As many of you know, I took the opportunity to follow Dakota Johnson and her filming of How To Be Single in New York City in April and May. I’ve never followed a filming before, but picked up a few tips and tricks from some friends.
My first day of visiting the set was on April 20th where I learned how to get soaking wet while walking around the block. Ok, I did actually get the courage to ask about the filming and only got lied to a little bit about it. I also got an idea of what the area looks like and what things to look for at a set. But since I had to go to work and I was soaked from the rain I didn’t stay long. Overall, it was a good first experience.
On April 22nd I was back at the set bright and early. It was a beautiful day and I had a couple hours dedicated to it. I got to meet another fan of Dakota’s, a guy from the paparazzi and learn a few more tricks. I also learned that Dakota was not on set that day… But, I did get a picture of Alison Brie, who is quite beautiful. I also found it incredibly easy to find out where they were actually filming.
On April 27th Mags was finally able to come out with me. Dakota was on set and we saw her coming and going from her trailer a few times. We also went to where they filmed and got a bunch of shots of her. It wasn’t the most exciting scene, but it was cool to see the process of them filming. Dakota did not do any autographs or photos, that kinda sucked.
May 12th I was back in action, sadly, it didn’t look like Dakota was on set so I didn’t stick around too long.
I went back on a Friday evening, May 15th, and was actually there early for their filming. I used my time wisely and discovered a drink from Starbucks that I liked, I checked out the R8 at a nearby Audi dealership and got several different answers to the question of whether Dakota was on set (i.e. people lie). It turns out Dakota was on set, but I had to leave before she arrived and she apparently wasn’t doing photos early in the evening anyway. I was starting to realize that the trend is that she does them at the end of filming for the day.
May 18th was my planned last day to be able to visit the set, I tried to make it a good day. I was so close, yet so far away… I missed the morning filming location and moved to the second location where I met an old friend who was working in the area and was able to tip me off shortly before Dakota was to arrive. I saw her arrive and took a couple pictures of the ground – the hazard of being a little nervous and trying not to be too obnoxious with the iPhone. But never fret, she was in and out a couple times so I did get a couple pictures. Sadly, I had to leave before her and had to settle for my pictures of her without me.
There was a funny “incident” on this day. The paparazzi were all over and at one point Dakota was walking back to her trailer, the paparazzi guy was set up to get a shot, but Dakota cut the corner and ruined his shot. He tried to run to get ahead of her to get the shot, but then the security with her kind of blocked the view to get the shot. It was funny and even the paparazzi guy kinda laughed during the “incident.”
Then, finally, earlier this week I did it! I got my picture, miracles do happen! It was hot out, but once I found Dakota’s trailer I stood there (in the shade) and waited. I was committed! I was there about an hour and a half when I heard one of the workers say that they were going to be another hour and then he started turning on her trailer. I’m assuming he was getting the air conditioning going. Shortly after a friend that I’ve made online and met once or twice at the set of How To Be Single also showed up. As much as I think it helps to have fewer people waiting, it’s nice to have someone to talk to too.
Right on time (from the hour rumor), Dakota showed up and quietly slipped in her trailer. She’s gotten better at sneaking in and out and it felt like she was in a rush going in. But a few minutes later when she came out, I took the opportunity and asked Dakota if she would take a picture. She hesitated at first, but then walked over. I can honestly say I have no idea what she said, though I remember her having a soft sweet voice and being nice. She took pictures with all 3 of us and although it was quick, I didn’t feel rushed. After the 3 pictures she started to walk away; but, I was not done. I put on my sweetest smile, flashed my book and asked if she would sign it. She came back and signed my book. I do remember that when I opened it for her I told her that Erika and Dana had signed it in NY, and then felt like I was starting to babble and stopped myself..
Despite my best effort to have a conversational piece ready (I’m not telling it until I tell her, but we’ll call it Miami Mice), I was lucky I kept myself together as well as I did, I had gotten quite nervous waiting. But Dakota was very nice and soft spoken. I also noticed she’s very skinny, but I had already figured that out.
Will I be going back to see her? I think only if Mags or another friend wants to go. Then of course I’ll go with them. Otherwise, I think I’m retired from my film stalking for now.
What did I learn during all this? Following a movie and tracking down a movie star does require quite a bit of walking, can be long and boring at times, and will require you have a lot of battery life for your phone to pass the time. Also, when moving from trailer to set Dakota (and a couple other stars I saw) do tend to be quiet. I never saw Rebel Wilson crack a smile, Dakota often walked with her head down or turned away. I think part of it is the fans standing outside (who likes being stared at?), but also the paparazzi chasing them down. I imagine it’s quite strange to know that when you walk out that door that people are watching you. But I did hear her laugh a few times and give a loud and warm welcome to a few people who came into her trailer, so I know she’s not that serious all the time. The biggest lesson though is that you have to ask. No being a chicken! If you’re going to do it, you have to ask. She may not say yes the first time, but if you don’t ask the answer is no.