My Day on the Set of Veronica Mars
March 12, 2006 by Kath Skerry
When I first started Give Me My Remote, just mere months ago, I could never have anticipated what a fun hobby this would be. I figured I would jump online and share my thoughts and opinions on my favorite TV shows, and a few of you might stop by every once and a while and check out what I had to say, and that would be it. Never did I expect that my little blog would get me from Boston, MA to Neptune, CA. But it did. The kind people of Warner Bros, UPN and mPRm flew me out to San Diego for the first ever Veronica Mars Bloggers Press Day, and as you can expect it was crazy fun.
Last Monday morning I woke up the beautiful California sunshine. Being from the East Coast, it’s so amazing to wake up in the morning, and have your first cup of coffee on the veranda under the warm sun… in FEBRUARY!! After trying on three different outfits (nothing seemed right for the day ahead), I headed down to meet my friend from Random Acts of Television. Although this was our first time meeting face-to-face, we had emailed enough over the past few months that we already felt like old friends.
After a quick breakfast, we met up with the other 7 bloggers who had flown in from all over the country for the day. Also along for the fun were our two mPRm friends, Sienna & Chelsea; Holly from Warner Brothers; and Karla, a reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune who was writing a story about our day on the set. Soon we would also be joined by a Warner Bros photographer who captured our whole day in pictures for UPN. After meeting the rest of the crew we were anxious to get our day started. Little did we know that we would be starting it in such style.
Oh they knew the VIPs that were coming today. We were picked up, big pimpin’ style, in a black SUV limo. Hell, we were only going to the set across the street….but I’m not complaining. It was a great way to start off the day, and inside that limo was when I realized that fellow Bostonian DuckyxDale was my new BFF. And it’s a damn good thing he and I hit it off, because we had a loooong time together before our little feet his Massachusetts soil.
As we pulled on to the set, the first thing we all noticed was Logan Echolls’ bright yellow Xterra. I think that’s the moment that it all sunk in. We were actually on the set of Veronica Mars. Holy sh*t!!! As we exited the limo, I wasn’t quite sure where my eyes should be looking. I was sure that everything around us, every tree, every piece of trash, was somehow connected with the show. I was trying to take everything in – I didn’t want to miss a single thing.
Before I knew it I was standing in the cafeyard of Neptune High School. So many crucial moments of the show happened right here in this little cafeteria courtyard. I immediately recognized the yellow and red McDonalds-like table where Roni and Wallace had many heart-to-hearts. The signs, the posters, the flagpole, the Lilly Kane Memorial Fountain…oh yeah, I was in Neptune alright. You know who else was there? Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) and Kyle Gallner (Cassidy “Beaver” Casablancas). Kristen and Kyle were filming a scene from episode 18 entitled ”I am God”. And oh my god, during the scene Veronica and Beav were totally dishing on….oh wait, sorry kids, I’m sworn to secrecy. Guess you’ll have to wait until the episode airs on April 18th to find out.
After standing around for a few minutes with, what I’m sure was the biggest, goofiest grins, we were escorted to our chairs, which gave us a great vantage point to watch the scene with Veronica and Beaver unfold. Earphones were passed around so we could hear the dialogue during the scene, and we even got a chance to stand right behind the director, Martha Mitchell, as she watched the scene unfold on the monitors. It was really interesting to see this whole cafeyard, filled with crew, equipment, and extras, juxtaposed with what we saw on the monitor, which looked just like what we see each week on TV. Very cool.
As we were watching take after take of the scene, I saw a very familiar face making his way across the pavement. Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas) strolled in looking every bit the surfer boy that we know and, well, loathe. It was at this precise moment that I fell in love with Dick. Sorry Mom, I’m not trying to be crass here. The boy’s name is Dick. No avoiding the dirty jokes that have and will continue to prevail. Ladies, let me tell you…the boy is fine. I was immediately smitten, as were the other girls, and my BFF DuckyxDale. Scooter was still holding on strong to the earphones just listening to his lady Kristen speak her sweet lines.
Ryan was super cool and immediately came over and chatted with us and let us all accost him with our cameras. When I mentioned I was from Boston he gave me a huge smile and said how much he loved Boston last time he was there. We later joked about getting him out to Beantown again, and how I could get him into a few bars. Sidenote: The boy is 24 and married!! Seriously, what is it with those Veronica Mars boys getting married so damn young.
Anyway, the scene carried on and Ryan continued to play around on the set, and was eventually asked to be in the background of a shot. At one point, Ryan kept motioning for me to jump in the scene as an extra, but I wasn’t looking to burn any bridges with the nice people that brought me there so I stayed in my little yellow seat. But when I tell ya that we all were just feet from being in an episode of Veronica Mars…I ain’t joking. We were right there.
A little while later Rob Thomas, the creator of Veronica Mars, came over to greet us. He made us all feel very welcome and said he was excited about our visit – the first group visit to the set of Veronica Mars….ummm, go us!!! He chatted with us for a few and then took off. Little did I know how much QT we would get with Mr. Thomas later in the day.
