Behind the scenes with former WWE Star at 2014 Screen Actors Guild Awards
By Giovanni Roselli
The sun is still shining as the driver opens the door to the rolled out red carpet. I arrive at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, at approximately 3:45pm local time. Since there is always a lengthy line of limos leading up to the entrance of every award show, I plan accordingly. Cameras are ready for the red carpet opening at 3:15pm and they capture every moment until it closes at 4:30pm. Even though the live broadcast on TNT and TBS starts at 5pm, the awards show technically begins at the venue at 4:45pm.
Once my wife and I get out of our limo, we are met with a barricade of thousands of screaming fans waiting across the street, just hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite actors. This year, Julia Roberts went to shake some hands and fans got so overzealous that they ended up falling over and knocking down the barricade! Fortunately, there were no injuries and Julia Roberts waited to ensure everyone was okay.
There are several checkpoints before one can actually enter the red carpet. Tickets are first checked when entering the walkway. Then there is a security checkpoint through medal detectors. Once you are through, you’re onto the red carpet.
When you turn the corner, a sea of photographers and news reporters are busy at work. Screaming fans welcome the actors and industry dignitaries on a beautiful, sunny California day.
Entertainment news television shows like E!, Entertainment Tonight and The Insider have their own section, with a stage and their logo.
Some actors get the quick opportunity to actually step off the carpet and sign some autographs for the fans. Others wave, especially when the fans scream loud enough for them. There are some photographers who end up screaming louder than the fans, to get the attention of the actor or ensemble they are attempting to capture.
At the final turn on the red carpet, your tickets are scanned and scanned again as security measures remain tight.
Arriving in the auditorium up to 15 minutes before the event begins allowed me just enough time to mingle with my peers. Looking around the room, I could see other actors talking to directors, producers speaking with actors and so on. The producer of tonight’s Awards show event can be heard giving constant time checks as to when we will be going live on air.
I took this time to speak with Golden Globe and SAG Award Winner Sofia Vergara (ABC’s Modern Family) and Golden Globe & SAG Nominee Barkhad Abdi (Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips). Although she was surrounded by people wanting her attention, Sofia was very nice and courteous. I congratulated Sofia on another SAG Award nomination and asked her what advice she would give to an up and coming actor like myself. She replied with some kind and encouraging words. Barkhad was very friendly and expressed how grateful he is to be in his current position. I congratulated him on all of the success of Captain Phillips and the nominations. He spoke about how it has been such a ‘roller coaster ride.’
Once taken to our assigned seats, we were provided with many ways to quench our thirst. One can choose between Champagne Taittinger Brut La Francaise, 2011 Chateau St. Jean Belle Terre, Chardonnay and 2011 Beringer Vineyards Knights Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon. Additionally, you are treated to a plateful of grilled filet mignon with broccoli puree, miso glazed wild salmon with spiced orange noodles and a kale and farro salad with crispy kale chips.
The producer finally counts down 5, 4, “clap please”, 3,2,1, and we are live on TBS and TNT.
The awards ceremony begins and when breaks are taken, the producer once again uses the intercom to let everyone know when we are back live on the air.
Once several awards have been presented, during each commercial break, the producer would again intercom and plead to award winners to keep their acceptance speeches under 45 seconds as the show is running long.
Ben Affleck gave out the last award of the night to the cast of American Hustle for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. As Ben was saying ‘goodbye’ to end the award ceremony and the live telecast, in what would appear to have been an unscheduled appearance, Cuba Gooding Jr. rushed onto the stage and gave thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Although noticeably out of place, guests seemed to appreciate his gesture since our nation was honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that Monday.
With statues in hand, award winners and attendees headed into the post show gala which was hosted by People Magazine. The bars and buffet stations quickly fill up as a female DJ pumps music throughout the air. If you weren’t dancing the night away, you were getting a taste of the delicious food! The cheese tortellini in truffle oil was my favorite. In addition, Chinese food, grilled vegetables and a huge assortment of desserts could be enjoyed too. Starbucks coffee could be taken in a to-go cup as well.
The top films and television shows each have their own small area designated for them with couches and additional food assortments. Among the people, plates and empty glasses, were newly won statues.
When the partying is over, you are lead to an additional Starbucks station and the 2014 SAG Awards Gala gift bags. These LeSportsac bags, weighing at least 20lbs, are bulging with thank you gifts from over thirty top companies and items newer to the market.
Once unzipped, you’ll find a camera remote to take selfies, a retro “Pop Phone” which connects to your cell phone to ease the use of talking on a cell phone, Apple iPhone leather case, gift certificate to a top LA hair stylist, People Magazine, Hollywood Reporter, hair wax, teeth whitener, nutrition bars, California Baby lotion, body lotions, after shave, baby socks, Burt’s Bee lip balm, Pure Madness chocolate, handmade key chains, potato chips, Teavana oolong tea and infuser, Brownie Brittle, Starbucks coffee, toothpaste and mascara just to name a few of the included items.
It is an honor and privilege to be a part of the Screen Actors Guild and an absolute thrill to receive an invitation to attend the awards ceremony. Thank you to SAG for putting on an outstanding awards show and I hope to return in the future to accept an award of my very own!
About Giovanni Roselli
Giovanni is known as Romeo Roselli in WWE Raw and was part of a tag team called “The Heart Throbs”. He is a professional trainer and a SAG actor. http://GiovanniRoselli.com