

      1) Bought a different camera beforehand and had an extra charged battery or 2. I was ready to stomp the one I have into the ground.

      2) Got in on the barricade line and stayed there. I was certainly early enough.

      3) Hung out longer to see others and maybe sought out the after-party for more pics (a weak maybe on that), which was either at The Highland or in the upper ballroom – both venues I have attended, but not the Kodak-now-Dolby Theatre.
      4) Said his name more than once – but at least I did that.

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  21. Oh dear, I’m so happy you saw him! :-D You actually took at least one good decision: to go there and trying to see him. Mission accomplished ;-)

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    • Thank you, my dear Micra! Yes, I almost didn’t. And then I thought “When am I ever going to get another chance?” So, yes, very glad now that I did, especially since it was relatively painless. ;)

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