During a break in filming, Kyle Gallner (Beaver) came over to meet us. Like everyone we met that day, he was very nice and really laid back. I wanted scoop him up and bring him home with me, I’m not kidding. The kid is adorable. The baby face is so squashable. And he knows it. More than once he mentioned that he knows he looks really young for his 19 years. That’s going to come in handy later in life…believe me. Kyle mentioned that he was happy that the fans were taking such a liking to the pairing of Beaver & Mac.
After a few minutes with The Beav, Miss Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell, came over to spend some time with us. She sat right down and welcomed us to the set. I think we were all a little giddy, but she made us feel right at home.
Kristen is gorgeous. Just as beautiful, if not more so than she is on TV. The skin, the hair, just stunning. She talked about her experience in theater during college (she was in Hair), and how although she left early to do a play on Broadway, she really hopes to get her degree someday.
Kristen was also very candid about her recent cover of Maxim saying that “it was definitely a business decision”. She had a good chuckle at Maxim’s choice of quotes that they decided to pull out into the headlines, and how absurd they sounded out of context of the accompanying story. You got the sense the sexy magazine shoot wasn’t Kristen’s proudest moment but with the upcoming release of her movie Pulse, sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
Before I knew it (and before we got to take any pics with her), Kristen was whisked away for another take. Although we saw her intermittently throughout the day, that was the only time we got to spend with Veronica Mars. The girl is the title character of the show, and is in basically every scene, the fact that we got any time to spend with her was a thrill. It’s always cool when you realize the people you see on TV are just as nice as you hoped they would be. (Thanks to The Vast Wasteland for snapping this shot of KB)
The Beav was done filming for the day which meant play time with big brother, Dick. Ryan and Kyle were having some fun on the set. As you can see from the pics, the Casablancas brothers get along like peas and carrots in real life. The boys posed for a few more pics before they bid us adieu for the day.
Holly from WB led us inside Neptune High and let us roam for a bit to really get a sense of the set. It took a minute to adjust to my surroundings. I was in a place I had never been before, yet I knew so well. The infamous bathroom (aka Veronica’s office), those bright yellow lockers that were always getting someone in trouble, the trophy case outside of Van Clemmons’ office…I was surrounded by it all. We all got pretty geeked out and started snapping up pics.
Before we knew it, we all were roaming freely in Veronica’s world. We threw our bags down over at Java the Hut and headed over to Mars Investigations. After solving a few investigations we sauntered over to Veronica & Keith’s place. Veronica’s tiny bedroom was adorned with pics of Lilly Kane, her Mom, and her photography artwork. Keith’s bedroom was decked out with an old school typewriter and the cutest pic of little baby Kristen Bell.
Daddy and little girl Mars have quite the kitchen, complete with a stocked fridge and dirty dishes that DuckyxDale was all to eager to clean. And of course in the kitchen is the door. The infamous season 1 cliffhanger door. The time when it opened, it wasn’t Logan, but Rob Thomas.
Now about that cliffhanger. I asked Rob if he knew who was going to be behind the door while first writing the scene. He said he didn’t, and since Teddy & Jason were about the same height, he just asked Kristen Bell to fake it. I also asked him about the radio alarm clock behind Veronica in that scene. Many had speculated that the 3:07 was a big clue that it was Logan at the door (3:07 upside down looks like “LOE”…LOgan Echolls). Rob said that in fact it was not a clue, and he was surprised by how quickly that theory took hold. He later commented that he is often surprised at some of the theories that Veronica Mars fans come up with during the season. Yeah, we sometimes like to overanalyze the show just a teensy bit.
With Rob in tow, we headed over to the Sheriff’s office, which sometimes seems like home away from home for our little Roni. Sadly Sheriff Lamb wasn’t there, but we did get to peruse some of the top secret police files. Did you know that with all the crime in Neptune, Lamb still has time to hunt for Osama? He is talented that guy.
After spending a bit more time over at Java the Hut, with Rob leading the way, we headed over to the Neptune Grand to visit Duncan…now Logan’s, apartment. I half expected Kendall Casablancas (Charisma Carpenter) to come sauntering out of the shower, but much to the dismay of most of my male readers, she didn’t. However, the shower will play an important role in an upcoming episode, although Rob did say it wasnt’t really about who was in the shower(which I took to mean that Logan & Veronica aren’t getting it on in the shower anytime soon so don’t get your hopes up). We spent a good amount of time here, and Rob let us in on a few tidbits about this season and next. Be patient…you’ll hear about it…soon enough.
It was time to see the daylight again. Rob led us on a walking tour of some of the outside sets, which included a pass by the oh-so-important Bus of Doom (moment of silence, please), Veronica’s car, & a few PCHers bikes. We also got to see the new hangout for the PCHers. Remember that old lot with the big crane…you know, where Thumper thumped Weevil. Well that’s the PCHer “spot”. It’s actually huge and right on the lot. Seems that Stu Segall of Stu Segall Productions, had his hands in many a project over the years. He accumulated all kinds of interesting sets and props, including this little big ‘ol abandoned lot complete with chemical drums and a crane – oh how the rich spend their money.
Next it was lunch time. It was my very crafts services experience and I have to say it was delish. I was lucky enough to sit right across form Rob during lunch. He continued to answer our questions and share stories through the meal. It was during this time we got a visit from Percy Daggs III (Wallace). I love Wallace and I was so happy we got a short time to meet him. He was with him mom (who was a riot) and his sister who was simply gorgeous. Rob whisked him away at one point to have a “secret meeting”. My lip reading skills aren’t what they used to be. I couldn’t figure out if he was spilling the beans on the bus crash or not. Guess we’ll never know.
We hit a spot of rain at the tail end of our meal, so we headed under the tent for a little while. Rob gave us the background on “the shocker” (which I will spill at a later time), as well as a little hint about some sensor-testing scenes that will be coming up in future episodes. Speaking of future eps, Rob said that episodes 16-18 are especially good, and he seemed really excited about them. I can’t wait!!!
After the rain subsided we were off to the wardrobe trailer. Inside this trailer were all the clothes for all the characters, recurring and otherwise. Veronica Mars gets a lot of her clothes at the Gap. She’s so one of us. Sal, the wardrobe guy was very cool. He showed us a shirt that for some reason or another kept coming up in conversation throughout the day. The shirt said “I Love Dick”. A little background here. In a future ep, a girl was slated to where this shirt…you know, to show her admiration for Dick Casablancas. But the network censors weren’t having it. As Rob explained, the girl could say “I love Dick”, but she couldn’t wear a shirt that said that. So they had to alter the shirt a bit to say “I love Dick Casablancas”. Oh those crazy censor people!! (Thanks to DuckyxDale for the shot of the shirt).
It was about this time that we had to say goodbye to Rob. I’m not sure any you of will understand how unbelievably cool it was to have a personal tour of the set with the creator of the show. Rob spent over two hours with us during the afternoon, showing us the sets, giving us little inside stories and spilling some secrets. He seemed truly excited to have us there, which made us all feel very welcome. Our time with Rob was amazing, and I can’t thank him enough for his time.
Ok, so I will say that with Rob’s departure, I knew we were closing in on the end of our day. I was a little flustered that we had yet to see Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls). One of the first things I noticed when we arrived on set was that Jason’s call time was 3pm. We were scheduled to leave the set at 2:30, so I had been hoping against hopes that we would have the chance to run into him before our day ended. Actually during lunch I nearly broke my neck from turning around so much to see if he was on the lot. But as our time was coming to a close it just didn’t seem to be in the cards to meet Logan Echolls.
One of our last stops of the day was to the makeup trailer. It was one of the coolest places as it was completely decorated with candid shots of the cast fooling around and laughing. It was really fun to see everyone so out of character. With nine of us, plus two makeup artists and a hairdresser, it was getting a little hot inside that trailer. Little did I know how hot it was going to be outside of the trailer.
As it happened, I was the first one to exit, and as I reached the door my eyes saw such a pretty sight. Jason Dohring was standing there smiling and looking all kinds of adorable. I was a little taken a back as he extended his hand, and took mine to escort me down the trailer steps. What a gentleman. Since we had learned our lesson with Kristen Bell, we immediately jumped at the chance to take pics with him. Jason is very different from Logan. Much more reserved and a little more humble than the brash Mr. Echolls. He was sweet enough to answer a bunch of our questions, although I am sure he had other places he needed to be. He talked about what a great thrill it was to work opposite an actress like Kristen Bell, and how he’s that much better an actor when he’s in a scene with her. He answered a few more questions, some of which happen to overlap with the interview questions Give Me My Remote sent him, so I’m going to hold off on spilling too much here.
Oh about the interview, as we were all walking back to the cars, I held back and thanked Jason for taking the time to answer the questions from the GMMR readers. He said he was excited about it, and thanked you all for supporting the show. What a sweetheart!!!
So after this long and unforgettable day, we piled back into the cars and headed back to the hotel before leaving for our looooooong journey home.
It was really a wonderful experience, and I’m so thankful to those who made it possible – UPN, Warner Bros, mPRm, and again thanks to Sienna, Chelsea and Holly for making this happen. Thank you all so much. And another special thanks goes out to all those at Veronica Mars who made us feel so at home in Neptune, CA, including Rob Thomas, Kristen Bell, Ryan Hansen, Kyle Gallner, Jason Dohring, Percy Daggs III, Dan Etheridge, and everyone else we met that day.
And to my new blogger friends…I’ll see you back in Neptune next year!!! Reunited and it feels so good!!!!
Ok one last goody. Rob Thomas shared many anecdotes about past and future episodes throughout the day. Really great stuff for any Veronica Mars lover. Rather than spill it all to you right now, I’m going to be posting a new Rob Thomas treat every Wednesday. Hopefully it will be something you can look forward to before Veronica Mars airs later that night. It’ll be fun for me too – I can relive my awesome day on the set of Veronica Mars over and over again every week. Oh yeah, and I have a TON more pics that I’ll be sharing with you all over the next few weeks.